But video games where realistic depictions of human suffering takes place? Nope. Not for me…although I will admit to killing a whack of Space Invaders in my youth…and in my defense, they WERE invading Earth.
Often these “first person shooter” games are based in make believe worlds and quite frankly, I have not paid much attention to this genre. While I do like “combat sports” (eg: Mixed Martial Arts) – those sports have consenting combatants and rarely are guns and murder allowed.
That’s why I was surprised when I saw on Facebook the video below outlining a “Developers Sequence” of an upcoming video game where you can choose your weapons and go on a killing spree at Port Moody Secondary School – a local high school where I live.
The game is being developed by the former President of the Port Moody Secondary School Chapter of Amnesty International, Aarman Rahim. Yes, the former president of a group whose goal is to ease human suffering has decided to glamorize and profit from it.
While the video above does not appear to depict students being killed, posts on online forums (which have now been removed) had Aarman promise that students and teachers would be featured and could be “hero, enemy or collateral damage”. I suppose this is a nice accompaniment to the gun fire, blood splattered walls and broken glass of his former high school as shown in his game.
You would think such a game would be slammed by local media as “violent”, “disturbing”, “insensitive” etc. Well, one reporter has taken a slightly different tone.
This morning Diane Strandberg, a reporter and Assistant Editor with The Tri-City News praised the game as “cool” and pointed out it had “great grfx” [sic.] on her post in the Youtube comments section of the video. The video and her comment were removed by Aarman at approximately 6pm this evening but as with the video above, I have a copy of her post:
To be fair, I will point out that Ms. Strandberg made the observation that the game is “possibly controversial”. Let’s review - not “controversial” but “POSSIBLY controversial”. Just making sure I am getting it right – murders at the local high school with “cool…great grfx” is “possibly controversial”. Wow.
While young Mr. Rahim may not fully appreciate the stupidity of his game I would think a seasoned reporter like Ms. Strandberg would which is why I am puzzled by her praise.
A line I have been DYING to use for years will now be written: “Requests to Ms. Strandberg and The Tri-City News for comment were not returned”.
So what do you think? Is this a fun harmless game or something worse? Do you agree with Ms. Strandberg’s comments or do you expect a more critical reply? Looking forward to your comments below.
From Port Moody Police Website:
On March 21, 2013 administration from Port Moody Secondary School contacted the Port Moody Police Department regarding a disturbing video that they had become aware of. Specifically, the video depicted a multiplayer first person shooter game that was set inside Port Moody Secondary.
Although the creation of such a video game is likely ill-conceived in the current climate, it does not constitute an offence. Investigators from the Port Moody Police Department have interviewed the developer of this game and have concluded that he does not pose a danger to the staff or students of Port Moody Secondary.
The Port Moody Police Department continues to work closely with all of the schools in our city to ensure that staff and students have a safe environment in which to work and learn.
Port Moody Mayor Mike Clay speaks out on this game / map on Global TV
Facebook post by a Port Moody Secondary School Teacher:
Dear Aarman, I will keep this short. I am glad to here that you were not the developer but I need you to understand that as your former teacher, I am disturbed by the content in the game. I ask that you should reflect upon what has happened. Stop focusing on how the media has wronged you and try to see why this may have been a bad or poor decision. I hope that you understand that by using our school, work place it has made me very sad, upset, perplexed as to why you would have had anything at all to do with this. We all make mistakes and hopefully we can all learn from this.
Ms. Strandberg and I spoke on the phone during the afternoon of March 21st.
Interview from CBC Radio:
Report from Global TV:
Newspaper article from The Tri-City News:
Although Rahim stated that he’s not the developer of the game, he said he did provide resources.
Opinion piece from The Tri-City News:
First-person shooter games are particularly repellant and I am concerned about the long-term impacts of them on the psyche of young people.
From the Vancouver Province:
On his Facebook page, former Port Moody Secondary student Aarman Rahim said he supplied “resources” for the digital architecture in the game to the developer.
He took issue with the negative publicity surrounding the game and his involvement, and many of his friends replied to say some adults simply don’t understand video-game culture.
A person identifying himself as Rahim’s former teacher at the school said he was “disturbed” by the game.
“I hope that you understand that by using our school, workplace it has made me very sad, upset, perplexed as to why you would have had anything at all to do with this.”
Another Tri-City News article:
SD43 is also taking the video seriously and is seeking advice regarding follow-up but it is not known whether the video’s creators will be asked to take it down.
“We are well aware of this, and we recognize that it is a sensitive situation. The district is working with the school on this matter, and is seeking further advice regarding follow-up,” Cheryl Quinton stated in an email following up a News request for comment to principal Karen Jensen.
Meanwhile, Aarman Rahim, who originally posted the video on Youtube but later removed it from his channel, has issued a statement acknowledging that he provided photographs for the game but didn’t develop it.
Another from CBC:
Alex Devlin, a physical education teacher at Port Moody Secondary, said he was shocked when he saw the map of the school online.
“I love that school,” Devlin told CBC News. “We have amazing students, we have a wonderful caring staff.
“The distinguishing thing about our school is the rainbow-coloured lockers … it makes you feel good. And to see that violence that same senseless violence in our hallway, our rainbow-coloured hallway, it was devastating.”