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School Shooting Video Game Draws Criticism

By Ian Quillen — April 18, 2011 1 min read
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A disturbing, yet-to-be-released video game called “School Shooter: North American Tour 2012,” which is actually a modification of a popular first-person shooter game called “Half-Life 2,” is drawing criticism, according a report in the Lebanon Daily News (Pa.) posted Friday.

The game, developed by Checkerboarded Studios, allows players to re-enact famous school shootings such as those at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999 and Virginia Tech University in 2007, according to the LDNews. The Central Pennsylvania town of Lebanon is about a 45-minute drive north from Bart Township, site of a shooting at an Amish one-room school house in 2006.

State representative Lawrence Curry, from Montgomery County just outside Philadelphia, is cosponsoring a resolution aiming to prevent the game’s release, which among its more morbid features includes the option for the player to commit suicide at the end of each level.

Local educators around Lebanon blasted the game in the LDNews piece.

There is plenty of research chronicling the purported negative effects of violent video games on youth behavior, though other factors besides video game use certainly contribute to such negative behavior as well. Yet none of this research has done much to slow momentum of production of such games. Further, assuming that the target audience is children may also be a bit uninformed, according to the Entertainment Software Association, which states the average age of a video game player in the United States is 34.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.