We sadly live in a world where active shooter drills have become the norm everywhere from elementary schools to high schools to college campuses. Discussions around the dinner table have revolved around school shootings and how to stay safe if an active shooter situation happens at a child's school. Parents are scared to send their children to school, and children are sharing what they want people to tell their parents if they happen to die in a school shooting.
School shootings are a terrifying reality for school children these days, and something that should never become a part of popular culture or the gaming universe. Which is why parents, students, and politicians were beyond outraged when a a video game company recently announced it will be releasing a video game based on a school shooting scenario.
Active Shooter is a new video game that was set to be released in June. The game was designed allow the player to role play as either the "active shooter" in a school shooting or as a SWAT team member called to the school shooting. According to CNN the game was being released on the STEAM platform owned by Valve. Corp.
Understandably, parents and politicians were alarmed that a gaming company would attempt to release a game that allows someone to pose as an active school shooter especially given the amount of school shootings that have happened in the United States in this calendar year alone.
Ryan Petty's 14-year-old daughter Alaina was killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting in February and took to social media to express his disgust at the game.
In a statement to the media, Petty further criticized Valve Corp. for exploiting all school shootings.
“It’s disgusting that Valve Corp. is trying to profit from the glamorization of tragedies affecting our schools across the country. Keeping our kids safe is a real issue affecting our communities and is in no way a “game”.
Fred Guttenberg, who also lost his daughter Jaime in the Parkland shooting, called for the company to 'face the wrath of everyone who cares about school and public safety.'
This company should face the wrath of everyone who cares about school and public safety and it should start immediately. Do not buy this game for your kids or any other game made by this company.https://t.co/LbkXy0upwc— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) May 27, 2018
School shooting survivors and activists Jaclyn Corin and Emma Gonzalez both called for the shut down of the game as well.
THIS IS DISGUSTING. Valve Corporation of Bellevue is launching a video game on June 6th that’s a school shooting simulator. Everyone that cares about school & public safety should be OUTRAGED. Sign this petition to DEMAND the game isn’t launched: https://t.co/oQibZgGWWq— Jaclyn Corin (@JaclynCorin) May 29, 2018
Valve Corp shut down this shovelware immediately please https://t.co/rjCfBTHfIr— Emma González (@Emma4Change) May 29, 2018
The outcry resulted in a petition urging Valve to block the release of the game that currently has more than 200,000 signatures. In a pinned post on Steam's discussion page, the company defended the game. "Active Shooter is just a video game and nothing else. Players aren't forced to play only as an active shooter. There are other roles to pick from. Again, this is nothing but a video game."
However it seems that the outrage over the game was heard loud and clear as Valve has removed the game from Steam. A company spokesperson revealed to Variety that the developer of the game was someone who they had previously fired, but returned under a new business name.
“This developer and publisher is, in fact, a person calling himself Ata Berdiyev, who had previously been removed last fall when he was operating as ‘[bc]Interactive’ and ‘Elusive Team,'” Valve said. “Ata is a troll, with a history of customer abuse, publishing copyrighted material, and user review manipulation. His subsequent return under new business names was a fact that came to light as we investigated the controversy around his upcoming title. We are not going to do business with people who act like this towards our customers or Valve.”
Former Florida Senator Jeremy Ring applauded the public for making their voices heard and preventing the game from being made available.
UPDATE: Allowing people to carry out school shootings, even in virtual reality is unacceptable and thanks to public outcry Valve has pulled their vile “Active Shooter” game from its streaming online store.— Senator Jeremy Ring (@JeremyRingFL) May 30, 2018
#DoSomethingNow #inspiration #DoSomethingNow #EnoughIsEnough pic.twitter.com/4rXXdOFB1y
While there are many violent video games on the market that are hugely popular, most agree that a video game that simulates an active shooter in a school is completely unacceptable.