Friday morning (Dec. 21), the National Rifle Association held a controversial press conference to offer its response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. While President Obama and others have focused on gun-law reform, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre laid blame at least partly on the influence of violent movies and video games.
LaPierre illustrated the point with footage from an obscure, 10-year-old online title called "Kindergarten Killer," in which a deranged school janitor goes on a killing spree. LaPierre also named major gaming titles, including "Bulletstorm," "Grand Theft Auto," "Mortal Kombat" and "Splatterhouse" as violent influences.
But there is a bigger difference between "Kindergarten Killer" and the other games, one that goes beyond budget. The major titles are clearly fantasy.
In " Mortal Kombat," both human and supernatural characters fight in an over-the-top fashion, whether it's a ninja using ice attacks to paralyze his opponents or a ruthless criminal hurling his hand into someone's chest and ripping the adversary's heart out.
In "Grand Theft Auto," players have the option of running over people with cars or performing other outlandish acts. However, whereas the game provides the convenience of hiding in a safe house until a character's "Wanted" rating goes down, a real-life criminal would probably be busted rather quickly.
Games like "Kindergarten Killers" are different because they portray atrocities that, sadly, are more plausible — from harming children to taking advantage of a weaker character sexually.
These games remain on the fringe because they draw only a small audience and are under much pressure to be shut down. "Kindergarten Killer" is the work of an independent creator and would never see the light of day as a retail release. It's hard to see what publisher would risk losing face (and stock value) putting out such a game. [See also: 10 Skeeviest Websites and Apps ]
Following, are some other examples from the dark fringe. Be advised, even in brief descriptions, there is some disturbing content.
In this online, Flash game, a janitor is tasked to "shoot kids before they shoot you" across various stages, all of which take place in a school. On occasion, he's also asked to shoot a policeman, as well as a "big boss" (i.e. teacher), who the janitor must hit several times in the head in order to move on to the next stage. The game ends once the player has killed everyone.
First released (and then mistakenly approved) for the App Store in 2009, this cheaply made game requires players to "shake" the image of an infant on screen in the fastest time possible, thus killing it as red X's appear over the eyes. Developed by an independent group named Sikalosoft, the app has since been removed from the Apple App Store, as well as from Google Play.
"Super Columbine Massacre RPG!"
Made by Colorado student and independent filmmaker Danny Ledonne in 2005, "Super Columbine Massacre RPG!" is a role-playing PC game that takes place in two parts. The first follows shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold as they confront and murder various character types, such as "preppy girl," "janitor" and "jock boy." The second half follows the pair in hell, as they battle monsters and meet recreated versions of Bart Simpson, John Lennon and Jon-Benet Ramsey, among others. Despite its controversy, the game can still be downloaded today.
"School Shooter: North American Tour 2012"
Using Valve's Source Engine technology (the same tool that helped create such games as "Half-Life 2" and "Counter-Strike"), users are able to put together their own maps and characters through "mods."
One of the more controversial creations is "School Shooter," a PC game made by a group of independent developers at Checkerboard Games. In 2011, they released the mod, in which players gun down students, teachers and staff in locations including Columbine High School and Virginia Tech, before being asked to commit suicide to avoid capture. After roaming through online servers on the Steam network, the game has since been removed, though the developers plan to release it on their own site.
Released internationally as a Hentai (hardcore porn-related) PC game in 2005 by Illusion Soft, RapeLay has as its protagonist a disturbed man named Kimura Masaya who stalks and eventually rapes a woman and her two daughters. The game requires players to place characters into certain positions and then, against the characters' will, engage in sexual acts. RapeLay has not been released in the United States.