Super Columbine Creator Comments on V-Tech Game

May 15, 2007 -
Yesterday GamePolitics reported on V-Tech Rampage, a Flash game uploaded to the Newgrounds site by an Australian man, Ryan Lambourn. In our coverage we noted that the game was rendered in a documentary style, similar to the controversial Super Columbine Massacre RPG.

The Columbine game was widely criticized following its 2006 release and blamed by some pundits for contributing to a September school shooting by a deranged man at Dawson College in Montreal.

SCMRPG was lauded by others for its use of the game medium to explore a searing cultural event. The game would eventually be nominated as a finalist at the Slamdance Guerilla Games Festival before the event's promoter removed it as too controversial.

In a comment posted to yesterday's V-Tech Rampage coverage, SCMRPG designer Danny Ledonne offers his thoughts on the controversy:
Inevitably, comparisons between SCMRPG and VTech Rampage are being made right now... For myself I wish to point out that SCMRPG was never a for-profit endeavor and thus I never posted statements like that which is on the VTR game’s homepage:


“I will take this game down from newgrounds if the donation amount reaches $1000 US, i’ll take it down from here if it reaches $2000 US, and i will apologize if it reaches $3000 US.”


This quote seems to indicate that Ryan has no intention of leaving the game up permanently or having a channel for discourse (as I have done) but instead has unfortunately chosen an artist’s statement that reads more like a hostage note...

I would like to ask bloggers to consider not whether a game about the Virginia Tech shooting SHOULD be made but how we might go about making a game that accomplishes more than VTR does with the subject matter.

Full text of Ledonne's comment here.

Comments

Lambourn may have made the game specifically for profit, but didn't all the big news networks have their heads stuck right up that story's ass for days (with updates every 5 minutes and complete press con coverage)? Is there anyone who thinks that the story was not profitable for them? (As in, a LOT more than $3000)

If this performance art, he's playing it to the hilt and my hat is off to him. It's more likely he's just an idiot who may or may not think he's the next Jonathan Swift, if he even knows who that is.

@ Danny

I can’t imagine there’s any point in writing him back, is there? (rolling eyes)
LOL, likely not.

Sadly, given what I know of Ryan from his website and posts here, his response to you is pretty much what I'd expect. He's not the type to entertain any sort of mature, rational discourse. Communicating with him on a meaningful level, while a worthy attempt, is doomed to failure.

@ GoodRobotUs

"Child" is the one word I'll single out from your post. That's how we have to look at this kid. He's clearly not grown up enough to deal with anything in an adult fashion, and we need to stop expecting it of him.

@ Danny

I understand that you're trying to be helpful and socially responsible in reaching out to Ryan, but the guy obviously doesn't have any kind of message or statement to make. So in short, yeah, there's no point.

@hayabusa75

I generally keep to my own forum unless an issue like this arises. Blogging could be a full time job if I allowed for it and then I'd have no time to do... well, everything else! I often get told I look like an elf or a treasure troll but uh... never Justin Timberlake.

@everyone

On another note, I emailed Ryan Lambourn and our correspondence was lackluster at best...


||||||||||||| I wrote:

My name is Danny Ledonne. I created Super
Columbine Massacre RPG in the spring of 2005.

... I am deeply concerned about your motivations and
conduct with regard to the VTech Rampage game. I
made SCMRPG with serious intentions and while some
are eager to lump both of our games together, I
think there are clear differences in the
presentation of SCMRPG and VTR that warrant your
concern.


|||||||||||||| Ryan wrote:

Yes there are clear differences and i have no
intention to lump our two games together. Mainly
because i dont want to be associated with an
untalented pussy such as yourself. Seriously you
waited 6 years? You made it with RPG Maker? And wtf
was with the second half!? The whole Hell section
was some real retarded pointless rpg grind.

And dont think i dont see what youre doing...ive
gotta be the luckiest thing to happen for you huh? You
were planning a V-Tech game im sure but youre too much of
a pussy to bare the grunt of the controversy, using me
as a stepping stone towards making a socially
acceptable V-Tech game must make you giddy with
delight.

Youre also a fucking moron who doesnt understand
basic ironicism. Columbine RPG failed at humor of any
kind. You can go fuck yourself now thanks.


|||||||||||||||| I wrote:

Ah, I'm relieved to find you have a keen interest in
genuine discussion free of baseless personal attacks
and sophomoric vitriol. I have summarily concluded
that you are precisely the kind of game designer
that people think I am until they write me or read
some of my interviews in the press. It's really too
bad.

I have no intention of making another videogame -
let alone a game based on the Virginia Tech
shooting. If you refer to the press statement I
issued on 4/17/07 you'll find that I have made clear
that while such a game can be made, I have no
interest in making such a game. While it may serve
some smug interest of yours to believe otherwise,
that is the genuine truth.

http://columbinegame.com/vtechstatement.htm

Though I wasn't aiming to get your opinion on
SCMRPG, your feedback is duly noted nonetheless.
While "ironicism" isn't a word, I understand your
basic critique of the game. I wish to express my
disappointment because I have a genuine interest in
fostering some sort of friendship with you and you
have demonstrated little other than immaturity and
hostility toward me. I wish you the best of luck
and hope you are able to articulate your thoughts on
the shooting at Virginia Tech - assuming you have
any.


||||||||||||||||||||| Ryan wrote:

No we cant possibly be friends. Everyone may hate me
but youre the egotistical slime ball here spamming
your middle of the road views to anyone who will read
it.

Grow some balls and some talent.



||||||||||||||||||||||

I can't imagine there's any point in writing him back, is there? (rolling eyes)

@Carbonatedgravy

Another idea would be the risk of alienating your classmates by labeling them. IE how categorizing and scrutinizing them potentially drives them to further social isolation, in effect your character ends up contributing to the problem...
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

@kurisu7885

“Despite the posted amount of $3000.00 I wonder how much that apology is really worth.” Subtract 2999 dollars and 100 cents and you’ll have the amount.

Actually, Kurisu, I was thinking more on the lines of putting a minus sign in front of the amount of $3000.00.

I have to agree with Danny. If a game is to be made about V-Tech, don't try to hold it hostage to donations.

Seems to me he's behaving like a spoilt child caught with his hand in the cookie jar and now denying it. If he wants to walk the politic line in computer games then he should at least have the balls to defend it.

He concludes that Danny is a 'pussy', but the opposite is true, I don't like Danny's game, but I do respect his willingness to explain and defend what he created, THAT takes courage, not hiding behind a wall and blowing raspberries at people who try to talk to you.

While SCMRPG may be in bad taste to some people at least Mr. Ledonne was attempting a discourse. This V-tech game a) has come out too soon in that there has not been enough time for a truly thorough investigation into the events in Cho's life leading up to the event, and b) seeking "donations" to get the game removed is honestly a form of emotional blackmail on both the families and the school. Despite the posted amount of $3000.00 I wonder how much that apology is really worth.

“I will take this game down from newgrounds if the donation amount reaches $1000 US, i’ll take it down from here if it reaches $2000 US, and i will apologize if it reaches $3000 US.”

Well, I no longer have any respect for the guy. At least Ledone didn't set out to make a penny from his game. Calvinball has it right; this seems to be little more than his stupid idea to get some easy money.

What an unethical jerk.

"Despite the posted amount of $3000.00 I wonder how much that apology is really worth." Subtract 2999 dollars and 100 cents and you'll have the amount.

I have said it before. I find nothing wrong with a documentary about a tragic event. The History Channel is full of them. My problem with this game is that it is neither a documentary, commentary or tasteful. The statement about money proves how ignorant this kid is. He made the game to be controversial and make money at it. I hope that he does not get any donations from it. And to be paid to apologize is the sickest thing anyone can do and would be worthless.

"And to be paid to apologize is the sickest thing anyone can do and would be worthless."

Akin to agreeing to make a chairty donation if a certain game is mad,e the retracting the statements as satire.

This person is tasteless. 100% tasteless.

Super Columbine Creator Comments on V-Tech Game...

...

@Danny Ledonne:

Bro, you need to stop by and comment more often. Hey, by the way, were you and Justin Timberlake separated at birth?

I don't think Danny Ledonne was particularly successful, at least not overall with what he set out to do in SCMRPG, but I understand what he was getting at and respect that. With the Virginia Tech game, the only objective seems to be to piss people off. Either that, or it's soem sort of performance art that's a commentary on such people, but I'm betting on the former.

I appreciate all the kind words. Though I have the time, I don't have the knowledge to go about actually realizing my game idea. This probably isn't the proper forum to address it, but if anyone with decent design and programming knowledge and interest would like to discuss creating such a game, I'd be more than happy to collaborate.

I would make it a point to do extensive research on the subject from all angles, and since the game would likely require a great deal of writing to reach its full potential, I could also contribute in this capacity. It would be important to me that the project's potential for good would outweigh the controversy surrounding such a topic.

When I first heard of Super Columbine Massacre, my first thought was: "What a tasteless piece of crap. Who in their right mind would make such a game?"

But after reading an interview with Danny Ledonne, one comment he made stuck in my mind. This is a little bit of a paraphrase: "If a movie or book based on columbine was made tomorrow it would likely be critically loved. Just because I made a game people are up in arms."

He was right. I don't like the idea of his game (i've never played it), but I will defend his right to make it. From all the comments I've read about the game, and from what comments I've read of Danny's, I don't think he meant his game in poor taste, only as another form of expression, and an attempt to understand the events of Columbine. Not true with PIGPEN.

"to imply that his apologies can be purchased for a few thousand dollars truly cheapens whatever efforts he is attempting to make"

Very true. An apology for money is not worth the air that was used to utter it. If anything, Ryan is sorry he didn't think of this earlier...
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

Ha, now he's claiming it was a joke against all of the angry people. I don't think he's had any donations yet.

To Ledonne's proposition about discussing ideas to create a more socially relevant game:

I actually have an idea, and while I have no intention of following through on it, I believe it's a good one and would support its creation, though the setting need not be Virginia Tech.

Instead of a game where you act out the shooter, you instead have a game where you act out another student in a classroom. You have two (in-game) weeks to interact with the 9 (or so) other students in your class with your primary objective based around recognizing common warning signs related to school shooters. One person in the class must be identified as a legitimate threat.

The catch however is that everyone in your class is a little weird, but this alone does NOT make them potential killers. You are forced to really tune into genuine warning signs and ignore or explain away the many red herrings.

The ending should be delicate and (unless you play poorly) not result in any kind of death, but rather increased awareness and psychological help for the potential killer.

Obviously, the game would not be 100% realistic, but it would still be useful and I believe a valid commentary. Actually making this game FUN might be tricky, but if a designer was creative in the detective work and conversation options it would actually be possible.

Carbonatedgravy: that's actually an excellent idea; I'd love to see somebody put together a game like that. It could be a good mystery.

@Carbonatedgravy

Good idea. The Secret Service actually had a good collection of warning signs. Stuff that by themselves, weren't indicative of a disturbed individual (in fact, they stressed that this should not be a checklist), but in combination could be a guide for further investigation.
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

@ Carbonatedgravy

Another thumbs-up. Your concept sounds great and I'd love to see it realized. A game like what you suggest would have immense potential if done correctly, and could serve as a useful commentary on the subject. I think there's only one thing left to explore about VT: why it wasn't prevented. Your game could do that.

Hello!^

well, i dont think there is anything wrong with the game or asking for money. if people are stupid enough to even pay $3000 to get a game taken down then they dont deserve sympathy. the only reason i dont play the game is that i cant do the last level

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ccOrb Internet Service
http://www.kqrs.com/

Overall, I don't understand the puplic anger towards either the SCMRPG or V-Tech game. I'm a huge fan of violent video games such as the Grand Theft Auto titles, Saint's Row & others. So what if a game is based on fictional, semi-fictional or a real event & setting? Obviously the creator of V-Tech's only agenda is to shock & anger as many people as he can (as a person, I think he's vile). There are many people like him in the world. Anyone who's played FPS games online can account for others using screen names such as "DC Sniper", "UNIBOMBER", "Timothey McVeigh" & any other SN that would provoke laughter, anger or shock out of anyone who see's their tag. I don't agree with any lawmaker or psychiatrist who claims violence in video games leads to violence in youth. If anything, I thank the makers of violent video games for creating worlds of fantasy where I can take out my post-work aggressions on scripted sprites as opposed to unleashing on mankind physically. Cheers!

I’d prefer reading in my native language, because my knowledge of your languange is no so well. But it was interesting! Look for some my links:
 
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