- Posted November 2, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Video Game Recreates Tragic Aurora Shooting
As I was perusing the internet this morning, I came across a YouTube video showing off a violent video game recreating the theater shooting in Aurora Colorado. The game, entitled "The Clown Prince Rises", puts the player in the shoes of murderer James Holmes on the night he killed 12 people in a crowded Colorado movie theater. My thoughts range from disgust toward the subject matter, to amazement at the speed at which such a product was put together. It was no surprise that Encyclopedia Dramatica was involved in the production, which if you're familiar with internet culture you'll know is essentially a troll haven, where people seek only to offend others as much as possible. Following a link from the Youtube page I read over the forum topic in which the game was conceived and produced, with input from other users. There was a lot of disturbing discussion that went on in the topic, including a page-long 'justification' from one of the authors, which is too long and convoluted to quote here. What struck me most however was his most recent post, which makes an interesting, if disturbing point:
"There are plenty of songs that have been written about tragic shootings, like Harry Chapin's "Sniper" or Filter's "Hey Man Nice Shot". There was also a song about the Columbine shooting though I cannot remember its title or the artist that wrote it. These are accepted, even when they're really offensive, because they're considered a form of artistic expression. If we accept the premise that Video Games are also a modern form of art, than a violent video game that focuses on a horrible shooting should be just as acceptable as a song about one. "
I find this disturbing, because I have trouble arguing against it. Gizmo is right in pointing out that art derived from tragedy is nothing new. If we think of games as just another, newer form of art, than this shouldn't be any more surprising or shocking than any of the countless tragedy songs that have been written. Art by its nature is meant to elicit a strong emotional reaction from its viewer. Is art that is meant to elicit pain and disgust any less valid? As someone who enjoys video games, and hopes to have a career in the industry, the question burns in my mind. I do believe games are art. Does that mean offensives games like "The Clown Prince Rises" should be just as accepted as offensive music like that of The Insane Clown Posse? I really don't know, but one thing is certain to me: there is no limit to the depravity of human beings. My heart goes out to those affected by the tragedy, and I hope actions like this don't make their already horrible pain even worse.