Columbine RPG axed from Slamdance

cafeteria.JPGAccording to gaming blog Kotaku, the Slamdance film festival decided to drop Super Colombine Massacre RPG from its shortlist of finalists. The controversial game allows users to experience the events that happened on April 20th 1999 at Columbine High, by enacting the two shooters, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris. In a statement on the game’s website, the creator, Danny Ledonne, explains that he developed the game to answer the question everybody is asking: “Why did they do it?” According to him, after playing the game, you supposedly get a “deepened” and “refined” understanding of the events of April 20th 1999.

Super Colombine Massacre RPG (SCM) was hoping to distinguish itself in the new Guerrilla Gamemaker Competition that will be launched at this year’s Slamdance film festival. But Peter Baxter, co-founder and president of the festival, decided to remove it from the finalists lists after a few of the financial backers pulled out when they learned SCM was in the competition. Ledonne was not angry at the decision but expressed his worries concerning “freedom of speech and video game development”. It is the first time in 13 years that an entry has been removed from the Slamdance festival because of public protests.

Considering how fresh the Columbine story still is in people’s minds, it’s understandable that the game is to face censorship. Yet it’s surprising that it happens at the Slamdance Guerrilla Gamemaker competition, an event for independent game developers that experiment “in art style, gameplay, metaphor, story, concept and time”.

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