Montreal Police "Investigate" School Shooting Game

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Montreal Police "Investigate" School Shooting Game

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Montreal police are reportedly "investigating" Dawson College Massacre!, a Flash game based on the 2006 shooting at Dawson College that left one student dead and 19 injured.

On September 13 2006, Kimveer Gill went on a shooting rampage at Montreal's Dawson College, killing 18-year-old student Anastasia Rebecca De Sousa and wounding 19 others before taking his own life after being shot in the arm by police. A Flash game based on that tragedy was released last week and it has quite predictably stirred up strong feelings among students at the school.

"I couldn't believe it," nursing student Laura James told the CBC. "I was like honestly shocked, because why would someone do that?"

"It can hurt people. If someone just falls upon this site that was actually there they could be reliving something that's like really traumatizing in their life," added fellow student Serina Galle. "No one wants to relive that."

One of the sites hosting the game removed it after being asked to do so by the Dawson student union but it's still available on at least three other sites, including Newgrounds, where the game's author wrote, "Most of the dialogue is taken directly from quotes of the shooter! I tried to stay true to the reality of this event. In the event everyone did freeze in a way and let Kimveer take target practice in the cafeteria. Had the police not quickly engaged him he would have killed more. The game is made as such to follow these events and at the same time try to add a little fun, but it's mostly to re-live the experience in a way... have fun." He also said he was sorry if people are "offended in some way" by the game.

"Virtuaman," as he's known on Newgrounds, told the CBC that the point of the game is to "draw attention to the reality of school shootings." "I didn't make it to be a sicko or anything. I didn't want to offend the families or any of that, but I guess it's going to," he said. "It's pretty graphic."

It's not actually graphic at all; it includes images of the shooter that appeared in the press at the time and plenty of pixelated blood, but the gameplay and graphics are about what you'd expect from a simplistic Flash game. Nonetheless, Montreal police are apparently "investigating" the game, although on what grounds is currently unclear. Virtuaman added that he doesn't believe he's broken any laws.

Dawson College Massacre! isn't the first videogame to be based on a school shooting. In 2005, Super Columbine Massacre RPG!, based on the 1999 attack on Columbine High School that left 13 dead and 24 injured, was released to an even greater uproar.

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I blame fucking Newgrounds... rarely does anything good come from there.

Newgrounds.
Everything by Everyone.

They really mean that don't they?

Calumon: Uhhmmm... Why?

I'd have a bit more sympathy for the flash maker, if he hadn't chosen to name his game after a specific real-life event.

That decision on his part, on the other hand, tells me he must've been hoping for some of this kind of controvesy to help promote his game. Wether consciously, or not. Why not just make it "School shootout simulator?" Less interest than if you name it after a specific event.

It's people that make these kinds of games that give the rest of us a bad name.

Andy Chalk:
Montreal Police "Investigate" School Shooting Game

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Montreal police are reportedly "investigating" Dawson College Massacre!, a Flash game based on the 2006 shooting at Dawson College that left one student dead and 19 injured.

On September 13 2006, Kimveer Gill went on a shooting rampage at Montreal's Dawson College, killing 18-year-old student Anastasia Rebecca De Sousa and wounding 19 others before taking his own life after being shot in the arm by police. A Flash game based on that tragedy was released last week and it has quite predictably stirred up strong feelings among students at the school.

"I couldn't believe it," nursing student Laura James told the CBC. "I was like honestly shocked, because why would someone do that?"

"It can hurt people. If someone just falls upon this site that was actually there they could be reliving something that's like really traumatizing in their life," added fellow student Serina Galle. "No one wants to relive that."

One of the sites hosting the game removed it after being asked to do so by the Dawson student union but it's still available on at least three other sites, including Newgrounds, where the game's author wrote, "Most of the dialogue is taken directly from quotes of the shooter! I tried to stay true to the reality of this event. In the event everyone did freeze in a way and let Kimveer take target practice in the cafeteria. Had the police not quickly engaged him he would have killed more. The game is made as such to follow these events and at the same time try to add a little fun, but it's mostly to re-live the experience in a way... have fun." He also said he was sorry if people are "offended in some way" by the game.

"Virtuaman," as he's known on Newgrounds, told the CBC that the point of the game is to "draw attention to the reality of school shootings." "I didn't make it to be a sicko or anything. I didn't want to offend the families or any of that, but I guess it's going to," he said. "It's pretty graphic."

It's not actually graphic at all; it includes images of the shooter that appeared in the press at the time and plenty of pixelated blood, but the gameplay and graphics are about what you'd expect from a simplistic Flash game. Nonetheless, Montreal police are apparently "investigating" the game, although on what grounds is currently unclear. Virtuaman added that he doesn't believe he's broken any laws.

Dawson College Massacre! isn't the first videogame to be based on a school shooting. In 2005, Super Columbine Massacre RPG!, based on the 1999 attack on Columbine High School that left 13 dead and 24 injured, was released to an even greater uproar.

Permalink

I live in Montreal. Infact, I graduated from Dawson last year. I was not in school when the shooting took place, but my sister almost was. You have the front door where the shooter walked in, and on the left hand side is a cafe. My sister was there when my parents called her to go have lunch with them. The shooting occured no more than 30 minutes after she left.

Attention doesn't NEEd to be drawn on school shootings. they are tragic enough and we all mourned the loss of Anastasia. Whether one person dies or thirteen die, it's a tragedy, and to make a fucking passtime of it "To draw attention to it" is just pathetic

One of the theories as to why crazy people shoot up schools is because they are attention-starved and depressed. Like they feel like their life is worth nothing and they've never done anything worthy of note. One thing that's sure to get news coverage is shooting up their school. They might even take some of the people that were mean to them with them in the end.

If that theory holds even remotely true, I don't know why people would make games like that. It's just drawing unnecessary attention to the concept that nobody wants to hear about anyway. If anything, they're doing exactly what the shooter wanted.

As far as I know, this theory has yet to be proven, but better safe than sorry IMO.

I'm going to put aside my own views for a moment purely for the purpose of playing devil's advocate and just wonder, aloud, how many people that find this "disturbing" or "disgusting" are also the people that feel that the Taliban elements of the new Medal of Honor title or the controversial intro of the last Modern Warfare title are just fine.

Yes, the latter may not be based exactly on a real life event, but it's close enough in the end. So, while we're laughing at how ludicrous it is that politicians are calling for the ban of Medal of Honor or that military base stores refuse to stock it, and while we're turning up our noses at the sickening nature of the game mentioned here, take a moment to look in the mirror and recognize our own hypocrisy.

Just saying. After all, it's this mentality that ultimately got "Six Days in Fallujah" canned.

RollForInitiative:
I'm going to put aside my own views for a moment purely for the purpose of playing devil's advocate and just wonder, aloud, how many people that find this "disturbing" or "disgusting" are also the people that feel that the Taliban elements of the new Medal of Honor title or the controversial intro of the last Modern Warfare title are just fine.

Yes, the latter may not be based exactly on a real life event, but it's close enough in the end. So, while we're laughing at how ludicrous it is that politicians are calling for the ban of Medal of Honor or that military base stores refuse to stock it, and while we're turning up our noses at the sickening nature of the game mentioned here, take a moment to look in the mirror and recognize our own hypocrisy.

Just saying.

I dont see hypocracy, there is difference between a military engagment and a lone psycho shooting up a school. If you cant see the difference you need help :P im aware your playing devils advocate but still had to put a hole in your argument

Just my two cents, but the art medium that is video games is being used to depict a tragic event that occurred here in real life. I support this kind of artwork, and therefore agree with the creator. He did nothing wrong here, and it would be wrong to suppress a work of art no matter how controversial it is.

RollForInitiative:
I'm going to put aside my own views for a moment purely for the purpose of playing devil's advocate and just wonder, aloud, how many people that find this "disturbing" or "disgusting" are also the people that feel that the Taliban elements of the new Medal of Honor title or the controversial intro of the last Modern Warfare title are just fine.

Yes, the latter may not be based exactly on a real life event, but it's close enough in the end. So, while we're laughing at how ludicrous it is that politicians are calling for the ban of Medal of Honor or that military base stores refuse to stock it, and while we're turning up our noses at the sickening nature of the game mentioned here, take a moment to look in the mirror and recognize our own hypocrisy.

Just saying. After all, it's this mentality that ultimately got "Six Days in Fallujah" canned.

There's a huge difference between a school shooting and and a war, don't act like it's the same thing.

"...The game is made as such to follow these events and at the same time try to add a little fun, but it's mostly to re-live the experience in a way... have fun."

Adding fun to the events? That's just fucking tasteless.
And before people come in here and start saying dumb shit like "hurrr people blaming violence n games", guess what the media and the politicians did over here after the school?
Blame games? Nope, they took steps to further control the sales of guns. Maybe the United-States could learn a thing or two from us.

EDIT:

SamFisher202:
Just my two cents, but the art medium that is video games is being used to depict a tragic event that occurred here in real life. I support this kind of artwork, and therefore agree with the creator. He did nothing wrong here, and it would be wrong to suppress a work of art no matter how controversial it is.

The problem is that it is not used to pass a message or anything, the guy said he decided to show the events and make them more fun. That's not using the medium to create art, it's using the medium as provocation and create shock.

If there's one guy who'll come up to defend games as art it's me but shit let's choose what we defend guys. Let's defend art, not shocking bullshit.

RollForInitiative:
I'm going to put aside my own views for a moment purely for the purpose of playing devil's advocate and just wonder, aloud, how many people that find this "disturbing" or "disgusting" are also the people that feel that the Taliban elements of the new Medal of Honor title or the controversial intro of the last Modern Warfare title are just fine.

Yes, the latter may not be based exactly on a real life event, but it's close enough in the end. So, while we're laughing at how ludicrous it is that politicians are calling for the ban of Medal of Honor or that military base stores refuse to stock it, and while we're turning up our noses at the sickening nature of the game mentioned here, take a moment to look in the mirror and recognize our own hypocrisy.

Just saying. After all, it's this mentality that ultimately got "Six Days in Fallujah" canned.

I gotta say man, You have a professional army fighting one another, and then you have a man walking into a school and shooting students. One is a deranged man with no cause shooting to inflict pain and suffering. The other is two factions fighting for their cause. Even the "no Russian" level had a plan behind it in the terrorist's eyes.

ShadowKirby:

RollForInitiative:
I'm going to put aside my own views for a moment purely for the purpose of playing devil's advocate and just wonder, aloud, how many people that find this "disturbing" or "disgusting" are also the people that feel that the Taliban elements of the new Medal of Honor title or the controversial intro of the last Modern Warfare title are just fine.

Yes, the latter may not be based exactly on a real life event, but it's close enough in the end. So, while we're laughing at how ludicrous it is that politicians are calling for the ban of Medal of Honor or that military base stores refuse to stock it, and while we're turning up our noses at the sickening nature of the game mentioned here, take a moment to look in the mirror and recognize our own hypocrisy.

Just saying. After all, it's this mentality that ultimately got "Six Days in Fallujah" canned.

There's a huge difference between a school shooting and and a war, don't act like it's the same thing.

"...The game is made as such to follow these events and at the same time try to add a little fun, but it's mostly to re-live the experience in a way... have fun."

Adding fun to the events? That's just fucking tasteless.
And before people come in here and start saying dumb shit like "hurrr people blaming violence n games", guess what the media and the politicians did over here after the school?
Blame games? Nope, they took steps to further control the sales of guns. Maybe the United-States could learn a thing or two from us.

Dawson student or just Montreal resident? The sad part is the number of tests you already need to undergo for a gun lisence. They mentioned pictures of guns he had on his site, but ultimately they blamed him. They weren't idiots that brushed it off, they took it seriously, and I'm glad to have seen that

Celtic_Kerr:

Dawson student or just Montreal resident? The sad part is the number of tests you already need to undergo for a gun lisence. They mentioned pictures of guns he had on his site, but ultimately they blamed him. They weren't idiots that brushed it off, they took it seriously, and I'm glad to have seen that

Nah, just a Montreal guy (well, I go to university here).

Completely in bad taste. Not putting points in the "Games are a legitimate art form" column.

ShadowKirby:

The problem is that it is not used to pass a message or anything, the guy said he decided to show the events and make them more fun. That's not using the medium to create art, it's using the medium as provocation and create shock.

If there's one guy who'll come up to defend games as art it's me but shit let's choose what we defend guys. Let's defend art, not shocking bullshit.

I won't be selective in which art I will defend, when you put one area of art up for censorship you weaken the protections given to art as a whole. I completely doubted his intent with this artwork, but no one is a saint. You can't just make the bad go away.

SamFisher202:

ShadowKirby:

The problem is that it is not used to pass a message or anything, the guy said he decided to show the events and make them more fun. That's not using the medium to create art, it's using the medium as provocation and create shock.

If there's one guy who'll come up to defend games as art it's me but shit let's choose what we defend guys. Let's defend art, not shocking bullshit.

I won't be selective in which art I will defend, when you put one area of art up for censorship you weaken the protections given to art as a whole. I completely doubted his intent with this artwork, but no one is a saint. You can't just make the bad go away.

Ok, guess what, art can be offensive and tasteless too. And I never asked for it's removal or censorship, I'm just heavily criticizing and condemning it because I feel I have as a man who believes in the artistic and expressive power of games a responsibility to praise games that are doing a good job at passing certain messages and certain ideas (not the ideas, but the way they are passed), and call out the games that are just being offensive and have no real value.

Not all pieces of work are equal. The ability to choose between what we defend and what we shun will inevitably form what the medium will be.

that game was actually a lot of fun. Could have used better music though.

ok, so.. some guy makes a game where the point is relive the experience of a school shooting.. and have fun. Because when you think fun, you think real life school shootings. Police in Montreal really should be doing better things with their time (unless it's hand out tickets for jaywalking.. in which case this is a better use of their time), but on the other hand. this dude needs mental help.

Or maybe we should just wait for the sequel, having fun reinacting the adventures of Marc Lepine in √ącole Polytechnique. Where you have to go into the college, separate the guys from the girls, and then slaughter as many of the women as you can.

Afterthought - their probably will be people who hold that sequel up as art too. sad

ShadowKirby:

Ok, guess what, art can be offensive and tasteless too. And I never asked for it's removal or censorship, I'm just heavily criticizing and condemning it because I feel I have as a man who believes in the artistic and expressive power of games a responsibility to praise games that are doing a good job at passing certain messages and certain ideas (not the ideas, but the way they are passed), and call out the games that are just being offensive and have no real value.

Not all pieces of work are equal. The ability to choose between what we defend and what we shun will inevitably form what the medium will be.

In my humble opinion, all art can be offensive, and tasteless to somebody, but it's still art with an idea, be it good or bad, at its core that deserves equal protection. I never said you were up for its removal, or censorship. That is just what I see to be the most likely course of action. The medium is not defined by people choosing what is good and what is bad, it is defined by the individual. Art is about total freedom to create anything, which is why I defend this work.

SamFisher202:

ShadowKirby:

Ok, guess what, art can be offensive and tasteless too. And I never asked for it's removal or censorship, I'm just heavily criticizing and condemning it because I feel I have as a man who believes in the artistic and expressive power of games a responsibility to praise games that are doing a good job at passing certain messages and certain ideas (not the ideas, but the way they are passed), and call out the games that are just being offensive and have no real value.

Not all pieces of work are equal. The ability to choose between what we defend and what we shun will inevitably form what the medium will be.

In my humble opinion, all art can be offensive, and tasteless, but it's still art with an idea, be it good or bad, at its core that deserves equal protection. I never said you were up for its removal, or censorship. That is just what I see to be the most likely course of action. The medium is not defined by people choosing what is good and what is bad, it is defined by the individual. Art is about total freedom to create anything, which is why I defend this work.

To defend everything and not make distinctions between what is art and what is a stupid game where you shoot people based on actual events... for fun, is only devaluating the art itself.

Ok I am not a Canadian so I did not hear of this event. On one hand it is offensive to the surviors and their familes on the other I played it and I had fun. Also I may be a misanthrope which would explain why I wouldn't mind if someone made a 9/11 flash game.

Stay with me here. I don't think making a game like this is a bad idea. For gaming to move forward as a serious media, we have to engage difficult topics in a way that best suits the media. Where the game maker went wrong, I think, is in his presentation of the game. The last thing you should say is to have fun while shooting pixelated people based on real people who got shot. He should have just stuck with the "raising awareness" approach or made it some kind of tool to try to understand the mind of the killer. These are the kinds of things gaming can do to help prevent these massacres, but it's just disrespectful and mean spirited to try to make it a "fun" game when it may be better as a "thoughtful" game.

ShadowKirby:

To defend everything and not make distinctions between what is art and what is a stupid game where you shoot people based on actual events... for fun, is only devaluating the art itself.

In my opinion, art has no value until looked upon by an individual who forms his opinion about it. It's value is entirely dependent on the individual. I don't see how this devalues art.

SamFisher202:

ShadowKirby:

To defend everything and not make distinctions between what is art and what is a stupid game where you shoot people based on actual events... for fun, is only devaluating the art itself.

In my opinion, art has no value until looked upon by an individual who forms his opinion about it. It's value is entirely dependent on the individual. I don't see how this devalues art.

Firstly, without malice, you don't need to say "In my opinion" every time

Also, there is a line between art and a videogame made where you shoot students. If it was called "School shooter" it would be one thing, but they named it after aspecific event. Art is general, and is open to interpretation. If Dawson student simply associated it with Dawson, that's one thing, but he made it one specific example.

A project like this is simply a game. It is not art.

SamFisher202:

ShadowKirby:

To defend everything and not make distinctions between what is art and what is a stupid game where you shoot people based on actual events... for fun, is only devaluating the art itself.

In my opinion, art has no value until looked upon by an individual who forms his opinion about it. It's value is entirely dependent on the individual. I don't see how this devalues art.

I have to admit, I have also seen art this way, and once you portrayed the event in this light, I think you may have changed how I see it. Sadly, this seems to make me wonder if perhaps art must be given limitations for the sake of society. Speaking in extremes, suppose someone made a brilliant scuplture out of the fresh corpses of kids from a hospital. Even if it had an artistic message, it would still be harmful, just as this game was to the victims of the school. The frustrating thing would be knowing where to draw the line between acceptable art and unacceptable art.

I fail to see how anyone can suggest this could be seen as art. Message? No merit in that. Story? No merit in that. Maybe if it was graphically the best thing the world has ever seen, but no. It's not even fun. It's a flash game, made by someone who clearly wants a lot of attention so has made something to create as much uproar as they can.

I'm all for various sources being seen as art but it has to have some kind of merit. This has none. It's just a bad taste shocker put together to get some headlines. Uwe Boll's Postal has more credibility to be seen as art than this.

It should be taken down, without question. I suspect Newgrounds doesn't do things like that, but it should.

This is jsut the creator's desperate cry for attention on the internet.

What gets me is the "reliving the real event....for fun" bit. I seriously doubt any of the people who lived through that wuld consider any part of it "fun." Something like this is extremely disrespectful to the people who were hurt, and 10 fold to the family of the girl who died.

I know I'd be royally pissed if someone made a game where you get to play as the beltway sniper because I lived through that whole ordeal. Nothing about that was fun, or entertaining, and since games are supposed to be fun and entertaining making one based on the event would be a huge slap in the face to everyone who was effected by it.

Fuck the guy who made this abomination, and fuck anyone who supports him.

...And you think they would have better things to do...

Celtic_Kerr:

Firstly, without malice, you don't need to say "In my opinion" every time

Also, there is a line between art and a videogame made where you shoot students. If it was called "School shooter" it would be one thing, but they named it after aspecific event. Art is general, and is open to interpretation. If Dawson student simply associated it with Dawson, that's one thing, but he made it one specific example.

A project like this is simply a game. It is not art.

There are many paintings that portray tragic events that happened in this world, can video games, the latest medium of art, not do such a thing? To simply dismiss it as a game, in my opinion, only weakens the argument that this is an art medium. I would like to point out that art has two sides, subjective and objective. Unlike subjective art which is open to interpretation, objective art has no room for interpretation.

SamFisher202:

Celtic_Kerr:

Firstly, without malice, you don't need to say "In my opinion" every time

Also, there is a line between art and a videogame made where you shoot students. If it was called "School shooter" it would be one thing, but they named it after aspecific event. Art is general, and is open to interpretation. If Dawson student simply associated it with Dawson, that's one thing, but he made it one specific example.

A project like this is simply a game. It is not art.

There are many paintings that portray tragic events that happened in this world, can video games, the latest medium of art, not do such a thing? To simply dismiss it as a game, in my opinion, only weakens the argument that this is an art medium. I would like to point out that art has two sides, subjective and objective. Unlike subjective art which is open to interpretation, objective art has no room for interpretation.

I'm all for videogames being an art form, but even objective art has a cetain amount of interpretation. In this this case, it cannot be subjective, because you're ignoring the author's comment. "The game is made as such to follow these events and at the same time try to add a little fun, but it's mostly to re-live the experience in a way... have fun."

THis is what the art is supposed to be. It's objective, there is no interpretation. So now my question to you is: Do you see reliving a shooting where 19 people were injured and 1 person lost their life for fun as art? Do you see playing a man who went into a school and shot helpless people as art?

Celtic_Kerr:

I'm all for videogames being an art form, but even objective art has a cetain amount of interpretation. In this this case, it cannot be subjective, because you're ignoring the author's comment. "The game is made as such to follow these events and at the same time try to add a little fun, but it's mostly to re-live the experience in a way... have fun."

THis is what the art is supposed to be. It's objective, there is no interpretation. So now my question to you is: Do you see reliving a shooting where 19 people were injured and 1 person lost their life for fun as art? Do you see playing a man who went into a school and shot helpless people as art?

If objective art has more than one interpretation, it's not really objective any longer. That would really defeat its purpose of portraying an event.

As for your question, depends who you are, I agree that his words were poorly said, and doubt his intent. However, I consider it to be objective art portraying a tragic event. It's undistorted by emotion or personal bias, it's clear what it is. He didn't sugarcoat it, and try to hide what it was portraying.

I support free speech and all that, but this game seems a bit over the line and insesitive. Still, I'll have to play it before I can make any opinion that matters.

Edit: Okay I played it, yes it is just some violence glorifying shit made by an insesitive moron. And no, it's not even fun. However, just because I don't like something, doesn't mean it doesn't have a right to exist. After all, it's not hurting anyone.

SamFisher202:

Celtic_Kerr:

I'm all for videogames being an art form, but even objective art has a cetain amount of interpretation. In this this case, it cannot be subjective, because you're ignoring the author's comment. "The game is made as such to follow these events and at the same time try to add a little fun, but it's mostly to re-live the experience in a way... have fun."

THis is what the art is supposed to be. It's objective, there is no interpretation. So now my question to you is: Do you see reliving a shooting where 19 people were injured and 1 person lost their life for fun as art? Do you see playing a man who went into a school and shot helpless people as art?

If objective art has more than one interpretation, it's not really objective any longer. That would really defeat its purpose of portraying an event.

As for your question, depends who you are, I agree that his words were poorly said, and doubt his intent. However, I consider it to be objective art portraying a tragic event. It's undistorted by emotion or personal bias, it's clear what it is. He didn't sugarcoat it, and try to hide what it was portraying.

It's not an objective portrayal of the event. The guy came in, shot a bunch of people, one of them point blank in the head while she was begging him to spare her live, and killed himself when he was cornered by the police.

That game is a dumb shooter where your goal is to kill as much people as possible and it uses real tragic events as a backdrop to create shock.

It is not a portrayal of the events that took place that day.

It's not objective art, it's not subjective art, it's not goddamn art, it's fucking bullshit.

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