alientoaster's Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)
| [November 5, 2008 01:05:35 AM]
| My final session with Columbine wasn't very good. I continued the killing started in my last session with it, but I soon tried to stop completely. I experienced some cut-scenes and events.
Solely as a game, it valued protecting the weak and revenge. After deciding to stop killing people, I walked into the second floor bathroom. I found four guys beating up some nerdy-looking kid, and I knew what would happen. After fighting the dudes, the kid actually thanked my characters instead of freaking the shit out. Based on some of the cut-scenes, the shooters felt especially rejected in their everyday lives. After these cut scenes where they remember why they are shooting people in the first place, the characters get leveled-up to represent the strengthening of their resolve because of such incidents. I would not say the game defends their feelings. I was on stage crew in high school, and my first thought was that the game was trying to show how normal they were during the Frankenstein cut-scene. Then the guy talked about how he hated the people that would be at the cast party after. I think it was trying to show that the shooters were in seemingly normal high school situations, but they felt as if their situations were worse than everyone else's.
Another thing I noticed in this session is that after killing certain people, you would get food items. "The hamburger is all yours." This, to me, mocked their cause. What was the point of killing people? Well, they got hamburgers. Except for the "combat experience", the dropped items were the only tangible reason for fighting people. Had the game rewarded you more heavily - with money or weapons, perhaps - it would have encouraged killing and been an unethical approach to the game.
I was done killing people on purpose as I found no point in it. I ran through the library and found the doors where the police were apparently shooting the characters. When asked if my character wanted to end it, I said no as I wanted to explore the school more. When running around, I found it hard to avoid the panicking NPCs. There was no option to not kill them. That is how the shooters probably felt – there was no option but to kill everyone. I had had enough. I wanted to end the game, and that is probably exactly what the two shooters were thinking that day.
Though the game did not make the acts at Columbine any easier to take, it offered an interesting perspective on the events that day. I do not believe it presented anything gratuitously or tried to make light of the situation. The perspective offered was open enough that the player could choose his or her own interpretation of the incident or choose not to be a player at all.
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| [November 4, 2008 08:05:49 PM]
| Like my first half hour, my second was not very fun. This time, I did not learn much.
I planted some bombs and got my guys strapped. The bombs failed, and it was time to kill people. They let the first guy go, which (if accurate) must have made that guy feel incredibly guilty about surviving. That "mercy" may have been random just like the following violence. Every kill was a generic student. No one had names - they could have been anyone. The game seemed to be saying that this is how the killers saw their school and the rest of the world. There weren't individuals, just a mass of victims.
I had to consider the morality of the game design. Was it immoral to put the player in the position of the killers in this real-life tragedy? I don't think so. Most importantly, it did not try to create sympathy or excitement for these two guys. If it had, the message would have been terribly skewed. I think it remains mostly objective in that the game is just trying to tell the story of this incident. As was argued for the movie Gunner Palace in The Film is Not Yet Rated, I didn't find that the violence was gratuitous but a representation of real events. Just as history books tell the story of many horrible deaths, Super Columbine Massacre tells about this school shooting.
My reaction when the killing started was mixed. I immediately engaged in mostly one-sided fights with the kids running around the parking lot. I had no idea why. Would the experience points help me later on? Was the game going to get harder, or would my characters just have extremely high stats and kill people more easily? Despite this, I had the urge to play the game as it was designed. I wanted to go into every room and "defeat" every student. Is that how the killers saw that day? Were their views of the world so skewed that each kill was just a "win" in some sort of game? Again, the game is encouraging critical thought about the shootings, and for that, I believe it is well within moral limits.
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| [November 4, 2008 04:07:06 PM]
| I had heard about this game when it was still being made. I didn't read up on it much since I just assumed it to be a joke game for shock-value. Up until this class, I had no idea if it was still around and less so that it was being taken seriously enough to look at the game critically as we are doing in this assignment.
Being in middle school at the time, I was too young to really care about the shooting. I knew what happened, but I did not think about it any further. My brother was in high school, so, like any good mother, my mom was scared and over-cautious to the point where she did not even want us having black coats.
When starting Super Columbine Massacre, I was able to learn details that I hadn't heard before (mostly due to not paying attention). I knew they were psychologically messed up. I didn't know they wanted to join the military or had any college aspirations. I had never thought about how they had the connections to buy the guns used. At least from walking around the guy's house, I think the game does a decent job of educating the player on at least some of the factors involved.
The lives set up around the characters seem within the range of normal - being on some sort of medication, applying for military service, playing computer games. Even a fascination with blowing things up can be seen as a "normal" deviation for teenage boys. I only walked around this time until first getting to the school. What amazed me up to that point was how other people reacted to these two. We can say now that all the signs of psychotic behavior were there, but at the time, everyone treated them like any other high school students. The guy's mom wakes him up in the morning. He talks to the other guy's mom pretty normally on the phone.
In the hall of the school, you would "lose" if the security camera saw you or you touched an NPC. There were no negative consequences except getting forced back outside to try again. The hall monitor treated the guy like he was a little nutty but still on a friendly level. "You guys sure are dressed funny!" With all the "hazards", it is easy to wonder how these two pulled off such a plot. We wonder now why nobody saw the signs and reported them. It is easy to us to think this in the game, but as the character, we have knowledge that the NPCs don't. As the first major school shooting, at least in recent times, nobody knew what to expect. Nobody even thought that such an act was a possibility.
So far, the game has seemed pretty moral. I have not been forced to do anything immoral for the sake of the game just yet, but even after, the game is doing its job. It has caused me to think about the incident more critically than I have before. It is not teaching me how "easy" or "fun" a school shooting might be or how to plan on; rather, it is attempting to present the situation as it was and provoke thought on how they actually got away with it.
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