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Slamdance Festival Loses More Entrants 62

In yet more displays of solidarity with the creator of Super Columbine Massacre RPG, additional Slamdance finalists have withdrawn. The incredibly creative Toblo, as well as the titles Once Upon a Time and Everyday Shooter have taken themselves out of consideration in protest of the Columbine game's removal from the competition. Only eight of the original 14 finalists are still in the competition, with several of those having gotten together to write a letter of protest to the contest's organizers. Danny Leddonne, creator of the Columbine title, has spoken with Ars Technica and Next Gen in recent days, and touches on both his controversial title and the hoopla that now surrounds it. Update: 01/10 20:21 GMT by Z : It doesn't end. Slamdance has now lost a sponsor over this.
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Slamdance Festival Loses More Entrants

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  • by rhombic ( 140326 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @02:54PM (#17543638)
    It seems to me that anyone who thinks Slamdance made an idiotic decision ought to be contacting the producers of the seven games left in the competition (list is at the Slamdance website [], and ask them why they haven't pulled out yet. The strongest comment on this sort of behavior will be made if they have NO games left in the competition this year.

  • by hrrY ( 954980 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @03:07PM (#17543868)
    As long as you have fortune 500-1000 brand corporate sponsors in these "festivals", how does the content displayed provide "cutting edge", "provocative", and my favorite "innovative" impressions of an artists work? To me it's no different than going to a car show booth and seing "johnson and johnson" or "duncan hines" scrawled all over the dashboard.
  • by MidVicious ( 1045984 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @03:17PM (#17544040)

    It's hard for me to jump up and say, "Yeah! Way to go!" at the so-called honorable actions of other games pulling out of the Festival. Sure, it was stupid of Slamdance to allow SCRPG to enter only to disqualify them at the end. It's like allowing a drug using, girl-gone-wild type into a Miss America pagent only to disqualify her later because she's a drug using, girl-gone-wild type.

    Er... wait... what?

    Seriously, although I am not for disqualifying the SCRPG, how would you feel about a new FPS entering the contest called Maryland Sniper? Remember the guy who was sniping innocent people coming out of the parking lot or attempting to use a gas pump? Would that be an acceptable entry as well?

    I mean, look, after all the WWII and Iraq Desert conflict style games that are out, let's face it, this SCRPG is not much different. Anyway you look at it, the fundamentals are this, one group of people waged war against another, took lethal action, and tragedy ensued.

    So at what point does one feel that a violent video game has crossed the line? Grand Theft Auto, a game where the player steals cars, kills hookers (Vice City) and pretends to be a stereotyped Uncle Tom gangster (San Andreas), has pretty much been accepted as gaming norm. Ironically enough, brain drained politicians felt the hot coffee mod where two 3D animated sprites humping one another was far worse than shooting a prostitute in the gut, stepping on her face, stealing a car and running over pedestrians.

    And what constitutes the 'line being crossed' scenario? It seems in this case, the "too soon?" cliche is what crosses the line, although that argument gets shot to hell when Iraq War games hit the shelves three years after the conflict began. It seems to me there is no line when it comes to video game violence. There is only pushing the envelope by displaying contextual scenarios and situations that happen to be violent. For example, a game where I can, with graphic results, shoot a hooker in the face, no problem, but if I bring her up to my virtual apartment and, with graphic results, dry hump her, there's a problem with that. If I shoot her in the face afterwards, serious, serious problems, but only because I dry humped her first.

    See? It's baseless. There is no line. There is only the ability of players to understand the level of realism they are simulating. This is obviously just Slamdance making a really dumb decision at a very poor time. If they would have refused the game in the getgo, well, then they'd have to come up with a pretty good reason why and I think they didn't feel like doing so as it might impede on their slamdanciness, so to speak.

    Here's a question: What if this were called Super Columbine Simulator, instead of RPG? Too Soon?

  • by Meagermanx ( 768421 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @03:18PM (#17544058)
    That's exactly what this protest is about. They're saying that they don't want to be a part of a crooked contest, so they're pulling out of an important competition with ever-increasing odds of winning.
    They're putting their money where their mouths are, and it's admirable that they're taking a stand against censorship, whether or not you think Super Columbine Massacre RPG is a mockery or a brilliant political satire.
  • by KDR_11k ( 778916 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @03:27PM (#17544232)
    Virtual Car Accident - Engineer the most violent and destructive car accident possible in 3-D!

    We used to call that game Burnout.
  • by FLEB ( 312391 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @04:00PM (#17544868) Homepage Journal
    The baby-gathering game doesn't really have much precedent or comment on reality-- unless there's an associated news-story I'm missing. Gangbanging Retards needs more fleshing-out to become a similar type idea. There's no conflict. VCA, as others have mentioned, has been done. The last two could be made into a similar style of game, I suppose.

    All in all, the GPP's "suggestions" give the idea that they either don't understand or don't appreciate the "commentary" angle of SCMRPG, but they did nothing to frame their argument by discounting these legitimate facets of the game (legitimate as perceived and commented-upon by other posters, writers, etc.), instead presenting counterarguments that completely overlook this part, so the comment comes off as underinformed, underexplained, or a troll.
  • Just because you don't like the game, it doesn't mean that it hasn't made people think. "Monkey-dick" is just your perception but the game made you think. So it was a valid tool for societal exploration.

    Is Pollock Jackson [] less of an artist than Hieronymus Bosch [] or than Botticelli []?

    The "Freshman humanities 101" reference makes you sound like you're a condescending jerk, but the "monkey-dick" comment was pretty funny.

    I've got an original copy of Custers Revenge. I just thought, "Man, what a screwed up game". But now I know I'll end up thinking about it during a meeting, and kicking around the idea of it as art in comparison with Super Columbine.
  • You know what it made me think? It made me think "Why the hell did the idiots at slamdance ever think this junk was worth considering for a competition?"

    Look how worked up you are about it. It's more than you thinking "why was this worth consideration"?

    Art isn't easily defined. Just because you don't agree with something doesn't make any difference.

    I've been in plenty of bands and I never think of them as "art" even if other people do. It's just something fun. A lot of people think of bands I'm in as "shitty art". I think of the Star Trek punk rock band as an on-stage drinking contest with a sarcastic take on 1980s punk rock show violence.

    I've also got a tattoo of art drawn by a 4-year-old, so my point obviously isn't valid.
  • by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @05:29PM (#17546532) Homepage

    Seriously, although I am not for disqualifying the SCRPG, how would you feel about a new FPS entering the contest called Maryland Sniper? Remember the guy who was sniping innocent people coming out of the parking lot or attempting to use a gas pump? Would that be an acceptable entry as well?

    Sure, why not? I'm not sure why you're disqualifying an entry because some people will be offended. There's a difference between what's socially acceptable (whatever that means) and what's an acceptable entry in a competition. If "Maryland Sniper" has some kind of redeeming quality and is a good game, why not? If it's a poor game, and just trying to be "controversial" then it's a poor entry.

    As to your arguments about "where the line is", it's not really relevant. What offends people is different for each person. I'm offended by the idiotic "Left Behind" game. I'd never buy it, I think people who play it and take it seriously are religious wackos, but I don't really care if someone puts it in a competition. "Where the line is" only matters to someone trying to sell the game (which was never the goal with SCMRPG), and even then you can only define it in terms of a percentage of the population. Hell, I'm sure there's some nutjobs out their that think there's something wrong with pac-man because he's a glutton that's always eating and is never satiated.

    As for SCMRPG, I've played it and found it to be a poor entry into the competition because it's a poor game. Not because it might offend someone, "cross the line", or is "innapropriate". Frankly I think it was included in the competition purely because it covers a controversial subject. Then someone higher up heard about it, and decided that "the money guys won't like it", so they pulled it. Pretty lame if you ask me.
  • by topical_surfactant ( 906185 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @05:35PM (#17546648)
    Why don't you just admit that you don't get it, and save yourself the time of making such an ignorant statement?
    Have you played SCMRPG? It doesn't deserve comparison on any level to a Picasso. It's tedious, repetative, only mildly disturbing (and only in that it's loosely based around a real event), and built on a tired, over-simplistic and worn-out RPG interface. The further you get into the game, the more apparent all of this becomes.

    There's no subtle emotion, no master grand image, no deep lessons, no delving into the minds murderous teenagers. There's nothing to "get." Really. Sometimes monkey poo is just that - monkey poo.
  • by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @05:47PM (#17546898) Homepage

    Look how worked up you are about it. It's more than you thinking "why was this worth consideration"?

    I get pissed off at the moronic government of George W Bush too. Is he now "good art"? You seem to think I really care about SCMRPG. What pissed me off is the people trying to fool other people by dangling the word "art" in front of something, hynotizing them until their brains shut off. It has nothing to do with SCMRPG, and everything to do with the people who're in the "art above all" camp.

    Art isn't easily defined. Just because you don't agree with something doesn't make any difference.

    I don't care if it's "art" or not. Call it art, fine. Say it's not, fine. All I know is that it's a poor game.

    My problem with the whole "art" defense is that it becomes the ultimate shield for some people. Say to such a person you think it sucks, and they come back with "Ohh.. well you just don't UNDERSTAND IT!" As if the given is that it's "art" and if you don't respect it in some way, you've "missed the point".
  • by kalirion ( 728907 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @06:48PM (#17547928)
    For some of the developers who's games were nominated for the finals, this was a dream come true. Now the best they can hope out of the situation is to make a statement by withdrawing...

Each new user of a new system uncovers a new class of bugs. -- Kernighan