How Anti-Game Propaganda Spreads: Legislators Discuss Bully as "the Columbine Game"

January 28, 2007 -
When anti-game activist Jack Thompson accused Rockstar's Bully of being a "Columbine simulator," the game community tended to dismiss the criticism based on its source.

But in political circles, the Columbine simulator label has apparently gained some traction. Consider an exchange from Friday's hearing before a Utah House committee considering video game legislation drafted by Thompson.

First, let's set the scene. Jim Olsen, president of the Utah Retail Merchants Association, wraps up several minutes of testimony on the Utah bill. Then, the following exchange takes place:

Legislator: I have one question.

Olsen: Okay.

Legislator: The game, Bully. What would that be rated? Are you familiar with that game?

Olsen: I am not familiar with that game.

(off-mic voice believed to be that of bill sponsor Rep. Wyatt):  "T"

Legislator: That's the Columbine game?

Olsen: It's rated "T" for teen.

Legislator: Okay.

(off-mic voice believed to be that of Rep. Wyatt): The Columbine game's rated Teen...

Legislator: The Columbine game's rated T?

(off-mic voice believed to be that of Wyatt): It's not? What's it rated?

(off-mic voice believed to be that of Steve Sabey, attorney for the ESA): It's a web game. It's not rated...

Legislator: Okay, that's great...

Later in the hearing, Sabey, testifying on behalf of the ESA, returns to the topic in an attempt to clear up any lingering confusion between Bully and the controversial amateur game Super Columbine Massacre RPG, which has been much in the news lately.
...After Columbine the FBI did a study... of Columbine and related shootings... they determined a list of 40 factors that related to why these kids did it. Video games was not listed on that list. Anywhere.

When we met last time there was a suggestion that the ESRB was a sham and the example that was put forward was the Columbine game.  And I mentioned a minute ago, though not on the record, the Columbine game is a game that someone has recently created and put on the web. No legislation - this bill certainly would not address it - no legislation would address it.

There's no control over it because it's a game somebody creates. Very poor game, poor graphics that anyone can load from the web, and it's not a rated game. Rated games - ESRB games - are games that are mass-produced for sale in the stores and they are rated, much like movies are...

If you'd like to listen for yourself, download the audio of this portion of Friday's testimony in mp3 format (less than 3 megs).

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IanCWelp, twitch is going to suck now. Thanks google.07/25/2014 - 6:30am
Sleaker@MP - Looked up hitbox, thanks.07/24/2014 - 9:40pm
Matthew WilsonI agree, but to me given other known alternatives google seems to the the best option.07/24/2014 - 6:30pm
Andrew EisenTo be clear, I have no problem with Google buying it, I'm just concerned it will make a slew of objectively, quantifiably bad changes to Twitch just as it's done with YouTube over the years.07/24/2014 - 6:28pm
Matthew WilsonI doubt yahoo has the resources to pull it off, and I not just talking about money.07/24/2014 - 6:15pm
SleakerI wouldn't have minded a Yahoo purchase, probably would have been a better deal than Tumblr seeing as they paid the same for it...07/24/2014 - 6:13pm
MaskedPixelanteIt's the golden age of Hitbox, I guess.07/24/2014 - 6:08pm
Matthew Wilsonagain twitch was going to get bought. It was just who was going to buy it . Twitch was not even being able to handle the demand, so hey needed a company with allot of infrastructure to help them. I can understand why you would not want Google to buy it .07/24/2014 - 5:49pm
Andrew Eisen"Google is better than MS or Amazon" Wow. Google, as I mentioned earlier, progressively makes almost everything worse and yet there are still two lesser options. Again, wow!07/24/2014 - 5:43pm
Andrew EisenI don't know. MS, in my experience, is about 50/50 on its products. It's either fine or it's unusable crap. Amazon, well... I've never had a problem buying anything from them but I don't use any of their products or services so I couldn't really say.07/24/2014 - 5:42pm
Matthew WilsonGoogle is better than MS or Amazon.07/24/2014 - 5:33pm
Sleaker@AE - I've never seen youtube as a great portal to interact with people from a comment perspective. like ever. The whole interface doesn't really promote that.07/24/2014 - 5:28pm
Andrew EisenNor I. From a content producer's perspective, almost every change Google implements makes the service more cumbersome to use. It's why I set up a Facebook fan page in the first place; it was becoming too difficult to connect with my viewers on YouTube.07/24/2014 - 4:50pm
Sleakerwonder if anyone is going to try and compete with google, I'm not a huge fan of the way they manage their video services.07/24/2014 - 4:41pm
Andrew EisenIt happened. Google bought Twitch. http://venturebeat.com/2014/07/24/googles-1b-purchase-of-twitch-confirmed-joins-youtube-for-new-video-empire/07/24/2014 - 4:28pm
MaskedPixelanteI hope Nintendo actually follows through with the DS Virtual Console, that sounds like it could be cool.07/24/2014 - 2:15pm
james_fudgePeople don't deny it persay, they bristle at the idea that it's a "problem" that nneds to be "fixed."07/24/2014 - 2:15pm
Papa MidnightRacism and Misogny are heavily prevalent in the gaming and online arena. Getting people to actually admit that, however...07/24/2014 - 11:42am
Papa MidnightThat very thing is somthing that anyone who has been subjected to racial-based targeting online could actually state that they've experienced.07/24/2014 - 11:41am
Papa MidnightPerfect example: "I have yet to talk to a man who has had to call a police officer due to a stalker, only to be told nothing can be done until they are physically assaulted."07/24/2014 - 11:40am
 

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