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Sandy Hook Slaying Turned into Gun-Control Video Game
Posted on Friday, November 22 2013 @ 15:26:43 PST

[b]*Note: this article was first posted on Blistered Thumbs and can be found in the link below.[/b]

Can video games be political statements?

This is the question we should be asking after the news broke today, regarding a Flash game about the Sandy Hook Elementary Killings. Entitled The Slaying of Sandy Hook Elementary School, amateur developer Ryan Jake Lambourn takes the basic timeline of the Sandy Hook tragedy and transformed it into a game where you play a faceless murderer who barges into the school and slaughters teachers and children, before being forced to turn the gun on yourself when a timer counts down to zero. Suffice to say, the game is heavy stuff to sit through, and Lambourn is suffering the wrath of the press and the internet combined.

On Twitter, family members of one of the victims, teacher Victoria Soto, fired back at Lambourn by asking "Please tell us how playing a game that recreates how Vicki died would be beneficial? Please tell us." Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) also criticized the game and its creator during a press conference yesterday. "To make a game about the murder of 20 children and their six teachers is absolutely sickening," Murphy said in a statement. "I hope the very disturbed person who could think of something like this sees the cruelty of what he's done and stops it."

Lambourn, a Houston native now living in Australia, believes the message for gun control is clear. "Australia had sweeping gun control laws placed after the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre, in which 35 people died. The result of that sweeping regulation is guns are no longer a noticeable part of Australian culture." he argues. "And here we are nearly a year after the Sandy Hook shootings in which 26 people were killed, 20 of which were first graders, and absolutely nothing positive has come out of it."

Lambourn has been down this road before, creating a game based around the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, the deadliest mass murder shooting recorded in American History which resulted in the deaths of 32 people. Lambourn believes the best way to combat gun control is to shed away your apathy. "You have to remember your politician's aren't mind readers, and the NRA is not doing anything more than motivating its members to passionately talk to those representatives about their opinions." he said "Your absolute apathy is the reason why the news is unbearable to watch."

It is clear that Lambourn is pushing for a specific political agenda, and video games, like any form of expression, is a fair medium to use. This is the purest form of a soapbox game, one that is designed to be controversial because of the subject matter. No, it's not as pretentious or complex as other hot button titles like Super Columbine Massacre RPG, and I think the imagery is too close to home to really be an effective political message in the end.

I see what he is trying to do, but I don't know if the game will do more good than harm, especially considering the vague connections Sandy Hook had to video game violence when the shooting occurred. Almost prophetically, Lambourn sums up the general consensus by most of the public on his twitter feed. "The liberals don't like me because I've disrespected the dead. The conservatives don't like me because of the gun control message. The trolls don't like me because the games not edgy enough."

Sources: [url][/url], [url][/url]
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