School Shooting VN

Ideas and games that are not yet publicly in production. This forum also contains the pre-2012 archives of the Works in Progress forum.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
Solothread
Newbie
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:32 pm
Contact:

School Shooting VN

#1 Post by Solothread » Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:19 pm

Controversial, yes, but just keep an open mind

So, I've had an idea for quite a while now, but the difficult part is finding people to work with me on this.

Story/Mechanics
The basic idea is that it'll be story based, and choices will cause significant consequences in the story. The main character will be you, the player. Options between male and female and a nameable character. The game starts at the end, which is the shooting itself. You won't know who the shooter is, and you won't know where you are. The screen will be black, and you will hear sounds with snippets of dialogue. After a while, the game is going to cut back a few days ago. The player will know what is going to happen, but they don't know when. For the next few in-game days the player will live on as a normal high school student, with the option to do what they want after school, who to sit with at lunch, whether to pay attention in class or not, many things. These choices will affect where you are when the school shooting happens. I also want to make a very specific path of choices where you can become the shooter. For example, maybe you ditched that day when it happened, or you're studying for a test. There will be some sort of a dating sim element, but not necessarily dating. You get to choose who to hang out with and who you'll push away. As you hang out with someone, their friendship meter goes up. This is meant to provide some sort of emotional connection with the people. Every choice you make will have an impact on the ending.

Why?
I know the school shooting topic might be sensitive for some, but that can be true about anything. I've seen this topic explored in many TV shows and movies, but I haven't seen it in a game, at least not a story based one. I haven't seen any games from a victims point of view. I just want to explore this topic in games because I haven't seen anything good.

So what do I want?
I want feedback. I want to know what people think about it and whether it's a good/bad idea. I also want to see if anyone would be interested in working on this with me. Specifically artists and writers. So let me know what you guys think.

User avatar
LateWhiteRabbit
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1812
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2008 2:47 pm
Projects: The Space Between
Contact:

Re: School Shooting VN

#2 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:14 pm

Solothread wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:19 pm
I also want to make a very specific path of choices where you can become the shooter.
And that's where you've crossed beyond the pale.

Everything else you discussed could be done if done well and handled carefully. But as soon as you give the player the option to become the shooter themselves you are just letting them indulge in a sick power fantasy. You already said you would be letting the player create a self-insert avatar, so you can't be doing a thoughtful commentary or descontruction on the factors that drive a possible shooter.
Solothread wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:19 pm
I know the school shooting topic might be sensitive for some, but that can be true about anything. I've seen this topic explored in many TV shows and movies, but I haven't seen it in a game, at least not a story based one. I haven't seen any games from a victims point of view. I just want to explore this topic in games because I haven't seen anything good.
The topic can be more easily and sensitively examined in TV and movies because the viewer does not have agency in the story like they do in a game.

The topic is sensitive because there have been 11 school shootings in just the first 3 weeks of this year in the U.S. America averages one school shooting per week normally. That means wounds are very fresh on the topic in some community ALL THE TIME. That means a very high likely-hood that actual victims of school shootings will be exposed to your game and its content.

Time and history are usually required to gain perspective on events, and the frequency of school shootings prevents that from happening. It is why games can be released about World War 2 and D-Day now, but could not have been made in good taste in 1947.

It is why Six Days in Fallujah creatly offended those of us who served in Fallujah. Atomic Games tried to release a game about a battle that was less than two years old at the time. Into a market that included lots of gamers that had participated in that battle in real life. They got raked over the coals and were asked pointed questions you would do well to ask yourself:
1) What are you trying to accomplish beyond provoking a reaction?
2) Is what you are making a game, a communications tool, or propaganda?

Because in the end, if you do it poorly or without tremendous thought, you could end up emotionally hurting a lot of people.
Solothread wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:19 pm
I want feedback. I want to know what people think about it and whether it's a good/bad idea.
I don't really believe in censorship, so if you feel like you must make this game, go ahead. But know why you are doing it, and I would have a good answer beyond the thrill of controversary.

I think it is a bad idea, but if it is your art and you must create it, proceed.

User avatar
ComputerArt.Club
Veteran
Posts: 267
Joined: Mon May 22, 2017 8:12 am
Completed: Santa's workshop, Cat's Bath, Computer Art Club
Location: Taiwan
Contact:

Re: School Shooting VN

#3 Post by ComputerArt.Club » Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:33 am

Disclaimer: I am not an American and guns are not easily accessible in any of the countries that I have lived in.

Personally, I think that it is a topic that could be dealt providing it did not in anyway condone the shooting, it did not glamorize the shooters, it did not gamify the actual shooting but rather just the story leading up to it, it was written with empathy for all its characters (again, without glamorizing the shooters). You might need to show how and the system failed, was the support system inadequate?

You would also need to provide a warning about the content and explanation about your reasoning behind making it as well as information about relevant support services (perhaps a relevant phone number and website address).

User avatar
PyTom
Ren'Py Creator
Posts: 15205
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2004 10:58 am
Completed: Moonlight Walks
Projects: Ren'Py
IRC Nick: renpytom
Github: renpytom
itch: renpytom
Location: Kings Park, NY
Contact:

Re: School Shooting VN

#4 Post by PyTom » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:32 pm

LateWhiteRabbit wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:14 pm
I don't really believe in censorship, so if you feel like you must make this game, go ahead. But know why you are doing it, and I would have a good answer beyond the thrill of controversary.

I think it is a bad idea, but if it is your art and you must create it, proceed.
I don't want to hijack the thread here. But I just want to say - this is an incredibly good way to state that you disagree with a game concept, while at the same time respecting people's rights to create the games they choose. Thank you for posting it here and in this way.
Supporting creators since 2004
(When was the last time you backed up your game?)
"Do good work." - Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom
"Silly and fun things are important." - Elon Musk
Software > Drama • https://www.patreon.com/renpytom

Zelan
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1921
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2016 7:23 pm
Completed: The Dark
Projects: bookSLEEPer, Stalker & Yandere
Tumblr: evns
itch: Zelan
Contact:

Re: School Shooting VN

#5 Post by Zelan » Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:28 pm

ComputerArt.Club wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:33 am
You would also need to provide a warning about the content and explanation about your reasoning behind making it as well as information about relevant support services (perhaps a relevant phone number and website address).
Definitely keep this in mind if you go through with this idea.

In reference to what LateWhiteRabbit said about the possibility of the player becoming the shooter, I agree, for the most part. You're going to have to write extremely carefully if you're trying to portray your protagonist's actions as bad; you can't justify his actions without making it seem like you support shootings.

User avatar
SundownKid
Lemma-Class Veteran
Posts: 2294
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:50 pm
Completed: Icebound, Selenon Rising Ep. 1-2
Projects: Selenon Rising Ep. 3-4
Organization: Fastermind Games
Deviantart: sundownkid
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: School Shooting VN

#6 Post by SundownKid » Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:37 am

If you want to explore the topic in a "good" way, then this is not that game. It doesn't appear to have very much commentary about the gun control failures that allow school shootings to happen, just turns it into an event that is used for shock value.

I personally think it's impossible to make a tactful game in which a school shooting happens. That's kind of like trying to make a tactful game featuring gas chambers... it's just not going to happen because it's hitting too much of a nerve.

A tactful game might involve the main character fighting their local government to force them to impose gun control restrictions and prevent school shootings. You know, something that doesn't actually involve a shooting, but is still topical about them. It could even be educational and help people learn how to lobby and protest.

User avatar
TheJerminator15
Regular
Posts: 158
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2016 2:37 pm
Projects: Manipulation, Unnamed Project
Skype: Jimbob
Location: England
Contact:

Re: School Shooting VN

#7 Post by TheJerminator15 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:33 am

What do you mean by a very specific path though? If this is a self-insert of myself, why would I WANT to go down the path where I become the school shooter? Why would it take only the events of a few days to craft a blank character into having the mindset of someone willing to commit mass murder? There's a big difference between playing a shooting game and reading an in depth story where your choices could craft your avatar into a school shooter, especially in such a tiny time frame. It not only seems incredibly unbelievable but it honestly sounds like this is a recipe for having such a sensitive subject being incredibly mishandled.

I'm not against the idea you have of exploring the subject, it just doesn't sound like it'd be executed well in all honesty. Add on top of that dating sim elements and possible romance and it sounds like Tonal Whiplash: The Game.
My Current Writing Project: viewtopic.php?f=47&t=37699
Manipulation Teaser Demo: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzJ4E ... zV6TWVaclk

KouhaiChan
Newbie
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:33 am
Projects: Project Mercurial
Deviantart: KouhaiChan1
Soundcloud: KouhaiChan
Contact:

Re: School Shooting VN

#8 Post by KouhaiChan » Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:29 am

Just by briefly reading your post and the replies, I would definitely not allow the main character to be the shooter, since that kind of seems twisted and pointless in any way that I look at it. But then again, it is your game so you should do whatever you want. But I would not allow the mc to be the shooter if i was making the vn. don't think ppl in general would respond very nicely to it. Cause school shootings are a heavy topic, and ppl get triggered easily. Cause if you want to present it as a commericial product ppl aint gonna respond well (to any controversial topic in general). just advice though

User avatar
Zylinder
Veteran
Posts: 319
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 4:30 am
Contact:

Re: School Shooting VN

#9 Post by Zylinder » Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:40 am

The way I see it, you can either make:

a) A game about surviving a school shooting
b) A game about helping potential school shooters
or
c) Life from the perspective of a school shooter.

All three are difficult, but I feel only the first two have the potential to be combined into a palatable game with the mechanics you're currently going for. Making a blank slate character into a shooter within the span of a few days discredits the amount of factors that must contribute to them. It's the power fantasy of murdering your classmates made into a game.

If you really want to pursue it, look up We Need To Talk About Kevin. I've only read the book version, and it delivered a decent job of asking the question of whether shooters (and by extension, troubling antisocial behavior) is a result of nature or nurture. There has to be more to the game than 'a game about shooters'. What is the question/theme you're trying to explore?

User avatar
ComputerArt.Club
Veteran
Posts: 267
Joined: Mon May 22, 2017 8:12 am
Completed: Santa's workshop, Cat's Bath, Computer Art Club
Location: Taiwan
Contact:

Re: School Shooting VN

#10 Post by ComputerArt.Club » Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:08 am

Are you still planning to go ahead with this project? This type of discussion is probably inherently distressing for people as it is simply to real for many, and no one wants to further distress people who have already gone through a traumatic event. At the same time I think I can understand on some level why you would want to create the possibility of becoming the killer. Unfortunately, although the actions of the shooters could never be justified, these cases seem more complicated than we would like them to be. The shooters are a product of the environment and society as much as anything else, for example, bullying, ostracism and lack of a quality support system could lead to this type of an outcome for vulnerable persons. That doesn't justify the behaviour but it helps to partially explain where it came from, and perhaps a project like this is about explaining things and holding up a mirror to society and so that people understand the problem in a more multifaceted way. Maybe we would gain a slightly better understanding why a shooter would do this, but also why people would ostracise and bully others (thus leading to the victim seeking revenge on a society that they feel has wronged them). We might understand why some Americans feel that guns protect them but also how guns escalate the effects of violence and aggression and raise the stakes. We might also understand how unfair it all is, to all the victims and everyone in the society who was affected by the tragedy, many of which probably never even knew the shooter.

You would definitely need content warnings and you should provide links to support services. If you are really just trying to discuss the topic then it would be enough to cover the events leading up to the shooting and not to turn the shooting itself into a game. Be aware also that these type of things affect content ratings (there are questionnaires that you have to fill in for things like Google Play, they ask questions about the types of violence, who it is towards, if they are human, the age of the victim, etc.). If part of the game actually included you shooting other students it probably would not even be an option to be hosted on many platforms, and that is quite understandable. Gamifying that type of violence is unlikely to have a positive effect on society. Encouraging a discussion on how to reduce violence in schools might.

Horma
Regular
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:06 pm
Contact:

Re: School Shooting VN

#11 Post by Horma » Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:12 pm

I think the message that anyone can break down in the wrong conditions can be done without choices and concequences. For example, imagine the best friend of the MC becoming a school shooter. When someone you thought you knew gradually becomes more distant, and in the end, a monster. Still needs careful crafting, though.

As said before, interactivity is something inherently fun. Giving it such dark undertones can mutate it into something disgusting. While it can be thought-provoking, almost no one likes a game where the point is that the game is not supposed to be fun. It makes the player nauseous and puts them on a guilt-trip for playing and enjoying the gamey elements. Best example ever: Harvester, a PC point-and-click adventure (not that it has good gameplay)

Just my thoughts. You're free to make the game if you please.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users