Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Tasteless video game in the works...

This morning, I read about a new video game that is set to come out very soon.  The game, called "Active Shooter", is going to be released on June 6th on Steam, which is a gaming platform owned by Valve Corp., out of Washington State.  This game has outraged parents of slain victims in Parkland, Florida because it will simulate an active shooter shooting up a school.

"Active Shooter" was developed by Revived Games and was published by a Russian company called Acid.  It will supposedly sell for $5 to $10.  The game will allow players to choose between portraying a SWAT team member responding to a shooting or portraying an actual shooter whose objective is to "hunt and destroy."

I can totally understand why parents whose children have been shot in school shootings are horrified by this game.  In fact, I think anyone who would want to play this game is probably someone who needs to be checked out by a psychiatrist and/or law enforcement.  On the other hand, these kinds of "active shooter" type games have been available for a long time.  What's different about this one is that is involves a school setting and that's all too real for too many people right now.

At the very least, it seems extremely tasteless for a company to want to profit off of the tragedy of school shootings by making a video game.  But then, plenty of business people are jumping on the bandwagon.  What about that company that is hawking bullet proof shelters for classrooms?  Would there be a need for such a product if the United States didn't have such a huge problem with school shootings?  Personally, I think it would be better for school districts to use the money they'd pay for the shelters to pay their teachers.

Of course, no one needs to play an active shooter game involving the shooting of students in a school or a SWAT team responding to a school shooting situation.  The only people I can think of who might possibly benefit are police officers who are in training to deal with school shootings.  Teenagers certainly don't need to be playing this game.    

According to Change.org, thousands of people have signed a petition urging Valve not to release the game.  But it turns out this is not the first video game based on the premise of school shootings.  It just happens to be the first one since the most recent shootings in Parkland, Florida and Santa Fe, Texas.  The game developers also urge prospective players "not to take the game seriously" and to either contact a psychiatrist or call 911 if the urge to hurt people becomes too real.  Also, the game is "not recommended for children".  Well duh...

Why can't we have more video games that are raunchy, funny, or sexy?  We have so many violent video games that are supposedly for adults, but they're mostly violent games.  I would much rather play an R rated version of the Sims than a game that involves shooting people.  If you play the Sims and "woo hoo" (they can't even call it sex), your Sims will be covered up.  But far be it for any American game publisher to cover up violence.

To Steam's credit, they are now considering whether or not it's a good idea to release the game.  My guess is that they'll simply wait until there is such a time when school shootings are either less shocking or less common.  It may be a long time before that happens.


  1. My hope is that the game isn't released at any time in the near future. I have no strong opinion concerning what causes school shootings, though I think there's an element of copycatism (made-up word) in its recent prevalence. Some people who might previously have simply offed themselves now choose to go out in a blaze of glory and take others with them. Of course it's sad that they're driven to such desperation to take their own lives, much less to take the lives of others, but once they decide to become mass shooters, I lose all sympathy I would have had for them, not that they would care. (The Sandy Hook thing, where the guy took out a whole pack of tiny children he had never known, was especially hard to take in that regard.)

    I agree with your suggestion that if there is extra money in schools, it should be used to pay teachers more.

    I taught calculus for five days last week. A teacher had to go on early maternity leave. The classes had been taught the previous week by a substitute teacher without a mathematical background. Substitutes off the list cannot be expected to have qualifications to teach higher-level mathematics. A university professor was to take over the class, but she couldn't start until today. Some of the students were unlikely to pass the class without scoring well on the final exam, and they needed a few more weeks of instruction in able to accomplish that. Their school year continues until June 11. Sub pay is so low that no one with qualifications to teach calculus would have taken the job. The district couldn't simply pay a calculus sub more because the teacher's association (AKA union) would have objected, so they had to designate me as a consultant rather than as a substitute teacher. I feel bad about circumventing teacher's association policy, and substitute teachers are paid too little. Still, the kids needed to be taught, and I needed the money. I was paid a per diem of what a contracted teacher would have been paid with my level of education, which amounted to just over three-hundred dollars per day. I wish it hadn't been some gerrymandered contract and that every substitute teacher with anything approaching my level of education was equally well compensated.

    1. I never took calculus. I think it would drive me insane.


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