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Valve Slammed Over 'Horrendous' Steam School-Shooting Game (eurogamer.net) 351

Several readers have shared an EuroGamer report: Just a week after the Santa Fe High School shooting in Texas that saw 10 people fatally shot and 13 others were wounded, Valve has come under fire for a Steam school-shooting game that encourages you to "hunt and destroy" children. Active Shooter, which at the time of publication is live on Steam and due for release on 6th June, is described by its developer as "a dynamic S.W.A.T. simulator." The idea is you're sent in to deal with a shooter at a school, but you can also play as the actual shooter, gunning down school children.

Now, an anti-gun violence charity has called on Valve to pull the game from Steam. The developer of Active Shooter is called Revived Games, the publisher Acid. Revived Games' credits include White Power: Pure Voltage and Dab, Dance & Twerk. "Acid", who plans to add a survival mode in which you play as a civilian and have to "escape or perform a heroic action such as fight against the shooter itself," took to Active Shooter's Steam page to defend the game. "First of all, this game does not promote any sort of violence, especially any soft [sic] of a mass shooting," Acid said.

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Valve Slammed Over 'Horrendous' Steam School-Shooting Game

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  • Rinse. Repeat. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Friday May 25, 2018 @02:52PM (#56674838)

    Anyone remember when Postal came out?

    • Anyone remember when Postal came out?

      Postal? I still haven't even gotten over that 1989 Prince of Persia when Jaffar killed the princess

    • what about newgrounds picos revenge? I remember playing that IN school in 2000 or 2001
    • by mark-t ( 151149 )
      Or Death Race on the NES, or Carmageddon on PC's?
    • by Sloppy ( 14984 )

      Postal? Pfft. Anyone remember when Missile Command came out?!

    • Anyone remember when Postal came out?

      Yeah, and don't forget Bully, NightTrap and the whole host of other controversial games that have been released over the years. The best was Doom, slammed for satanic and violent content when it was new. I'm sure that John Carmac is still crying in his Cheerios over all the money he lost out on because he made a game that was controversial.

      This sort of thing is always an exercise in futility. I am all for reducing gun violence, but censorship isn't the answer. This
    • by Mal-2 ( 675116 )

      What about Super Columbine Massacre?

    • Or Hatred, more recently.

      https://store.steampowered.com... [steampowered.com]

      All you can shoot buffet for just 2 EUR.

    • Further back...Custer's Revenge. : |
  • Not against (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jwymanm ( 627857 ) on Friday May 25, 2018 @02:56PM (#56674864) Homepage
    I kind of giggle at stuff like this. I understand it offends but mocking current state of affairs actually helps relieve tension about it. I can even picture the pick your Avatar screens where you swipe between random socially dysfunctional white males. I say this after having a school shooting 2 miles from me and being genuinely worried and horrified for every child involved. You can have both laughter and absolute anger/disgust towards something. It's two entirely separate parts of you that each come from (at least in normal healthy people).
    • Re:Not against (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Friday May 25, 2018 @03:06PM (#56674946) Homepage

      Is the game mocking mass shootings, or glorifying them, or something in between?

      Whatever it's doing, it sure looks clumsy and tasteless from here.

      I suspect it's the product of some naive, young, male programmers, who have spent too much time alone, dealing with other people only as vague online constructs, and thus never developed much empathy or understanding regarding how their words and actions can affect other people. When everything and everyone is nothing more than pixels on a screen, nothing matters, so why not make a game about mass shootings?

      • Re:Not against (Score:5, Insightful)

        by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Friday May 25, 2018 @03:15PM (#56675010)

        Is the game mocking mass shootings, or glorifying them, or something in between?

        Whatever it's doing, it sure looks clumsy and tasteless from here.

        You think? What about the complete disparity between people getting angry about a game involving school shootings, while also having absolutely no willpower to actually do anything about real school shootings?

        • Re:Not against (Score:4, Insightful)

          by cascadingstylesheet ( 140919 ) on Friday May 25, 2018 @03:45PM (#56675264)

          Is the game mocking mass shootings, or glorifying them, or something in between?

          Whatever it's doing, it sure looks clumsy and tasteless from here.

          You think? What about the complete disparity between people getting angry about a game involving school shootings, while also having absolutely no willpower to actually do anything about real school shootings?

          Ih, there's plenty of will power to do "something" ... the problem is that none of the "something's proposed would actually do anything useful.

        • What about the complete disparity between people getting angry about a game involving school shootings, while also having absolutely no willpower to actually do anything about real school shootings?

          What do you propose they do about "real school shootings"? They can't ban or restrict guns because there is insufficient political support for that. They can't increase spending on mental health because there is no political support for that either. Armed guards in every school is a stupid idea for many reasons. So what do you propose?

          • Re:Not against (Score:5, Informative)

            by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Friday May 25, 2018 @04:02PM (#56675348)

            "there is insufficient political support for that"

            That would be the no willpower to actually do anything problem.

            In actual fact, there's lots of will, including political support to do it. Polls in the US show a majority of voters favour increased gun control. Problem is, there's a very vocal minority making everyone believe there's no will.

            • That would be the no willpower to actually do anything problem.

              The people complaining about this game, and the people opposed to further restrictions on guns are mostly DIFFERENT PEOPLE.

              Polls in the US show a majority of voters favour increased gun control.

              Politics doesn't work that way. How many people favoring more restrictions are willing to change their vote because of that single issue? Historically, it has been very few. How many people opposed to further restrictions are willing to change their vote? Historically, it was enough for Republican landslide victories in 1994, and 2010.

            • by lgw ( 121541 )

              It doesn't matter what the majority of people believe, it matters what the majority of gun owners believe, since that what it will come down to. It's worth remembering that the American Revolution began with an attempt by the British governor to seize guns from civilians.

            • The only measures that have majority support will do virtually nothing to stop school shootings. According to Gallup, banning "assault weapons" barely eeks out a majority at 56%, and that's with a *very* biased question. But even that wouldn't help, as it's a meaningless distinction, is overbroad, and ignores that handguns are no less lethal in the confined space of a school; all this assuming someone contemplating a shooting rampage would respect the law and not illegally acquire one of the millions and mi
        • by e3m4n ( 947977 )

          what make school shootings any different than any other shooting? Is it because in a school shooting mostly white kids are shot? In the grand scope, the number of people killed outside a mass-shooting situation, in a single year, will dwarf every school shooting since the beginning of time. Unfortunately the overwhelming majority of shootings in the US are black-on-black crime. This often goes understated. Its an epidemic that deserves just as much attention as any other incident like a school shooting. But

      • Re:Not against (Score:5, Insightful)

        by zlives ( 2009072 ) on Friday May 25, 2018 @03:30PM (#56675130)

        i am sorry, this is not the right time to talk about gun control in games. lets wait till the game has been out of news for a while for our tender sensibilities, and then we can not talk about it.

      • Re:Not against (Score:5, Informative)

        by fazig ( 2909523 ) on Friday May 25, 2018 @03:30PM (#56675134)
        I looked at their Steam page. It's a game where you either play as a SWAT member in a hostage situation involving a shooter or the shooter. It claims to use realistic settings and on the screenshots you can see school buildings, presentation halls and the likes. On the short video you can see some of the game, which rewards shooting civilians if you play the role of the shooter. As a SWAT you die pretty much instantly while as a shooter you're a bullet sponge. After listing their features they write:

        Please note: Please do not take any of this seriously. This is only meant to be the simulation and nothing else. If you feel like hurting someone or people around you, please seek help from local psychiatrists or dial 911 (or applicable). Thank you

        The game itself doesn't look very original or good. Especially the shown perspective of the shooter makes it look like an easy mode with no challenge as you're killing unarmed civilians and SWATs that are more harmless than your generic Stormtrooper (of course except when killing Luke's uncle and aunt). It comes with dated graphics and nothing that isn't already out there somewhere. I guess the attention the game getting now is better exposure to potential buyers than they could ever hoped for otherwise. You can expect people who wouldn't have considered buying such a shitty game spending some bucks on it, just act in spite of those who are offended by it.

      • by sfcat ( 872532 )

        Is the game mocking mass shootings, or glorifying them, or something in between?

        Whatever it's doing, it sure looks clumsy and tasteless from here.

        I suspect it's the product of some naive, young, male programmers, who have spent too much time alone, dealing with other people only as vague online constructs, and thus never developed much empathy or understanding regarding how their words and actions can affect other people. When everything and everyone is nothing more than pixels on a screen, nothing matters, so why not make a game about mass shootings?

        Either that, or they are masters of the Streisand effect.

    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Friday May 25, 2018 @03:44PM (#56675254)
      of school shootings. Particularly one that might lead to stronger gun laws. This is also why the CDC can't, by law, do any research on gun violence.

      A better question is why the NRA is so vehemently opposed to gun laws. You don't see the Auto makers campaigning against driver's licenses and insurance. My guess is they're worried stronger laws would bite into impulse buys. A coworker the other day went to buy a pistol for target shooting and home defense and go excited and walked out with an AR-15 and several boxes of ammo. His wife was pissed. If he'd had 7 days to think it over he'd have cancelled the order and settled for the $400 pistol over the $1000 AR-15.
      • We can't have you playing the shooter because you might see how trivial it is to mow down dozens of unarmed people in a matter of few minutes no matter what the police or anyone else does.

      • CDC can't, by law, do any research on gun violence.

        That is a lie. The CDC can't spend money to "advocate or promote gun control". If they couldn't "research gun violence". How is it we know how many gun related deaths there are from the CDC year after year? [cdc.gov]

        What is wrong with saying a government research agency cannot push an agenda in their research?

        • is not research. That said, as of this year you're right. See here [npr.org].
          • by penandpaper ( 2463226 ) on Friday May 25, 2018 @05:29PM (#56675814) Journal

            Did you read your own link? The Dickey Amendment hasn't been repealed and is still law the CDC must follow.

            That none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control:

            This is the amendment you are talking about that "bans gun research". This is the exact wording. It doesn't ban "collecting statistics" or any kind of research. We know how many people die by guns each year because the CDC can collect those statistics. We have statistics on gun deaths in the US because the CDC can research gun violence! What the CDC can't do is advocate or promote gun control.That is still the law the CDC must follow. What you link to doesn't change that. The last omnibus spending bill did not repeal the Dickey Amendment.

            Researching the causes of gun violence has never been banned for the CDC.

        • https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/... [gpo.gov]

          That none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control:

          Where in the above quote does it say the CDC cannot research gun violence? How would any of that text describe a ban on "research on gun violence". Note, the same kind of restriction is put on other hot-button topics, like abortion.

          That none of the funds made available under this Act may be used to lobby for or against abortion.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by El Cubano ( 631386 )

        A better question is why the NRA is so vehemently opposed to gun laws. You don't see the Auto makers campaigning against driver's licenses and insurance.

        Maybe you don't see it because those are state level issues, while lots of firearm-related legistlation is national. Even state-level firearm-related legislation receives media attention because it is a political hot-button. What you do see folks like the NRA advocating for is the enforcement of current laws. The church shooter in Texas from some months ago comes to mind. The Air Force failed to report his convinction to the FBI, so he was never stopped from purchasing a gun. In fact, most new proposed le

        • with just as much vehemence. Sorry, but that's not a goal post you get to move to. Cars kill fewer people because they are heavily regulated. It took weeks before my kid was ready to pass a driver's test and she had to show she was a responsible driver.

          And you better believe they're out there hoping for impulse buys. Nobody _needs_ an AR-15. You _want_ one.
          • And you better believe they're out there hoping for impulse buys. Nobody _needs_ an AR-15. You _want_ one.

            What does that have to do with impulse buys? Whether or not you "need" something has nothing to do with whether you planned the purchase in advance.

          • by rikkards ( 98006 )

            Nobody needs a car that goes over 55 but hey they do. NTSB found that restricting the speed limit to 55 would have saved over 15000 people.

            AR15 is the pitbull of the gun world. Why do people like it? It works, it's cheap and it's modular for what you want to do with it. You don't see anyone spouting banning the Ruger Mini-14 which is just as effective a firearm as the AR minus the modularity (it's semi auto with a detachable magazine).

      • by Kirth ( 183 )

        Coming from a country with a high percentage of guns per capita, but with a very low homicide rate, I can give you a hint: We have rifles, not handguns. And that is true for most of the countries with similar profiles: Canada, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Austria, Iceland, Germany, New Zealand, Finland.

        This might not be the reason for less homicides, but there is probably some underlying factor influencing both, homicides and handgun proliferation.

        So you might really want to start looking into that: Why do

  • DOOM (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Miser ( 36591 ) on Friday May 25, 2018 @03:05PM (#56674938)

    A buddy of mine used a WAD maker/editor to make a very good rendition of our high school in the 90's. Of course, DOOM was made of monsters and folks enjoyed it and took it for what it was. (this was in the 90's). I shudder to think of what would happen to us now if we were in high school and did this. Probably end up in federal....prison.

    • Re:DOOM (Score:4, Insightful)

      by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Friday May 25, 2018 @03:41PM (#56675226)

      Yup. I did my university... quake2 iirc

      I mean, seriously... great level subject. Long underground hallways with pipes carrying water, electrical, and even steam (!!) connecting buildings ... labyrinthine wings, most rooms with multiple exits, lots of interior and exterior windows, rooms within rooms, hub-spoke layouts, theaters, open stair cases, interior balconies, the science wing had bona fide radioactive storage, biohazard storage, greenhouses, centrifuges, lasers, loading areas for trucks, etc, etc... the grounds had courtyards, reflecting pools...

      It practically begged to be a death match level.

      • I actually got degree credits for this exact thing for a module in virtual reality! I built a level for Counterstrike for my hall of residence...
    • I remember doing something similar with the Quake third party level editor Qoole. I wasn't sure what to make, so I went with what I knew - my house. Of course, after completing it it quickly became apparent that a level based on an average house is very quick and not very fun. So I scaled the entire house up and made the level about being a tiny person fighting tiny enemies in huge rooms.

      It was a fun project, and it gave me a newfound respect for good level design and how hard it is to get all the detail

  • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Friday May 25, 2018 @03:07PM (#56674958)

    Anyone for "common sense" speech controls? You're not against "common sense" are you?

    What kind of speech-nuts or speech-extremists would argue against common sense limitations on a Constitutional right? They didn't have computers when the US Constitution was written, after all.

    • How about the kind that realize that "common sense" means something different to each person?

      If that's supposed to be sarcasm, you completely lost me by the end.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

      Anyone for "common sense" speech controls? You're not against "common sense" are you?

      We already have common sense speech controls, For example, libel, slander, obscenity, fighting words, and commercial speech have never been protected by the First Amendment, and we have various laws against all of those. There is not a single "natural right" that has not historically come with "common sense controls". Not one.

    • by e3m4n ( 947977 )

      youre exactly my kind of cynic. love it.

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Friday May 25, 2018 @03:14PM (#56675002)

    The idea is you're sent in to deal with a shooter at a school, ...

    How many points do you get for staying outside and hiding behind a dumpster?

  • Cops and robbers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stormwatch ( 703920 ) <.rodrigogirao. .at. .hotmail.com.> on Friday May 25, 2018 @03:20PM (#56675048) Homepage

    Let's play cops and robbers! But everyone has to be cops because robbers are bad!

  • ...lets the Terrorists Win don't'cha know

  • by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Friday May 25, 2018 @03:43PM (#56675238)

    The whole point of simulation is to imagine the full scenario, explore all the angles that can be systematically imagined.

    If you're playing Sim City - while imagining power grids, water flow models, traffic patterns, and industrial/commercial is all fascinating to see it all play out as a model - most folks will end up throwing in a horrible disaster or two, just to see how those systems will react, falter, fail, and sometimes recover.

    And it does help to see those things play out - to see these enormously important things break - to know that they are big, but still fragile in their own ways, when they're seen in a neutral mathematical and simulation background.

    That said - that's not really how lots of these games really play around with those subjects. Yeah - when the games are just trying to push the buttons of the players and audience, rile up a reaction - then it's just bad writing.

    Even that said though - the game Dungeon Keeper is still a favorite of mine. It's a game that places you as spectral force digging out exactly the kinds of grid-based dungeons that old RPG games would have you exploring. As such, your tools were largely gathering monsters, feeding them, readying them for combat, expanding territory, then using various kinds of harm on adventurers you defeated (jailing, torture, killing) for various benefits. It really held to that perspective with its mechanics - complete with dread-voices narrator of events - in a narratively interesting way. It was genuinely good writing - while being about unethical characters and outcomes.

    But no one generally became more cruel through playing Dungeon Keeper - if anything, it taught me about the family of motivations you have to follow to 'justify' torturing your enemies as a valid tactic - and why none of them add up to a good idea in any way. The game wasn't pushing the buttons on the audience, so much as it fairly deconstructed how our 'regular' stories were also pushing our buttons, in its own over-the-top way.

    Kids see bullies winning the perennial getting-away-with-it game every day. Every one of them knows they could 'win' by fighting more violently using tools. Imagining only the glory of that outcome, and not the full scenario is the core flaw... well, in most crime, not just school violence.

    I say the better answer is a more rigorous exploration of that space - a simulation that goes full circle - that shows that this violence only results in scenarios where bullies at large get away with more, because even with complete surveillance, folks will only bother to look back in broken circumstances - and it will still tend to only result in innocent people getting punished meaningfully, since punishments tend to mean almost nothing to bullies, and the process only entrenches them in that path. At least with the logic of school rule enforcement here in the US.

    You don't even need guns to explore that space. Just avoid cheaply pushing buttons with your narrative.

    Ryan Fenton

  • by cascadingstylesheet ( 140919 ) on Friday May 25, 2018 @03:49PM (#56675294)

    Back in ancient times of game systems, in Seven Cities of Gold (I think) on the Atari, you could wantonly attack peaceful Indians ... or keep slaughtering ones that had stopped resisting.

    They went into some kind of weird tribal dance of utter despair that really freaked me out and made me never want to try that again. Brrr.

    But my point is you could do it.

    Granted, they were so pixilated and cartoonish that I don't think even those who believe video games inspire violence could really think that game would ... so it;s not quite the same thing.

  • I'm shocked it took someone this long to make a school shooting game.

  • but video games and school shootings have nothing to do with each other.
  • You want to help stop more school shootings? The Press needs to stop publicizing them. All they're doing is turning these shooters into celebrities, which in turn is emboldening the would-be school shooters, and so on, and so on.
  • before you burn me at the stake this game could be used by law enforcement to train themselves on what the bad guy is going to do assuming this game is multiplayer. the arma series is used by the army in the same way.
    • Because the difficulty with school shootings is law enforcement figuring out how to outsmart the advanced military tactics of a child?

      The game is tasteless and useless. Of course, I'm all for tasteless and useless things being available to buy. That's what freedom is about, if you only want freedom for the things you like that's simply wanting to be the dictator of a tyrannical society. If it gets into the hands of a kid who decides shooting up his school is a cool idea because of it, and people die, then a

  • Not bullying. Not at all. That's why kids shoot up schools instead of, say, shopping malls where it would be easy to rack up a way higher body count. That's why they shoot their former classmates and teachers instead of simply kicking open and spraying bullets into the first classroom they get to.

    But you can't say that. How DARE you blame the poor, poor children? Just because they had a little fun with the evil, evil shooter.

    • Games can be a part of the problem, in desensitizing undeveloped minds and training them towards violence. Not with the mere concept of killing, but with previously unavailable realism.

      Just like part of the problem can be from a lack of skilled counselors,
      A lack of empathy being instilled from teachers,
      A lack of empathy being instilled from both parents having to work, or only having one parent.
      A lack of empathy as a result of the culture of online communications and its cruelties,
      A sense of injustic

      • Ah, the desensitizing argument. It has a lot of that "gateway drug" argument. Usually it comes down to the question whether you think you would have become a violent bastard had you played those games. And usually the answer is no. Which makes me question why you think it applies to everyone else. It surprises me to no end why again and again I run into people who would assume that everyone else is stupid or weak-willed, but they themselves would never "fall" for whatever they accuse everyone else to be sus

    • Bullying might contribute, but the main problem, what all the shooters have in common, is being an outcast. Being socially excluded. They act 'weird' so don't make any friends. They don't really understand why, or what to do, so they resent the others, who don't talk to them or include them, because of the shyness, or saying weird things, having unusual body language. The resentment grows into hate; because they're not doing anything mean to people, so the others must just be cruel, bad people for for ignor
  • Generating controversy is a great way to get free advertising.

    Personally, I don't care, there are all sorts of horrible things in games and movies. People know the difference between fantasy and reality.

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