V-Tech Rampage Creator Demands Payment to Remove Game

May 15, 2007 -
In the history of video games, perhaps in the history of the Internet, this is something never seen before: an audience held hostage.

Ryan Lambourn, the Australian man who created the highly offensive V-Tech Rampage, has posted a message on his GooGumProduce website demanding payment to take the game offline:
ATTENTION ANGRY PEOPLE:

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.

Newgrounds, of course, could take the game offline without regard to Lambourn's wishes. It remains to be seen whether the site will do so.

It's unclear whether Lambourn's Dr. Evil-style demand is for real or just part of an elaborate prank. Either way, the clock is now running on Ryan Lambourn's 15 minutes of fame.

UPDATE: We're running a GP poll (see sidebar) on the V-Tech game situation. Be sure to vote!

UPDATE 2: Lambourn writes on his website that the money demand was a joke:
...the donation thing is there as a joke against all the people commanding me to take my game down. I didnt think anyone would donate money to it and so far my paypal account has proven me right...

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Comments

wasn't there a website called "Forsake the Troops" that ransomed out whatever controversial message they were sending for the tune of 15 grand or something? Really vague in my head but I remember something like that. I think they actually got paid the money so they'd take down the site.

Sure, this young man has all the right in the world to make this particular game. But does it mean that he should? Most definitely not. If we all did things only because we could, and with no consideration for what is good and useful, there would be no point in doing anything. Our entire existence would be utterly meaningless.

Detractors have every right to say that this game should not be made. Pushing them to the side and saying simply, "Don't play it if you don't like it," is ignoring the plain and simple fact that this is a moral issue and not simply a matter of preference. If the complaints brought against the game were a matter of gameplay mechanics, genre, or art style, the "ignore it if you don't like it" argument would hold water. However, since opponents find the subject matter and presentation of the game to be morally reprehensible, they feel compelled and are in fact obligated to bring up their objections.

This can be applied to anything. For example, saying, "Well, if you don't like savery, don't own slaves," would be absurd. If someone believes that something is morally wrong, they have an obligation, which should be recognized by all other individuals, to voice their opinion in a reasoned, well-thought manner. This is how we get to have progress in the first place. When people simply pursue whatever shallow impulses they have, and when they keep all their values strictly to themselves, what results is a stagnation that builds into resentment and decay.

Also, cocks.

I was there when it happened and all I have to say is that I FUCKING LOVE THIS GAME!

Jabr, can anyone delete those ridiculous long spams? It's tought to scroll to actual content. Maybe GP can? Anyone?

not a good guy, 2000usd, oh my god

So yeah, I don't praise him. He's just trying to piss people off, people who either were seriously wounded or know someone who was wounded/killed in this event. I'm sure everyone would be praising someone if they made a "kill the Jews in the gas chamber" video game.

@logic

Believe me we when I say we all know not to ban something just because it is offensive. Most of the comments are either knee-jerk or made out of digust over his monetary offer (since no one guessed that he was joking). You also must understand that a lot of people think pigpen made this to offend not to offer light on the tradgedies or anything remotely noble but rather as a grasp for attention (I have not played the game so I can't offer you my opinions on this part). I have seen much worse stuff on newgrounds as well (in fact just go to the bastard collection and you'll see what I mean).

Right on! I praise him for exercising his free will, even if it is devious or not.

This happened way back at the beginning of the day, but I agreed with you construct. You misread what I wrote. I think he believes to speak however he feels free. This "ransom" is just an antagonizism of people who disagree with him.

This guy isn't making a dime of his game on newgrounds. He is only asking people to pay if they want him to take it down. He isn't making people pay him to play th game, an no one is obligated to pay him a cent. He is only asking for money to take it down as a joke and as a way to tell the people complaining to put their money where their mouth is, and so far no one has stepped up to the plate. While this game is in poor taste, deplorable, offensive, etc, there is no reason for it to be taken down. Just because something offends someone doesn't mean there are grounds for it to be censored, removed, etc. He should have the right to artistic expression just as comics, musicians, artists, etc do. Anyone calling for this game to be taken down is being totally un-American. Newgrounds.com has always tried to give people as much artistic freedom as possible. They do have guidelines, but I don't believe this entry violates any of them. Also to beat this game you have to follow the historical chain of events that have been played out heavily in the media. If anything this is a history test to see how much we absorbed from the media's over reporting of the event. I don't see it being any worse than playing a WWII game and shooting Germans, or playing GTA and running over old ladies, etc.

People need to get a grip and stop calling for content that offends them to be removed. There isn't a law that says you have the right to no be offended. If something offends you, ignore it and go elsewhere. Change the channel, go to another game, etc.

i am all about the right to free expression, however the video game industry is always under the microscope. the creator has every right to create the game however it was selfish to profit off a tragedy and piggy back off of it to gain his own notoriety. As gamers we need to maintain a positive image of our community and creating tasteless games dosent help our medium to become a mainstream form of entertainment it sets it back.

Bad joke, man, bad joke.

What an ill-conceived and distasteful prank...

"HEY MORONS, HE DID THAT AS A JOKE TO PROVE A POINT

THE HARD PRESS NEEDS SOME MEDICINE AND NONE OF YOU CLOSED MINDED FOOLS ARE GETTING ANY"

-Insults are not a valid form of debate

-He wouldn't be interviewed on TV unless the station paid him. I think that prtty much shows his motivations.

All I can say is ur a loser and all the losers who support this game,are losers. Get girfriends!!! I am for free speech but there is a line in society and it was crossed with this game. The basis of it is human pain and agony. Just imagine for one minute that u were a student in that school or it was someone u knew, im sure u would have pissed urself 5 times over. Ur a dick mate,get laid!

I'd like to kill his ass 4 a joke also. This is making light of and promoting a tragic and senseless terrorist act on an innocent college. Now let me express my freedom of speech by saying "Give me 15 minutes with this walking third world bacteria and he'll need that money 4 medical bills and maybe his own funeral if I could get away with it."

HEY MORONS, HE DID THAT AS A JOKE TO PROVE A POINT


THE HARD PRESS NEEDS SOME MEDICINE AND NONE OF YOU CLOSED MINDED FOOLS ARE GETTING ANY

@Michael

"Help, help, [we're] being oppressed!"

Sadly this is going to be used as an example as to why the industry is evil.

Ryan Lambourn definitely has some issues he needs to deal with. Pathetic!

So, like Thompson, he's in it for the money.......

That's a goddamn disgrace. It's bad enough he made a bad, deliberately controversial game, but to try and profit off the controversy?

I hope he doesn't get a cent.

"I hope he doesn’t get a cent."

I hope he winds up in prison for extortion or blackmail.

When it becomes outlawed to write, say or create something, anything - offensive or not - then only outlaws will remain expressing themselves freely.

It's bad taste but it ought to be free.

Thing is, he's charging for it, so it's not even 'Free' speech any more, by charging for it, he's making it a commercial product, don't think politicians won't try to play on that.

Sorry, not charging, demanding monies would be more accurate.

Well, after thinking a little, this is my conclusion.

It's in poor taste, definitely. However, it's freedom of expression for him to create it. At the same time, though, Newgrounds has all right to remove it. Because he is hosting it on their site; now, if he created his own website for it, then that'd be different, because it would be HIS site.

So, in the end of it all, I think yes, Newgrounds should take it off. However, if he makes his own site, then whatever; he'll be diving into his own problems with that, and whatever happens to that site, I don't care.

He created it, so how could he possibly be stopped from profiting from that? Yeah, politicians might think of something, but they don't play by their own rules, sometimes.

Persoanlly I think this could be stopped if the game contains references to actual people. They should be having some kind of protection by law against being 'virtualized' in a video game without their consent.

I don't buy the "Free speech" excuse in this case. To use free speech, you must have a speech first. Where is it in this crappy flash game ? Where is it in this money request ?

Although I didn't like SCMRPG, I have to recognize that at least, Danny Ledonne had something to say.

god what a douchebag. there is a difference between SCMRPG and this game, SCMRPG as controversial as it was, wasnt made for the sole purpose of being controversial as a desperate attempt to get attention.

I believe that free speech applies to everything you want to say, create or publish. Doesn't matter if you stutter or if your grammar is less than perfect. Things don't have to be made with talent and skill, they don't have to be smart or beautiful. If what's being published isn't actually against the law, that is.

"Thing is, he’s charging for it, so it’s not even ‘Free’ speech any more, by charging for it, he’s making it a commercial product"

Jack Thompson thanks you. You just stated that commercial products aren't protected under the first amendment.

If this is a joke, then it's a bad one.
If not, well then this guy is just a retarded, greedy asshole.
Enough said.

Wow...

I always try to see good in people even the gamers anti-christ JT... but what a colossal anus!

I Hope he doesn't get any money, because even if he does get $1000 he could be lying. or take it down, and make a Version 2, and post it.

Poll need new option tho "Take it down to piss off the maker"

I just played the game. This might sound bad, but it made me laugh. I laughed that anyone would put their name down on that game and take credit for it. I laughed that anyone would take it seriously. And the fact that he wants paid to take it down? Even more hilarious.

Now, we GPers know the issue this will cause with the anti-game crowd, but Lambourn just handed us all the ammo we need. He is just out to exort people based on his use of controversy. Been done before, and better, Lambourn. Now I know there will be the Burrell's out there that can't or won't understand, but it's fairly evident this is a quick notoriety-making, get-rich quick scheme. So most folks, even politicians, can be told that. If not them, the courts will see it for what it is.

[...] Como cuando apareció Super Columbine, la masacre de Virginia Tech ya tiene su videojuego: V-Tech Rampage. En los Estados Unidos comenzó la polémica y el creador del game pide dinero para bajarlo de la red: promete pedir disculpas a cambio de 3 mil dólares [...]

The poll is really given much choice. There must be an option that says something like:
The game is appaling and should be taken offline. This does not breach freedom of speech because Newgrounds can do whatever they want with posted content.

I maintain my original stance; though it would appear that in Australia they don't have the same freedom of speech laws that we do here in America. Now he's asking for money to not only take his tripe off line but also to apologize. That just puts him in the same boat as JT in my opinion. A self centered massacre chaser.

I feel the need to reiterate a point that seems to have been lost over the years. Along with the freedom to freely express ourselves, there also comes the responsibility to use that freedom wisely. Yes there will always be people who act like jerks and abuse the freedoms they enjoy; but if we don't start stepping up and speaking out against things like this on a moral level, then we risk losing those freedoms to the public's lemming like desire to feel safe.

He's an Australian guy, right? Like me. Cool.

Aussies don't have protected free speech. It's not in our constitution. We have an 'implied right of political expression', but there are no laws that protect us from being censored.

Though Australia is a signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it has not been ratified into law through Parliament, and proposals to add free speech to our constitution were rejected back in the 40's.

I'm no lawyer, and things may have changed since I last checked, but the creator of this work has no personal right to free speech.

That being said, it would stil be morally wrong to censor him. But it would also be morally wrong to sit back and let him do this without complaint. Just as it's morally wrong to make people PAY in order to remove his work. If he knows his work should be removed, then he should remove it. Otherwise he's blackmailing people over the spread of reprehensible material.

As long as he doesn't do anything to infringe upon the rights of others, people can only really see it as Offensive and not illegal, etc, etc.

I don't think anyone ever said it was illegal. It is offensive and morally repugnant though, moreso now that he's trying to extort money over it.

I don't think there's anything wrong with making a game about VTech. This guy obviously is not of the highest character, but a lot of people aren't.

It's definitely in bad taste, that's his prerogative. What is not, however, and grounds for removal of the game is his use of copyrighted music without the permission of the label or artist. Someone call the RIAA... haha

Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you SHOULD do it.

Making a game like this, knowing it wil cause outrage and hurt people who have lost loved ones in this tragedy, putting it on the web and then asking for money is an act by a very very sick person.

I personally hope that something very horrible happens to him, preferably over a period of a few months involving a cheese grater or similar device.

This is pathetic...

Now, I'm not big on SCMRPG myself, but at least with that there was a point: The author had something to say and the nerve to do it despite the subject. But this? This is a cheap copy cat attempt devoid of that point. And now he's trying to make money off it.

Free speech? Yes, of course he has his right to create this game and post it online, just as I have mine to think he's an idiot for it. That's how it works, right? It's Free speech, not "I have to agree with everything put in front of me" speech.

If you'd like to give Ryan Lambourn a call, his number is: (02) 9670-2947

Or, for those of you calling from outside Australia, that's: +61 2 9670 2947.

It's just past 10:30pm here Sydney time, so you won't want to call in say, 3 hours time from now.

And he lives here if you're interested:
http://maps.google.com.au/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=8+Barossa+Close,+St.+Clair,+N...

I seem to recall Lambourn stating that we all cared more about GTA IV then people's lives...so I guess making a mockery of a horrid tragedy really shows that you care about people's lives??? I don't get it.

The part of me that believes in human decency doesn't want to accept the idea that Pigpen would make a game that trivializes over 30 deaths just for the hell of it. He's been acting the fool ever since he finished it, but I can't help but wonder what train of thought got the ball rolling, if maybe there was a more meaningful purpose to it all at one point.

Then again, I'm the type of guy who'd trust Al Capone with my lunch money, so...

In my opinion, this is not really expression of anything but greed. I don't believe the Super Columbine Massacre was necessarily a good idea. I don't know if Danny Ledonne's heart is where he says it is, but the potential exists for what he says to be true--that the intent was to cause people to reflect. This guy lost that the minute it became a ransom. Now it says one thing: "I'm pissing you off to get money."

Does he have the right to do this? In the USA, yes. I'll defend Ledonne's right to go forward with SCM. I'll laud his bravery, and the fact that he didn't back down under pressure. I'll definitely defend his right to freedom of expression. I acknowledge this fellow has the same rights. But please don't defend freedom of expression in this one particular case, because he doesn't care about his freedom of expression here--if he did, it wouldn't be for sale.

I will say this, though: I don't want Newgrounds to pull the plug, for one reason: it sets a precedent that would likely cause meritorious, but potentially offensive things to be pulled as well. I would much rather see pressure from people who know him, and are disgusted with him, cause him to remove it.

Ya know if anonymous ever wanted to get some good kharma, this would be a good opportunity.

I think he's a horrible person.

There's a clear difference between what he's done and made and the Columbine Game.

For what its worth, I hope this stays with him, and that no legitimate workplace, game industry or otherwise, find hims a worthy person to employ. For all the rights he has, human, moral or governmental, I can't, now, find a way to respect him or what he's done.
 
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