(Guest post by Alyric)
This story is a bit unusual in that there is no crime being blamed on video games – rather, the video game is based on a crime. Also, it’s a week and a half old, but the site hadn’t started yet when the story first came out – so bear with us.
For those of you who have been fortunate enough not to hear about it, Super Columbine Massacre RPG is a game created by Danny Ledonne. You will not find a link to it on this site; not now, not ever. Essentially, the game allows you to play as Harris and Klebold in a virtual recreation of the massacre at Columbine Highschool. Not only that, the content in the game and the author himself glamorize what they did. This was, sadly, hero-worship; a tribute, of sorts. Trench has covered this story previously.
The game has been around for a while, but just recently it made headlines again. According to Newsweek, a Utah Gamemaker Competition dropped the Columbine game from consideration. In response, six of the fourteen finalists have quit in protest, and seven sent letters requesting the game’s reinstatement.
To be fair, I suspect that most or all of these finalists are ignorant of the true nature of SCMRPG and many of the remarks made by Danny Ledonne. Still, making such a public demonstration of support for something you aren’t familiar with is dangerous at best.
Consider a quote from the article by Jonathon Blow, one of the finalists that dropped out after SCMRPG was removed from the competition. “As long as we persist in believing that games are just for kids … we’re not going to get where we need to go.”
This quote, I can only imagine, broadly assumes that the game has been removed for violent content. Mr. Blow, this has nothing to do with violence, only the standards of public decency, and respect for the families that lost loved ones on that day. The game constantly refers to Harris and Klebold as “brave boys”, and runs a tribute montage to them after their deaths. How could the Slamdance Festival afford to be seen as supporting that?
If the lack of respect showed by Danny Ledonne towards the families of the people murdered at Columbine wasn’t bad enough, consider his refusal to respect the wishes of the organizers of the event; from the second article – But SCMRPG! creator Danny Ledonne has told other finalists that he plans to go to the festival anyway and distribute copies of his game.
Kudos to Peter Baxter, president of the event, for not caving in to the pressure.