The School Shooter Mod

Extra Consideration

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deathninja said:
Once again I have to agree with Jim.

Anyone else think he should switch to written articles? The guy has (some) valid points, but he just doesn't work on screen.
This

I was personally shocked I agreed with Jim on this subject especially as I found his videos obnoxious and I haven't watched one since the second.
 

jmarquiso

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deathninja said:
Once again I have to agree with Jim.

Anyone else think he should switch to written articles? The guy has (some) valid points, but he just doesn't work on screen.
He's had a number on the Escapist so far, as well as Destructoid. I would recommend you search for him since he is an excellent writer.

I'm personally not a fan of his built up persona
 

Harry Mason

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Goddamn, Jim is irritating. He's a pointless addition to the Escapist, and he's starting to infiltrate things other than his poorly made show.

And, really Jim? The whole "The hurtful power of racial slurs is the fault of those hurt by them" argument? I thought most of us left that behind in middle school when we grew powers of reasoning. If someone were to call you a grotesque fat-ass devoid of brain, it would be them being a jerk, not you masochistically taking it too personally.

Funny thing is, I frequently agree with Jim and disagree with the likes of MovieBob and Yahtzee. But I HATE Jim and LOVE MovieBob and Yahtzee.

Boo.
 

swimon

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Ok these seriously need to stop being cut in two. When the discussion resumes next week I won't remember this part and this week lacks real closure. Just do one whole bi-weekly and this would jump from "I might as well" to "must-read".
 

jmarquiso

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Moviebob: "As the saying goes, 'Shit has its own integrity.'"

For once I agree with Bob here. It perfectly has the right to exist, and be discussed, but that is its only point in its existence. It isn't honest about anything really. There's a reason stories are written to give specific moralization to the mechanics, and he isn't really doing much by "exposing" this.
 

jmarquiso

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ccesarano said:
While I read this I actually thought of the opening cut-scene to Bulletstorm, and how the story would have been a lot more interesting if placed in artistic hands. You could make an emotionally engaging game where you think you're gunning down generic bad guys until it turns out you were manipulated into slaying innocents. However, I don't think People Can Fly or Epic Games are the right studio to accomplish such a thing.

Then again, there are a lot of gamers that weren't really disturbed by No Russian (Hell, I was more disturbed by the fact that I WASN'T disturbed by it). I know some have suggested that gamers are desensitized, but I wonder if the exposure to games has created such a rift between reality and fantasy that it makes it troublesome to feel the emotional impact of some games.
I haven't played Bulletstorm, but it is written by an artist in his own right - comic book writer Rick Remender. I highly recommend you read anything by him - specifically FEAR agent. This is not to say you're wrong, but I have to say the voice behind the game has some artistic cred.
 

Extra Consideration

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Harry Mason said:
Goddamn, Jim is irritating. He's a pointless addition to the Escapist, and he's starting to infiltrate things other than his poorly made show.

And, really Jim? The whole "The hurtful power of racial slurs is the fault of those hurt by them" argument? I thought most of us left that behind in middle school when we grew powers of reasoning. If someone were to call you a grotesque fat-ass devoid of brain, it would be them being a jerk, not you masochistically taking it too personally.

Funny thing is, I frequently agree with Jim and disagree with the likes of MovieBob and Yahtzee. But I HATE Jim and LOVE MovieBob and Yahtzee.

Boo.
I think the point is the power of the words come from our reactions. If you did call him that and he wasn't offended your words would have been powerless.
 

Squarez

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This is the point where Jim Sterling officially lost any and all respect from me (his awful, awful show notwithstanding). He argues that the only way to combat offensive content is to just not be offended by it, which is stupid in a plethora of ways. The first being that if this line of thinking continued on it's logical path then we as humans would never be shocked or offended by anything, which would be a. not possible and b. completely stupid. The second and largest logical fallacy in his argument problem is that he implies that people can choose what to be offended by, which just makes me foam at the mouth at how someone can POSSIBLY think that.

Spot1990 said:
Harry Mason said:
Goddamn, Jim is irritating. He's a pointless addition to the Escapist, and he's starting to infiltrate things other than his poorly made show.

And, really Jim? The whole "The hurtful power of racial slurs is the fault of those hurt by them" argument? I thought most of us left that behind in middle school when we grew powers of reasoning. If someone were to call you a grotesque fat-ass devoid of brain, it would be them being a jerk, not you masochistically taking it too personally.

Funny thing is, I frequently agree with Jim and disagree with the likes of MovieBob and Yahtzee. But I HATE Jim and LOVE MovieBob and Yahtzee.

Boo.
I think the point is the power of the words come from our reactions. If you did call him that and he wasn't offended your words would have been powerless.
Oh dear, actual people think this too. Not just the ridiculous cartoon figure that Sterling is.
 

PlasticTree

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Hi there, I'm just dropping by to say that these articles are a great, great addition to the content the Escapist provides, and I'd love to keep reading articles such as these. This is the kind of stuff that makes me come back to the Escapist.
 

Android2137

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Spot1990 said:
The Airport Scene in Modern Warfare 2. Hell in the Sims my back yard would've sent a shiver down the spine's of Fred and Rose West (and I know I'm not the only one who played the Sims like that). In GTA you can act out a lot of horrible things on innocent people. Large scale bombings in streets. Snipers on buildings picking off innocent civilians. Just the other day a woman was murdered with a machete in the streets which you can also do in GTA. This mod isn't about the specific shootings that happened. It's based on the concept of school shootings. Yes they're horrible. But so's a lot of stuff in games. We live in a messed up wrld. And the average game dev is less depraved than most murderous sociopaths. If a dev putsa violent crime in a game, believe me some sicko has done it before.
Admittedly never played those games myself (and never did anything intentionally horrible to my sims). I had played the first couple levels of my brother-in-law's Modern Warfare 2 though. The experience wasn't fun so much as absorbing. Felt fear of getting shot and killed (and restarting), anxiety from being unable to hear orders over the gunshots and chaos, depression at the ruined buildings, and a bit of guilt when I shot people I wasn't supposed to on accident (I was really really bad at that game). Maybe I'm just more emotional and gullible than other people, but I really felt the heavy atmosphere that comes with war. (But GTA, never played, so I can't say anything about that.)

I'm not saying these games shouldn't be made. The world IS screwed up and hiding from that would only exacerbate the problem. What I am saying is that these horrors shouldn't be treated so flippantly. I didn't find Modern Warfare 2 flippant, but I do get the feeling that this mod will be just from the way the developer talks.
 

Escapefromwhatever

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Jim comes across much better in writing than speaking.

Anyway, I think MovieBob pretty much owned this discussion. He turned it around and controlled the flow of it masterfully, wonderfully demonstrating his point. A point that I agree with. I am left curious, though, as to what Yahtzee would have said, only because I was wondering that when I clicked on this link only to find out that he couldn't do it this week.
 

Kopikatsu

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I have to agree with Jim, because some of his points are what I've been saying for a long time.

Example, the 'Words only have the meaning we ascribe to them.' is something that I constantly say to tell people why 'curse words' are silly. (Not in those exact words, but the gist is the same.) I forget which one specifically, but there was a fictional country in a book where the worst phrase they had was 'You're fair haired.' and that was considered to be extremely insulting, but that same sentence is more likely to get you a raised eyebrow even in places where the vast majority of the native population have dark hair and it's considered strange to have lighter hair. (Japan, for instance.)

Killing is killing, so I don't see why killing a man is more acceptable than killing a woman or child.

Besides, video games are just made of pixels. If you can understand that what is happening on the screen isn't real, then there shouldn't be a problem with what is being shown.

I love brutally murdering humans in video games (And get pissed if I'm only given robots to 'kill' as is the case with Vanquish), and regularly watch horror movies and play horror survival games where such things are frequently depicted...but the moment I saw a significant amount of blood in real life that wasn't my own, I literally fainted.
 

WanderingFool

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GOD DAMMIT! I had all but forgotten about this mod. Well, anyways, my personal opinion on the matter is that, like all indie games, and by extension mods also, do deserve to be protected by freedom of speech (at least, thats what I hope the Supreme Court rules, unless they did rule and nobody told me).

But Im also of the opinion that Freedom of Speech should be a case-by-case bases, and that people like the mod creator and WBC should not be aloud free speech because of their abuse of such freedom... but that going down the way of malevolent dictator, and I still dont have the military force of kill-bots to support my rule, so this entire passage is void.

I just wish people would exercise some hint of intelligence and reasoning before they open their fucking mouths...
 

vivster

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ha i knew jim would find his way into it
and rightfully so
he made at least some valid points aside the generic ones
 

Harry Mason

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Spot1990 said:
Harry Mason said:
Goddamn, Jim is irritating. He's a pointless addition to the Escapist, and he's starting to infiltrate things other than his poorly made show.

And, really Jim? The whole "The hurtful power of racial slurs is the fault of those hurt by them" argument? I thought most of us left that behind in middle school when we grew powers of reasoning. If someone were to call you a grotesque fat-ass devoid of brain, it would be them being a jerk, not you masochistically taking it too personally.

Funny thing is, I frequently agree with Jim and disagree with the likes of MovieBob and Yahtzee. But I HATE Jim and LOVE MovieBob and Yahtzee.

Boo.
I think the point is the power of the words come from our reactions. If you did call him that and he wasn't offended your words would have been powerless.
My words would be powerless, yes. But that doesn't mean that I wouldn't be being a dick. I can ignore someone kicking me in the shins. It doesn't mean that they aren't the ones to blame for all the shin kicking!

I love your avatar, by the way.
 

Sylocat

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Nov 13, 2007
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See, this is why I like Jim Sterling's writing but hate his videos: When he's not trying way too hard to be funny, he's actually capable of being clever and insightful.

Surprised Yahtzee didn't join the council today, but I understand the "cast rotation" aspect, and I like the variation. Glad to see MovieBob back in.

Also, is there a reason Bob's replies were split in two by the page breaks? Was it really that much trouble to fit everything on three pages that you needed to split entries in half, show one half of a reply at the bottom of a page and the other half at the top of the next one? And twice in a row? That's just irritating.
 

Therumancer

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Nov 28, 2007
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I'm a horrible writer, but sometimes when I read these, I regret not working for The Escapist since we rarely ever get to see any really over the top disagreements even over points. Also it seems to me that these guys stay too closely "on topic" and as a result don't look at the issue as a whole. For example: (up until the - )



I'll be blunt, the reason why "School Shooter" has the right to exist is because there is literally no arguement that can be made about it, other than people QQing due to Columbine or whatever.

In the end "School Shooter" is pretty much a game about kids in a high school dying. Well, for DECADES we've had this kind of thing going on in fantasy, especially in horror movies. Your typical horror movie being a morality play of sorts where all of the "unworthy" are killed by some monster, or a seriel killer. As often as not, the seriel killer, or the person who unleashed the supernatural force, just happens to be another student. Oftentimes that student is someone who was wronged but is taking their vengeance too far.

As a morality play of sorts, while the differance between good and evil is clear, we the audience are also called upon to empathize with the person responsible for the violence, that's usually crucial to the finale. Even so, a lot of us were ALSO probably cheering somewhere in the backs of our minds as the obnoxious jocks, bullies, party guys, and slutty cheerleaders, got what was coming to them. Incidently if you know ANYTHING about Columbine you might notice that their "hit list" happens to be very similar to a "teen screams" horror movie, as was their motivation. While nobody thinks what they did was right, at the same time a lot of people can very much empathize with why they did it.

"School Shooter" really doesn't cover any material that hasn't been done before. Indeed the only real criticism is that there isn't much in the way of a plotline explaining why the person is doing what they are doing, but I suppose it's one of those situations where the plot and the action pretty much go together.

In the end it's no worse than any other game where you put yourself in the eyes of the bad guy... like a gangster, killer, monster... etc. I mean nobody is screaming with moral outrage when you choose to play the Aliens or Predators in "Aliens Vs. Predator" and kill off the marines.... playing the bad guy is no differant there than it is here.

The thing is that we've had dialogue about horror for DECADES, and in the end those carrying the "against" flag wound up losing to the "for" crowd and the right to free speech. People wringing their hands and going "why, oh whhhhhhy!" over this game are no more deserving of a platform than people who might want to rant about "Friday The 13th" and how horrible Jason Vorhees was.... this arguement was resolved decades ago, those who bring it up are just aiming for attention. Yes "School Shooter" was inspired by real events, but then again so was "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre".

-

Off the subject I will say that of everything being said here, the only bit that I really take offense to, is Bob speaking out against the "military fetishism" of video games, along with the jingoism and "kill everyone not like us" attitude. I say this because while it might offend those with left wing, and/or non-militant thinking, I consider this kind of thing educational. I think right now with the condition the world is in, left-wing, "live and let live" peacenik morality is something people need to be conditioned out of. Dwindling resources, rising enemies at all corners, a bad economy, and tons of other things pretty much all come down to the fact that we are going to have to fight not only to maintain our dominance and the standard of living that we enjoy, but for survival. Right now the whole "peace will lead the way" attitude is doing more harm than good. Yes, you DO see some extremes in games based around real world military action, but you need those extremes to counter other equally extremes messages in society. I guess what you think of it comes down to what side of the propaganda war your on, but as a realist and a militant, I think we very much need to see more of this so we can get our heads collectively in the right place for what is going to need to be done.

Of course then again, I'll also say there are exceptions. Games like "Ethnic Cleansing", "Z.O.G.'s Nightmare" (ZOG standing for "Zionist Ordained Goverment" it was a pro-jewish terrorist group, and also a general term for an extremist philsophy), and various games presenting the US/allies as enemies, sort of serve to illustrate the world we live in, and why things like "America's Army", "Bad Company", and others are needed. It sort of shows the guys we're going to be up against and need to be ready to face... whether it's domestic militant groups (tiny fringe groups of armed racists being only one flavor, but I won't get into that) or the Chinese. In short I don't think there is anything wrong with some Pro-US Jingoism. It's possible to go too far with it of course, but really the constant complaints about it makes me think we haven't even come close simple due to the negative comments about it on such a wide scale.
 

Alphakirby

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Scrumpmonkey said:
Bam! suprise jim! And i though i could contain him by just refusing to watch his show.
At least he sounds more respectable here,but then again he isn't trying (and usually failing) to make people laugh.
On terms of the School Shooter,I do have to agree with Jim to the degree that it's no morally worse than games like CoD,yet for some reason if you get schools and children involved,it becomes controversial.
Edit: Whoops,forgot to put in my opinion.
 

Eri

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Feb 21, 2009
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Screw the haters, I love Jim. I think some of you are mad just to be mad, and don't much have a valid reason for disliking him, especially in this written medium, not video.
 

ThisNewGuy

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Jim Sterling's response reminds me of why I almost never agree with him.

He fails to realize the nuances of violence and generalize all violent game into a single entity. The way American History X uses violence is very different to how School Shooter uses violence. It's about how the subject matter is treated, and how violence is used as a mechanism to communicate its message.

When the message of violence is "hey, it's fun!" instead of "this is really fucked up", that's when violence is singled out as being wrong.

Also, other games uses violence as a mean to an end. It's just a passive mechanic to accomplish something. So the player is not there to kill people, they're there to get treasure, to be the best gangster, to save America (Uncharted, GTA, CoD respectively). In School Shooter, you're there just to kill people. The end is to kill people with the message of "hey, killing people is fun." That's when there's a problem.

The South Park analogy doesn't apply here. South Park treated each religion with equal ridicule, therefore Scientologists' response is disingenuous. However, these games do not all treat their subject matter the same, therefore different responses are justifiable.