VisibleMan's Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)
| [February 23, 2010 07:03:55 AM]
| Take two!|
Still determined to beat the game without a single poorly animated human sprite's death at my hands, I redoubled by h4xing efforts and this time I set my health so high--dare I say it--it was OVER 9000!!!
Joking aside, I did manage to navigate my way partially through the maze this run. I found Eric (who I had previously passed by, assuming him to be just another vampire) and quickly got him killed before I could extend Dylan's power level h4x to him. Eventually I got a med-kit from one of those lost souls and revived him, and went on to find a shotgun and Gatling gun.
After the demon bodies started piling up (talk about boring gameplay mechanics, by the way. Even if I wasn't cheating, I would be falling asleep) I came across a strange demonic symbol on the ground. I carelessly trotted all over it, and quickly found myself transported a strange island filled with an eclectic mix of characters.
Among them was Mario, Kupo, Vader, Reagan, Einstein, Santa, Mega Man, Confucius, and more--all of whom had a story to tell about how they were (often unfairly) thrown into hell.
This is just silly. I don't know if the reality of the events kept the game's author reserved for the first part of the game, but the second is just plain dumb. If they had any hope of conveying a serious message, they've lost it. Now it's just a game with dull gameplay and repetitive mechanics.
I almost feel betrayed by the author. I may not have worked as hard as others to get to this point (h4x and all), but I was still expecting something purposeful after all that level grinding (that I skipped) and maze wandering.
This cavalier treatment of a serious historical event brings into question the entire first part of the game: did the author just spin the facts to dangle the carrot of meaning in front of the player? I think the lack of quality in the design and the art speaks for itself as to how seriously the author took this game. Then again, I probably should have guessed as such, just based on the title.
I don't think I'll be bothering to finish this one, even with infinite health.
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| [February 23, 2010 12:57:03 AM]
| So I decided to try playing the game without killing any students or blowing anything up or doing any other real damage. Thankfully, I had a save point from right before the bombs *don't* go off, so I didn't have to replay too much.|
As it was my second time through many of the dialog scenes, I decided to pay closer attention to their grievances than I did during my first run. To be honest, after doing so, my opinion of them (or the characters being portrayed as them) fell even lower. Their reasons were little more than those of the stereotypical white, male teenager: they don't want to be told what to do, they support natural selection, they hate all things "routine", and just generally want to "get off this sick f***ing planet [they] hate so much". I find the natural selection comment interesting, because I also know that they hated being picked on: the physically "superior" jocks attacking who they considered to be "inferior".
Regardless, I managed to sneak through the corridors much more easily than I expected. I only needed to restart twice before finally making it to the library and the end of their rampage without killing anyone or really even doing any property damage (well, they'll have to wash that carpet...)
So, hopeful that the game would recognize my blasphemy against its system and react, I sat through the slideshow... and ended up in Hell anyway, playing as Dylan again. Except, as expected, I was level 1 this time surrounded by high level demons.
Determined to push onwards despite the clear protest of the game's system (which demands that you kill as many students as possible to level up before Hell), I pulled out my favorite memory editor and h4x0r'd the game, giving myself infinite health and ammo.
Was it unethical of me to resist the game to the point of tampering with it? I don't think so. I tampered with it in the hopes of being able to finish the game (alterations without which, other demands on my time would have prevented me from doing so), and so my ultimate goal was only to hear the rest of the author's message.
Of course, I said "in the hopes of"--not long after implementing my hacks and proudly beating down some demon soldiers, an Imp 1-hit KO's me, a situation my infinite health couldn't protect against.
Oh well, maybe next time.
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| [February 22, 2010 12:45:14 AM]
| "Super Columbine Massacre RPG" -- The name itself just screams controversy.|
In SCMRPG, you take the role of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold as they attack their High School. So far, the game has been played from their perspective, perhaps one the author felt had been overlooked. It's filled with flashbacks, dialog between the two, and a frustrating amount of poetry and allusions.
At the start of the game, the player controls Eric as he and Dylan get their gear together for the shooting. During this time, that player can explore some of their background by interacting with various objects. For example, when you find a Marilyn Manson CD, Eric talks about how the music will be blamed for his actions, even though it wasn't the true reason.
I found myself having a hard time feeling like I was making an ethical choice when my characters killed the other students. Not only did the terrible graphics and RPGMaker-esque atmosphere prevent any level of immersion, but I didn't feel like I was making any real choice. Except for the first few people, rarely did I ever intentionally run into someone. Most of the time I would just be trying to weave my way through the corridors, when a random NPC would jump in front of me.
I played until shortly after Dylan finds himself in Hell, and some interesting ethical situations did appear. For example, Eric decides to spare two people (one who was apparently an old friend, and one who was a little kid being bullied in the bathroom). I found this interesting because, from their dialog, it seemed as though the two of them were absolutely convinced there was not a single person on the planet that did not deserve to die, including themselves. It was this premise that they used to justify arbitrarily killing people they didn't know. And yet, their (or at least Eric's) own actions contradict that belief. Clearly they knew at a least a few people who they thought deserved to live (those they spared, their friends and family who they apologized to for what they were about to do, ect) which refutes their premise.
I suppose one important distinction to make is that any judgment I do is purely on the characters in SCMRPG; I do not know what dialogue was non-fiction, and what the creator decided to ad-lib. Hopefully they didn't use as many allusions as the game would lead me to believe (nothing annoys me more than those who think that quoting smart people makes them, by proxy, smart)
Regardless, there is no justification for what they did. Even an "eye for an eye" ethical theory would question the equivalency of a few years of bullying with a full scale murderous rampage.
Oh well, now Dylan is stuck in Hell, and I keep getting him killed before I can get through the area. To be honest, Eric seemed like an alright guy, with Dylan being the cliche "bad influence". I wonder if that's why he isn't in Hell with Dylan.
Next time I play, I think I'm going to restart from the beginning and see if I can get to the library and have them seppuku without killing any students. I'm curious if the game will recognize it, or if I'll just end up back in Hell, but this time at level 1. Either way, I'm sure I will be very frustrated by the end of it ("Stop bumping into me, darn it! Get out of the mad-gunman's way!")
This entry has been edited 2 times. It was last edited on Feb 22nd, 2010 at 00:48:31.
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