School Shooting Video Game Replicates Vancouver High School, Alarms Community

Tuesday, 26 Mar 2013 11:02 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Just three months after the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 26 dead, a video gamer in Canada has replicated a Vancouver high school as the backdrop for a violent first-person shooting video game, British Columbia's CBC News reports.

In the game, players carry weapons that look like military-style assault rifles through hallways and common areas that mirror Vancouver's Port Moody Secondary School. Players kill men dressed in black on the school grounds; no children or teachers are depicted in the game.

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"Counter-Strike," which has been around for the past decade, allows players to customize where the action takes place. Users can upload their own photos and scenarios, called "maps," and then share the game so others online can join.

Aarman Rahim, a 2010 graduate from the school, told the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail that he provided photos and maps to the game's developer "for accurate production of digital architecture."

Port Moody Physical Education Teacher Alex Devlin expressed his outrage about the game to CBC.

"We have rainbow colored lockers and it's our field of dreams. And then to watch the video game and see people shooting up our field of dreams, it was just, so disturbing," he said.

Another teacher, who wished to remain anonymous, had a similar reaction.

"I believe it's just a game, it's not reality, but a lot of kids don't live in reality, right?" the teacher said.

Rahim explained why he chose Port Moody as the backdrop for the replication, saying there was no ill-will behind the game.

"In high school, a close but large group of friends passed time playing the stock maps of Counter-Strike. Following graduation, the developer thought it would be nice to play a game many bonded over, in an environment everyone was familiar with. There is no ill intent; this is simply a game all alumni and peers could associate with," he said.

An alumnus of Port Moody Secondary School who did not give his name and claims to have played a role in the development said gamers are "sufficiently mature to realize that the degree of freedom allotted to you in the virtual realm do not extend to your rights in reality."

"Guns in reality are generally lethal weapons. Guns in a video game can't hurt anyone," the gamer told CBC. "There are no students being killed. The gameplay is the same as all counter strike games, where you have two teams fighting against each other, much like most other shooters which use public settings as game environments."

The police said the gamers did not commit any crimes by replicating the high school.

"Although the creation of such a video game is likely ill-conceived in the current climate, it does not constitute an offence," a statement said. "Investigators from the Port Moody Police Department have interviewed the developer of this game and have concluded that he does not pose a danger to the staff or students of Port Moody Secondary."

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Related links:

NRA Shooting App for iPhones, for Kids as Young as 4, Targeted by Critics

Video Game Allows Players to Kill NRA Leaders Virtually

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