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01/24/2007 Entry: "Super Columbine Massacre RPG"

"When I discovered a program called RPG Maker, I knew I had to achieve my childhood ambition of designing a video game. The question of what the game’s subject would be came almost instantly; a striking event from my own formative years tugged at my instincts to make the 'unthinkable' game. Little did I know as I began to research the Columbine shooting on April 20th, 1999 that the subject never went away in the minds of many others, either. From Germany to Australia and all across the United States, thousands of websites devoted to providing information/criticism/critique of the incident came to my attention. The question at the center of the storm was an elusive one: 'why did they do it?'

"Thus far, video games have been relegated to escapist entertainment—an industry known best for little blue hedgehogs and plucky mustached plumbers bouncing about in fantasy worlds. There is little in the realm of socially conscious gaming—software that does more than merely amuse for a few idle hours. Yet while some low-selling games offer pedagogical education (in geography, math, etc.), games that genuinely challenge social taboos or confront real cultural issues are nearly non-existent. I wanted to make something that mattered; I wasn’t willing to put months of my scant free time into an easily forgotten adventure set in a mythical realm of dragons or spaceships.

"I knew I had to be true to the events of the Columbine school shooting—as true as I could be while maintaining respect for the tragically deceased; it was a more delicate balance of personal morality than many of my detractors imagine I took. Since 1999 so many mistruths have been spoken and political postures have been struck in the wake of the shooting that I didn’t want to fall into the speculative pitfalls of much of the media’s coverage. The game had to be told from the perspective of the shooting’s greatest enigmas of all: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. They left behind many of their thoughts—some frightening, some deplorable, some comical, and some deeply enraged. I collected all of them and assembled them into a role-playing game aesthetically reminiscent of those I would play in my own youth. It only made sense, I thought, to make this game feel like a combination of reading, playing, and thinking."
ARTIST'S STATEMENT: A Meditation on Super Columbine Massacre RPG!, Danny Ledonne (via Rebecca's Pocket)

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