Monday 28 May, 2012
So I've just finished the cafeteria. There are a couple of cutscenes here. The first displays a frame from the now-infamous CCTV recording, and the second is a flashback sequence in which Dylan recounts sitting alone at lunch time. "Green Plastic Trees" by Radiohead plays in the background.
I know I've mentioned the music previously (how it reinforces the "teen angst" that defines Dylan and Eric), but I wanted to talk about it a bit more. I've been able to recognize every single song in the game so far; it's practically the soundtrack of my high school years. I guess what's troubling me is that it's also the personal soundtrack of the shooters.
I'm only two years younger than Harris and Klebold. We grew up in the same times, listened to the same music, and knew the same kind of "outsiders." I remember being lonely, and really depressed (and I take SSRI antidepressants, though thankfully not the Luvox that Harris was prescribed--it has a much higher rate of adverse effects). I played plenty of violent first person videogames. How did I end up living a completely normal life, and those two wound up becoming mass murderers?
If we accept the conventional wisdom of the effects of media on young people, then the answer is not clear. In the aftermath of Columbine, there was a lot of finger pointing, but the lion's share fell on Doom and Marilyn Manson. To their critics, Doom and Manson were brainwashing young men like Harris and Klebold into blindly acting out on violent and nihilistic impulses. Those critics would have us see young media consumers as mere automata, passively responding to stimuli.
I think the conventional wisdom is misguided, and SCMRPG helps illustrate that point. I can't possibly be the only one who sees parallels between the media I consumed as a teen and what Harris and Klebold listened to, watched and played. I'm willing to bet good money a lot of people my age would recognize the same songs, and remember being an angsty teen listening to headphones in their bedroom. Few of us would be considered violent, or dangerous, or disturbed. SCMRPG points this out, and even goes the further step of recreating a shooting blamed on violent media within the context of a violent video game.
During this session I asked myself, "Does playing this game make me a bad person?" I think the answer that arises from the game so far is that no, it doesn't, and moreover, no, it can't.
"During this session I asked myself, "Does playing this game make me a bad person?" I think the answer that arises from the game so far is that no, it doesn't, and moreover, no, it can't."
Wednesday 6 June, 2012 by jp
Unless you actually enjoyed and relished your actions in the game?