Columbine game creator lacks common decency

Donny Sobnosky

If you have never heard of Slamdance, it’s a film festival in New York that showcases independent movies. In recent years, it has also started showcasing independently made video games.

Slamdance is somewhat known for featuring movies that tend to be too racy for mainstream film festivals. Never in the history of the festival has a film been pulled due to controversy. So what would it take to be the first video game in the festival to be pulled?

How about making a game called “Super Columbine Massacre RPG!”

In this game, the player assumes the roles of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold on the morning of April 20, 1999. The game’s main characters are known for shooting up their Littleton, Colo. high school. The game follows the real time progression of the tragic event, including the boys’ own suicides.

The fact that the point of the game is to run around the school and shoot your classmates and teachers to recreate a real-life tragedy is disturbing. Equally disturbing is that the game uses exact texts from Harris’ and Klebold’s diaries and self-made video tapes right before the killings to ‘motivate’ the player into progressing further in the game – and by progressing further I mean killing more students.

Screen caps from the game look like they came from the Super Nintendo system, but the RPG is available for download as a PC game. The graphics are simple, but there’s no mistaking that what the player sees is a bathroom with dead, bloodied students lying next to the sink.

For lack of a better definition – that’s screwed-up.

We have “Super Columbine Massacre RPG!” creator Danny Ledonne to thank for this slap in America’s – and especially Littleton’s – face.

I’m not saying there should be a law to prevent this game from being made, just that people like Danny Ledonne should have the common decency to not do it. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Apparently the point of the game is to “make people confront Harris and Klebold’s actions in a more personal manner” Ledonne says.

Well I don’t really think reducing an event such as the Columbine shootings to a video game adventure is in the best taste.

When I’m playing “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City” I may participate in drive-by shootings, steal cars and beat up prostitutes to steal their money, but those events in fictional Vice City didn’t really happen. Those video games aren’t based on something that was on CNN for a week straight.

I am a big supporter of the video game industry and a firm believer that violent video games do not create homicidal rages. I’ve been playing violent video games for more than 10 years and I have no plans to shoot anyone. If anything, violent video games are healthy. They let you vent and work off aggression in a realistically non-violent way that doesn’t harm anyone.

I love video games, but this is too much.

Donny Sobnosky is a video and film programming major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].