View Full Version : Slamdance Controversy??? Super Columbine Massacre pulled and other pull out

Jet Set
01-11-2007, 08:02 AM
Nobody in here reported on this small revolution in independent gaming, and gaming in general????

01-11-2007, 08:05 AM
I don't have a clue what it is, sorry.

01-13-2007, 12:37 PM


I didn't think this game was even legal :)

I still have to see if I can't download it somewhere.

01-13-2007, 12:43 PM

01-13-2007, 12:51 PM
Cool, Thanks 36 :)

DL is slow as fuck but it's cool. I'll just play Postal until it's finished

01-13-2007, 01:05 PM
Dont thank me, I just got it from the site you linked.

Another one here, direct link; http://www.eatsushi.org/content/dump/dox/ColumbineRPG.zip

another; http://www.zshare.net/download/columbinerpg-zip.html

Lil' Ruger
01-13-2007, 10:26 PM
what is it i demand a summary.

Jet Set
01-14-2007, 11:00 AM

Festival Sponsors Force Super Columbine Game Out of Competition (http://gamepolitics.com/2007/01/05/sponsor-threats-force-removal-of-super-columbine-game-from-slamdance-festival-competition/)

http://www.gamepolitics.com/images/ledonne-intv.jpgThe ultra-controversial Super Columbine Massacre RPG has been dropped from the upcoming Slamdance Festival’s independent games competition.
According to Kotaku (http://www.kotaku.com/gaming/top/exclusive-columbine-game-kicked-from-competition-226272.php), festival sponsors threatened to pull out unless SCMRPG was removed from the roster of games under consideration (http://gamepolitics.com/2006/12/28/super-columbine-trailer/) for a Slamdance award:
In a last minute phone call Thursday evening, Slamdance president and co-founder Peter Baxter, told game developer Danny Ledonne that he regards his decision to remove the game from the festival as “deeply flawed,” but necessary to the festival’s survival.
Ledonne told Kotaku editor Brian Crecente:
I don’t want to paint them as the villain in this. I don’t think the real issue is a couple of guys at Slamdance who decided to reject my game, it’s the larger pressures placed on them… There are people in the gaming community who think I should protest. But I haven’t decided what to do yet.
Georgia Tech professor Ian Bogost of Persuasive Games commented:
If (Persuasive) made a game with a political opinion one of the Slamdance sponsors didn’t like… would we have a place there? It’s a concern.
UPDATE: Corporate sponsors listed on the Slamdance Festival’s website include: Kodak, Dos Equis Beer, All Seasons Resorts, Michael Collins Irish Whiskey and Fiji Water.

Jet Set
01-14-2007, 11:02 AM
More Details & Reaction Emerge on Slamdance Festival & Super Columbine Game (http://gamepolitics.com/2007/01/06/more-details-reaction-emerge-on-slamdance-festival-super-columbine-game/)

http://www.gamepolitics.com/images/scm.jpgYesterday, GamePolitics picked up on a Kotaku exclusive which said that organizers of the Slamdance Competition (http://slamdance.com/games/) had dropped the ultra-controversial Super Columbine Massacre RPG from the program due to sponsor pressure.
In an update, however, Kotaku editor Brian Crecente is now reporting on his Rocky Mountain News (http://blogs.rockymountainnews.com/denver/freePlay/2007/01/columbine_game_pulled_from_com.html) blog that the decision to deep-six SCMRPG was actually made by the festival’s founder, Peter Baxter, apparently sans outside pressure. Said Baxter:
On the one hand, a jury selected this game, and as a result of that decision it leads to our organization supporting their creative decision. On the other hand, there are moral obligations to consider here with this particular game, in addition to the impact it could have on the Slamdance organization and its community.
Ultimately it was my decision to pull this game, and I hope that a choice like it will never have to be made again.
Crecente reports that this is the first time in the festival’s 13-year history that either a game or film has been axed. Meanwhile, Georgia Tech prof Ian Bogost of Persuasive Games expressed deep concern (http://www.watercoolergames.org/archives/000718.shtml) about Baxter’s decision:
Baxter, it would seem, is not equipped for, or not willing to consider, the idea that videogames might have the importance or impact of the films he screens. During the two years we exhibited, I saw Baxter once or twice, but he hardly spent much time with the gamemakers. We were, it seems, a sideline, an experiment, a distraction…
I’m glad that we’re not finalists this year, because I don’t know if I would decide to pull our entry or not… But I think we all would do well, be we gamemakers or filmmakers, to reconsider supporting this event with our work in the future… we now know that Slamdance was apparently never really serious about videogames. When the time came to make good on their word, they failed…
On the other hand, Crecente reports that Jamil Moledina, executive director of the GDC (http://www.gdconf.com/), cautions that the film and video game mediums don’t necessarily compare well:
We in the game industry love to compare films to games but the analogy is not 100 percent complete. Games are interactive medium. There is this kind of gray area here. We need to be careful and not automatically fall for that analogy.

Jet Set
01-14-2007, 11:03 AM

Developer Pulls Out of Festival Competition in Protest over Super Columbine Decision (http://gamepolitics.com/2007/01/07/developer-pulls-out-of-festival-competition-in-protest-over-super-columbine-decision/)

http://www.gamepolitics.com/images/braid.jpgFallout continues from the Slamdance Guerilla Games Competition’s recent decision to drop Super Columbine Massacre RPG from the upcoming event.
In the latest news, an indepedent developer has withdrawn from Slamdance over the move. Braid (http://braid-game.com/news/) creator Jonathan Blow writes that his decision is a protest against the removal of Danny Ledonne’s controversial design.
Interestingly, Blow is not a big fan of SCMRPG. Here’s more of what the Braid developer had to say about the decision:
(SCMRPG) lacks compassion, and I find the Artist’s Statement (http://www.columbinegame.com/statement.htm) disingenuous. But despite this, the game does have redeeming value. It does provoke important thoughts, and it does push the boundaries of what games are about. It is composed with more of an eye toward art than most games. Clearly, it belongs at the festival.
So, in protest of game’s expulsion, I have dropped Braid out of the competition as well.
…games should be taken seriously as an art form that can expand the boundaries of human experience… As an art form they contain a tremendous power to shift perspective and to heighten wisdom… But if games are denied their appropriate level of societal recognition, growth of the form will be very difficult, and human culture will be the lesser for it.
In related news, Newsweek’s N’Gai Croal (http://ncroal.talk.newsweek.com/default.asp?item=417924) slams the Slamdance decision, as does well-known designer Greg Costikyan (http://www.manifestogames.com/node/3048) of Manifesto Games, a Slamdance sponsor. Meanwhile, Arthouse Games (http://www.northcountrynotes.org/jason-rohrer/arthouseGames/seedBlogs.php?action=display_post&post_id=jcr13_1168036762_0&show_author=1&show_date=1) has a great synopsis of this developing controversy.
GP: A shout-out to GamePolitics reader Shih Tzu for the tip!
UPDATE: A second indie game developer, that game company (http://www.thatgamecompany.com/blog/index.php?itemid=17), has pulled out of Slamdance over the SCMRPG issue.

Jet Set
01-14-2007, 11:04 AM
Sponsor Pulls Out Of Slamdance (http://kotaku.com/gaming/top/sponsor-pulls-out-of-slamdance-227713.php)

USC's Tracy Fullerton addresses the snowballing controversy (http://www.kotaku.com/gaming/editorial/developers-protest-slamdance-game-festival-227145.php) surrounding Slamdance's decisioon to drop Super Columbine Massacre RPG from their list of finalists and announced that the USC Interactive Media Division will no longer be sponsoring the event.
In light of the recent decision by the festival organizer Peter Baxter to pull Super Columbine Massacre RPG from the line-up of finalists, we no longer feel that the contest represents the best interests of independent game makers; rather, the decision undermines the credibility of the festival as a venue for independent games and invalidates the reasons that USC Interactive Media had been proud to sponsor this year's student prize.
Check out her lengthy, and thought-out reasoning for withdrawing support of the wavering game fest. Brian Crecente
USC Interactive Media Division Withdraws Slamdance Sponsorship (http://interactive.usc.edu/members/tfullerton/archives/007203.html) [Ludicidal Tendencies]

Jet Set
01-14-2007, 11:06 AM
Developers Protest Slamdance Game Festival (http://kotaku.com/gaming/editorial/developers-protest-slamdance-game-festival-227145.php)

http://www.kotaku.com/assets/resources/2007/01/mike-thumb.jpg (http://www.kotaku.com/assets/resources/2007/01/mike.jpg)
It appears the news we broke last week of Slamdance removing the Columbine game (http://www.kotaku.com/gaming/top/exclusive-columbine-game-kicked-from-competition-226272.php) from their lists of finalists and why (http://blogs.rockymountainnews.com/denver/freePlay/2007/01/columbine_game_pulled_from_com.html)has created quite the shitstorm, for lack of a better word.
Ian Bogost reports over on Water Cooler Games growing list of reactions to the decision: (http://www.watercoolergames.org/archives/000718.shtml#more)

Kelee Santiago pulled Slamdance finalist and future PS3 title flOw from the competition in protest. (http://www.thatgamecompany.com/blog/index.php?itemid=17)

To hear that the game had been pulled was deeply discouraging. As a group, our opinions on the quality of the game itself range, but we can all agree on one thing: it deserved to be there.
We also agree that the act of pulling SCMRPG is one we cannot condone. But how best to protest this action? Going to the festival, at which prizes are awarded, only to criticize its organizers seemed unfair at best, and hypocritical at worst. Therefore, we have decided to withdraw flOw from the competition. We agree with Jonathan Blow:

Jonathan Blow, creator of finalist Braid, has also pulled his game from the competition. (http://braid-game.com/news/?p=18)

The game lacks compassion, and I find the Artist's Statement disingenuous. But despite this, the game does have redeeming value. It does provoke important thoughts, and it does push the boundaries of what games are about. It is composed with more of an eye toward art than most games. Clearly, it belongs at the festival.
So, in protest of game's expulsion, I have dropped Braid out of the competition as well.

Raph Koster has spoken up on the subject. (http://www.raphkoster.com/2007/01/06/braid-ditches-slamdance-in-protest/)

Dismissing the game "on moral grounds" essentially argues that it is exploitative; yet we do not necessarily consider clearly issue-driven films or books as exploitative. Rather, the sensitivity of the subject seems to be what is pushing the needle here. Can games, which some allege caused Columbine, then comment on Columbine without being regarded as exploitative?
SCMRPG is no great shakes as a game in its own right. It doesn't even try to do something new on that front. Instead, it's incurring controversy based on artwork, content, and most importantly, the medium that it happens to be in. Were its RPG plot excised and written out as a book, would anyone raise an eyebrow? Probably not.

As has Slamdance Game Fest sponsor Greg Costikyan, of Manifesto Games (http://www.manifestogames.com/node/3048). Costikyan, while continuing to support the fest, has created a permanent place for the game on Manifesto's site (http://www.manifestogames.com/node/3040).

As gamers, and those who love games, our reponse to this game, and to the criticism of it, should not be to hide, or run away, or hope that it goes away. Instead it should be to say: You do not understand, nor are you attempting to understand. This is not a glamorization of the murderers, nor yet a trivialization of the tragedy; it is a work of serious artistic intent and accomplishment, based on considerable research, that in fact illuminates and reflects the horror of that day. Just as there are novels of the Holocaust, there can be a game of Columbine, and neither need trivialize a tragedy.

Andrew Stern and Michael Mateas, winners of last year's Slamdance Grand Jury Prize, have written an open letter to the festival, asking for the reinstatement of the Super Columbine Massacre RPG. (http://grandtextauto.gatech.edu/2007/01/07/an-open-letter-to-slamdance/)

We give no judgment here about how successfully "Super Columbine Massacre RPG!" addresses its topic. However we feel it is extremely important that the game community, including high-profile festivals such as Slamdance, support such experimentation. Games, as a medium, are as fully deserving and appropriate as film and other more established media forms, to deal with such subject matter.

And how can we forget Newsweek's N'Gai Croal. (http://ncroal.talk.newsweek.com/default.asp?item=417924)

This is a recipe for the continued infantilizing of a young medium whose potential, for all of the compelling works already released, still remains largely untapped. We haven't played Super Columbine Massacre RPG, but from what we've read, it strikes us as a fairly serious and well-intentioned attempt to grapple with the shootings and suicides through an interactive medium. And while we certainly recognize that many will see SCMRPG as ghoulish, offensive and trivializing of a horrific event, we reject the premise that it is inherently so--any more than Art Spiegelman's "Maus" or Pablo Picasso's "Guernica"--and any attempts to paint Ledonne's game as inherently so should be firmly and loudly repudiated. For those of us who care about the future of videogames, this is a time to stand up and be counted.

If you have any interest in gaming besides the playing of them, you must read all of these links. Seriously. Artistic expression in video games is the most important topic that will likely be faced by developers, perhaps ever. The fact that the game that seems to be bringing this topic to a head happens to be one that many find repugnant is incidental to the bigger issue here.
To be clear: This is not about SCMRPG. This is about whether video games will forever be relegated to the position of mindless entertainment and child's play or whether gaming as an industry can make that final leap into artistry, expression and tackle topics that evoke something more than fun.
This is why I finally decided to become a games journalist. I enjoy writing reviews, but what finally pushed me to make that leap from police reporting to features writing is the chance to be covering a medium at the cusp of becoming something so much greater. Brian Crecente
Update: Jan. 9
Three more finalists have dropped out of the festival. Bringing the the number of finalists no longer in the competition to five, six if you count SCMRPG, or nearly half.

Once Upon a Time withdraws from the finals. (http://www.wakinggames.com/company/wakingnews.php)

"We are very saddened by the news of Super Columbine Massacre RPG being pulled from the Slamdance Guerilla Gamemakers competition due to loss of financial backing.
Regardless of the merit of SCMRPG being a finalist in the SGG competition, having chosen the game and then only removing it when pressured by outside influences brings the impartiality of the competition as a whole into question. Who is truly judging these games: the Slamdance judges or their financial backers?
We unfortunately feel that we cannot be part of a competition that does not rank artistic expression and free speech as priorities and would therefore like to withdraw our entry of Once Upon A Time from the competition.
We thank you for your support of our game and wish you continued success."

Finalist Toblo withdraws from festival. (http://toblo.csnation.net/slamdance.html)

We cannot condone removing Super Columbine Massacre RPG! from the Slamdance Festival on moral grounds. Along with the developers of Braid and flOw, we are pulling our game from the Slamdance Festival. In the unlikely event that Super Columbine Massacre RPG! is re-admitted to the festival, we would be happy to participate.

Fest finalist Everyday Shooter withdraws (http://www.everydayshooter.com/)

As you may have heard, Peter Baxter, the president of Slamdance, decided to pull Super Columbine Masscare RPG! from the competition.
I do not agree with his decision. His action is part of a the ball and chain that continuously represses the games medium from advancing beyond superficial entertainment. Because the Slamdance games competition now carries the sharp undertones of this sad repression, I am withdrawing Everyday Shooter from the competition.

Grand Text Auto Publishes Letter of Protest from Finalists (http://grandtextauto.gatech.edu/2007/01/08/from-slamdance-games-finalists/#more-1408)

We object to this decision and strongly urge the festival organizers to reinstate the game in the festival. It is legitimate for games to take on difficult topics and to challenge conventional ideas about what video games can do. No game should be rejected for moral or other reasons after a panel of judges has found the game to be of artistic merit and worthy of inclusion in the festival. We find it very unlikely that a similar decision would have been made about a jury-selected film, and see this decision as hurting the legitimacy of games as a form of expression, exploration, and experience.

Grumpy Gamer Calls for Finalists to Put Up or Shut Up (http://grumpygamer.com/1389788)

Apparently some people in the game industry are pretty upset by this, but my question is: Why haven't the other finalist pulled out in protest?
Seems like it's for one of two reasons:
#1 - They agree the game should have been pulled.
#2 - They don't want to lose the chance of winning the award to stand up for something they believe in.

Lastly, but not leastly, our formerly very own John Brownlee breaks down the argument for both sides and asks for help writing his Wired piece on the subject. Go... help. (http://blog.wired.com/tableofmalcontents/2007/01/is_super_columb.html)

It's bleak just to look at those questions: perhaps I'm too cynical, but for me, it's clear that the progression there signifies the complete death of art as a medium of deep personal expression.
I need your help. I'd like you guys to help me brainstorm and bring alternate perspectives to the table. Questions and viewpoints I haven't considered. Maybe you can try to answer some of the questions and give me a better idea on what people besides me think the logical progression is. The intention is that you guys will help me think about this n a wider and more three-dimensional complex, which will hopefully make my story at Wired News richer and better thought through.
What do you guys think? Hit our comments and let us know.

Jet Set
01-14-2007, 11:07 AM
That was the controversy I was talking about. Some final frontier talk here in the game industry evolution.

01-14-2007, 12:06 PM
Making a game like that is pretty much asking for the ass kicking of your life by all the people that were affected by that tragedy, regardless of whether or not your trying to make an artistic/political statement.

maestro wooz
01-14-2007, 04:09 PM
interesting, i never heard of this until now.

born invincible
01-14-2007, 06:35 PM
interesting, i never heard of this until now.

me neither... kinda sick.

maestro wooz
01-14-2007, 10:17 PM
yah it is but a basic tenament of free speech is that it can offend someone/everyone and still be okay. Plus he was taking it to another level, he wasnt glorifying the killings.

01-16-2007, 04:22 PM
interesting, i never heard of this until now.


Jet Set
01-20-2007, 12:13 PM
Breaking: New Slamdance Statement On Columbine Game (http://kotaku.com/gaming/top/breaking-new-slamdance-statement-on-columbine-game-230133.php)

Earlier this month, we broke the news (http://www.kotaku.com/gaming/top/exclusive-columbine-game-kicked-from-competition-226272.php) that Slamdance pulled accepted Super Columbine Massacre RPG based on moral grounds and concern for the festival's future. The exact quote at the time from Slamdance president Peter Baxter was:
On the one hand a jury selected this game, and as a result of that decision it leads to our organization supporting their creative decision. On the other hand there are moral obligations to consider here with this particular game in addition to the impact it could have on the Slamdance organization and its community.
In protest against Slamdance's position, other entries dropped (http://kotaku.com/gaming/super-columbine-massacre-rpg/slamgate-more-games-drop-from-fest-227559.php) from the competition. A sponsor (http://kotaku.com/gaming/top/sponsor-pulls-out-of-slamdance-227713.php) soon followed. And the word "Slamdance" left a bad taste in most everyone (http://www.kotaku.com/gaming/editorial/developers-protest-slamdance-game-festival-227145.php)'s mouth. Pulling this game certainly has created more fuss than leaving it in would've.
On the festival's website, Slamdance has expanded its stance on Super Columbine Massacre RPG, which we've included after the jump. New bits are in bold. Brian Ashcraft
The Super Columbine Massacre RPG game has been withdrawn from Slamdance'07. While understanding the different positions people have already taken with the game, we want to express the struggle we had with ours. On one hand, a jury selected a game they believed merited programming, a decision that always leads to our organization supporting the creator's independent vision and freedom of expression. On the other, there are moral obligations to consider with this particular game and the preservation of the Slamdance organization and its whole community. There are always legal checks and balances with any Slamdance program. Specifically with the subject matter of Super Columbine Massacre Role Playing Game Slamdance does not have the resources to defend any drawn out civil action that our legal council has stated can easily arise from publicly showing it. Though the organization annually takes on legal matters in support of the independent artists in this case such an undertaking could mean the end of Slamdance. Altogether, our decision has been extremely hard to make and hope a choice like it will never have to be made again. This is not a case of Slamdance lacking courage, sponsor disapproval of showing Danny's game or wanting to control freedom of expression. Simply and practically, Slamdance can't afford to take on the scope of this potential loss by showing the game to the public. And now this decision must be faced head on. We are planning a panel event at Slamdance on Sunday, January 21 at 5 pm where the different positions and the public exhibition of this Game can be heard and openly discussed. It is our goal that all interested parties can learn something from this event and most importantly offer some contribution toward the advancement of independent Games. Please join us and open up this whole matter.

01-21-2007, 08:23 AM
Considering the fact that this game got as far as it did in the competition I think they should've left it. Honestly, you're gonna have people that are gonna disagree with things but that shouldn't make you shut it down. It's not like they were trying to market it in stores. All in all, this is gonna put a dent in the Slamdance world. Not a big one, but if they keep this kinda shit up it will be.