V-Tech Rampage Creator Gets 16th Minute of Fame, Cease-and-Desist from RIAA

We thought that Ryan Lambourn’s 15 minutes were up, but apparently not.

The Australian creator of the widely-reviled V-Tech Rampage has found a new host for his googumproduce site, from which his controversial, amateurish and exploitative game on the Virginia Tech tragedy can be downloaded.

His original hosting company gave Lambourn the boot after the V-Tech Rampage controversy broke last month, effectively shutting him down. The game has been available from the Newgrounds portal, however.

Lambourn notes on Newgrounds that the version hosted there was revised in response to a complaint from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). As reported by ninemsn:

Lambourn was forced to replace the original soundtrack, a synthesised version of Collective Soul’s ‘Shine’, after complaints from the Recording Industry Association of America.

‘Shine’ was reportedly one of [Virginia Tech killer] Cho’s favourite songs.

Newgrounds Portal Stands Behind Decision to Keep V-Tech Rampage Available

Last week’s big story, of course, was the hurly-burly surrounding V-Tech Rampage, an amateurish Flash game based on the recent massacre.

While Australian creator Ryan Lambourn bore the brunt of the public outcry over the game, Philadelphia area portal site Newgrounds.com came in for its share of criticism over hosting V-Tech Rampage.

In a message posted yesterday afternoon, Newgrounds programmer Ross Snyder defended the decision the keep the game online and available:

Aussie Politician Vows to Investigate V-Tech Rampage Game

The furor over V-Tech Rampage, the amateur game based on the Virginia Tech massacre, continues to build.

As reported by Earth Times, an Australian Communications Minister Senator Helen Coonan said that the game’s creator, Ryan Lambourn, should seek help, and that her agency will launch an official inquiry into V-Tech Rampage. Said Coonan:

The individual responsible for the game is using a terrible tragedy to draw attention to himself and his work. It is in very poor taste and the person concerned may want to consider getting some professional help.

D.C. TV Station Has Video Report on V-Tech Rampage

WRC-4, Washington D.C.’s NBC affiliate has a video report on the V-Tech Rampage controversy, including footage of Ryan Lambourn, the game’s creator, who said:

You do it for some negative reaction to laugh at.

However, Virginia Tech grad student Vasanth Ganesan rejected Lambourn’s terse explanation:

Because he’s an outsider, its just another scenario for him, for his game. For those of us who are here [and] knew people down in Blacksburg, it’s really scary.

TV News Stations Air Video Reports on V-Tech Game Controversy

WRIC-8 in Richmond, Virginia ran a news feature last night on V-Tech Rampage.

The station called the game “disturbing” and said:

Sources say [game creator Ryan Lambourn] has tried to capitalize on tragedies before including Hurricane Katrina and the death of crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin.

KXLY-4 (Spokane, WA) also has a video report, including some interview footage with Lambourn.

News of V-Tech Rampage Game Crosses Over to Mainstream Media

As expected, it didn’t take long for news of the highly offensive V-Tech Rampage to be picked up by the mainstream media.

Today’s Roanoke Times has a report on the amateurish web game, which is based upon the recent horrific shooting spree at Virginia Tech. The game was created by an Australian man, Ryan Lambourn.

Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker told the newspaper:

It’s so contemptible it’s beneath response.

The Roanoke Times piece cites GamePolitics’ coverage among its sources for the story.

GP: We certainly haven’t heard the last of this one. Let’s just hope that media reports accurately portray V-Tech Rampage for what it is: offensive, exploitative, and attention-seeking, and not typical of video games or gamers.

Now would be a good time for the ESA, as the public face of the video game industry – to make a statement condemning – and distancing itself – from V-Tech Rampage.

UPDATE: We note that an Australian newspaper has also picked up the story. The Sydney Daily Telegraph has an interview with the game’s creator, who was born in Australia but lived in the United States until he was 14.

UPDATE 2: GP readers note – and we have confirmed – that Lambourn’s website is down. Could be bandwidth issues with the host, could be something else…

V-Tech Rampage Creator Demands Payment to Remove Game

In the history of video games, perhaps in the history of the Internet, this is something never seen before: an audience held hostage.

Ryan Lambourn, the Australian man who created the highly offensive V-Tech Rampage, has posted a message on his GooGumProduce website demanding payment to take the game offline:


I will take this game down from newgrounds if the donation amount reaches $1000 US, i’ll take it down from here if it reaches $2000 US, and i will apologize if it reaches $3000 US.

Newgrounds, of course, could take the game offline without regard to Lambourn’s wishes. It remains to be seen whether the site will do so.

It’s unclear whether Lambourn’s Dr. Evil-style demand is for real or just part of an elaborate prank. Either way, the clock is now running on Ryan Lambourn’s 15 minutes of fame.

UPDATE: We’re running a GP poll (see sidebar) on the V-Tech game situation. Be sure to vote!

UPDATE 2: Lambourn writes on his website that the money demand was a joke:

…the donation thing is there as a joke against all the people commanding me to take my game down. I didnt think anyone would donate money to it and so far my paypal account has proven me right…

Slashdot   Slashdot It!

Super Columbine Creator Comments on V-Tech Game

Yesterday GamePolitics reported on V-Tech Rampage, a Flash game uploaded to the Newgrounds site by an Australian man, Ryan Lambourn. In our coverage we noted that the game was rendered in a documentary style, similar to the controversial Super Columbine Massacre RPG.

The Columbine game was widely criticized following its 2006 release and blamed by some pundits for contributing to a September school shooting by a deranged man at Dawson College in Montreal.

SCMRPG was lauded by others for its use of the game medium to explore a searing cultural event. The game would eventually be nominated as a finalist at the Slamdance Guerilla Games Festival before the event’s promoter removed it as too controversial.

Muslim Massacre Creator: My Apology Was Fake

The man behind the Muslim Massacre controversy seems unwilling to relinquish his 15 minutes of fame. Although Eric Vaugh issued a widely-reported apology for his game, the object of which is "wipe out the Muslim race," he now claims that the apology was a scam.

We know because Super Columbine Massacre RPG creator Danny Ledonne, himself no stranger to controversy, has shared with GamePolitics an e-mail conversation with Vaughn which took place on September 15th:

Danny Ledonne: It is too bad that you pulled your game simply because some people didn’t understand your political message (I for one gleaned a satirical criticism of Bush’s foreign policy from "Muslim Massacre" whether you had intended it or not)… I believe by complying with demands of censorship toward the Danish cartoon depicting the prophet Muhammad and games like "Muslim Massacre," we are enabling a culture of taboos that are ultimately unproductive in cross-cultural dialogue…

While I recognize my serious/satire game "Super Columbine Massacre RPG!" merely pissed off a vocal but benevolent PTA instead of Muslim extremists… it is disheartening whenever an artist (however amateur or vulgar) raises the white flag at the first sign of social disapproval…

Eric Vaughn: The apology was actually fake. I put the site back up shortly after. Now the media is in a total bind and doesn’t know what to believe.I was just f***ing with everyone the entire time and have had great success.

[GP: Indeed, the Muslim Massacre site, which had been down, is back up]

Danny Ledonne: Erg. I get it. But I don’t. I mean, you have an actual message ( I presume?) and I think you could legitimately stand behind it. Please don’t tell me you’re just another Ryan Lambourn… doing it for "the lulz." If I were you, I would define success as the opportunity to think more critically about the elements your game addresses…

Eric Vaughn: Not exactly, basically my message was the Muslims need to suck it down and stop getting offended by everything. If they learnt to just ignore people, things would be better. It’s not just a message for Muslims, it’s for people in general. There are people all around the world who will do things that make you mad. If you search for them, they are easy to find. Just get on with your life.

GP: Readers may recall that Ryan Lambourn, mentioned by Ledonne, created the execrable V-Tech Rampage last year (see: V-Tech Rampage Creator Demands Payment to Remove Game).

By the way, Playing Columbine, Danny Ledonne’s film detailing the controversy surrounding his game, will be screened at the AFI FEST in Los Angeles later this year. We’ll have review of the film coming up on GamePolitics in the near future.

New York Guv’s Game Scare Presentation Cites Hoax Site as “Resource”

In New York, efforts to legislate video game sales have bogged down in the wake of bitter political infighting between Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) and State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R).

While the legislative effort remains stalled, the New York Department of Criminal Justice (!) has produced a 20-minute slide show which, in addition to offering some good advice to parents, dredges up a number of sensationalized stories, presents at least one outright fallacy, and cites a well-known Internet hoax site as a parental resource. 

As reported by the Staten Island Advance, Gov. Spitzer unveiled Video Games and Children: Virtual Playground vs. Danger Zone yesterday, accompanied by representatives from the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). Said Spitzer of the 20-minute presentation:

Protecting our children from violent video games that contain adult themes is a key priority for my administration. I commend the staff of the DCJS and Commissioner Denise O’Donnell for taking a leadership role in this effort by reaching out to parents and educators to engage them in this important dialogue. This presentation gives parents and educators the information they need to make smart decisions about the games their children play.

While the presentation offers some wothwhile – if standard – advice about ratings and other parental issues, it quickly devolves into sensationalism. V-Tech Rampage, for example, gets prominent mention early in the presentation. For those who may not recall that sorry episode, V-Tech Rampage was a crude, non-commercial game created and posted online by an apparently troubled young man from Australia who gained his 15 minutes of fame by exploiting the Virginia Tech massacre. What does it have to do with parents making video game choices for their children?

The presentation also includes clips from a well-known Australian TV video of a supposed teenage World of Warcraft addict. There is also an ominous mention of an unnamed 13-year-old Chinese lad who is said to have thrown himself from the roof of a building in an effort to join his video game heroes.

We were also troubled by the somewhat random selection of games presented as bad examples. For instance, the video makes much of Soldier of Fortune’s realistic body damage model. SoF, however, was released seven years ago. Relevance, please?

The presentation also mentions that Virginia Tech killer Seung Hui Cho was reportedly a player of Counter-strike. However, the Virginia Tech Review Panel’s report clearly states that no such evidence was found. The only game mentioned by the blue ribbon panel in relation to Cho is Sonic the Hedgehog.

First-person shooters are referred to as "killographic" games. Grand Theft Auto San Andreas is misstated as "Grand Theft San Andreas." How does one botch what is probably – thanks to Hot Coffee – the most infamous game title of all time?

And, as the presentation ends, a resource page lists Mothers Against Videogame Addiction and Violence as one of several places where parents can go for additional information. 


MAVAV is a well-documented hoax site, created, ironically, by a student from a New York City design school.

In the end, poor research makes Gov. Spitzer’s well-intentioned video look amateurish and out of touch.

UPDATE: Albany’s WNYT-13 has a report on the release of the New York video.