‘Active Shooter’ Videogame Sparks Outrage Amongst Parents

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Due to the recent string of school and church shootings that have been plaguing the country for the past couple of months, the nation is still reeling from the loss of loved ones. America, as a whole, is currently very sensitive to such things, and people are taking care not to spark outrage as much as possible. However, one game developer seems to have thrown caution to the wind, and has released a game that players are an active shooter terrorizing a school.

Righteous Fury

Parents of killed students in Parkland, Florida and politicians are expressing their fury at a upcoming video game in which players can play as an active shooter to terrorize a school. The game, titled “Active Shooter,” is to be released June 6 on Steam, which is a gaming platform owned by Valve Corp., a game developer that is based in Washington state.

Published by Russian company Acid, and developed by Revived Games, the game is planned to be sold for somewhere between $5 and $10 on the Steam platform. Marketing materials for the game say players are able to play either as a SWAT team member responding to a shooting or be the actual shooter whose objective is to “hunt and destroy.”

Ryan Petty, called the game “despicable” in a tweet. He said that it was disgusting that Valve. is trying to profit from the beautification of tragedies affecting the schools across the country.  He further added that keeping the kids safe is a real issue affecting our communities right now and is in no way a ‘game.

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Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime also died in the Parkland shooting, is asking people to not support and boycott the game. He said in a statement that the company should face the wrath of everyone who cares about school and public safety and it should start immediately.

He further stresses to the people to not buy the game for your kids or any other game made by this company. Bill Nelson, the senior US Senator from Florida, also criticized the game Monday. He commented that what happened was “inexcusable.” He continued to say that any company that dares to create a game like this, considering that such horrific tragedies have been happening should be ashamed of itself.

More than 25,000 people have signed an online petition urging Valve not to release the game.

“This is horrific,” wrote Stephanie Robinett, a Seattle-area woman who created the petition. She expresses her disbelief at how anyone can sleep at night knowing that they are profiting from turning deadly school shootings into entertainment.

The developer’s response

“Active Shooter” is not the first video game to simulate a school shooting scenario. However, it may be the first ever since the 27 people died in recent mass shootings at high schools in Santa Fe, Texas and Parkland, Florida. This is thought to heighten discussions around preventing gun violence in schools.

The game’s Steam page includes a statement that says to not take any of the events in the game seriously. It continues to say that the game is only meant to be the simulation and nothing else. It also states that If players feel like hurting anyone, they should seek help from local psychiatrists or dial 911. The developer also included a disclaimer on game preview for Active Shooter, which said that its content is not recommended for children.

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It also says that Revived Games believes inappropriate actions and violence belong in video games and not the real world. They also insist that in no event should anyone attempt to recreate or mimic any of the actions, events or situations occurring in this game.

Revived Games did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In an update posted on Steam last week, Acid said that intense criticism of the game has made them reconsider whether to publish it with the option allowing gamers to assume the role of the shooter. They say that they have wrote to Valve regarding this game and are waiting for the reply. After receiving such a large amount of critics and hate, Acid will more likely remove the shooters role in this game by the release, unless it could be kept as it is right now.

This just goes to show that the maxim “think before you click” should be applied even to the biggest companies. One should always keep in mind how other people will perceive what you put out on the internet, be it a social media post, or a newly released game.

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