Slamdance explains why SCMRPG was pulled

Columbine game was pulled over legal risk:

In a follow-up to Alyric’s post about Super Columbine Massacre RPG Slamdance Festival co-founder has said that the reason SCMRPG was pulled from the festival’s competition was for legal reasons…

The “hurt” factor and a moral obligation to the public, along with a “very high” legal risk, were a few reasons given Sunday during a panel discussion about why the controversial video game “Super Columbine Massacre RPG” was pulled from a Slamdance game competition.

It didn’t help the game’s reputation, panelists agreed, that there was a “mushroom cloud” of negative and uninformed press and knee-jerk reactions to Danny Ludonne’s game.

“It was a very hard decision to pull Danny’s game from the competition,” said Slamdance co-founder and president Peter Baxter. “We have not got the time or the money to take on the first round of civil action on this.”

Prior to the start of the annual film festival and its newer video game competition, Slamdance was already getting outside pressure to distance itself from Ludonne’s game over fear of a civil lawsuit, possibly coming from relatives of Columbine victims.

But Ludonne’s game was described by panelists and the discussion’s audience members as part documentary and part “art” for its depiction of actual events that took place when its creator, now 25, was a sophomore in a Colorado high school. When he created the game and submitted it anonymously to an Internet address, Ludonne said he was trying to work through notions of how he identified with the two Columbine killers.

First of all, it cracks me up to no end that they misspelled Danny Ledonne’s name throughout the entire article. Secondly, SCMRPG is hardly what I would call art. And it’s more of a “fan tribute”, if you will, then a documentary. Documentaries are supposed to be impartial. SCMRPG is an obvious tribute to the Columbine killers even though Mr. Ledonne says otherwise. And yes I actually have played the game.

When the game was pulled from the competition Mr. Ledonne claimed that this was a blow against free speech. I disagree. I think that it’s the best exercise in free speech. The protesters voiced their opinion and the founder of the festival listened. That is what free speech is all about.

Do I think the game should be banned? Not at all. We have the right in this country to make any kind of offensive piece of crap we’d like, just about. However, the game should not receive the praise that it has. It is not art. Art contributes something to society. The only thing this game contributes to is the designer’s own ego. It’s not close to documentary due to its inaccuracies. For example, calling the victims generic names like “Jock” instead of using the actual victims’ names. If you’re striving for authenticity why not go all the way?

Personally outside of hero-worship, I think the game is nothing more than an experiment in attention whoring. It looks like the experiment was a success.

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