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Super Columbine RPG controversy continues
January 10, 2007 2:35 PM   Subscribe

Super Columbine Massacre RPG (previously discussed here) has been dropped from the Slamdance games festival, after being selected as a finalist by the jury. The festival's organizer cites "moral obligations." In response, at least 6 of the 14 other finalists and one of the festival's sponsors have withdrawn in protest. Ongoing coverage can be found at watercoolergames (1 2). Art games and game arts are proliferating in the videogame era. For those with an interest in this subject, the beautiful new Italian volume GameScenes: Art in the Age of Videogames is a must-read.
posted by jcruelty (25 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I quoted this once in a thread before, but I'll do it again: When I painted "Fucking Jesus up the Ass with a 12-Inch Dildo" I had no idea people would get so upset.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:57 PM on January 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


Greg Costikyan wrote an excellent piece in defense of Super Columbine Massacre RPG. Worth reading. It got me to play the game, which was quite interesting for about 45 minutes. Not as a game, of course. And not really as art about Columbine. It had a lot to say about the RPG genre, though, which I appreciated.
posted by Nelson at 3:03 PM on January 10, 2007


what are the rules for free speech in terms of commerce and companies? it's not the same as it is for individuals, i don't think, is it?
posted by amberglow at 3:10 PM on January 10, 2007




Bravo to those with the testicular fortitude to withrdaw. Could someone run down a list of the finalists that have withdrawn so I can buy them?
posted by Skorgu at 3:15 PM on January 10, 2007


(and i don't see why they didn't just find new sponsors--it's a hot field--it wouldn't have been that hard)
posted by amberglow at 3:17 PM on January 10, 2007


For the curious (in chronological order):
Braid
fl0w
Everyday Shooter
Toblo
Once Upon A Time
Book and Volume

Have all withdrawn.
posted by Skorgu at 3:21 PM on January 10, 2007


Wow, nothing says "we don't actually stand for what we say we stand for" like censoring something called the Slamdance Guerilla Gamemaker Competition...
posted by vorfeed at 3:24 PM on January 10, 2007


That GameScenes link has some nice stuff in it.
posted by Brown Jenkin at 3:38 PM on January 10, 2007


What RPG engine are they using? I wonder because a friend of mine used to maintain the Sphere RPG engine, which was vastly technically superior to the more popular Verge RPG engine. But he got a real life and doesn't work on it anymore. The lack of color depth makes me think it might be verge based.
posted by delmoi at 3:46 PM on January 10, 2007


What? Too soon?
posted by hal9k at 3:48 PM on January 10, 2007


"Super Columbine Massacre" strikes me as an ill-conceived name for a video game. Especially if one would like to purvey the notion that video games can be art, rather than stupid bloodsport simulators.
posted by koeselitz at 4:12 PM on January 10, 2007


delmoi: Nelson's links says "RPG Maker"
posted by neustile at 4:24 PM on January 10, 2007


"Super Columbine Massacre" strikes me as an ill-conceived name for a video game. Especially if one would like to purvey the notion that video games can be art, rather than stupid bloodsport simulators.

Maybe crassness and overt commercialism of tragedy is rather the point?
posted by beaucoupkevin at 4:42 PM on January 10, 2007


Yeah this shit is going to sell like hotcakes.......
posted by nathancaswell at 4:45 PM on January 10, 2007


I went to school with this kid. He tried to stay anonymous throughout the whole thing but got outed by some cyber sleuthing. It wasn't until his identity got posted and he started receiving death threats that he agreed to talk to any news outlets so at the very least he could argue his side. I know this cause he asked me for advice when it happened.

Personally, I've got some serious issues with the game, but Danny makes some valid points in his (unbelievably cocky) artist's statement and a couple of the interviews he did. I suppose if you poke around on his website you'll find them.

Like I said, I've got problems with the game too, but he wasn't trying to make millions when he made it.
posted by nathancaswell at 4:57 PM on January 10, 2007


Here's a decent quote:

Michael Moore wins Oscars for his Columbine film. Gus Van Sant wins the Palm d'Orre at Cannes for his Columbine film. Danny Ledonne's videogame on the very same topic is kicked out of Slamdance. All three have critical content that looks at the possible causes for the shooting. One of them happens to have 16-bit graphics and a modicum of interactivity. One of them is called a "videogame." So there you go. Maybe I'm just missing something here; maybe I just don't get it... or maybe we live in a world where you can't make a videogame about the same thing you'd make a film about--at least not without dealing with nearly endless reactionary media and a sector of the public that from the outset was never very willing to understand.

Although he gets no bonus points for referring to himself in the third fucking person.
posted by nathancaswell at 5:07 PM on January 10, 2007


When I painted "Fucking Jesus up the Ass with a 12-Inch Dildo" I had no idea people would get so upset

You are so wrong, so so wrong you should be ashamed ! XQUZYPHYR you ass, that comic of yours would offend atheist !
posted by elpapacito at 5:16 PM on January 10, 2007


what are the rules for free speech in terms of commerce and companies?

I don't think this really has anything to do with free speech as a "right." Anyone can make a tasteless/exploitive video game and companies can choose to be associated with it or not.
posted by dhammond at 9:57 PM on January 10, 2007


From the GameScenes PDF:

A videogame "artist" is not the one who
creates a videogame, but someone who
"copies" it. As well as a painter is not the
guy who eats a piece of bread, but the
one who "paints" it, a videogame "artist"
doesn't even play a videogame but he
just extracts stuff from it. It's easy and
beautiful. The coolest thing to do!


RUN AWAY
posted by undule at 11:32 PM on January 10, 2007


Damn, if only more guerillas were this timid.

Seems like they had a choice to make right at the start:
1. Live up to what the 'Slamdance guerilla' etc ultra-hip art-warrior name suggests and never say sorry to anyone.
Or:
2. Accept corporate sponsorship and use all of the associated cash and connections to promote themselves ahead of the dozens of other independent games competitions and festivals and things already out there (there are lots).

Either is fine, but as soon as they tried both they set themselves up for a crashing fall followed by eternal lameness.

But it didn't have to happen so quickly. As I understand it, the guy who wrote the SCMRPG was actually invited to put it into the competition and it was selected as a finalist. If they'd just ignored it or eliminated it at an early stage because it's a bad game (which by most reports it is) no big deal.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 1:39 AM on January 11, 2007


maybe I just don't get it... or maybe we live in a world where you can't make a videogame about the same thing you'd make a film about

Yeah, no sympathy for this "guerilla" festival, but Danny is being wilfully dense. I suppose you could never have a sensitive film about, say, female genital mutilation if you couldn't equally have CUNNY SLICER MAELSTROM at your local Electronics Boutique.
posted by dreamsign at 4:30 AM on January 11, 2007


Slamdance doesn't need to do much to promote themselves except remind Sundance-attendees that they exist: which good or bad publicity do equally well. It's really just the hang-out for people who couldn't get tickets to the Sundance screening they wanted up the street anyway.
posted by rottytooth at 10:37 AM on January 11, 2007


delmoi: Specifically "RPG Maker 2000" for windows.

The funny thing is, all Slamdance had to do was withdraw the game because it is illegal.

There is not an English version of RPG Maker 2000. It was only ever distributed in Japan and any English version are third-party hacks. The chances are also very good that the maker simply pirated the RPG Maker SDK.

RPG Maker XP is the only english-language version of RPG Maker available in America for PCs.
posted by Durhey at 11:18 AM on January 11, 2007


Oh, and Super Columbine Massacre RPG may very well have made a poignant statement about glamorizing the Columbine killers, but the gameplay is impenetrably bad.
posted by Durhey at 11:21 AM on January 11, 2007


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