A video game that allowed users to play the role of an active school shooter has been removed from its online platform after it sparked growing outrage among parents and school shooting survivors.
The demo for the game, called Active Shooter, showed students, most of whom were female, gunned down in a school. The online game allowed players to take the role of a school shooter, and many people are up in arms over the premise.
“I am stunned that people in a board meeting or in a group setting, they would be like, ‘Oh, I have a great idea of what a new video game should be,” Samantha Grady, a survivor of the massacre at Marjorie Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida, told NBC News. “Shootings, school shootings.”
Andrew Pollack, whose daughter was killed in the Parkland shooting, is upset by this particular game. However, he says video games in general don’t turn young people into violent killers.
“My kids play the games, a lot of kids I see playing these games and they’re not going to go out and do anything violent,” he told NBC News.
Before it was pulled from its platform, Active Shooter was marketed as a SWAT “simulator,” with users able to choose either playing the active shooter or part of the SWAT team. The game contained a disclaimer that said “In no event should any one attempt to recreate or mimic any of the actions, events or situations occurring in this game.”
The game was developed by Revived Games and published by the company Acid. Acid’s owner, Arthur Belkin, said the role of the active shooter may be removed but didn’t think the game itself was controversial.
“[It is] sad people in America create such [a] big scandal about a video game rather than focus on the actual issue,” Belkin said in a written statement to the Miami Herald.
The game was days away from its June 6 release on the Steam marketplace when it was pulled. According to NBC News, a Change.org petition calling for the cancellation of the game’s release received more than 100,000 signatures.
Steam’s parent company, Valve Corp., told the Miami Herald the game was removed because the developer was “a troll with a history of customer abuse.”