The Virginia Tech shootings have recently come back into the headlines with the announcement that the school will be fined $55,000 for failure to notify the campus community in a timely fashion regarding shootings that eventually resulted in the death of 30 students and teachers on April 16, 2007. You can read more about the fine and what it means for institutions of higher learning on Tuesday's Newswire, but as I was searching the Internet for related news, this article popped up.
The article is about the banning of a video game that allows players to emulate school shooting sprees:
The object of School Shooter: North American Tour 2012 is to murder as many defenseless students, teachers and members of staff as possible. To do so, the player uses weapons based on those used by the likes of Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. After completing the spree, the player is encouraged to commit suicide before being captured by law enforcement officials.
With so much of the blame for school shootings already placed on violent video games (although that theory has been largely debunked, but was certainly a huge issue during the shootings at Columbine High School in 1999), why would game developers think this would be acceptable? Well, I guess because violence sells video games. Not being a gamer myself, I can't attest to the draw of such things, but I know there are a lot of people spending a lot of money (and time!) on video games that involve shooting people.
The developer of the game said in the article that he created the game because other school shooting games just weren't that much fun. "Nobody has ever tried create a proper game about a school shooting," he said, adding that he was not particularly moved by the tragedy at Columbine.
I guess it's a good sign that this game wasn't released "due to pressure from critics", but chances are it will be released at a later date. I personally don't think it should be released at all, but it's definitely not a smart marketing strategy to release it in April. After all, it's a tragic month for school shootings.