In April of 1999, tragedy struck my hometown (Littleton, Colorado) when two psychopaths shot up Columbine High School in the deadliest school shooting in American history. Seven years later, what do we get? A video game where players can re-live that fateful day — as the killers.
The game, called Super Columbine Massacre RPG, mixes original Nintendo cartoon styles with crime scene photographs to re-create that fateful day when Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris murdered twelve students and one teacher before taking their own lives. This description of the game from the Rocky Mountain News is enough to make me vomit:
“A player who begins the game is met with directions and the following statement: “Welcome to Super Columbine Massacre RPG! You play as Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold on that fateful day in the Denver suburb of Littleton. How many people they kill is ultimately up to you.”
The game begins in Harris’ bedroom. The player is represented by Harris throughout the game.
The player navigates a series of scenes that require Harris to plant bombs in the school cafeteria, meet Klebold on a hill outside the school and attack students inside Columbine.
In each confrontation, the player has the option to play on “auto” mode, in which the game chooses the weapon, or on “manual,” in which the player decides whether to use a gun or a bomb.
Each time Harris and Klebold kill someone in the game, a dialogue box pops up on the screen with the words, “Another victory for the Trench Coat Mafia.”
The game uses a mix of statements attributed to Harris and Klebold and dialogue that appears to be based on reality. For example, it uses a quote taken from Harris’ writings: “Don’t follow your dreams or goals or any of that (expletive), follow your (expletive) animal instincts: If it moves kill it, if it doesn’t, burn it. Kein Mitleid!”
The last phrase is German for “no mercy.”
After spotting police from the library window, the game version of Klebold and Harris take their own lives. When they die, the screen rolls through a photo montage that includes the crime scene photos of the dead shooters and images of students running, crying and consoling one another taken from newspapers and television stations. Then images of Klebold and Harris from early childhood to high school pop up on the screen.
Finally, the game starts back up with the two in hell fighting off demons that look like the bad guys from the computer game Doom.
After the two find Friedrich -Nietzsche and return a copy of his posthumously published book Ecce Homo to him, the game shows a game version of a news conference in front of the school.
The game’s creator said he used Jefferson County sheriff’s documents and photos and newspaper and television coverage to try to craft a narrative that is meant to explain what might have led Klebold and Harris to attack their school.”
Apparently the Columbine families aren’t thrilled, either:
“‘It’s wrong,’ said Joe Kechter, whose son, Matt, was murdered in the Columbine library.
‘We live in a culture of death,’ said Brian Rohrbough, whose son, Dan, was gunned down on a sidewalk outside the school, ‘so it doesn’t surprise me that this stuff has become so commonplace. It disgusts me. You trivialize the actions of two murderers and the lives of the innocent.’
And Judy Brown, who has been immersed in the Columbine controversy along with her husband, Randy, called it a ‘sad and sick thing to make a video game out of a tragedy where 13 innocent people were murdered.'”