'Active Shooter' Video Game Condemned As Insensitive, Inappropriate

Cameron Fairchild
May 29, 2018 - 12:35 pm
Video Game

© Tero Vesalainen | Dreamstime.com

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DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - Today, students at Santa Fe High School, southeast of Houston, return to class for the first time since a deadly mass shooting over a week ago. Police say 17-year-old student Dimitrios Pagourtzis killed eight students and two teachers, and injured 13 others, with a shotgun and a pistol.

Next week, online game distributor Steam releases Active Shooter. It's a video game about a school shooting, and there's already a tsunami of a backlash.

Henry T. Casey is a staff writer for Tom's Guide, a website for tech consumers. He's written an article about the game, which has a couple of play options.

"One of which puts you in the position of being a shooter in a school situation," Casey says.

The other option is to play a SWAT officer responding to the shooting.

The Santa Fe High School shooting just over a week ago, and a deadly mass shooting in Florida three months ago, are still fresh in everyone's minds, and Casey says that makes the game's release jarring. But Casey says a video game about school shootings is not a new idea.

"The unbelievably named video game, Super Columbine Massacre RPG, and there's an exclamation point at the end, was released for Windows six years after the Columbine shooting. There was a modification for the Half Life 2 game, which was never released, called North American School Shooting Tour 2012."

Next week's release, Active Shooter, is by Russian-based game developer Acid. An online petition condemning the game and targeting distributor Steam already has thousands of signatures. And Casey says the backlash is already having an effect.

"Acid has announced in a blog post that the fervor, and the amount of people who have been upset about this, have made them possibly consider removing the Shooter point of view from this game. I personally don't think this game will see the light of day with the Shooter mode. I think Acid will end up not releasing it as is."