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Columbine RPG Kickout Has Repercussions

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the feel-the-burn dept.

Games 118

As a direct result of the removal of the Columbine RPG from the Slamdance game competition, two games (so far) have pulled out of the judging process. The Forge has extensive commentary on the first pullout (the game Braid), as well as the removal of fl0w from the competition. From the article: "Regardless of the artistic merit, the facts as I understand them are that Slamdance had actively courted the creator of SCM RPG! to enter it into the festival, which then judged it to be a finalist before bending over for the corporations and shredding their credibility by removing it from the competition. Imagine Dominoes Pizza deciding it objected to the theme of Brokeback Mountain and told the Academy Awards to remove it. Imagine them doing it after it was already a finalist."

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good for them (5, Insightful)

spykemail (983593) | more than 7 years ago | (#17526948)

Good for them. When you give in to pressure from big business to censor you lose all of your credibility.

Re:good for them (4, Interesting)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527340)

Indeed. I wish I had a game in the competition so I could withdraw it now, and I'd like to go on record as being newly motivated to check out any games by people with enough integerity to stand by their fellow designer and stick to their beliefs even though it means losing a shot at this particular brass ring. That action earns my respect far more than any "I won at Slamdance!" blurb could.

Re:good for them (2)

Hitto (913085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17528052)

I agree, I wish more people had those kind of balls.

Re:good for them (4, Informative)

abandonment (739466) | more than 7 years ago | (#17529100)

Looks like 3 more have dropped out as well:

http://braid-game.com/news/?p=21 [braid-game.com]

5 games in total have quit in disgust. Good on em indeed!

Re:good for them (2, Insightful)

Shads (4567) | more than 7 years ago | (#17529538)

More power to em. Hopefully, the entire competition drops out until they either let Columbine compete or till another year. I may think the game is tasteless, but it has as much business being there as any other offensive piece of artwork. When you start discriminating on which art goes too far because of corporate sponsors, you're no longer being subjective and judging on artistic value you're being a corporate shill... there is no sense of integrity in the competition, its just who is willing to make a stink if their favorite item isn't going to win or disqualify anyone who they don't want to win.

Re:good for them (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17530368)

Good for them. When you give in to pressure from big business to censor you lose all of your credibility.

It depends on your target audience. If your goal to introduce independent gaming to the general public then maybe Columbine: The RPG is not where you want to begin.

It is easy to lose credibility with the Geek.

The eternal sophomore. To whom everything is black and white, all or nothing, 1 or 0.

Much harder to win the respect and trust of those whose primary interests and values are rooted outside his own community.

Re:good for them (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17534490)

The Slamdance Guerilla Gamemaker Competition exists to help aspiring game developers showcase their work. The festival aids developers through industry connections, peer interaction and national exposure.

Sounds like losing credibility with developers would run counter to the mission of Slamdance.

Re:good for them (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17535588)

Sounds like losing credibility with developers would run counter to the mission of Slamdance.

it depends if by "developers" you mean "companies willing to invest serious money in the production and marketing of a game"

Makes me happy. (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17526954)

I know most people think that SCMRPG is in horrible taste, I disagre (I view it as documentry/commentary on a horrible event in video game form). Flow standing up against this is good of them in my mind.

I don't think that the SlamDance guys are bad for caving to the preasure (they do need corporate backers), however seeing a company that is gettign LOTS of recognition standing up against something like this still makes me happy.

as a note, if you havn't played around with Cloud (their other game) I deffinatly suggest it.

Re:Makes me happy. (4, Insightful)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527276)

I don't think that the SlamDance guys are bad for caving to the preasure (they do need corporate backers)

Slamdance invited SCRPG to participate in its event, voted it to be worthy of status as a finalist, and then kicked them out. That's irresponsible. Why pretend to host an objective contest when votes are for sale to the highest-paying sponsor?

Re:Makes me happy. (2, Insightful)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527526)

If you don't cave to sponsors, you don't exist. I know it sucks, and I really hate that it is true, however something is better then nothing in my mind, and we do need more outlets for indy devs to get some recognition.

My hope is that because they caved and this flare-up is now happening we will see something come of it. Either SlamDance will lose all of their credibility (very possible), or they will rally and specificly state rules reguarding removal of contestants (guidlines that have to be followed, and do not include "well, or sponser doesn't like it").

Re:Makes me happy. (2, Interesting)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 7 years ago | (#17529030)

"If you don't cave to sponsors, you don't exist."

But there needs to be some kind of limit. What if McDonald's was a sponsor and complained because a game about the Burger King was a finalist and Burger King wasn't a sponsor? Who really deciding which games win, the sponsors or the judges?

The judges should have told the sponsor that complained that the judges decide which games win, not the sponsors. Of course the sponsors will complain, that's what they're suppose to do, of course they're going to watch out for their own best interests. Shame on you judges!

Now, who wants to submit a 9/11 game where players can hijack a plane and crash it into the towers? Anyone?

Re:Makes me happy. (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17529212)

Yes, the limit is howmuch they can do with out financial backing. Yup, it sucks, however this is the real world.

Mabey they will be able to become a not forprofit organization that survives on donations, or they will find backers that have more open views. That would be awsome, no need to wory about your backers pulling out and you can then actualy show off everything you want. However for now they HAVE to listen to the people giving them money or they don't exist.

On a second note:
Again, SCMRPG does have some artistic merit, the game draws heavily from news, sound bites and anything else they could find about the tragedy to create the game. It is about the incident, what happened, and why. IT is not just a game about killing kids.

Re:Makes me happy. (2, Interesting)

Al Dimond (792444) | more than 7 years ago | (#17530758)

Yes, the limit is howmuch they can do with out financial backing. Yup, it sucks, however this is the real world. What the latest action shows, however, is that they have legitimate pressure from both sides. They need corporate money to be what they want to be, but without the support of the community and developers they won't have an audience and thus won't be worth sponsoring anyway. The community voice checks the corporate voice, and tells Slamdance that they'll have to take a harder line with the sponsors if they want to matter. Slamdance has to listen to both groups.

Re:Makes me happy. (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532474)

Very true, and this is why I am VERY happy with the guys standing up for him.

This forces the issue, it shows SlamSance they have to have some morals, but more importantly it showes the BACKERS that they can't fug with the competition if they want it to be respected (why else do you think corporations back these things? they want the free advertising, but if you name is linked with a competition known to be pointelss?)

Re:Makes me happy. (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17529256)

If you don't cave to sponsors, you don't exist. I know it sucks, and I really hate that it is true, however something is better then nothing in my mind, and we do need more outlets for indy devs to get some recognition.

The problem was not that they used sponsors, or even that they obeyed the sponsors' demands, but rather, that they maintained a pretense that the sponsors would not have veto power strong enough to compromise the objectivity of the contest.

I haven't read all the fine print in the contest, so if it actually said somewhere something like "We reserve the right to disqualify a contestant at any stage at a sponsor's discretion", I stand corrected.

Re:Makes me happy. (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17529518)

Apparently this is the first time a contestant has ever been pulled, and thus the situation has just never come up. My hope is that they will rectify the situation for future years, prefferably something along the lines of "All contestants and desisions are final baring gross breaches of law by contestants" (IANAL and they could say it better, but you get my idea).

I also hope they seak new financhial backing and dump the one(s) that threatened to walk. However I still can't really say that they are BAD people, they were in a hard situation (Stand up, take the bullet, and die. Or run away to live and fight another day).

The peopel that COULD stand up with out fearing serious reprocussion (the other contestants) did, and for that I admire them, especialy the 2 (so far) that have withdrawn from the competition (especialy the maker of Flow, as he already has recognition, and can use it to create a media stir about it).

Re:Makes me happy. (2, Insightful)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 7 years ago | (#17533964)

I also hope they seak new financhial backing and dump the one(s) that threatened to walk. However I still can't really say that they are BAD people, they were in a hard situation (Stand up, take the bullet, and die. Or run away to live and fight another day).

They chose wrong. I'm not a big gamer, so I had never even heard of this contest before. But right now, the only thing I know about the event is that it's controlled by corporate sponsors. In other words, it's pointless. Who wins? Who loses? Who gets thrown out? Whoever the sponsors want. No credibility at all.

On the otherhand, if they had told the sponsor to go to hell, they'd lose sponsorship, but their losing sponsors would also make it onto the front page of Slashdot. Except then, I'd know that it's actually a fair judge of game quality. A game doesn't win just because a corporate sponsor says it should. It wouldn't be the last contest. They'd have less money to spend on next year's contest, but they'd still be around.

Now they have the money, they just don't have any credibility. Which makes having an event next year seem like a waste of time.

Speaking of Brokeback Mountain (5, Funny)

AssCork (769414) | more than 7 years ago | (#17526968)

When the hell is that game coming out?

Re:Speaking of Brokeback Mountain (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527142)

I wish I had mod points :)

Re:Speaking of Brokeback Mountain (3, Funny)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 7 years ago | (#17528930)

I hear there's already a LARP version

Re:Speaking of Brokeback Mountain (1)

MannyO (649725) | more than 7 years ago | (#17529086)

Yes, AssCork I wish I had mod points!

Re:Speaking of Brokeback Mountain (2, Funny)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 7 years ago | (#17530316)

next year, it's coming out for the Wii, and you use the wiimote to give a reacharound.

This is typical political correctness (3, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527062)

Of course, any game based on something as horrific as the Columbine shooting is at best bad taste, at worst shameless exploitation of the event to get in the press, and people should rightfully be angry, and the game should be pulled out.

But for some reason I fail to understand, there are dozens of games glorifying WW2 combats, or simulating the Iraq war. Millions have died during WW2, and hundred of thousands died in Iraq and continue to do so. Yet nobody finds reasons to be upset when you incarnate a G.I. killing German soldiers in a game. It's all perfectly normal to them.

My grandfather died in WW2, I never knew him. He was fighting for the "good guys" (the allies), but that didn't prevent my dad from crying often when he thought about him. War simulation games make me just as angry as this stupid Columbine RPG, and people who get their pants in a knot over the Columbine game then go play the virtual soldier ten minutes later make me sick, because they're biased, politically correct idiots with short memories...

Re:This is typical political correctness (1)

Ribbo.com (885396) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527212)

The main difference I see in your argument (not that I think it isn't a good one) is that people in the case of the Columbine game are arguing for it's removal as the game is promoting morally wrong ideas. That you get rewarded for mowing down innocents. In the case of war, the argument can be made that it is morally correct to try and overthrow Nazi's. Of course this argument falls down now that there are so many games out that allow you to play both sides, but war has featured in a lot of media over the past 100 years, whether it be TV, games, radio or film. The same can't be said for a good old fashioned rampage.

Re:This is typical political correctness (4, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527348)

In the case of war, the argument can be made that it is morally correct to try and overthrow Nazi's.

That's where you're wrong. War is morally wrong, period. That doesn't mean we shouldn't have gone to war against the Nazis, what I'm trying to point out is that exploiting the human misery that WW2 in a game 60 years later is no more acceptable that exploiting a bunch of kids getting machine-gunned in a school recently. Probably less so: WW2 is a world-wide stain on humanity, whereas Columbine is, despite all its horror, a local event.

Re:This is typical political correctness (2, Insightful)

radarjd (931774) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527508)

War is morally wrong, period. That doesn't mean we shouldn't have gone to war against the Nazis,

Out of curiosity, does that mean you believe that a morally wrong action was still the correct action to take?

Re:This is typical political correctness (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527762)

Out of curiosity, does that mean you believe that a morally wrong action was still the correct action to take?

Yes, a morally wrong action may be the correct action to take if you're forced to do it to prevent something morally worse. In the case of WW2, it was morally wrong to go to war, but morally worse to let the Germans invade Europe. In that respect, the Allies were "less wrong" than the Axis, which makes none of it okay of course, but sometimes you're cornered and you have to take choices.

When you're not forced into action however, as in the case of the Iraq war, going to war should be considered an international crime.

Re:This is typical political correctness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17528104)

I tend to agree with your posted ideas, but to shorten it up....sometimes it's necessary to choose the lesser of two evils, but that decision doesn't make it any less evil.

Re:This is typical political correctness (2, Funny)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 7 years ago | (#17528160)

going to war should be considered an international crime. and as such punished by... Come on you hypocrite, say it!

Re:This is typical political correctness (1)

LittleBigLui (304739) | more than 7 years ago | (#17529786)

going to war should be considered an international crime. and as such punished by...
The Spanish Inquisition!!

Re:This is typical political correctness (1)

Shai-kun (728212) | more than 7 years ago | (#17533036)

Well, at least it's unexpected.

Re:This is typical political correctness (4, Insightful)

aicrules (819392) | more than 7 years ago | (#17528184)

You obviously have no idea what morally even means. It would be morally wrong to not have gone to war to stop the Nazi destruction of Europe. It was not morally wrong to have gone to war in that case. Morality is not based on only one piece of information. It is based on all known information.

Well, okay, morality ends up actually being completely subjective to whatever person is deciding whether a particular thing is morally right or wrong for themselves. But you stated war was "morally wrong, period" as if it were a fact and not an opinion. It would have only been morally wrong to go to war to save Europe and ourselves if there was a way to stop the Nazis otherwise that would have guaranteed less bloodshed on both sides. There were certainly acts committed by both sides during the war that would be considered morally wrong by anybody, but the overall act of going to war was morally right.

Re:This is typical political correctness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17530262)

It would have only been morally wrong to go to war to save Europe and ourselves if there was a way to stop the Nazis otherwise that would have guaranteed less bloodshed on both sides.

It is highly unlikely that the Nazis would have defeated the Soviets. In fact, once the Nazis attacked the Soviets their defeat by the Soviets was, most likely, only a matter of time. Furthermore, the USA wasn't directly invaded by the Nazis. Pearl Harbor was the Japanese.

Not only was the USA not directly defending itself by going to war with the Nazis, it wasn't even defending Europe against the Nazis. What the USA was doing was preventing the Soviets from taking over Europe. Maybe that was a good thing and maybe it wasn't but the involvement of the USA in the European theater of WWII was a lot more complicated than saving Europe from the Nazis.

For the record, I really don't have major objections to the USA's involvement in the European theater of WWII. On the other hand, the USA's invasion of Iraq has a lot in common with Columbine. The USA was humiliated and angry after 9/11 and so they lashed out at an easy target that had nothing to do with 9/11. Lashing out blindly out of humiliation and anger sounds a lot like what happened at Columbine.

As afar as video games go, I say let people think about this stuff and simulate it and all that. Maybe then people will realize that such things end badly without accomplishing anything

Re:This is typical political correctness (1)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531642)

Without the Pacific influence of the United States keeping the Japanese occupied, the USSR would have been incapable of reallocating forces from the one front to the other.

The US was absolutely key in the Allied victory because it was the only nation of the Allies that was free to go full steam in production without the threat of bombings, ground invasions etc. The only real threat was U-Boats intercepting supply ships and fleets.

Having a single completely safe industrial base is a huge asset in any war. The US was an entire nation of them.

It is possible that without the US intervention that the Allies might still have won, but it would have taken much longer and at a far greater cost to both human life and potential recovery.

We might both be right, to various extents, but that is part of my understanding of events.

Re:This is typical political correctness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17532818)

Without the Pacific influence of the United States keeping the Japanese occupied, the USSR would have been incapable of reallocating forces from the one front to the other.

Except for the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact [wikipedia.org]

If Germany had stayed allied with the Soviets and if the USA had been willing enter an alliance with Japan then there's a chance the Axis could have taken over the world. On the other hand, when you look a globe map of the world it becomes clear that Japan and Germany were not, all by themselves, going to be able to take over the world - not when they were up against countries the size of the USSR, China and the USA.

Re:This is typical political correctness (1)

Khanstant (1049112) | more than 7 years ago | (#17534016)

As you admit yourself, it can not be "morally right" because morals are subjective. If majority morals are the accepted moral standards, than any killing is immoral. Thus making all war, regardless of cause, when down to it immoral. "We" largely view WWII and it's outcomes as moral because "we" were the winners. Had the Nazis won, life would be different, maybe even better, but I'm willing to wager the war would still be morally right for those winners too.

Re:This is typical political correctness (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17528246)

Yes, a morally wrong action may be the correct action to take if you're forced to do it to prevent something morally worse.

You know, it probably would have saved us a lot of time if you had just said upfront you were playing word games. "War is always wrong, and the US should have gone to war, but that doesn't mean they should have, but sometimes you should do something that you shouldn't, or else you'll be acting immorally."

*falls out of chair*

Re:This is typical political correctness (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17528674)

I think there are two reasonable definitions of morally wrong: One is "any action other than the best moral action for some moral system", the other is specific to the moral system, but I'll take utilitarianism as an easy example: "Any action that has a negative net value to society is morally wrong."

I can accept that war is always morally wrong by the latter standard, and it's not an unreasonably definition. Clearly, war can rise to the former standard, although it is more complicated than most people really appreciate, due to the interaction of time and value depreciation.

(It is true that you should basically be "forced" into war, but it is not automatically true that you have to wait until the last possible moment; even without history showing that delay can make the problem very much worse, it's easy to see that you shouldn't wait to start your war preparations until the first bomber wave actually starts dropping bombs, when you had a week to see your enemy's carrier groups heading at you with full steam, for example. The question of when to start is a complicated one; "the last reasonable moment" is a tricky concept, and gets trickier the more damage your enemy can do to you in a short period of time.)

Re:This is typical political correctness (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17529036)

I can accept that war is always morally wrong by the latter standard, and it's not an unreasonably definition.

Actually, it is an unreasonable definition, because it basically says (for some circumstances), "everything you do is morally wrong." What was the GP's alternative? Well, none. He claimed the US *should* have gone to war. So, er, what was the purpose of deciding if it's morally wrong, again?

Re:This is typical political correctness (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531166)

So, do you disagree that hypothetically you can be forced into a situation in which all of your possible choices are morally wrong?

When you go to war, you condemn to injury and death huge numbers of entirely innocent people (civilians as well as servicemen); how is that not morally wrong? Yet in the case of WW2, as noted, not going to war also indirectly condemned huge numbers of innocent people to death and suffering; also, surely, morally wrong. Yet they are essentially your only two choices - fight or don't.

So, er, what was the purpose of deciding if it's morally wrong, again?

To explain why, in his opinion, people should no more be making games about WW2 than they should be making them about Columbine. Because if the act itself is morally wrong, then glorifying it must also be.

Re:This is typical political correctness (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17535764)

So, do you disagree that hypothetically you can be forced into a situation in which all of your possible choices are morally wrong?

Yep, that's called a dilemma.

Re:This is typical political correctness (2, Insightful)

Jerf (17166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531500)

Actually, it is an unreasonable definition, because it basically says (for some circumstances), "everything you do is morally wrong."
Yup, that's where the definition leads. Definitions do things like that.

Remember, definitions don't actually have any power. As long as they are reasonably consistent and everybody agrees with them, you can communicate with them. You can still discuss what is least wrong with such a definition.

Re:This is typical political correctness (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532054)

Why can't there be situations where every option is morally wrong? Lesser of two evils?

Conversly, this would be saying that for conflicts, one side is morally right, while one side is morally wrong. Which sounds nice in a storybook but frankly, in war, both sides are pretty nasty.

Re:This is typical political correctness (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#17528686)

Thank you for the translation. For some reason all I got out of the parent post was "I'm 12 years old" over and over again.

Re:This is typical political correctness (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527860)

War is morally wrong, period. That doesn't mean we shouldn't have gone to war against the Nazis

That's precisely what you just said. The meaning of "morally wrong" here must use the following definition of moral: "Conforming to standards of what is right or just in behavior; virtuous: a moral life." Note the conforming to standards bit. There is no universal morality. There is only what has been defined by society.

Of course, I disagree with you. War is not necessarily morally wrong - if you're the defending side. Not going to war when someone attacks you, and letting your population be destroyed - now that is morally wrong, by the strictest definition of the word.

what I'm trying to point out is that exploiting the human misery that WW2 in a game 60 years later is no more acceptable that exploiting a bunch of kids getting machine-gunned in a school recently.

And what many of the rest of us are trying to point out is that outlawing such games - the natual consequence of people believing that it is wrong, since government (theoretically) does the will of the people - is just one step down the slippery slope leading to the complete loss of our rights. Depending on who you talk to, either the first or second amendment is the most important; regardless, pretty much everyone puts it in the top two. Either you believe in freedom of expression or you do not; there is no middle ground.

Re:This is typical political correctness (4, Insightful)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527234)

And what of "America's Army" - an army recruitment game with no restrictions on who may play? The purpose of America's Army is to guide the player through basic training, siphon him into a regiment and specialty, give him a weapon and ship him out to hot zones. The game is as realistic as possible to best portray army tactics and day-to-day life. For all the games critics like Jack Thompson have dubbed "murder simulators", isn't America's Army the most literal definition? Where's the outrage from American taxpayers who fund continued development and distribution of this "game"?

Re:This is typical political correctness (4, Funny)

deinol (210478) | more than 7 years ago | (#17528432)

dubbed "murder simulators", isn't America's Army the most literal definition?

Killing cops is bad, killing terrorists and nazi's is good! Don't you get it?

Why do you hate America?

Re:This is typical political correctness (1)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 7 years ago | (#17529006)

Where's the outrage from American taxpayers who fund continued development and distribution of this "game"?

Well as an American taxpayer I have to say I thought the game kicked ass. Glad to see my money go towards benefiting me directly for once.

Re:This is typical political correctness (1)

andphi (899406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17533950)

The game is as realistic as possible to best portray army tactics and day-to-day life

Not exactly. The game doesn't seem to penalize Spray and pray tactics. Also, there's no paperwork, no OERs or AARs, no PT, no mess halls, no tedium, etc. etc. etc.

Re:This is typical political correctness (1)

Mondoz (672060) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527278)

Blame Hollywood. It all started with them. They made war movies glorifying the violence in the wars. Video games just put the control in the hands of the viewer.

WWII was also a horrific event. Do you think that movies based upon it, such as Saving Private Ryan are shameless exploitations of the event? Should they all have been pulled? Should all the war games ever made be pulled? All games in which any person harms another person?

If this 'game' (It's more of a documentary) were non-interactive, this would be a non event. However, you put the viewer in control, call it a 'game', and it's the worst thing since Hitler.

Re:This is typical political correctness (2, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527600)

WWII was also a horrific event. Do you think that movies based upon it, such as Saving Private Ryan are shameless exploitations of the event? Should they all have been pulled? Should all the war games ever made be pulled? All games in which any person harms another person?

No. I think all these games and movies have a right to exist, including the Columbine game, or even an Al Quaeda simulator if there was such a game. They have the right to exist because if they don't, then at some point or another, some other form of speech will be curtailed, and this isn't acceptable. The whole point of free speech is to accept all speech, including the horrific and shameful ones, for the sake of the others.

WhatI'm upset about is the people getting angry of the exploitation of an event involving several kids shot up, but completely failing to even take notice of the exploitation of an event involving tens of millions of horrific deaths because the exploitation glorifies the side their countries was on. Just try to make a game where you incarnate a German SS going on a shooting spree, and you'll quickly draw the ire of the entire nation. But when you propose gamers to incarnate a G.I. going on a shooting spree, then it becomes alright.

That's the dual morality system that people have that makes me angry, and the media and entertainment industries that perpetuate this dual morality.

Re:This is typical political correctness (1)

Mondoz (672060) | more than 7 years ago | (#17528494)

"Just try to make a game where you incarnate a German SS going on a shooting spree, and you'll quickly draw the ire of the entire nation."

I think I did this in Castle Wolfenstein.

Quite a few games have put the player in the role of a German in various WWII conflicts.

Re:This is typical political correctness (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527748)

Homer worked in Hollywood?

KFG

Re:This is typical political correctness (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536124)

Oooh, Simpsons references!

Re:This is typical political correctness (2, Funny)

shawnap (959909) | more than 7 years ago | (#17534276)

If you are saying that glorifying war started with Hollywood, I think I spot an Achilles heel in your argument.

Re:This is typical political correctness (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17527612)

My grandfather died in WW2, I never knew him.

I've had a few relatives myself die in wars (I actually knew and loved them), but I never have gone on a self pitying rant. Get a grip.

Re:This is typical political correctness (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527758)

Of course, any game based on something as horrific as the Columbine shooting is at best bad taste, at worst shameless exploitation of the event to get in the press, and people should rightfully be angry, and the game should be pulled out.

I'm not sure what you're saying here. I rather suspect that you aren't either. Your sentence implies that the creation of the game is exploitation of the event. The game was developed in advance of the event and the creators of the event specifically sought its inclusion.

But for some reason I fail to understand, there are dozens of games glorifying WW2 combats, or simulating the Iraq war. Millions have died during WW2, and hundred of thousands died in Iraq and continue to do so. Yet nobody finds reasons to be upset when you incarnate a G.I. killing German soldiers in a game. It's all perfectly normal to them.

Logical fallacy: This is a specious argument. In fact many people find reasons to be upset by WW2 games, regardless of who the hero is.

My grandfather died in WW2, I never knew him. He was fighting for the "good guys" (the allies), but that didn't prevent my dad from crying often when he thought about him. War simulation games make me just as angry as this stupid Columbine RPG, and people who get their pants in a knot over the Columbine game then go play the virtual soldier ten minutes later make me sick, because they're biased, politically correct idiots with short memories...

Well, it's probably good that your family has a sensitive side to it, but I'm not sure that actually says anything about the morality of creating games. In particular Super Columbine Massacre RPG was not created to glorify the actions of the shooters, no matter what you might think - in fact any reasonable examination of the statements of the game's creator, which have been remarkably consistent, would prove otherwise.

Unfortunately, many people are either unwilling or unable to look at the issue dispassionately. While we all know that a decision made on the basis of emotion is illogical and more likely than not to be the wrong decision, many of us are just unable to work based on logic. To you, clearly anything based on a horrific event glorifies it. While that term is directly applicable to many WWII games and the like, it clearly does not apply to SCM RPG.

The simple fact is that the game was made in order to make a statement and point out some things about violence in gaming, and the general hypocrisy in the industry. As you point out, a game about killing some delusional Germans who were tricked into a genocidal fervor (most of them were unaware that a genocidal campaign against the Jewish people was even progressing, mind you) is acceptable in the USA, but a game where some bullied, abused teenagers snap and decide to kill fellow students who were a part of their oppression is unacceptable. Arguably, neither one should be acceptable, but if you believe that, you are part of the problem as regards protecting the first amendment and our freedom of expression, and I would appreciate it if you would move someplace whose constitution doesn't supposedly guarantee such rights. If you don't believe in them, I'd like you to go away, so that only people who DO believe in them live in this country, and we have some chance to take them back. People like you who do not believe in protecting rights until they impact you are the biggest part of the reason why we're losing our rights, one after another.

Re:This is typical political correctness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17528396)

Of course, any game based on something as horrific as the Columbine shooting is at best bad taste, at worst shameless exploitation of the event to get in the press, and people should rightfully be angry, and the game should be pulled out.

I'm not sure what you're saying here. I rather suspect that you aren't either. Your sentence implies that the creation of the game is exploitation of the event. The game was developed in advance of the event and the creators of the event specifically sought its inclusion.

I imagine that by "the event" he meant the actual real life killings, not the game award thing. I can't imagine anyone caring whether a game competition is "exploited".

Re:This is typical political correctness (2, Insightful)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527774)

I can understand where you're coming from, but I have to agree on several points.

Making any form of art depicting or relating to a horrific event should in no way instantly disqualify it from competition, recognition, or thoughtful contemplation.

For example, Guernica. Picasso painted a well-regarded masterpiece artfully depicting the utter horror and waste that was the bombing of a peaceful, remote town. We could potentially throw this work of art away because of its "exploitation" of a tragedy, or examine it and find that it is in fact itself an outcry at and reminder of the terrible event.

Similarly we can examine the movie "Tora! Tora! Tora!" which depicted the events leading up to Pearl Harbor, as well as the attack itself. It is an important film, reknowned both for the famous Japanese and American actors who gave their talents to it and for the even handed view of both sides. Despite the subject matter being potentially sensitive it should not be ignored or deemed an "exploit" of the events.

I am not arguing that the Columbine RPG is art, but that is the point of the festival. People attempting to create artful titles in plot, story, execution etc. compete. It is arguable that any finalists should be considered art, as they would not be finalists otherwise.

Thus, the great issue here is partially the "bad taste" in which the game was made, but also that those in charge of the event accepted its entry, courted it so that it would be entered, and admitted it as a finalist.

I think that, at best, the Columbine RPG could actually be an insightful and thoughtful examination of the outlook and desperation of the killer's lives, or even a humorous (if black) satire. While dealing with sensitive material requires careful execution, I do not believe that this somehow disqualifies the title as potentially being art.

If you have actually played the game and have come to your conclusion that the game is not art or worthy of consideration, then you have formed your opinion from experience and are to be commended. However, if you have written off the game before attempting to understand it, I highly recommend you take a step back and evaluate the game objectively before passing sentence.

It is disheartening that many people do not pause and consider the real world implications of what happens in their video games, but the ignorance they display is not a necessarily flaw in the games but also or exclusively themselves.

Re:This is typical political correctness (2, Interesting)

a.d.trick (894813) | more than 7 years ago | (#17528508)

But for some reason I fail to understand, there are dozens of games glorifying WW2 combats, or simulating the Iraq war. Millions have died during WW2, and hundred of thousands died in Iraq and continue to do so. Yet nobody finds reasons to be upset when you incarnate a G.I. killing German soldiers in a game. It's all perfectly normal to them.

The primary reason I hate (real) war as much as I do is from my experience in video games about war

I do not think that all war games are good and health, but as a whole I think that the games out there about our wars are a Good Thing. Westerners these are losing site of what war is like. We haven't been involved in a serious war since WW2 which happened before most of us were born. The Korean Conflict, Vietnam War, and those little excursions in the Middle East have all been fairly low-key. While the media has done a lot to demonstrate the ugliness in war, it hasn't been enough. We still wear our poppies every November, but we've forgotten Hemingway's words:

They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one's country. But in modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason

We don't see our friends come home with missing arms or legs. We don't have to be careful when walking in 'that' field because it might still have land mines. Anyone whose suffered from Agent Orange poisoning is either dead or too senile to say anything. We're completely guarded from the horrors of war, and as bad as it sounds, our movies and games are about the closest thing we get to understanding war (hardly anyone reads these days). What we need is not less war games, but ones that show our kids what war is like: where good people die, where you lose 4 buddies (forever) because the American fighter jet thought your training operation was enemy fire, where civilians are fire-bombed because some guy whose been awake for 3 days straight makes a small mistake.

The more I think about it, the more it seems like it was just about 100 years ago, before the 'war to end all wars'. A handful of optimistic, large powers interested in spreading their domination and a population that doesn't understand war.

Re:This is typical political correctness (1)

TempeTerra (83076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17534370)

From the excellent Non-violence: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Kurlansky (author of Cod, Salt, The Basque History of the World):

Wars do not have to be sold to the general public if they can be carried out by and all-volunteer professional military

I thoroughly recommend the book. It's short, but packed with information. It's also very much a history of non-violence rather than a preachy promotion of it.

Re:This is typical political correctness (2, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17528606)

But for some reason I fail to understand, there are dozens of games glorifying WW2 combats, or simulating the Iraq war. Millions have died during WW2, and hundred of thousands died in Iraq and continue to do so. Yet nobody finds reasons to be upset when you incarnate a G.I. killing German soldiers in a game.

Because, gloryfying WW2 in films and TV established the precedent. Collectively, WW2 has become part of both American and world psyche and mythology. GI Joe is a recognizeable concept (and I don't mean the doll) throughout the world. The sheer number of movies and TV which have depicted the gung-ho/ragtag/sacrificing group of GIs as being the hero is huge. That and the cowboy movie almost define the collective American self image. (OK, it's obviously more complicated than that.)

Games in which you play a WW2 soldier (or, I guess an American soldier in Iraq) allow you to delve into that mythology and be a participant to it. It's considered acceptable. Hell, how many movies about Vietnam etc came out in the 80's? For a while in the early-mid 80's, it was Vietnam mania from what I recall.

Now, I have no idea how Germans feel about games in which they get to be perenially cast as the bad guys. I know that both contemporary German and Japanese societies have tried very hard to distance themselves from past events, while collectively admitting to it and expressing remorse. But, I suspect they don't always like being in the crosshairs of games they play. And I doubt, for example, Germany would be open to a game in which you played the Nazis, and played to win.

However, I also won't dispute even a little bit that the Columbine game is a shameless exploitation. Still, we unfortunately have to live with people saying controversial things if we want to preserve such things as free speech. You're allowed to be shameless and tacky, as well as noble and good.

Cheers

Re:This is typical political correctness (4, Funny)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17530182)

Of course, any game based on something as horrific as the Columbine shooting is at best bad taste, at worst shameless exploitation of the event to get in the press, and people should rightfully be angry, and the game should be pulled out.

But for some reason I fail to understand, there are dozens of games glorifying PacMan, or simulating large scale eating of dots. Millions have died from binge eating, and hundred of thousands died from obesity and continue to do so. Yet nobody finds reasons to be upset when you incarnate a mindless yellow eating machine in a game. It's all perfectly normal to them.

My grandfather died from eating thousands of marshmallows; I never knew him. He was fighting for the "good guys" (fluffy-puff marshmallows), but that didn't prevent my dad from crying often when he thought about him. Eating simulation games make me just as angry as this stupid Columbine RPG, and people who get their pants in a knot over the Columbine game then go play the virtual bulimic ten minutes later make me sick, because they're biased, politically correct idiots with short memories...

Re:This is typical political correctness (1)

harryk (17509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17530902)

I think that none of the WW2 'sims' show any type of scene that is war specific. I mean to say that the last handful of times I've played any war game, I never saw a scene that showed images from a concentration camp, just war.

Which is to say that kids play cops and robbers but never think about the row of innocent people that they just plowed through, or when you play cowboys and indians, you never think about your brother's scalp that was removed by the indian you're tracking down.

What I mean to say is that generally speaking, 'war' games don't reflect actual events. Sure, periods of times, certain battles, but nothing so specifically graphic that you could recognize John or Bob from the 2nd infantry.

Personally I don't think anything can be made in bad taste any more... bad judgement .. maybe.

Additionally, the author of said game should be allowed to enter into any such contest or any other 'event' publishing and advertising his works. I would encourage them to. As for sponsors... well since it's there event, you pretty much have to cave to what they want to see.

just my rambling...

harryk

Re:This is typical political correctness (2, Insightful)

Psychochild (64124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17533186)

Of course, any game based on something as horrific as the Columbine shooting is at best bad taste, at worst shameless exploitation of the event to get in the press, and people should rightfully be angry, and the game should be pulled out.

Amen! And, while we're throwing things on the bonfire, let's not stop with just one silly game!

I think we should abhor Goya's Tres De Mayo [wikipedia.org] . It's simply exploitative of Napoleon's attacks in Spain. This painting is simply blood and gun porn obviously intended to appeal to a young boy's interest in violence!

And, let's not forget Picasso's Guernica [wikipedia.org] . Another sicko exploiting the tragedy of WW2 for selfish gain, Picasso should have been ashamed of himself for painting this. And look at that thing! Those graphics suck so bad, it obviously has no redeeming social value. Even the U.S. government agrees with this stance! [slate.com]

And talking about things harmful to the children, I think we need to make sure to purge all copies of Lord of the Flies. That book is a childhood fantasy of violence for violence's sake. Killing pigs and making sacrifices to the Lord of the Flies (yet another name for Satan, mind you!) This book is distasteful, and the fact that I was a pudgy, glasses-wearing kid in school has nothing to do with my opinion. This book simply has no redeeming characteristics that could help us today.

And, let's not forget exploitative films like Saving Private Ryan. That opening scene is simply to violent, and it's disrespectful to show people being killed so gruesomely like that. It could do real harm, because it might make people watching the movie squeamish about fulfilling their duty to their country by signing up for the armed forces! Further, this move obviously exploits WW2 as a crass commercial exploitation of a national tragedy.

So, welcome fellow book burner^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hmoral guardian! Let us purge all those undesirable, exploitative works out from our society! We will truly be free once there is nothing left to remind us of the horrible events in the past.

Re:This is typical political correctness (1)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 7 years ago | (#17533610)

the game should be pulled out.

Thanks for your opinion. You're wrong to say that the game "should" be pulled when it's already been deemed a finalist. Next time, come back at me with some facts backing up your zealotry.

Re:This is typical political correctness (1)

Meatloaf Surprise (1017210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536472)

My grandfather died in WW2, I never knew him. He was fighting for the "good guys" (the allies), but that didn't prevent my dad from crying often when he thought about him. War simulation games make me just as angry as this stupid Columbine RPG, and people who get their pants in a knot over the Columbine game then go play the virtual soldier ten minutes later make me sick, because they're biased, politically correct idiots with short memories...

The difference, of course, is that the war games aren't as personal as the Columbine game. When I play a WW2 game, I'm not shooting at your grandfather. There isn't a guy in the game with your grandfather's name above, the designers didn't create a skin resembling your grandfather, and the goal isn't to kill your grandfather.

Who didn't see something like this happening? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17527074)

I mean you would have to be blind not to.

Ignorance is not safety (1)

Stormx2 (1003260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527816)

The problem I have with JT... well firstly he can't engage in any kind of discussion or be at all diplomatic... but in a broader sense its the belief that keeping the public in the dark with as many issues people may make judgements on is the "safest" thing to do. Personally I think a lot of things "promoting" badness are just showing it, and letting the user decide whether its sensible, or far fetched, or whatever.

And I think thats totally wrong. Although I view the Colombine killers as assholes, putting them in a game isn't going to swap peoples minds if they know all the facts. If the media didn't preach bullshit maybe people would see reality as it is, and there wouldn't be as many cop killings, like JT says their are.

Dominoes Pizza? (0, Offtopic)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17528030)

What would Dominoes Pizza have against Brokeback Mountain? Is this like on the Simpsons? "We don't know if non-standard families eat our pizza, and quite frankly, we don't want to know."

Re:Dominoes Pizza? (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 7 years ago | (#17528208)

Re:Dominoes Pizza? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17535522)

A college town + no condoms...

Yeah, THIS will end well... stupid bastards...

Re:Dominoes Pizza? (1)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17530696)

By non-standard do you mean something like Brian Mitchell + Wanda Barzee + Elizabeth Smart?

This is not censorship. (0)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 7 years ago | (#17528134)

Imagine Dominoes Pizza deciding it objected to the theme of Brokeback Mountain and told the Academy Awards to remove it.


That's a poor analogy. It would be like Domino's pizza objecting to a movie that glorified the two kids who went on a rampage at that school. And I would fully expect that such a movie would be pulled from such a competition.

People like to throw around the term censorship, but it's really only censorship if the government is involved. A private entity has every right to screen whatever they want. Why is it improper for them to have decided they don't want that RPG included in their competition. It isn't, just like the creator of Flow had every right to protest by pulling out of the competition.

I tend to be fairly open-minded, but I can't help but get the distinct impression that the creator of that Columbine RPG created that game for the sole purpose of being controversial. He want to get a rise out of people and hopefully get their 15 minutes of fame by being offensive. He seems to try to make the game seem more profound than it actually turns out to be. He could have explored the motivations of those two kids in a more thought provoking manner. He could have been just as shocking but far less offensive. However, people go for shock value because it's easy. I frankly think it's an amateurish way of getting attention.

We don't just get to partake in free speech and that's the end of it. We're supposed to be responsible for what we do. But it seems most people have chosen to forget that part of the equation. Ultimately, at what point do you draw the line? What if I decide to make a game where the player is a rapist? The player earns experience by going around raping women and children. Or worse, how about a game where the player works at a Nazi concentration camp massacring innocents?

Regardless of whatever profound statement claim I'm trying to make should should that sort of crap be permissible? At what point do we decide a line has been crossed or do we just say that anything is fair game?

Like I said before, I'm fairly open-minded. I think the reaction to that hot-coffee mod was absolutely ridiculous, for example. And these political campaigns to stop offensive games are absurd. There's no substitute for proper parenting, although that's something sorely lacking in this day and age. Nevertheless, I do think there's a limit; there's a point when someone has really gone too far.

How the matter is addressed at that point quickly becomes a tough question for many people. But one thing that I don't think should even be an issue is Slamdance's right to ban any game they find offensive. Whether they came to the decision themselves or advertisers requested this of them is irrelevant. You have the right to control what is watched in your own home, why shouldn't these companies have the right to do the same?

Re:This is not censorship. (4, Informative)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17528314)

Why is it improper for them to have decided they don't want that RPG included in their competition.

Because, as already noted, they invited it and then declared it among the elite of the entrants before throwing it out?

KFG

Re:This is not censorship. (4, Informative)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 7 years ago | (#17529056)

People like to throw around the term censorship, but it's really only censorship if the government is involved.
censor:
"to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable"
http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary [m-w.com]

censoring:
"1 a : the institution, system, or practice of censoring"
http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Diction ary&va=censorship [m-w.com]

Censorship can refer to goverment censorship, but doesn't have to. Anyone who has any power (including companies, contest judges, etc.) can censor.

As Carlin says "Try to pay attention to the language we've all agreed on."

Re:This is not censorship. (2, Insightful)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17530780)

It would be like Domino's pizza objecting to a movie that glorified the two kids who went on a rampage at that school.

Have you played the Columbine RPG? I have, and it doesn't glorify them at all. If anything it's an attempt to help you to understand them, but it doesn't really succeed at that, except perhaps by asserting that to the two shooters, the massacre held the same unreality as a video game does to us.

What if I decide to make a game where the player is a rapist? The player earns experience by going around raping women and children. Or worse, how about a game where the player works at a Nazi concentration camp massacring innocents?

It probably wouldn't be that enjoyable to most of us, but rape and genocide have been addressed in literature and film--I don't see why video games wouldn't be an appropriate medium. The game Defcon [everybody-dies.com] simulates mass murder by nuclear exchange, and from what I've gathered from those who play it, it communicates the chilling and almost unreal nature of nuclear war as effectively as any other artistic expression of that topic. I could easily imagine a Holocaust simulator where the player manages a slave labor camp to optimize efficiency, balancing extermination demand with production quotas and food costs. It wouldn't be that fun, but it would illustrate the banality of evil and help us to gain some understanding of the people who did such things in life. You are right in one thing--such a game would completely abandon entertainment in favor of artistic expression--but it would be a worthwhile exercise.

Re:This is not censorship. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17530790)

It's not government censorship, but it's certainly censorship. People have the legal right to censor themselves and their own publications, but likewise, those censored from other private publications have the right to speak out in other venues.

You seem not to understand the difference between something being "bad" and something being "illegal." It's bad to walk around insulting random people's hairstyles; it is not illegal to do so. It's bad for the conference organizers to eliminate a game based on political/corporate pressure; it is not illegal for them to do so, and nobody is claiming that it's illegal.

Nobody is calling for the conference organizers to be jailed or fined -- people are just complaining, as they have the right to do, and withdrawing their personal support, as they have the right to do as well.

"Regardless of whatever profound statement claim I'm trying to make should should that sort of crap be permissible?"

Ah, so here we see the actual kernel of your opinion. You are arguing in favor of mandated censorship.

Re:This is not censorship. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17534168)

it's really only censorship if the government is involved.

Funny, the dictionary makes no mention of government as a necessity for what constitutes 'censorship'. Which English dialect did you grow up with?

Re:This is not censorship. (2, Informative)

Saint_Waldo (541712) | more than 7 years ago | (#17534588)

That's a poor analogy. It would be like Domino's pizza objecting to a movie that glorified the two kids who went on a rampage at that school. And I would fully expect that such a movie would be pulled from such a competition. You are obviously ignoring the Elephant in the room and the awards it recieved. http://imdb.com/title/tt0363589/ [imdb.com] http://imdb.com/title/tt0363589/awards [imdb.com] This may suprise you, but valid artistic works that deal with tragedies and otherwise distasteful events get made all the time, and are often good enough to get awards.

It's bound to surface eventually (1)

Vacardo (1048640) | more than 7 years ago | (#17528180)

Give it 20 more years and the general public will feel just a bit more detached to accept this game, or something to its liking, anyway.

Re:It's bound to surface eventually (1)

gregtron (1009171) | more than 7 years ago | (#17528680)

We already do accept games with far worse content. As stated above, it would be hard to argue that the Columbine events were more traumatic than any war depicted in much less controversial shooters.

Maybe something to look forward to in ten years is a society that doesn't worry about school shootings or world wars anymore. /cross fingers

Re:It's bound to surface eventually (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17529076)

Give it 20 more years and the general public will feel just a bit more detached to accept this game, or something to its liking, anyway.

shooting unarmed kids in a school. "god mode" in gaming terms. you could like the shooter of the Amish girls introduce rape and torture into the game. until the sniper from the SWAT team puts a bullet through your head.

thanks, but no thanks.

Re:It's bound to surface eventually (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17530664)

Don't tell me what I can and cannot put in my game.

How about an ultra-violent, gory game about a psycho gun nut who tries to assassinate a politician while having a relationship with a 12 year old hooker? That's pretty disgusting and wrong.

But a movie about it...now that's completely different. Taxi Driver is widely credited with having launched Robert DeNiro and Jody Foster's careers. It was nominated for 4 Academy awards, and, while it didn't win any, at least the Academy didn't disqualify it for fear of the sponsors.

Likewise, perhaps a game could bring a new way of looking at the Amish shootings tragedy. We'll never know if even suggesting one, let alone actually spending time and money on it, is blasted by the public as somehow twisted and wrong.

Re:It's bound to surface eventually (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17533408)

But a movie about it...now that's completely different.

It is different. You are an observer, not a participant in the action. You cannot change anything.

The essence of a role-playing game is choice. That can be very revealing but it is not without danger. You might want to read Gene Wolfe's "When I Was Ming The Merciless."

In the Columbine game, your only choice is to choose the next to die. The only measure of achievement the body count.

Here's my two cents... (2, Insightful)

Captain Sarcastic (109765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17528666)

First off, I'm not angry or upset about Columbine Massacre. If I find something to be tasteless / offensive / not my cup of "Hot Coffee" <grin>, then I just don't buy it. Seems simple enough to me, so I'm not interested in "how can you judge it without playing it" arguments.

However, I see the organizers of Slamdance as trying to have their cake and eat it, too. They courted the makers of the Columbine RPG primarily for shock value... and the publicity. Then they found out that some of their sponsors objected, and planned to do their objecting with their sponsorship of Slamdance, and decided to remove the game from the competition, meanwhile loudly blaming "outside pressures" for "muzzling" games.

And that is what bugs me about Slamdance. If they were willing to seem edgy with their inclusion of Columbine Massacre, then they could have accepted the consequences of their sponsorships getting yanked. But they didn't, so they shouldn't.

Re:Here's my two cents... (3, Informative)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17529316)

The name of the damn contest is "The Slamdance Guerilla Gamemaker Competition." That would be "guerilla" as in "a member of a band of irregular soldiers that uses guerrilla warfare, harassing the enemy by surprise raids, sabotaging communication and supply lines, etc." [reference.com]

Re:Here's my two cents... (1)

Captain Sarcastic (109765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17529630)

I offer no argument about the name. I offer no argument about the content. The games themselves are "on the edge" - taking risks, going in areas other gaming companies don't go, and so forth. Good for them... and good for computer gaming in general, because if nobody went past the edge, we'd still be choosing between "Space Invaders" versus "Pac Man".

I just think that "The Slamdance Guerilla Gamemaker Competition" is going to be seen as hypocritical with their treatment of "Super Columbine Massacre RPG!", and will take a hit to its credibility.

Re:Here's my two cents... (0)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17530286)

They are such hypocrits. They pretend to be guerillas, but act like gorillas.

It doesn't stop at 2... (2, Informative)

loraksus (171574) | more than 7 years ago | (#17528802)

Everyday Shooter [everydayshooter.com] , Toblo [csnation.net] and Once Upon a Time [wakinggames.com] have also pulled out.

This leaves the number of finalists at 8. leaving only ~60% of the original...

Wrong Market (1)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 7 years ago | (#17528856)


  violence depictions based on real-world events need a certain buffer to be forgiven. war/battle sims, movies and lots of other artistic content constantly invade/avoid such a buffer. 9/11 was "off-limits" until the softest, most congratulatory touches began - or hack comments about ethnicities, etc.

The buffer is time, or social distance, or satire versus sympathy (Borat movie comes to mind), etc.

  These days, you can re-enact or view depictions the scenes from some major historical moments - many quite violent and offensive if there hadn't been that buffer.

Re:Wrong Market (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17530064)

violence depictions based on real-world events need a certain buffer

That is why Rod Serling knew The Twilight Zone would give him freedom of speech he would not be permitted when working in any other genre.

In the stealth shooter you can explore the necessity and moral ambiguity of the sniper's role in combat.

The action in Columbine comes down to the casual murder of defenseless kids. There is no way you can spin that into an RPG that is going to look anything other than vicious and exploitive.

MORE pullouts! Slamdance may collapse entirely! (4, Informative)

Alsee (515537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17529116)

Slamdance originally announced 14 finalists. [slamdance.com] They are currently down to 8 participating finalists. [slamdance.com]

Super Columbine was ejected.
Braid [ironrealms.com] has pulled out.
Flow [thatgamecompany.com] has pulled out.
Toblo [csnation.net] has pulled out.
Once Upon A Time [wakinggames.com] has pulled out.
Everyday Shooter [everydayshooter.com] has pulled out.

With nearly half of the finalists already gone, just a few more pullouts could cause a complete collapse of Slamdance this year.

-

Re:MORE pullouts! Slamdance may collapse entirely! (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17529204)

I for one am going to send all these developers nice thank-you emails for doing the right thing. Also I'm going to check out their games.

I'm (1)

Omeger (939765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531256)

STill waiting for the 9/11 RPG.

Re:I'm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17532314)

YES! I want to fly planes into buildings dammit!

Does anyone else find this ironic? (2, Interesting)

Dysson (457249) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531362)

The maker of Cultivation has this tagline on the of bottom of his page, but has yet to pull out of the competition:

For those who do not fear sacrifice:
your souls will burn bright trails in the night sky.

Just a note to all critics commenting.... (3, Interesting)

Premo_Maggot (864012) | more than 7 years ago | (#17533754)

I can totally tell that none of you have played this game and you're totally bashing on it. You're doing exactly what the media does with games like Grand Theft Auto, etc. This game glorifies nothing about Columbine, but gives insight into what happened that day. Also, the game costs nothing, you can go ahead an download it for free. http://www.columbinegame.com/download.htm [columbinegame.com] Just my 2 cents, stop hating without being educated about what you're criticizing.
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