UPDATE 05/31/18: This game has been pulled and will not be released
So, whoever gave this project the green light needs to retire. And then take an ethics course before following up with Humanity 101 along with Common Sense for Dummies. That’s because there’s a new video game coming out that allows people to play as a mass shooter. In a school.
Fox 61 reports that the game, known as “Active Shooter,” drops early next month on Steam. The game parades itself as an exciting new chapter in first person shooter games. Basically, it lets players choose between playing as a SWAT team member or as the mass shooter.
If you choose to play as the shooter, your sole objective is to “hunt and destroy.”
While the game offers several backgrounds to play, one simulation is a school. Meaning, a person playing as the gunman will have to shoot children and teachers to win. That, or, playing as someone trying to escape from SWAT immediately after firing a weapon on school grounds. Information there is a bit fuzzy, but not without screenshots of a player gunning down a classroom.
Obviously, parents who lost children in mass shootings to police officers decried the video game.
One outspoken critic is Ryan Petty. He lost his 14-year-old daughter, Alaina, in the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
He took his grievances right to Valve Corp, who owns the Steam platform.
“It’s disgusting that Valve Corp. is trying to profit from the glamorization of tragedies affecting our schools across the country. Keeping our kids safe is a real issue affecting our communities and is in no way a ‘game.’”
Another parent who lost his child in the Parkland massacre also raised his voice. Fred Guttenberg, who vocalized his ire on Twitter, lost his daughter Jaime.
“This company should face the wrath of everyone who cares about school and public safety and it should start immediately. Do not buy this game for your kids or any other game made by this company.”
Considering how many kids died in mass shootings at schools alone, you’d think the company would consider the blow back. Or, at least, the release date.
Instead, they say the game comes with several disclaimers and said it’s “not for kids.” On the game’s page, developers noted:
“Please do not take any of this seriously. This is only meant to be the simulation and nothing else. If you feel like hurting someone or people around you, please seek help from local psychiatrists or dial 911.”
The company also noted this video game isn’t the most violent one they sell. But, as expected, that comment went over like a lead balloon. Honestly, it doesn’t matter if it’s just a game. The fact is, this game is tasteless and loses its stance as being a source of entertainment.
Look, I know the difference between playing shoot ’em up games like COD, Fury 3, Wolfenstein… whatever. You don’t feel attached to reality when playing these games.
However, what this video game does is simulate a real problem in America. And, sadly, that issue is mass shootings, especially in schools.
While most FPS games take place in obvious fake world, this school-shooting scenario is all too real. That’s the issue. You’re not playing COD knowing full well this will never in a million years happen to you. Because you’re playing as a trained soldier.
But mass shooters? They’re regular joes who got their hands on a gun and decided to unload it in a populated area. In short, you’re not playing a glorified hero with unattainable strength or dexterity.
You’re playing a normal guy with a gun.
Is this the first FPS that simulates a school shooting? Of course not. But, it is the first one to come out after nearly 30 people died at school shootings this year. Hence the uproar.
The time to issue FPS games set in schools, where you “hunt and destroy” people is tacky, baseless, and just there to raise people’s hackles. You know, bad news is still exposure?
Well, yeah, the issue is – while the developers may want people to play the game, some worry this might help train the next gunman.
Naturally, with this in mind, someone launched a petition to have the games forcibly pulled from the roster. Already, the petition to Valve collected nearly 100,000 since its start. The petition also wants Steam pulled entirely from Google Play.
The petition’s creator, Stephanie Robinet of Seattle, writes:
“How can anyone sleep at night knowing that they are profiting from turning deadly school shootings into entertainment?”
With the petition also came concerns of people wondering if this video game is a sign that we’re becoming “desensitized” to school shootings.
Anyways, the game’s developer, Acid, had mixed things to say about the harsh criticism. While it says it may reconsider allowing people to play as a school shooter, it did say this video game doesn’t promote violence.
Basically, the developer says the game is a simulator and, by no means, should inspire the next copycat mass shooter.
But, interestingly enough, they also admitted the game was JUST meant to let players act as SWAT team members.
“Then I thought about adding more gameplay to it by adding additional roles: of the shooter and the civilian. While I can see people’s anger and why this might be a bad idea for the game, I still feel like this topic should be left alone.”
At first thought, I thought that maybe I am being a bit harsh on this game. True, there are way worse games out there. However, for a game coming out just weeks after the tragic shooting at Santa Fe… I see this move as tasteless.
Hence why critics say this game is simply exploiting a national tragedy. Thankfully, even the most liberal of players also see this.
Personally, I don’t believe video games contribute to the ongoing violence in America. I think it’s a byproduct of our mass media, economy, and untreated mental health problems.
While I am cautious to say this game might inspire a mass shooter, I do know this. This game is adding to the fire for those who DO believe video games cause mass shootings.
Anyways, what do you make of “Active Shooter?” Are people just too sensitive nowadays or does this game cross the line?