As if school shootings haven’t gained enough attention in the media, a new video game on the market gives players the ability to become an active shooter at a school.
Active Shooter will be available on Steampowered.com June 6. The website describes the game as a simulation and tells the audience they can: “Pick your role, gear up and fight or destroy! Be the good guy or the bad guy. The choice is yours! Only in “Active Shooter”, you will be able to pick the role of an Elite S.W.A.T member or the actual shooter.”
The preview of the game shows an example of the different roles. As the shooter, we witness the killing of cops and students. As the shooter roams the halls, he shoots students in the back, mows down cops, and even throws a grenade into a room, killing more students. A side box on the screen keeps count of “Civ Killed” (civilians) and “Cops Killed.”
Valve, the company behind Steam, has received a lot of negative feedback, as the Dailywire reported:
“It is horrendous,” a spokesperson for Infer Trust said. “Why would anybody think it’s a good idea to market something violent like that, and be completely insensitive to the deaths of so many children? We’re appalled that the game is being marketed.”
The developer, Revived Games, provided a warning for the game not to be taken too seriously:
Please do not take any of this seriously. This is only meant to be the simulation and nothing else. If you feel like hurting someone or people around you, please seek help from local psychiatrists or dial 911 (or applicable). Thank you.
The developer mentions a Civilian Survival mode will be available 72 hours after release in which players can choose to be a civilian who survives the shooting. Another mode, the Zombie Civilian, requires players to loot for guns, ammunition, food and other supplies.
Is this game in bad taste? It’s definitely controversial. Those in favor of the game say it is no different than some of the other popular violent games on the market such as “Carmageddon,” “Hatred,” and “Postal.” Others, however, claim the game is insensitive to victims and survivors of mass shootings.
I have seen and heard many horrific things over the past few months since my daughter was the victim of a school shooting and is now dead in real life. This game may be one of the worst.
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) May 27, 2018
Unfortunately, there is a market for this kind of game. The more attention these shootings receive, the higher the chance for shooting-related products to be developed and sold. The fact that it is so controversial will only increase sales.
Killing zombies is one thing; killing children in schools (or anywhere for that matter) is unacceptable. Although Revived Games may consider removing the shooter role from the game before launch, it is highly unlikely due to the immense popularity already gaining from waiting gamers. In fact, the developer said they might consider removal “unless it can be kept as it is right now,” which doesn’t give much hope that “Active Shooter” won’t find its way to the masses.