The School Shooter Mod

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There's a long history of mods for computer games that border on or cross way over the line of offensiveness. The "Barney" mod for Doom allowed you to riddle the purple dinosaur's annoying face with bullets (neat!) but the KKK mod for the emulated Super Mario Brothers was just wrong.

Either way, there isn't much point in complaining about its existence. Anyone can draw, write, animate, or film something horrifically offensive and is free to attempt to sell it or give it away. Usually it's ONLY offensive and has no value of its own, so it just sits on the shelf of the person who produced it. Not buying/playing the crappy mod is the proper response, as is ridiculing and rejecting anyone who does and claims to like it.

Why are we still talking about this? How is this generating so much controversy? I wonder how many people yakking on about this has actually seen footage of gameplay. The only way it's offensive is how little effort was put into it. The "students and police" are just half-life 2 models, I've probably killed thousands of them while playing Garry's Mod. I'd wager that if this game wasn't actually called "School Shooter", no one would give two shits about it or its creator. Why are we using one of my favorite features on this website and wasting it to focus on this pathetic and mostly forgotten issue?

There isn't much I can say regarding the actual subject matter that hasn't been addressed, so all I'm going to say is this -

I wish Extra Consideration was much, MUCH longer than it is. I could read it for ages, its always very well written and properly great stuff.

Also, I think he has a serious lack of screen charisma, and the delivery in his show is poor, but I think Jim is a fantastic writer, and one of the best in gaming.

I would personally love to see some interaction between Jim and Yahtzee next discussion.

Wait, so shooting games are racist now? That needs to be supported a bit more if we are going to accept it.

I don't think just pointing out that Nathan Drake or any other white protagonist kills a scores of nonwhites is enough, particularly since these games are set in international locations. Additionally, I have not encountered any explicit reference to racist motivations for my character killing enemies in games. My personal view is that the implicit racism is largely imagined as well.

Wouldn't it be more racist to exclude nonwhite enemies from the list of targets, especially if they are excluded because of race? This is a bogus non issue that seems to keep popping up on The Escapist.

ThisNewGuy:
Jim Sterling's response reminds me of why I almost never agree with him.

He fails to realize the nuances of violence and generalize all violent game into a single entity. The way American History X uses violence is very different to how School Shooter uses violence. It's about how the subject matter is treated, and how violence is used as a mechanism to communicate its message.

When the message of violence is "hey, it's fun!" instead of "this is really fucked up", that's when violence is singled out as being wrong.

Also, other games uses violence as a mean to an end. It's just a passive mechanic to accomplish something. So the player is not there to kill people, they're there to get treasure, to be the best gangster, to save America (Uncharted, GTA, CoD respectively). In School Shooter, you're there just to kill people. The end is to kill people with the message of "hey, killing people is fun." That's when there's a problem.

The South Park analogy doesn't apply here. South Park treated each religion with equal ridicule, therefore Scientologists' response is disingenuous. However, these games do not all treat their subject matter the same, therefore different responses are justifiable.

Best response so far. Seriously said everything I was thinking.

And I will always argue about GTA that it comes down to choice. You choose to break the law and go on kill crazy rampages and I know a surprising amount of people who didn't go hog wild for the sake of it.

what annoys me so much is the fact that this is specifically made to be offensive. And no personal disrespect intended that's how Jim himself is marketed. The kind of guy who has to take the path of most resistance because it's in his contract. He's making a lot of valid enough points but he's not being objective enough about it. This will be a terrible game and not worth playing. How many people actually played and enjoyed postal 2? it was boring as hell because it had no point beyond oh no look out its angry parents! or middle eastern terrorists! This game will be the same, shallow and boring.

Sleepingzombie:

starwarsgeek:

Scrumpmonkey:
Bam! suprise jim! And i though i could contain him by just refusing to watch his show.

Basically this.

@James. If you read this, I would love to play your SPS idea!

Seconded, on both points by me.

I find myslf unmotivated to view the contents of the escapist becuase of Mister Jim.

More importantly I would like to buy that game James was writing about.

Yeah, same here...I ended up just skimming his parts.

And if you happen to read this, Mr.Sterling...

Yet School Shooter is singled out as particularly horrific, and I have to ask: why? Because it's set in a school and not on the street?...so too do gamers betray their own hypocrisy when they're suddenly not cool with the digital taking of human life once the scenario changes to something a little harder to compartmentalize.

The reason people are fine with games like Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row but not this school shooter mod is actually pretty simple. The people who worked on those games, as far as I know, never said something like this.

I think the media tried to cover it in a way that made the events more dramatic than they actually were. Even in my younger age, I saw right through most of it. The way the news victimized the victims and overplayed the evil of the shooters disgusted me more than the actual shootings themselves.

That came from the interview on the escapist that started the whole controversy. He also went on to support California in the Supreme Court case, defended Jack Thompson's stance on games (sort of...). Either he's trolling gamers, or he's purposefully making a game to use as an argument for censorship. GTA and SR are just games that just tell stories about criminals...usually with some wacky satire thrown in for good measure. That's the difference.

reachforthesky:
Why are we still talking about this? How is this generating so much controversy? I wonder how many people yakking on about this has actually seen footage of gameplay. The only way it's offensive is how little effort was put into it. The "students and police" are just half-life 2 models, I've probably killed thousands of them while playing Garry's Mod. I'd wager that if this game wasn't actually called "School Shooter", no one would give two shits about it or its creator. Why are we using one of my favorite features on this website and wasting it to focus on this pathetic and mostly forgotten issue?

Yes indeed.

When I took a look at the game footage of this thing the first thing I said to myself was "I could remake this in gmod in 3 hours". And then halfway through the video I realised that I didn't NEED to remake it in gmod because THATS HOW THEY DID IT IN THE FIRST PLACE.
You can tell just from the way the 20-30 year old schoolchildren react to your movements and presence. I can practically hear them say 'What do you need Dr. Freeman?'.

Sentox6:

ThisNewGuy:
I think you completely missed the point of my post. I'm not talking about who gets to judge or if there is a validation for judgement.

Interesting. You propose a right and way wrong of utilising virtual violence, yet don't feel the need to do anything with this categorisation per se?

At any rate, where do multiplayer shooters fit in your paradigm? Many of them dismiss any context other than "kill your opponents". By your standard, a deathmatch in CoD or a round of FFA slayer in Halo seems very problematic.

Well, I'm suggesting that violence is used in different ways in different scenario. As far as "do anything", that's not exactly up for me to decide. Some people feel more strongly about this differentiation and want to take action. Others just like to talk about it on forums. But the important idea is that there ARE differentiation between the violence in School Shooter and the violence in say Uncharted.

Multiplayer doesn't fit into my paradigm. I do not consider online multiplayer as a serious aspect for philosophical consideration/social commentary. I consider online multiplayer to be much like a toy and not be taken so seriously. But even if people would like to take multiplayer seriously as a social commentary, I would suggest that, just like everything else, there can be a line that games shouldn't cross. But where that line is doesn't really concern me because, again, I don't consider online multiplayer to be social commentary because it really can't be since it is so free-formed and the game makers really can't control exactly what the experience can be, so therefore cannot use it as a medium to comment.

ReiverCorrupter:

jmarquiso:

I haven't played Bulletstorm, but it is written by an artist in his own right - comic book writer Rick Remender. I highly recommend you read anything by him - specifically FEAR agent. This is not to say you're wrong, but I have to say the voice behind the game has some artistic cred.

This guy wasn't paying attention when he played it.

ccesarano:
You could make an emotionally engaging game where you think you're gunning down generic bad guys until it turns out you were manipulated into slaying innocents. However, I don't think People Can Fly or Epic Games are the right studio to accomplish such a thing.

BULLETSTORM DID EXACTLY THIS! They explicitly talk about it while you play. General Serrano laughs at Grayson when he tells him that it wasn't mutated prisoners but vacationers that he was killing, and Grayson stops making snarky comebacks and actually appeared genuinely disturbed by the fact. The game had a great story if you were willing to pay attention to it, its voice acting was top notch too. I don't know what the hell that guy is complaining about.

The OP actually said this, but thought that they didn't handle it maturely. This may or may not be the case. I know that I didn't see this sort of thing from a marketing standpoint (but it does seem like a real nice twist)

I do think that our FPS's have gone a bit too far - the reason most of them turn out to be supersoldiers is to narratively explain how the player mows down several enemies without much of a strategy beyond point and shoot.

Then again, shooting gallery games, as James says, have a strong history beyond video games. Narrative just is the dressing on top of this. The problem is that the maturity of the genre has become stifled by the expectations of the genre.

ThisNewGuy:
Jim Sterling's response reminds me of why I almost never agree with him.

He fails to realize the nuances of violence and generalize all violent game into a single entity. The way American History X uses violence is very different to how School Shooter uses violence. It's about how the subject matter is treated, and how violence is used as a mechanism to communicate its message.

When the message of violence is "hey, it's fun!" instead of "this is really fucked up", that's when violence is singled out as being wrong.

Also, other games uses violence as a mean to an end. It's just a passive mechanic to accomplish something. So the player is not there to kill people, they're there to get treasure, to be the best gangster, to save America (Uncharted, GTA, CoD respectively). In School Shooter, you're there just to kill people. The end is to kill people with the message of "hey, killing people is fun." That's when there's a problem.

The South Park analogy doesn't apply here. South Park treated each religion with equal ridicule, therefore Scientologists' response is disingenuous. However, these games do not all treat their subject matter the same, therefore different responses are justifiable.

I totally agree with what you said. I think a lot of people fail to see the difference, and there is a huge difference if you really take a moment to think about it. Good point bringing up American History X.

Dear God, is there nothing more vapid and pretentious than Bob and Jim together? Is it a sign of the end times or just the encroaching politicization of The Escapist?

I defend only it's right to exist, as a matter of fact if I knew the makers personally I'd sack every single one of them, and throw a couple of slaps in for good measure, but leave the game sitting on it's webpage otherwise undisturbed. As far as our culture worshiping gun use, *shrugs* it's a problem that's not going away anytime soon.

I don't think this should be banned, but I am going to encourage people not to play it. If you read that interview with the guy who made it, you know he really is about the biggest douche to be given media coverage since that idiot, Shirley Phelps-Roeper. He's showing terrible disrespect to victims of horrible tragedies. You're not just doing some random shooting on the streets of Liberty City or picking some guy off a horse on the lonely trails of New Austin; you're playing a simulation of real tragic events that really ended lives. The equivalent would be a Call of Duty game where you play as an SS Officer, tracking down and murdering Jewish families in their homes or in concentration camps. I'm not saying that real events can't be portrayed in games (Medal of Honor Taliban Scandal, Six Days in Fallujah, Herpy, Derpy, Derp), but you need to show appropriate respect, and this jerk-off is just treating innocent children who were murdered in horrifically brutal fashion like targets in a shooting gallery. I don't believe in censoring it. If he wants to feed us is tasteless, artless, setting-the-medium-back-five-years wank, that's his business. But, please show a modicum of taste and don't download this crap, for all our sake.

jmarquiso:

ReiverCorrupter:

jmarquiso:

I haven't played Bulletstorm, but it is written by an artist in his own right - comic book writer Rick Remender. I highly recommend you read anything by him - specifically FEAR agent. This is not to say you're wrong, but I have to say the voice behind the game has some artistic cred.

This guy wasn't paying attention when he played it.

ccesarano:
You could make an emotionally engaging game where you think you're gunning down generic bad guys until it turns out you were manipulated into slaying innocents. However, I don't think People Can Fly or Epic Games are the right studio to accomplish such a thing.

BULLETSTORM DID EXACTLY THIS! They explicitly talk about it while you play. General Serrano laughs at Grayson when he tells him that it wasn't mutated prisoners but vacationers that he was killing, and Grayson stops making snarky comebacks and actually appeared genuinely disturbed by the fact. The game had a great story if you were willing to pay attention to it, its voice acting was top notch too. I don't know what the hell that guy is complaining about.

The OP actually said this, but thought that they didn't handle it maturely. This may or may not be the case. I know that I didn't see this sort of thing from a marketing standpoint (but it does seem like a real nice twist)

I do think that our FPS's have gone a bit too far - the reason most of them turn out to be supersoldiers is to narratively explain how the player mows down several enemies without much of a strategy beyond point and shoot.

Then again, shooting gallery games, as James says, have a strong history beyond video games. Narrative just is the dressing on top of this. The problem is that the maturity of the genre has become stifled by the expectations of the genre.

Yeah, I know his point was about maturity, but I think Bulletstorm had a great combination of humor and seriousness. And yes, there was seriousness behind the humor, and yes the plot and characters were fairly well developed. While the humor was immature the rest of the game was done very well. Frankly I think a bit of ambivalence and potty-mouth humor goes a lot farther than the hyper masculine, super macho self sacrificing stuff you get in most other shooters.

As far as the FPS thing going too far... The biggest franchise now deflates that theory. CoD always kills of its main characters to show how they're only human and uses the "nameless patriot dying in the dust of a foreign country" thing constantly. As far as the shooting gallery stuff goes, I think it's just a way to take out frustration. Most people want a challenge in their games, but taking your frustrations out on a bunch of pixelated beings is hardly an atrocity. The school shooter thing is only distasteful because of actual school shootings, but I could understand how some teens would enjoy shooting effigies of their classmates. High school is a rough time, that doesn't make them serial killers.

The studies social psychologists have done on catharsis is largely bunk because they only measure the immediate after affects. No one goes from being aggressive to passive in a few seconds? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. /sarcasm. I personally feel that catharsis works wonders, once you calm down after the activity your mood is much improved. The only thing that isn't good for aggression and frustration is confrontation that exacerbates the situation. But that's just because you've made the cause of your aggression/frustration worse (i.e. the situation).

Dammit Jim, where's this insightful awesome commentary in YOUR FUCKING VIDEO SERIES!?

JEsus.

Bring your A-game to your own show.

Interesting. However, there is one big difference between games and other forms of media - interaction. There may be worse in films and TV, but none of them are actively asking the player to engage in the act of killing innocents through choice - the most choice they have is whether or not you actually sit down and watch them as they blink past on your screen. Yet, School Shooter is actively asking the player to hunt down innocents and kill them. In fact, it bases it's entire gameplay on the fact that the player should be wanting to attack those who are unable to defend themselves, until the law enforcement agencies come in and kick their arse. To me, this isn't offensive - it's boring.

A lot of the shock content is to do with how it's wrapped up - shooting innocents in schools. But if you took the gameplay and changed the aesthetics, you'd still have the same game without the shocking context - shooting people who can't defend themselves in a non-threatening environment for no reason. You make those innocents aliens and set it on another planet, and I would say that the shock disappears, and you've got another lame generic shooter that is really pointless.

Thus, it is all subjective - the child killings might be tragedies in the US and the west, where Colmbine and Virgina Tech still hit hard, but what about else where in the world? They don't care so much, nor do we really care about them. If we did, this sort of shock would happen every time there's a game based around killing people of another foreign nation, no matter what. It's all subjective, and it's all about what side you are on. That's why the shock is here, because the antagonistic nature of this mod shows that they are NOT on our side. That's why it's easy to be shocked and attack it.

yet, why should it be on our side? Why should there even BE sides? We create this whole us vs. them to establish our identities, and situations like this occur because of this very simplistic antagonistic approach. When you think about it - you can just strip this of it's subjectivity and realise there is nothing there. But the fact that it's all subjective, yet we treat it as absolutes without realising that it is indeed subjective, says more about us as people than it does about this mod.

The only thing offensive about this mod is the crap gameplay. I liked Super Columbine RPG - it was a very interesting game, and I don't think that these designers actually played it that much, or they probably just hated the genre that is the turn-based RPG. There's much more substance to that game then there ever was to this one - the killing of weak innocents in Super Columbine RPG being grindtastic was more to do with the Genre than anything specific, and set up the premise well. There was actually a point, and a context to the gameplay in that game which the School Shooter Mod simply lacks.

I was actually pleasantly surprised by the quality of Jim's contribution here. Now if only his show was better.

I don't buy the "Is there really a difference?" argument when comparing a mod like school shooter to the rest of the genre. In storytelling, context is everything. That same argument can also be made to say that every film where a man is shot is just as horrible as the next, and the same with books, music, drawings, dot diagrams, or whatever else you can think of. You are in a scenario where everyone around you is defenseless and the point of it all is fear, chaos, and outright murder. If you can't realize the difference between Uncharted and School Shooter, then you know nothing about storytelling.

Once again, I'm questioning why Jim Sterling is involved. He's probably more qualified to speak on this subject than MovieBob, but I've never questioned Bob's place due to his constant observation of people surrounding games, rather than just games themselves. I'd rather have Yahtzee or Mikey back, since they actually have some background in gaming development and some odd and interesting insights.

Jim Sterling sure rose threw the ranks quickly... I think it's everyone's fault for making his initial videos so popular and gaining a lot of traffic. But now (temporarily) replacing Yahtzee as the angry British guy in the discussion about gaming! It kind of fits, when you think about it...

Actually, as controversial as his views are, I can understand where Jim is coming from on some of these things. They might not be the right thing to say or do, but it's looking at it from another light. I'm just glad Bob and James are there to even things out.

ThisNewGuy:
Well, I'm suggesting that violence is used in different ways in different scenario. As far as "do anything", that's not exactly up for me to decide. Some people feel more strongly about this differentiation and want to take action. Others just like to talk about it on forums. But the important idea is that there ARE differentiation between the violence in School Shooter and the violence in say Uncharted.

Multiplayer doesn't fit into my paradigm. I do not consider online multiplayer as a serious aspect for philosophical consideration/social commentary. I consider online multiplayer to be much like a toy and not be taken so seriously. But even if people would like to take multiplayer seriously as a social commentary, I would suggest that, just like everything else, there can be a line that games shouldn't cross. But where that line is doesn't really concern me because, again, I don't consider online multiplayer to be social commentary because it really can't be since it is so free-formed and the game makers really can't control exactly what the experience can be, so therefore cannot use it as a medium to comment.

I'm not saying there isn't a difference. It's just that you condemn School Shooter's use of violence, while ignoring multiplayer shooters, which I don't think is particularly valid.

Game developers certainly control the mechanics and objectives of a multiplayer game, and the concept of "kill your opponent to earn points" is quite set in stone. If you can dismiss them as a social commentary, then you should really dismiss School Shooter as well; generally speaking, there's hardly any greater narrative context to either type of game, and if anything multiplayer shooters are more relevant in that they frame actual interactions between individuals, not just a singular and isolated activity.

In short, I don't see how you can really raise an objection to School Shooter's use of violence on the basis that it's pointless then dismiss multiplayer shooters as "not a relevant social commentary". They are inherently a social activity. They are social interaction. Surely they're more relevant, if anything?

Sentox6:

I'm not saying there isn't a difference. It's just that you condemn School Shooter's use of violence, while ignoring multiplayer shooters, which I don't think is particularly valid.

Game developers certainly control the mechanics and objectives of a multiplayer game, and the concept of "kill your opponent to earn points" is quite set in stone. If you can dismiss them as a social commentary, then you should really dismiss School Shooter as well; generally speaking, there's hardly any greater narrative context to either type of game, and if anything multiplayer shooters are more relevant in that they frame actual interactions between individuals, not just a singular and isolated activity.

In short, I don't see how you can really raise an objection to School Shooter's use of violence on the basis that it's pointless then dismiss multiplayer shooters as "not a relevant social commentary". They are inherently a social activity. They are social interaction. Surely they're more relevant, if anything?

The way I personally see it is in perspectives. A multiplayer component is not perceived in the same way as a single player campaign. Therefore, the audience doesn't respond to the violence in a similar manner. A multiplayer shooter really isn't about shooting children or soldiers or committing acts of violence. A multiplayer shooter is just simply about "pwning noobs", ie. the player is attempting to dominate other players as a play mechanic (with guns and human avatars) rather than seeking to actually kill, albeit virtual, people. This means that multiplayer games' goal is basically achieving "I'm better than you" rather than single player games where the game creator is actively leading the player into a conclusion about a subject matter, and in School Shooter's case, the goal is to "kill students."

In the immortal words of Evelyn Beatrice Hall, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." So yes. The mod has a right to exist.

Any suggestion, however, that this is anything but tasteless, amoral PAP is ludicrous. Suggesting the modder might be anything but an evil little troll who is trying to steal a moment in the spotlight at the expense of everyone in the gaming community is just plain stupid.

@James

I think the guys at Pentavision have you beat x.x
Minus the whole perspective part, there are moments in S4League where you are dancing around desperately trying not to get sniped.

The game's still a shooter, and a very light hearted one, but it does something that sets it apart from the rest: there really is no generic, common enemy (in the sense that other shooters use). It's not America vs Russia, or OpFor vs Rangers; it's your character and up to 5 others vs the people wearing red.

Unfortunately, the friendliness of the game doesn't save it from raging, teabagging 12 year olds. In fact, I'd beckon it hurts it, only on top of that, you have really good (skill wise) 19 year olds doing the exact same thing.

It amazes me how talking-point-laden the points of view here are...with the exception of James. If I wanted commentary of this level, I could turn on MSNBC or Fox News and at least have people yelling at one another to make it even more dramatic.

James hits the nail on the head by actually looking at the matter incisively. He gives reasons for his position, with little time spent prejudging motives and pronouncing guilt on various parties.

Bob, to the contrary, simplistically inserts a variety of prejudicially-presumed and entirely-invented cultural offenses (like "military fetishism"...is THAT what the kids are calling it these days?) in what could almost be considered a strange form of "Mad Libs" passing itself off as social commentary.

Jim's entire argument, regardless of its length, essentially boils down to "there's no moral high ground to be had because you're still shooting human beings"...nothing but simplistic equivocation, employed to remove any differentiation between someone trying to kill you (most FPS enemies) and a harmless bystander.

I also call Jim's bluff: I never got bored and went on shooting sprees in Grand Theft Auto. I actually felt bad when I collided with another car or pedestrian, and actively worked to avoid them. I actually stopped playing San Andreas (a gift) because I found it impossible to progress without committing actions I found personally reprehensible...even if just in a virtual world with no real-world consequences. That was not fun for me, so I didn't do it.

Both Jim and Bob quickly gloss over the actual storylines in the games they reference, apparently because admitting that reasons exist for why a player might take a given action would get in the way of the social ranting they're already predisposed towards dispensing.

James' commentary stands out as fresh and interesting because it is not laden with these clear-cut prejudices, these..talking-points.

The truly sad thing is that I actually AGREE with many of the points that Jim and Bob present. For example, the obviousness in many storylines that they exist only as a veneer to justify the bloody mayhem that the corporation behind the game is trying to sell us on. The same veneer as used to sell us movies and other media of the same stripe. Or the shallow ploy for attention-seeking exhibited in both the game itself and the way it's being marketed --- yet another attempt at frocked-up artificial controversy, preying on the existing frocked-up controversies peddled by the likes of Jack Thompson.

This game does us no favors, not as a fan base or as an industry. But neither does piggybacking one's pet social ideology onto the matter.

Squarez:
This is the point where Jim Sterling officially lost any and all respect from me (his awful, awful show notwithstanding). He argues that the only way to combat offensive content is to just not be offended by it, which is stupid in a plethora of ways. The first being that if this line of thinking continued on it's logical path then we as humans would never be shocked or offended by anything, which would be a. not possible and b. completely stupid. The second and largest logical fallacy in his argument problem is that he implies that people can choose what to be offended by, which just makes me foam at the mouth at how someone can POSSIBLY think that.

I think what Jim was getting at is that it's about being in control of your emotions. Getting offended at something is fine, but keep that anger and indignation in check so that your brain can process the entire situation and act reasonably.

Somebody calls you a naughty name, or insults you in some other way, what is a person to do? Fight, argue, go sulk in a room? Ideally us grown-ups can stay calm, call them out on it, and try to work out things out in a mature fashion. (For the record, I try to live up to this, but I am nowhere close to a perfect track record.)

Your statement about foaming at the mouth is pretty much what Jim is saying we ought not to do.

Bostur:
Being offended can be good. Sometimes it makes us stop and consider our point of view.

We may not be able to decide what we get offended by, on the other hand we have no right not to be offended. I believe that is a good thing, getting new input that may offend us can be a doorway to perceive the world from another angle. Without offense we are not inclined to reconsider in the same way.

There should be an easy way to "thumbs up" a single message. This one definitely deserves it, especially as it covers a new idea that hasn't been brought up yet in all these pages of comments. (Or maybe it has... I kinda skimmed over the larger walls of text)

This is boring.

The creator of the mod is just a shock-whore the same as Mason or Lady Ga Ga, they do things for attention, the more attention we pay them the more popular they become... The only difference between them and everyone else is they realized that bad publicity is still publicity...

For those of you who are upset about Yahtzee's dissapearance for this discussion, he probably agreed with everyone else, and it's not much of a discussion when there is no conflict... So they brought in Jim...

For 3 people who all agree that it's not worth talking about.. they are talking about it, why waste our time... so far, they've each given their points, and from what I can tell, just reiterated that point over again... thats filler, not an exciting discussion.

Like I've said before the gamers who cried out to ban School Shooter and also that dog fighting game are hypocrites. You can't sit there and defend the medium from the likes of Jack Thompson, claiming these are murder simulators that need to be banned and the next moment, when a game comes out you don't agree with, jump up on that soap box right next to Mr. Thompson and start calling for bans.

First amendment protections are strong in this country for a reason, once you start violating the principle of free speech it becomes very easy to say something "goes too far". I fully support these game's right to exist. If you don't like these games or mods then don't buy them or play them. I know I have no interest in the mod or the dog fighting game, that doesn't mean I'm going to sit there and call for them to be banned.

I am myself in the mod-making community, I have heard of this mod since before this "buzz".

All I got to say is, it revolts me that a (in my opinion) badly designed, and uninteresting content mod like this, would get so much media attention and even be broadcasted on news tv, while other great mods that DESERVE the attention, just don't get any.

Does this mean we (the modders) need to make REVOLTING and CONTROVERSIAL mods to get attention ?

Making mods is difficult, there's no money involved and it's all for the passion and the love of gaming, we should reward the good mods by spreading the word, and let the troll mods drown.

All I am saying is, the more we talk about it, the more we give the maniac who came up with this idea credit and satisfaction...

Nonetheless, the debate is interesting, and I agree with Bob.

But seriously, this School Shooter mod does NOT deserve attention.

It's a shame that the first mod mentioned by The Escapist is this one, for a gaming community I would expect them to also talk about good mods : Blade Symphony, The Rising, Nightmare House 2, ect...

ccesarano:
While I read this I actually thought of the opening cut-scene to Bulletstorm, and how the story would have been a lot more interesting if placed in artistic hands. You could make an emotionally engaging game where you think you're gunning down generic bad guys until it turns out you were manipulated into slaying innocents. However, I don't think People Can Fly or Epic Games are the right studio to accomplish such a thing.

Then again, there are a lot of gamers that weren't really disturbed by No Russian (Hell, I was more disturbed by the fact that I WASN'T disturbed by it). I know some have suggested that gamers are desensitized, but I wonder if the exposure to games has created such a rift between reality and fantasy that it makes it troublesome to feel the emotional impact of some games.

There was a similar quest in Oblivion. You had to infiltrate some mercs and go on a mission with them. They gave you some 'potion' and you slayed some enemies, then later saw a bunch of dead villagers and even livestock. Gotta say that it was handled well and had a geniune effect on me.

OT: I mostly think that this School Shooter sounds...boring. Where is the challenge in gunning down innocents? It may be fun to go beserk in GTA and mindlessly slay everything in sight, but that wouldn't work if that was all you could do in the game. But yeah, I basically agree with all three of them, if it could be handled well it could make a very interesting game, getting inside the head of a school shooter, being disgusted yet immersed at the same time...But that's clearly not what this game is setting out to do, so it just seems trivial.

Jim...I'm kinda confused here, you come off really well in writing, structured thoughtful arguments. I just don't know why that doesn't hold true for your videos. Get a column or weekly article and I may check it out...just not into the video stuff though.

First thought: you cannot divorce the subject matter from the discussion and focus solely on the gameplay. Yes, as the panelists noted, School Shooter has the same mechanics and goals as other violent game, and only the skins are different... but.

Yes, but.

It's a much farther stretch for the average gamer to imagine his or her-self as a special forces soldier. It's much more difficult to convince yourself that you're a globe-trotting treasure-hunter than it is to convince yourself that you are an antisocial loner taking vengence for perceived wrongs.

Honestly, I have the same concerns about GTA and Saints Row before you go calling me a hypocrite.

I waver on this subject. Is there the possibility that an unbalanced kid might play this game enough to undermine the social values that prevent him from emulating it? Sure. Is that a reason it should be banned? No.

FIRST RULE: we are not programmable robots. Unless you can be the first person in the history of the planet to prove that they were being mind controlled, ultimately, we are responsible for our actions, regardless of the drugs or our childhood or what media we view.

But.

It certainly is a reason to limit the audience, isn't it? 'M' for mature shouldn't be just the empty gesture that it currently is. We (and most societies) limit the dissemination of dangerous things to those we feel that are not sufficiently mature to handle them responsibly. (Don't get me started on declining levels of maturity in society today; that's a bucket of anger with no bottom.) Why not with our games as well? Booze, guns, porn... all limited to 'adults'. Hell, even some responsibilities are limited to those who are (theoretically) mature enough to handle them, such as voting and serving the the armed forces, or on a jury.

Why not certain video games? After all, we're not talking about banning it, we're talking about keeping them out of the hands of those that it might have an unhealthy effect upon. It's not a matter of validating the divestment of responsibility, we are preventing a situation where someone who might not be fully mentally and emotionally developed is forced to make potentially life-changing decisions.

One other note:

Jim: a sociopath doesn't justify his actions as 'different', a sociopath doesn't have a conscience that lets him understand what he is doing is wrong and against the values of society. The ultimate egocentrist.

Well, flame on. I'm an old stogie, and I'm sure most people will think I'm crazy.

ccesarano:
While I read this I actually thought of the opening cut-scene to Bulletstorm, and how the story would have been a lot more interesting if placed in artistic hands. You could make an emotionally engaging game where you think you're gunning down generic bad guys until it turns out you were manipulated into slaying innocents. However, I don't think People Can Fly or Epic Games are the right studio to accomplish such a thing.

Then again, there are a lot of gamers that weren't really disturbed by No Russian (Hell, I was more disturbed by the fact that I WASN'T disturbed by it). I know some have suggested that gamers are desensitized, but I wonder if the exposure to games has created such a rift between reality and fantasy that it makes it troublesome to feel the emotional impact of some games.

true i guess it'll be a while before we stop devalue acts so killing,death, and looting heck james was pretty spot on as always

ccesarano:
While I read this I actually thought of the opening cut-scene to Bulletstorm, and how the story would have been a lot more interesting if placed in artistic hands. You could make an emotionally engaging game where you think you're gunning down generic bad guys until it turns out you were manipulated into slaying innocents. However, I don't think People Can Fly or Epic Games are the right studio to accomplish such a thing.

Then again, there are a lot of gamers that weren't really disturbed by No Russian (Hell, I was more disturbed by the fact that I WASN'T disturbed by it). I know some have suggested that gamers are desensitized, but I wonder if the exposure to games has created such a rift between reality and fantasy that it makes it troublesome to feel the emotional impact of some games.

true i guess it'll be a while before we stop devalue acts so killing,death, and looting heck james was pretty spot on as always

That second person shooter idea will be stolen very quickly now...

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