On Super Columbine Massacre RPG

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I just finished playing the Columbine Game something I’ve been planning on doing for awhile. Sure, it’s been awhile since the documentary was released, even longer since the Slamdance controversy and longer still since I first heard of it back in ’05, but I figured the hype and media attention were far more interesting than the game itself. Which proved to be more or less correct in regards to my own experience.

It’s a pretty poor “game” in most respects, but seeing as it’s meant to be a documentary I guess that is like saying that “Bowling for Columbine” had poor cinematography, or complaining that my thesis didn’t have a dramatic enough setting or used too complex words. What I can judge this game on is how well it uses the interactivity to help the player understand the tragedy, and I would have to say it’s something of a mixed bag. Subtle things like how a normal school corridor is transformed into a sneak game, how most students choose to cover and defend themselves even when they can attack you and the sarcasm with which you get stat bonuses from violent media are by themselves brilliant. They are more allusions than obvious references though, and without having played a lot of videogames prior to this you would miss them. This is fine since gamers are who this is marketed to, but Danny Ledonne sometimes seem to think he need to spell it out for everyone else by writing the effects on screen. “Less is more”, as people say.

I also felt the “Doom” part destroyed the experience, not that it was worse than the Columbine part – on the contrary – but because it was too different. The first half of the game worked reasonable well as a documentary, it provided some insight (although these were – of course – only Ledonne’s theories and research) and was genuinely uncomfortable to play, while the last part played out more like a conventional game, the narration and style was more reminiscent of a cartoon (and not only because satan from South Park was in it) and had little to no connection to real events. I can understand if Ledonne wanted to hold a deeper psychological discussion regarding the killers’ motives, I just don’t think it comes off very well and contrasted with the rest of the game it is somewhat in poor taste.

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Posted on Feb 29/08 by Saint and filed under Gaming culture | No Comments »