I mentioned Super Columbine Massacre RPG! in response to a previous post, and am sure that it’s been discussed ad nauseam, but I say something about it myself.
This game was created by Danny Ledonne, 6 or so years after the tragedy using RPG Maker. As you’ve probably assumed from the title of the game, in the game, you play as Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris and you reenact the Columbine massacre. You also make your way through Hell and meet John Lennon, Malcolm X and Friedrich Nietzsche among others. The game is an amalgam of footage and images from the tragedy with 16 bit hoo-hah.
The game was met with a predominantly negative response, but was, oddly enough, supported by one of the victims of the shooting.
I hate this game and everything about it. In response to the question of whether or not this is a work of art or a trivialization of a tragedy, I’d say the latter.
The fact that the victims, or “enemies”, in the game are divided into stereotypical tags such as “Prep”, “Jock” or “Math Teacher” is more appropriate than using the actual names of victims, but still masks the fact that even with the fantastical elements added, you are acting out what was a tragic reality to so many people.
The victim in support of Super Columbine Massacre RPG! thought the game would give rise to appropriate dialogue about the tragedy. I will never know the reality of the tragedy, but isn’t the tragedy enough to bring about appropriate discussion ?
6 years later, what made Ledonne want to create something that would force those affected by the tragedy to revisit it ?
Ledonne says the following in a section lifted from his artistic statement; “The lingering question—that grand burning query so many have tried to answer—is one I believe this game allows us to at least access in a more honest way. Beyond the simple platitudes and panaceas of gun control, media ratings/censorship, bully prevention programs, and parental supervision remains a glaring possibility: that the society we have created is deeply moribund. This game asks more of its audience than rudimentary button-pushing and map navigation; it implores introspection. This is why the game’s forum is equally important to the SCMRPG project. Through it, people from six continents and all walks of life are discussing the game itself and the incident it is based on. Some of them confess childhood pain or share personal feelings on the shooting. Some of them sustain vulgar diatribes or accuse the creator of wrongdoing. Some of them discuss the game’s social implications in a broader context. At the end of the day, the understanding of the Columbine school shooting is deepened and redefined. That is the real object of the game.”
An “understanding” of a tragedy like that which we’re discussing is in my opinion, not something that can or should be “deepened” or “redefined” by one person with something like Super Columbine Massacre RPG!
I remain unconvinced. There is a tasteful way to do this.