Super Columbine Massacre RPG! The Procedural Rhetoric of Critical (Gun) Play

Susan A. Sci, Brian L. Ott

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

This essay offers a counter-reading of Super Columbine Massacre RPG!, a controversial video game about the infamous school shooting at Columbine High School in 1999 in which players adopt the roles of the shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebod. Focusing on the game's unique procedural rhetoric, we argue that SCMRPG! juxtaposes interactive, non-realistic violence-reflected in a campy nineties video game aesthetic-with photographic evidence, extant dialogue, and a detailed narrative of the tragic events at Columbine to promote critical thought about gun violence generally and school shootings in particular. The essay concludes with a brief reflection on the vital that role video games can play in critical pedagogy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-132
Number of pages8
JournalCultural Studies - Critical Methodologies
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

Keywords

  • critical play
  • gun violence
  • persuasive games
  • procedural rhetoric
  • video games

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