What kind of video game would proudly promote the option to wield Columbine shooter Eric Harris' TEC-9 and Virgina Tech killer Seung-Hui Cho's akimbo pistols while embarking on a murderous rampage? The unashamed School Shooter: North American Tour 2012, a new game mod "dedicated to being the best school shooting experience an angsty little shit could ever experience."
The makers of School Shooter, a project built on Valve's Source game engine and Half-Life 2, put players in the role of a "disgruntled student" with the singular goal of killing as many unarmed students in a five minute spree. Each round ends with the player committing suicide by way of a self-inflicted gun shot wound.
Tacky, trolling, tasteless... whatever you want to call the game, its creators don't really seem to care.
School Shooter boasts a "weapon loadout system based on 4 real-life spree killers," referencing the Columbine High School and Virginia Tech massacres, and, even more disturbing, the slashing attack at a Sasebo, Japan elementary school.
In the screen shots released online, the victims in School Shooter all appear to be stock models lifted from 2004's Half-Life 2, none of them having the appearance of children. The settings, however, appear to mimic a school's cafeteria, gymnasium and classroom.
The developer of this designed-to-offend mod says in a new interview with The Escapist that the inspiration behind School Shooter is that fact that "nobody has ever tried to create a proper game about a school shooting." Labeling previous attempt Super Columbine Massacre RPG! "fucking boring," anonymous developer "Pawnstick" says the brazen mod is simple "entertainment," "just a game."
"It's not my place to try and teach the world to love again, or to cure society's ills," the developer says. "The purpose of video games is to be fun, and to provide players with scenarios they can't (Or shouldn't) re-enact in real life."
Pawnstick argues that School Shooter offers innocent-killing gameplay and over the top slaughter that people already enjoy in games like Grand Theft Auto IV and Bulletstorm, only in a more blunt and brazen way.
The creator also contends that the Source mod might help prevent future school massacres, saying "one of our intents with the game is to make it it's own sort of exclusive experience: That any angst-ridden kid who has the idea in his head to shoot up his school, who ends up playing the game, finds it amusing enough of a substitute that it keeps them from doing it in real life."
Even if it doesn't, School Shooter's developer says they won't cave to pressure—as the developer of Auschwitz revenge game Sonderkommando Revolt did—or requests from victims' families. "The idea that our mod would be solely responsible for an otherwise sane individual becoming suddenly insane is ... Well, insane in it's own right!" Pawnstick argues.