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Games based on Tragedy: the dark side of the Internet

A tragic loss of life occurs and then someone makes a game about it. Look at these examples:

·      * Chris Dorner’s Last Stand: Chris Dorner, a former LAPD cop, was wanted for murder and an enormous manhunt resulted with him barricaded inside a burning log cabin while police officers tried to smoke him out or kill him (apparently either was acceptable). His body was burnt to a cinder and then 4chan (maybe I’m not surprised) made a game about it. The game involves gunning down a seemingly endless stream of cops while picking up buckets of KFC to regenerate health (this video is incredibly offensive, you have been warned).

·    * Super Columbine Massacre RPG: Play as Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold and re-enact the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School. The game includes flash-backs of the two’s past experiences.


·      * Sandy Hook: The Game: Apparently this is the official (I’m not sure by who’s standards) video game of the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School. You get to play as Adam Lanza.


Now here’s the thing: I get that the right to free speech means that if someone wants to make unbelievably offensive (to many people) games like this, they are allowed to. But then if we believe that games based on real violent events should be censored, what about games based on fictional violent events? People play games like Grand Theft Auto every day, a game where one of the funnest parts is wreaking a bit of mayhem (especially when you manage to steal a tank, OMG). The point is, while there are a few lobbyists for these games’ destruction, none of them receive the immediate and enormous clampdown that the games of the former sort do.

I’m not trying to say that these games based on real tragic events are not incredibly insensitive (because really, they are), but one wonders whether it’s possible to provide some sort of justification for their existence (even though it might be a pointless exercise). I’ve been thinking about this for a while and I can think of 3 main reasons that would drive someone to develop a game like this:

[P.S. I’m no psychologist, so I’m probably wrong, but whatevs]

1. The people who make these games are incredibly sick and twisted and enjoy the hurt and anguish that their controversial games will cause.

2. The people who make these games are enormous attentionwhores looking for their 15 minutes of fame. Think trolling on a grand scale.

3. The people who make these games are in fact channelling the greater psychological needs of society in that they are looking to “un-realify” the tragic events proceeding the game by making it. Parodying the events or presenting them in a virtual manner like this allows a degree of separation – thereby making it less sad and terrifying and easier to deal with (I’m not sure how much this applies to 4chan though, because really, if you’ve been there, you would know why – or maybe it’s applicable if you consider that they might be driven by an extremely latent and subconscious need to make sense of events).

At the end of the day, it’s probably a lot easier for me to write about this topic in such a harry-casual manner because I haven’t been directly affected by any of the happenings that inspired the creation of these games. But the fact that they are being made and will continue to be made every time something awful happens is something we can more than likely agree on. And maybe there’s even a positive side to their existence in that they might inspire at least some intelligent discussion of these events that have so horrified society; but mostly they make me sick to my stomach.

Stephanie's Twitter | MWEB GameZone

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd


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