In May 2018, survivors of the Parkland school shooting massacre, and many others both on and off social media, responded with horror at reports of a video game in which players could assume the role of a school shooter.
Jaclyn Corin, a survivor of the 14 February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, called the game (which is titled Active Shooter) “disgusting” in a tweet and urged others to sign a petition calling for the game not to be released. (The online petition garnered almost 100,000 signatures within four days.)
Ryan Petty, whose 14-year-old daughter Alaina was killed in the shooting rampage, accused Valve Corporation (the Bellevue, Washington, company that runs the Steam platform on which the game would be distributed and run) of “trying to profit from the glamorization of tragedies affecting our schools across the country” and also called the game “disgusting.”
The game is indeed real: it was published by a Russian company called Acid and developed by Revived Games (featuring games such as Furry, Tyde Pod Challenge, and White Power: Pure Voltage. which carries the following description: “The Underworld is an alternate dimension existing in parallel to the human species world. It contains the same parts of the Universe as humanity does, but much more in a darker, colder and hostile manner.”)
Active Shooter‘s descriptive entry on Steam’s web site read as follows:
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.
A video preview of the game showed a shooter armed with a rifle, handgun, and knife stalking the classrooms and corridors of a school, shooting at both police and civilians while a “kill counter” shows the number of “cops” and “civ” (civilians) the player had murdered.
This is a real game that is still scheduled to be released next month. We will see whether it actually happens, and report back in the future.