Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Censorship Entertainment Games

Columbine Game Kicked From Slamdance Festival 209

Posted by Zonk
from the pressure-brought-to-bear dept.
Imaria writes "A Kotaku post has the news that Super Columbine Massacre RPG! has been kicked out of the Slamdance Gamemaker Festival. After reaching the finals, the organizers were forced to remove the game from the running to appease mounting external pressure. According to the post, this is the first time in the Slamdance Festival's 13 year history that they have removed either a game or film due to criticism. From the article: '[Game creator] Ledonne said that he bears no ill will toward the festival, but that the decision to pull the game does raise concerns about freedom of speech and video game development. "I don't want to paint them as the villain in this," he said. "I don't think the real issue is a couple of guys at Slamdance who decided to reject my game, it's the larger pressures placed on them."'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Columbine Game Kicked From Slamdance Festival

Comments Filter:
  • Fools. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Irish_Samurai (224931) on Friday January 05, 2007 @09:28AM (#17472826)
    If they didn't want to deal with this sort of thing they should have never accepted the entry. But letting it get to the finals and then kicking it out?

    Cowards. I am losing respect for almost every aspect of today's society and its dogma propped institutions. If it negatively affects our commercial viability, our image, we must condemn it. Never mind what the game is actually trying to do, move the medium forward by using it as a means to address complex social issues - not just shoot space baddies.
  • I say "good" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bilbravo (763359) on Friday January 05, 2007 @09:32AM (#17472908) Homepage
    The article didn't give much of an overview of the game (as stated that they did not get a chance to get the storyline), but I'd say "good" from what I speculate the game is about. I'd imagine it's about being the killers, and that is just sick. Everyone hates that video games are "the cause of violence", per certain lawmakers--but this type of game just fuels that fire.

    In a very sensitive area of school-related violence, Columbine is one of the biggest--and also happens to have a violent video game associated with it--DOOM.

    I'm not against violent video games, I happen to enjoy quite a few myself. But the idea of an RPG where the player is becoming one of these 2 kids is sickening. It's not "too soon", it will never be time for a game like this. I guess it's a double standard to say that reliving WW2 in so many FPS games is the same idea, but to me being a kid going through a school killing your peers is something nobody should WANT to do...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mdozturk (973065)
      I agree it is tasteless, but this kind of thinking is what causes things to eventually be banned. It is never OK to ban creativity because you think that it is "just sick".

      I wonder how long it is going to take Clinton to come out and say something about this game?

      • by bilbravo (763359)
        I agree, censorship is a touchy area--but nobody banned the game, they just removed it from their competition. It's a slippery slope to say that removing games from a competition is going to lead to them getting banned... but maybe you are correct. Maybe they shouldn't have bowed to the pressure, but I can understand it. Peer pressure is a big deal, don't you remember high school? :-) Just kidding...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      But it's cool to play as the Nazi's in some of those WWII FPS games? Or it's ok to play GTA and kill cops and hookers? Most people don't object loudly to these games because we're relatively desensitized to this type of violence, but when it hits so close to home, something we all read about or saw on the television, then the games is WRONG! I don't know what the game is about so I can't say whether or not it's a game that should be condemned like this. I think it is impressive that someone is pushing a
      • by cHALiTO (101461)
        I wonder if someone did something similar but relating 9/11. Like going all the way from joining al-quaeda to the final sequence with a flight sim over manhattan.
        And I don't mean a simple flash thingy, I mean something serious like this 'game'. What do you think would happen?
        (or maybe it already exists and I haven't seen it?)
        • by Jabrwock (985861)
          I wonder if someone did something similar but relating 9/11.

          The commission that made the 9/11 report authorized a comic-book version, because the visual medium made some discussion of timelines and events easier to follow...

          There is also a "game" where your job is to try to escape from the Towers after the attack. Some missions you "win" by escaping, others you are forced to either perish in flames, or jump. The idea was to illustrate what people had to go through on that day.
          • by cHALiTO (101461)
            Yeah, well, the idea was to 'play' it from the terrorists perspective.
            • by Jabrwock (985861)
              How do you understand the terrorists' perspective if you don't see it through their eyes?

              Why is it acceptable to roleplay the bad guy/opposition as a training tool, but not when done through this kind of medium? Is it just the medium that causing all the grief?
              • by cHALiTO (101461)
                Precisely.

                I have a hard time trying to believe the stereotype of the bloodthirsty religious lunatic that runs up to massacre people just out of pure evil and blind, senseless hate.
                I'm not saying they're justified in any way, but it's hard to see just HOW different their line of thought can be from ours, and what the complete path (ie, from the basic education and environment, to the conclusion in 9/11) of these people's lives has been. I've certainly not seen any such analysis in any serious or objective wa
      • by kalirion (728907)
        I think this would be more similar to a GTA mod/clone where you are a specific real-life serial killer, and your victims are the real-life cops and hookers killed by that guy.
    • Taboo (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreak@ei r c o m .net> on Friday January 05, 2007 @10:36AM (#17473966) Homepage Journal
      I guess it's a double standard to say that reliving WW2 in so many FPS games is the same idea, but to me being a kid going through a school killing your peers is something nobody should WANT to do...
      Yes, it is a double standard because the reality is, being a kid going through a school killing your peers is something quite a lot of people would like to do.

      There's a lot of posts in this thread about how this game is tasteless, has no merit, has only shock value. That no one would want to play it. Is that really tue? Think about it. There are people who think about doing this kind of thing everyday. So how is this game any more wrong than street racing simulations or computer generated pornography? What's the essential difference?

      I tell you exactly what the difference is. Debate on Columbine is taboo.

      Stray outside the accepted interpretation and you are "dishonoring the memories of The Children(TM) who died". Just ignore the fact that the average second level school is closer to The Lord of the Flies than normal society. Just ignore the millions of young people who waste their time day in day out in an institution they loathe. Just ignore the fact that the institution most closely resembling secondary schools is public prison. If you dare to highlight such things, you're "no better than the killers".

      So, no; running through the corridors of Columbine High School killing your fellow students is not really much more morally repugnant than killing American or Chinese soldiers in BattleField 2, or launching nukes on cities in Civ 4. It's just more politically incorrect, because that is how the media have decided to treat it.

      If Slamdance wants to follow the media/party line, that's their business. But they should stay off the moral highground when they do. That's for people with actual beliefs and integrity.
    • You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but yours is by your own admission an uninformed opinion. You haven't played the game and you say that the article didn't give a very good overview of it and yet you can feel justified in opposing it?

      This reminds me of the people who protested against Kevin Smith's film Dogma before it was even screened. I'm not comparing Dogma to this game, but in both cases people were against it without even knowing the details about it. Jack Thompson the anti-videogame lawy
    • I guess it's a double standard to say that reliving WW2 in so many FPS games is the same idea, but to me being a kid going through a school killing your peers is something nobody should WANT to do...

      So who should want to go to war?

      At least the Columbine shooters were killing people they personally hated. I think there's something far sicker about going about killing people you have no personal quarrel with, on the orders of politicians thousands of miles away...

    • by Kelbear (870538)
      "but to me being a kid going through a school killing your peers is something nobody should WANT to do..."

      But apparently, there ARE people that want to.

      I don't think the proper response is to ignore the pink elephant in the room asking "Why?"

      Work some google-fu, find out how the "game" is actually treating the subject and you might find that your unfounded guesses about the material might be wrong. But you don't have to, because ignorance is bliss.
  • artists statement (Score:5, Informative)

    by rednuhter (516649) on Friday January 05, 2007 @09:35AM (#17472948) Homepage Journal
    artists statement
    http://www.columbinegame.com/statement.htm [columbinegame.com]

    excert

      Somewhere between April 20th, 1999 and September 11th, 2001, America entered into a new, terrifying, and desperate era. Citizens can no longer afford to believe the necessary illusions of modern society. In an age when hastily-formed scapegoats and false dichotomies of "good" and "evil" run rampant, SCMRPG dares us into a realm of grey morality with nuanced perspectives of suffering, vengeance, horror, and reflection. In the words of Harris' friend Brooks Brown, there are "no easy answers" to such a socially indicting tragedy. As humanity teeters precariously on the threshold of collapse--politically, ideologically, and environmentally, the days of comatose media coverage and a subservient populace cannot remain. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, through their furious words and malevolent actions, can be understood as the canaries in the mine--foretelling of an "apocalypse soon" for those remaining to ponder their deeds. With 'Super Columbine Massacre RPG!,' I present to you one of the darkest days in modern history and ask, "Are we willing to look in the mirror?"
  • by andphi (899406) <phillipsam@gmail. c o m> on Friday January 05, 2007 @09:46AM (#17473120) Journal
    FTA: Ledonne said that he bears no ill will toward the festival, but that the decision to pull the game does raise concerns about freedom of speech . . .

    I'm confused. How is the decision by non-governmental entities that something is undeserving of their support or attention a threat to freedom speech?

    The game developer did his talking when he made the game. If Congress was directly shutting him down, that would be a problem. Other people deciding that his game is in poor taste or too soon or just plain wrong, and taking their money with them when they leave, is perfectly normal and legal. There is no constitutional right to be heard, only to speak freely. The intended audience can blow the speaker off at will.
    • by RingDev (879105)
      There is no constitutional right to be heard, only to speak freely.

      Even that is debatable. The original text of the constitution was that "Congress shale make no law..."

      That doesn't mean you have some inalienable right to run your sock. It means that the government has no right to shut you up. Society as a whole on the other hand, can largely do as the like to promote or bury your words. 200 years of case law have altered the exact interpretation of that line, and I am not a case law expert, but I agree wit
      • by Jabrwock (985861)
        I disagree that it's censorship in the legal sense. But market pressure can cause "chilling effects", and it's disappointing when the market refuses to support indie artists just because they're afraid of complaints from the mob, most of whom don't even know what the game is trying to do.

        Did any of these sponsors equally threaten Sundance financially when it aired/nominated Elephant or Zero Day?
      • I have to agree with the sentiment that this is not government affecting free speech.

        My problem with this whole thing is that corporations and private interests have the ability to decide what speech is made widely available due to their economic influence. Everybody here was playing by the rules, so I'm not crying foul there.

        But Slamdance courted columbin for this game to be entered. Not the other way around. Then, when the money was about to walk - Slamdance not only kicked the game out, but comprimised t
    • I agree fully and hate censorship being thrown around like that, but it does show what the general population's consensus is, and all these people get to vote.
      • by Jabrwock (985861)
        but it does show what the general population's consensus is, and all these people get to vote.

        But did they? They never even got a chance to vote, because it got pulled from the ballot, essentially by PR departments. Isn't that short-circuiting the voting system, by allowing corporate interests to decide what candidates even get to be heard in the first place? I know it sounds hokey, but it's something to consider. If the population truly rejected the nomination, then it should have gotten to the vote, an
    • by Aim Here (765712)
      "How is the decision by non-governmental entities that something is undeserving of their support or attention a threat to freedom speech?"

      When the non-governmental entities have the power to prevent your voice being heard, and do so because of the content of what you say, isn't that another form of censorship? When the tiny few who control, say, the Television stations decide that your TV documentary should not be aired because the views expressed in it are too dangerous for the public, aren't you being
    • FTA: Ledonne said that he bears no ill will toward the festival, but that the decision to pull the game does raise concerns about freedom of speech . . .

      I'm confused. How is the decision by non-governmental entities that something is undeserving of their support or attention a threat to freedom speech?

      The game developer did his talking when he made the game. If Congress was directly shutting him down, that would be a problem. Other people deciding that his game is in poor taste or too soon or just plain wro
  • Double Standards (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MeanderingMind (884641) on Friday January 05, 2007 @09:53AM (#17473232) Homepage Journal
    I find it interesting that when a hyper violent game was made to poke fun at Jack Thompson, it was widely applauded here on Slashdot despite begind grotesquely violent and rather lacking in artistic merit. Meanwhile, someone else's attempt to confront us with the horrible but murky truth of Columbine is labeled as "just sick" and "going too far".

    I wonder how many of us here played either game.
    • by jonnythan (79727)
      The Jack Thompson game was purely fictional.

      This is a recreation of actual events.
      • *BSD is for People who Love *nix; Linux is for People who Hate Windows
        Linux is for people who love *nix; BSD is for people who love pain.
    • by Vellmont (569020)

      Meanwhile, someone else's attempt to confront us with the horrible but murky truth of Columbine is labeled as "just sick" and "going too far".

      Ha! The thing is it's not a very good game, and nowhere did I see it "confront us with the horribly but murky truth of Columbine". It was a poorly conceived game that has no real redeeming artistic, entertaining, or social value. Maybe if it was better made it could have somehow done those things, but IMO it fell completely short.

      I wonder how many of us here played
      • I'll tell you what. I have read your comments on this issue and would like to applaud you for stating a subtle, yet important, perspective on the game.
        1. You played it. Bravo for having a first hand opinion on the content.
        2. You didn't like it. Completely acceptable. Opinions are welcome.
        3. You stated that you didn't like it because you feel it didn't manage to convey anything you considered educational or addressing social issues. Awesome, a legitimate critique on delivery.

        You seem to be able to separate the idea f

    • by Sigma 7 (266129)

      I find it interesting that when a hyper violent game was made to poke fun at Jack Thompson, it was widely applauded here on Slashdot despite begind grotesquely violent and rather lacking in artistic merit.

      Jack Thompson proposed the plot for that game. The proposal was an attempted satire - since it backfired. The game I'm OK! [dollidol.com] showed that the protagonist was simply some crazy dude incapable of handling the fact that his son was killed (and at the same time, showed the games-cause-violence as bull).

      While th

  • I want to know how a shitty RPG maker based game even got to the finals, it looks terrible and I doubt it plays any better.
    • The same way it got kicked out. From what I understand it's a crappy game which is only anything more than a footnote because it was controversial. Ah well, live by the controversy, die by the controversy.
  • by gregtron (1009171) on Friday January 05, 2007 @10:30AM (#17473862)

    The major problem I've encountered with the replies above is that no one seems to have actually played the game before labelling it as an afront to morality.

    I found it to be insightful, in the least, and at points disturbing. It didn't glorify the actions of anyone, but went great lengths to take information that most people have become jaded to, and present it in a light that inspires us to avoid the sort of finger-pointing that wrongly accused Marilyn Manson and ID Software of corrupting our youth.

    If we can't use certain media to portray catastrophic events in a way that helps us gain better understanding of why we do the things we do, then what good are they? This type of thinking reduces video games to neat electronic parlour tricks, not the viable form of entertainment and and education that it could be.

    • by bateleur (814657)
      Well to start with, if the game maker wanted to make a serious point he could have chosen a better title. I haven't played the game, but I have a lot of sympathy for the idea that Slamdance needed to do something simply because of the impression the title gives.
  • Slamdance was created partly as a response to Sundance, when a lot of people felt that they couldn't get their films into Sundance because they were too edgy.

    This was caused by the growth of the Sundance Film Festival, and no doubt influenced by their acceptance of donations from large sponsors.

    Now Slamdance is rejecting a piece because it's too edgy, and their sponsors are putting pressure on them. So much for the "independent" scene.

  • How is exercising editorial oversite a "free speech issue" again? If the New York Times refuses to print a picture of my naked ass on the front page, is that also a "free speech issue".

    I am sure the guys who created the Columbine game wouldn't mind if someone put a billboard advertisment on their front lawn... after all, we don't want there to be a free speech issue.
  • From the article:

    "I don't feel like (Baxter and Roberts) ought to be vilified in this, I think they had the best of intentions to showcase this game."

    I disagree with this statement. Given that Baxter and Roberts actually courted this game, I think that their soi-disant "best intentions" were for the best publicity possible for Slamdance. I also think that, once they started getting bad publicity, they decided to pull the plug. In short, it strikes me that Slamdance used the game and the game designer.

    Now, h

  • Those of you that are saying that the game is horrible and that it was a good think they kicked it out are missing the point. Slamdance wanted the game in the competition. They encouraged the creator to submit it. They selected it as a finalist. If they thought it was offensive or not in good taste, they simply wouldn't have selected it as a finalist.

    What has happened is that at least one of the corporate sponsors threatened to pull out their financial backing if the game was in the competition. So the
  • I played it a while back and was really blown away by it. It bugs me when people criticize it without having played it. it addresses topics like - the nature of evil - first does evil even mean anything, - bullying & the hell that high school can be (you have final-fantasy style battles with jocks, nerds , etc; also illustrates what the world-view of someone alienated would be like; viewing everybody along these narrow strata) - nature vs nurture, what made these kids snap whereas other kids didn't -

EARTH smog | bricks AIR -- mud -- FIRE soda water | tequila WATER

Working...