Bayz's Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)
| [October 12, 2011 11:03:56 AM]
| An interesting feature carried over from RPGs is the leveling up as you kill unarmed students. I'm not sure how intentional any commentary might be, but it does go with their value of strength through natural selection/violence, if not skill in the traditional RPG sense. |
I'm not quite sure what the point of the hell level is. Maybe it's a reference to Doom (like the disk you pick up) or their asking that one student if they believed in god (some anti-religious view?), but I didn't see anything that cast any more light on thier actions.
From all the popular culture characters in hell, it seemed like it might be some commentary on media and violence (going from their use of song lyrics at points in the game, it's another influence the game is suggesting). However, a lot of the characters down there, like Pokemon, just don't seem to follow with this argument (it doesn't seem serious at all). The lyrics do raise the question of how desensitized someone could become through media violence, but I think there's also the question of context.
Were their values inspired by media or were they attracted to this kind of media because of their values. Just as you could argue they were influenced by media, you could argue that the bullying, wanting of revenge, depression, and such came first and that as a result they sought out any media they could interpret as reinforcing their values? For example the soldier in the video seemed more stunned/shocked by the violence against the villagers and condoning that violence didn't seem to really be the message of that kind of documentary. However, they wouldn't have viewed it in that light and would have been seeking out/much more receptive to even the slightest violent suggestion.
However, without knowing what they were thinking or how these views came out and what came first, it'd be difficult to draw conclusions on the influence of media.
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| [October 12, 2011 01:42:04 AM]
| Picking up where I left off, I'm now starting the actual shooting section after the bombs fail to explode. |
After reading up on the events a bit, the way they unfold in the game doesn't seem totally accurate. While granted the emphasis seems to be on the the shooters, rather than a complete recreation of the events, it does call into question some of the other elements, like dialogue that are key to the games point.
There's more dialogue about following animal instincts and this sense of natural selection/strength through violence. Assuming it's accurate, it further underscores this as a strong ideal/value for them. I also now noticed that the pills I had picked up earlier were anti-depressants, probably another factor.
I found it very difficult to shoot any students and went through trying to shoot as few as possible to progress. I given all the suggested causes, I still don't see how they could have gone to such extreme violence without mental illness of some kind being a factor.
It does raise the more general question of a what point is someone committing violence treated as an illness or a crime, such as how people will argue that drug addicts aren't criminals in the tradition sense. In the case of the columbine shooting they would have been sentenced to several life sentences at least, in a more general sense it does seem like a difficult question. Such as children of abusive parents being abusive themselves, a what point can you make the argument they couldn't control their actions?
Either way someone who commits violence like that should be locked up, but I guess there might be some distinction in how you treat them.
The flashbacks seem to suggest the game is concluding bullying was a major factor. This seems to make a little sense as the other suggested factor was valuing strength through violence. Revenge most likely would go hand in hand with those kinds of values, but how they got from being bullied/wanting revenge to idolizing violence isn't clear.
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| [October 11, 2011 12:48:25 AM]
| First off, I think the creation of super columbine massacre RPG, is ethical. Primarily because of free speech, but also because a game may be one of the best ways to put someone in the shoes of another person (probably why it's more controversial than a TV documentary about the shooting for example) and it does seem like a effective way to deliver on what the author say's their goal was, to examine why they made the choices they did. Whether or not it's well executed is a whole other issue.|
The presentation in RPG maker may seem like it trivializes the incident and I think it does stay towards this a bit, but overall it's probably better than a more realistic/graphic presentation. The focus is on the two shooters and their motives, a more abstract presentation can do that without lots of gore/violence shown.
As for gameplay, the section in the house was perhaps the most interesting, being able to examine his stuff, recordings, and such. Some of it did give some insight, there's some sense of their value of "strength" in the sense of being able to commit shocking amounts of violence, from the dialog (e.g. natural selection) and the video with the special forces solider talking about the level of violence needed for a group to cut off the arms of everyone they had given vaccines to in a village.
The accuracy of this is questionable, both as I don't think anyone knows what they said at home/in the park and if/how important that video was. I'm assuming the video was found at his house, but was it just that clip, a documentary that happened to be laying around? Was it watched a lot/found in the VCR or just in the house. It makes sense that they would like it as it appeals to their values, but the context is a bit unclear.
This was then paired with a strong desire for revenge for all manner of alleged wrongs, by apparently everyone. There wasn't any particular targeting, but a "war on everyone".
Once past the exploration, it seems the game really doesn't offer much more choice or exploration, you mostly just follow instructions and trace the steps of the shooting. The dialog does provide more info, but there isn't much exploration on the part of the player. So in many ways it plays out like a documentary with some interactive sections and doesn't (as far as I've played) leverage the game media for exploration.
However there is something different to putting the player in the position of actually having to click on students to kill them, but it doesn't seem to pan out beyond shock value. Doesn't add to the ethical exploration without meaningful choice, you just reenact the event as it historically unfolded.
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