Developer Pulls Out of Festival Competition in Protest over Super Columbine Decision

January 7, 2007 -
Fallout continues from the Slamdance Guerilla Games Competition's recent decision to drop Super Columbine Massacre RPG from the upcoming event.

In the latest news, an indepedent developer has withdrawn from Slamdance over the move. Braid creator Jonathan Blow writes that his decision is a protest against the removal of Danny Ledonne's controversial design.

Interestingly, Blow is not a big fan of SCMRPG. Here's more of what the Braid developer had to say about the decision:
(SCMRPG) lacks compassion, and I find the Artist’s Statement disingenuous. But despite this, the game does have redeeming value. It does provoke important thoughts, and it does push the boundaries of what games are about. It is composed with more of an eye toward art than most games. Clearly, it belongs at the festival.

So, in protest of game’s expulsion, I have dropped Braid out of the competition as well.

...games should be taken seriously as an art form that can expand the boundaries of human experience... As an art form they contain a tremendous power to shift perspective and to heighten wisdom... But if games are denied their appropriate level of societal recognition, growth of the form will be very difficult, and human culture will be the lesser for it.

In related news, Newsweek's N'Gai Croal slams the Slamdance decision, as does well-known designer Greg Costikyan of Manifesto Games, a Slamdance sponsor. Meanwhile, Arthouse Games has a great synopsis of this developing controversy.

GP: A shout-out to GamePolitics reader Shih Tzu for the tip!

UPDATE: A second indie game developer, that game company, has pulled out of Slamdance over the SCMRPG issue.

Comments

I'm glad a fellow artist decided to withdraw over this. It's something I hope catches on.

And while I respect a person's right to an opinion, I dont understand his line: "(SCMRPG) lacks compassion." It's a look into the mind of a sociopath - typically compassion doesn't figure into the mind of one such person.

~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

I used Greg Costikyan as a source on my research paper last year. He seems like a true upholder of the first amendment.

Good for him! I know its not what I'd consider a classy game, but if they didn't want it there, they shouldn't have put it there in the first place.

Braid creator Jonathan Blow writes that his decision is a protest against the removal of Danny Ledonne’s controversial design... as does well-known designer Greg Costikyan of Manifesto Games, a Slamdance sponsor

Good! How can an independant festival have any credibility when the founder of the festival overrides the judges in what is and isn't worthy of a nomination?
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

Hopefully others will follow.

Yea, maybe SCMRPG can get invited back in.

Well said Mr. Blow

SCMRPG is somehow both juvenile and archaic in its approach to the Columbine issue from a philosophical, theological, and sociological standpoint. However, its use of the video game medium is admirable.

I believe it should be showcased at this competition, and I think Jonathan Blow is doing the rightt thing. I hope others do the same.

While it's very respectful to take this move, I foresee an overall opinion of "who cares?".

Look at it this way. There is some question already as to whether video games should be included in Slamdance. Obviously, the head of Slamdance holds little regard for the media format. So, another video game developer dropping out, while still making a statement, will have less impact overall as opposed to directors/developers/etc of other media formats backing out in protest.

If other media formats started backing out in protest, then it appears as a solidarity of art in general. But if only members of the video game media format back out, then the argument by some could be "well, video games aren't really an art form so we'll just chuck that format from Slamdance altogether". Might get a bit of opposition, but without the support of the overall "art community", then a segregation and exclusion is very possible.

nightwng2000
NW2K Software

@nightwng2000

True, on the other hand, he'll have a harder time "cashing in" on the popularity of the medium the next time he runs the competition.

The sponsors are less likely to support him vs. another competition if his regular contributors and sponsors go somewhere else due to the clear inability of the competition to be anything but rigged.

Maybe the ECA should start it's own "Guerilla Games" show.
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

GJ DRAMA TRAIN

QUALITY CONTROL = CENSORSHIP

LET'S MAKE A MOUNTAIN OUT OF A MOLEHILL AND THEN CRASH AN AIRPLANE INTO IT

To Dais

This isn't as muc habout the game as it is the festival organizer undermining what it's about.

@Grahamr - and if it does, maybe Ledonne should say no, and perhaps stick it to the festival one more time.

I'll go on record as saying I don't think SCMRPG is very good, though I admire the concept. It seemed to be full of material that had more to do with the author than the facts of the case. Still, banning it from competion against the will fo your judges seems like a bad move.

We've really got to get some new things to worry and care about...

Kyouryuu, this is the "GamePolitics" site, how strange that people on it care about the politics involved with games. Perhaps, and this is just a wild guess, if you visit a site about web removal, you may just find people that care about that.

I've been a little undecided on this issue so far, but Jonathan Blows action certainly earns my respect, and I hope the other entrants who feel the same way will consider making the same sacrifice.

Also, a note to Hank the Tank - A bit of a nitpick I know, but Freedom of speech and the first amendment aren't interchangable. The first amendment doesn't apply here but freedom of speech is still something to aspire to.

You know it would be amusing if the judges selected SCMRPG even with its removal by Peter Baxter. It would be a nice slap in his face for going against the grain of what his festival is suspose to be about.

"I may not like what you say, but I'll fight to the death for your right to say it."
Nice to know some people still believe in this.

Cool. If you pull your game out of the festival you'll be awarded Ron Gilbert's 2007 Grumpy Gamer Games are Art Award. :)

http://grumpygamer.com/1389788
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