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We have removed the School Shooter mod from ModDB, read on for our explanation.

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Allow me to begin this post by saying we believe in the freedom of speech, the right to share information and be creative. We have enjoyed watching mod developers push the boundaries for years and create amazing content, and shall always do this.

However, recently a mod on the site called School Shooter: North American Tour 2012 has been getting quite a bit of mainstream press due to the controversial nature of the content. It seems that people sit on two sides of the fence on this one. There are those that believe the makers of this mod should have the right to make whatever they want, while there are others that believe it is disgusting and crosses the line.

We sit on both sides, on one hand we find the content to be deliberately offensive and in poor taste, but on the other we also feel people should have the right to be creative and share what they want on a community / developer run site, and we shouldn't have the right to dictate what is/isn't allowed.

The challenge faced is we are currently receiving quite a bit of threatening mail as people believe we are the creators, supporters and makers of this content. I want to stress that this absolutely isn't the case. We have never encouraged or made any content, we disagree with the mod but at the same time believe in freedom of speech and the unique ability modders and indie developers should have to create games (good-or-bad) about topics, issues and events considered risky or taboo.

There is also quite a bit of confusion from non-gaming press, who state that games like this are the reason why all bad things occur, spreading misinformation and fear. As a result of this confusion and hate, at the moment we feel the best course of action is to remove the mod. We don't want the hard work of thousands of other mod developers to be threatened by people misunderstanding this one mod/game, and assuming all others are like it.

Edit: We did contact the developers with no reply back in August 2010, chances are this would have ended differently if they had replied.

Post comment Comments  (300 - 350 of 438)
ebol4
ebol4

Just shaking my head...

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TrashCan-Man23
TrashCan-Man23

I have only one single question to ask: Will it still be available to download on the main website after it is done?

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Gunjack
Gunjack

Meh, it wasn't a decent mod, so I'm not bothered.

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moppop
moppop

If any of them have a pair it will be. Unless they want to LEAK it on rapidshare. Why would you want to leak something when you can put it on your website....silly trolls.

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ben-yohanan
ben-yohanan

I think the idea is ModDB supports freedom of speech but isn't prepared to defend it. Which is a shame, but it's hard to blame a (relatively) small site for not wanting to get into a legal throwdown over one mod. It's not ideal, but it's not really surprising either. Would we really want ModDB to fall on its sword over this?

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mekose
mekose

We will never grow as an industry if this keeps happening. Good job trying to keep us in the dark ages Moddb. The industry needs a societal shock, just like Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" challenged both the book and movie industry by coming out as hugely violent and dealing with very harsh subject matter. We will never be taken seriously if we can't express our free will and free speech.

The industry is very young and as a little brother to other media it is being belittled and restrained. It's about damn time we grow up and take the helm has an recognized form of media that is allowed free reign to experiment all it wants. You don't see TV shows or books being pulled for dealing with harsh subject matter.

In fact I remember reading a book detailing the life of a school shooter and it was very detailed and gruesome, but I read it unimpeded. Hell, I even got the book from my SCHOOL LIBRARY! How is that for free speech and experimental reign? The same thing with movies and TV shows that tackle these very touchy subjects.

The fact remains that we need to tackle these subjects to be fully recognized as an adult medium capable of dealing with harsh societal problems. It's about time for a revolution, just like the many revolutions in art, radio, tv, and movies. You screwed up big Moddb, we won't forget your damage to this industry.

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moppop
moppop

Stanley Kubrick put his name on Clockwork Orange; he stood behind it with his identity. It was HIS *** if it didn't go over well. No one besides a stupid little Internet alias wan'ts to put their name on this mod. Even all of the members are "Anonymous" who hide behind the mod like cowards.

How the **** do you expect anyone to take this seriously when the anonymous cowards don't take it seriously on their own website?

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version15
version15

Exactly. These "developers" never intended this "mod" to be a political podium. They made it for attention. If you read the escapist interview you can easily tell they aren't trying to make any sort of stand. If their families and friends, or their communities knew they were doing this, they would be quite a bit more timid.

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CovertChaos
CovertChaos

Wait, so you're saying that ModDB damaged the entire game industry by banning one offensive mod that a lot of people haven't even heard about. Oh yeah, it's obvious we're never going to recover from this. Games will be extinct in five years, we may as well just give up.

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mekose
mekose

Don't over exaggerate. This was one out of many chances for the game industry to grow and evolve and tackle harsh subject matter. It's the same thing that happened with 7 days in Fallujah. I hope eventually a game or mod like this will be allowed production unimpeded, I've yet to see that happen. Moddb isn't helping this possibility come true, they are impeding our progress and evolution. Eventually this will happen, but it could have happened now, a little bit. I guess we just have to wait for society to grow a pair and accept us.

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TrashCan-Man23
TrashCan-Man23

I'm going to take a minute here, let's toss the whole "freedom of speech" out just this comment. Alright, once you've done this, continue reading.

I notice there are quite a few people on the subject of how they say they love the mature rated games, oh hell, everyone and their grandma loves 'em. I know I do. But you know what I don't like? Go ahead, take a guess.

What I don't like is how people are saying they love to shoot up people on games like Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, Left 4 Dead (essentially, these are people - just infected) - but they go and condemn shooting people in a school environment?

Please, for the love of god, think about how much of a hypocrite you're being when you spew this garbage out (no pun intended).

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moppop
moppop

This isn't about school violence; it's about people not understanding that this is a **** mod that rips assets out of HL2 and poses them as "school children" It's a troll mod designed to show how stupid people are; the creators WANT people to threaten them.

The problem is that no one is standing behind this troll mod as a serious endeavor. All of the employees are anonymous cowards that are too sheepish to put their real name behind it. All we get it some ****-tastic vague alias named Pawnstick. No one wants to put their face behind it because they all know it's for "teh lulz".

They were leaching off ModDB so they could have an easier time becoming famous. They only care about how much of a hypocrite Intense apparently is AFTER he did this to their ****** little mod....Bunch of pathetic whining babies don't get what they want they curse, cry and scream about it. Look at their stupid little forum, about how there isn't even a single response about this great injustice ModDB did on them. NO ONE GIVES A ****.

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a_coathanger
a_coathanger

Why cant mod db also delete ancient mod projects that were never finished (and never will be) things that arent released and havent been updated in 2 or 3 years, those make me sad too.

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moppop
moppop

Because ModDB hates you.

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a_coathanger
a_coathanger

fair enough.

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Elizabeth_Lestrad
Elizabeth_Lestrad

I heard about someone doing something about sending the URL to the mod to CNN, Fox, ABC, CBS, some anti-violence group founded by Columbine students & parents, and I think even that anti-video game lawyer guy's (Dont recall his name) site or something like that...not really sure.

Im glad you guys pulled it though and as a law student myself I dont think its a question about freedom of speech, but as a stand for basic human dignity and I commend you for it.

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moppop
moppop

Those that accuse of censorship, censor others. Cute how the world works, isn't it?

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Elizabeth_Lestrad
Elizabeth_Lestrad

Sort of like how you cant shout n***** and stuff like (And thank God for that!) that because its a hate crime, but at the same time the Supreme Court allows the Westboro Baptist Church to picket soldiers funerals with signs that says "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "God hates ****" (and somehow thats NOT a hate crime?!). I wouldnt really call it cute, more downright pathetic.

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moppop
moppop

Looks like Pawnstick and his anonymous coward minions have their own bury brigade going. Supress! Supress all those that disagree with you! You're just like ModDB, you anonymous cowards. You're all spineless sacks of **** that can't even stand behind your own creation with your face.

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ben-yohanan
ben-yohanan

What's YOUR name broski?

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ben-yohanan
ben-yohanan

It's not illegal to shout the n word. A hate crime refers to something that is already illegal, like assault and battery or murder, that is determined by the court to have been done for racial/homophobic reasons. If something is determined to be a hate crime, the judge is required to sentence the offender more harshly (kind of like mandatory minimums for drug offenses).

This is according to U.S. law, by the way, might be different in the U.K. or elsewhere.

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Elizabeth_Lestrad
Elizabeth_Lestrad

Yeah, that analogy kinda got away from me there. The point still stands, that just because you can do something doesnt mean you should do it. When it comes to real life tragedy, theres never an appropriate time to make light of it. I think the most disturbing part of this was the news interviews "Pawnstick" where he showed clear psychological issues with comments such as: "Some of my ideas stemmed from the fact that nobody has ever tried to create a proper game about a school shooting. Which is to say, something intended to be "entertainment," rather than going for pure shock value or thought-provocation. When you get over how supposedly shocking something like Super Columbine Massacre RPG is, the game itself is ******* boring.", "It made me realize that games which try to convey some larger message - or which specifically try to "educate the player" - are almost always ******* garbage. That's why we're working like dogs on this game, in order to make sure this game doesn't suck.", "The way the news victimized the victims and overplayed the evil of the shooters disgusted me more than the actual shootings themselves."

Definite anger issues there, and from the way he's been idolizing events like Columbine, I wouldn't be the least surprised to see his sort in the news for the exact thing he makes light of.

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ben-yohanan
ben-yohanan

When did they idolize Columbine?

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Neurological
Neurological

Giosuè Carducci ate a basket cow.

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ZaliaS
ZaliaS

Man, I say **** "political correctness." **** you who supported the mod, or are trying to defend its bringing down with some stupid **** about constitutional rights. To be blatantly honest, I'd love to just beat the ******* **** out of the idiot who created the mod in the first place not JUST because I don't agree with it, but because of the fact that the guy must have a screw loose to even think about creating such content. Let's face it, the world today is strictly dog-eat-dog. Thank you MODDB for doing what you had to do to save the integrity of the community as a whole. For those of you who believe that I'm "out of line" by posting this, go **** yourself. And if you REALLY have that much of an issue, feel free to find me in the world, and we can straiten **** out face to face.

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Phenixtri
Phenixtri

anger managment much? o.0 **** you are more violent than I am & I nearly pulled a suicied by cop/rampage in my school -_-

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moppop
moppop

Want a ******* medal?

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Elizabeth_Lestrad
Elizabeth_Lestrad

While the mod to me is as offensive as those guys who attempted to make the sim game about Nazi concentration camps, the thing that ticks me off is that its exactly these sorts of games that give jerks like He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named ammo to shut down the gaming industry. The guy has enough ammo with games like that Kennedy Assassination game and junk like Manhunt and Postal without needing a mod like this. Why do you think Fallout 3 didnt let you kill kids? Because its NEVER funny.

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Ryswick17
Ryswick17

This saddens me.

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Cervi_Messias
Cervi_Messias

I agree this cite is based in Australia, so if anything the Australia constitution should apply not the United States, that is the biggest problem with my country (the U.S.) many of are people assume the whole world should follow are rules and r way is the only way to live.

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Odyanii
Odyanii

A touchy subject to be sure, and a gray area in general. I personally found the mod much too far over the line and thus find little reason to complain about the decision for its removal.

A content rating system, as has already been suggested, may be the most reasonable compromise that could be taken on ModDB. A system similar to the ESRB (But perhaps a bit better, since Mature is rather broad). Allow mod creators to set what rating they think their game is, if enough people feel that they are not being honest (e.g. Setting it to Everyone when there's dismemberment) it can be reviewed and changed if the creators refuse to change it themselves to a more accurate rating. I'm sure people would complain about this too, but more reasonable ones should agree this doesn't infringe on Free Speech, but still keeps people who don't want to see such content from seeing it.

Ultimately though, this is a privately owned website and not a country. Talking like the constitutional rights of a handful of countries can really apply here is hardly rational. This is not some grave -public- injustice.

Terms of Use state that this is: "..not a pulpit for individual expression of destructive wont, rage and abuse at the expense of others."

I know a lot of people say it is harming no one else, but there's not really definitive fact that it is or isn't. Which leaves it up to personal opinion. And apparently in the opinion of ModDB it is.

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KimJongLulz
KimJongLulz

Sensitive pussies :3

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PIINPOIINT
PIINPOIINT

I still like moddb

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Akujin
Akujin

By removing the mod, you Acknowledge everything that's been thrown at you. I don't care if you don't like this or not, but you've proven to be idiots. If you haven't by now, go and see Daniel Floyd and his thoughts on gaming controversy. No matter how controversial it is, it is free, it can be rated mature, the opening sequence can be:

"This game/mod contains touchy subjects, graphic violence. If you've been sterilised/spoiled in your childhood or you're too delicate, delete this mod. It's free, nobody made you get this it! No re-enactments were made, everything here's fictional!", and the developers would significantly shield them selves from lawsuits. It's a free mod, it's not advertising, it's not enforced onto people. What's the big deal?

We've seen looots of mature rated movies who touch the subjects of mass murder, rape, incest, terrorism, genocide and other delicate subjects. Most of the movies win oscars, but when a game touches those topics, it's instantly attacked. Gamemakers are not toymakers. Mature people enjoy gaming experiences too, and a video game is the most ultimate experience! In books you read it, in movies you see it, but with video games, you read, see, listen, direct, you live that experience in a way, and I say bring on the most controversial games, I'll buy 'em and spread the word (But make a good plot and gameplay).

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moppop
moppop

When combined with these pieces of information:
There was essentialy only one or two assets created; everything else ripped off stock HL2 assets.
The creators didn't care about their own mod; didn't care enough to put their identities on the line.
Their reason for taking all threats and posting on their website

All of these points are indiciative that they were not pursuing this mod as a serious endeavor. It's intention was to get as famous as possible as quickly as possible wihtout any ties to the creators. If the project drew controversy; they wanted it to be bright as possible and take as much down with it.

The only problem is that ModDB got mixed up with this as an unwilling and unitentional target. Checkerboard made no clarifications in any inteveriews they posted, and were content with ModDB taking as much abuse as they were; ModDB wasn't.

ModDB doesn't have to host this mod; they shouldn't be even put in the position where they are defending a free mod for any reason. That is why they are walking away from it; they have no obligation.

Pawnstick and his minions don't care about ModDB. They'll probably do nothing about this, aside from maybe a DDoS attempt as a protest (it's what Anons do). Pawnstick can walk away from this; all of the anonymous cowards on the dev team can walk away from School Shooter. Who does that leave picking the pieces: ModDB.

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MagnumPI
MagnumPI

I think you're making this sound like a bigger deal than it is.

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moppop
moppop

Blame the people that think their freedom of speech is being eroded, not me. Blame the people that think ModDB was the only place to access this content, as is now being evily oppressed (it's not).

I agree that it's not a big deal. I support ModDB because I realize it's their website; they ultimately have to answer for the content on here regardless of who uploaded. They didn't want to be associated with the School Shooter mod, so they canned it on ModDB. Done. End of story.

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D3@DM4N
D3@DM4N

look, i was against this mod from day one, it affected me on a personal level. Im not going to threaten anyone or scream murderers! at the modding community, i have more of a brain than that.

But this is an idea that people dont like to see as a joke (at least the vast majority in this case) I totally respect freedom of speech, but this pushed the boundaries of that. And no, your not "giving the power" to the evil hate mongering people trying to scare people on there side. Your giving peace of mind to people who dont want to see this garbage on their favorite website they visit. I love art, i love all forms of it, but this is not art.

Im sorry it came to this for the team, but i am so absolutely overjoyed its gone.

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chulaksaviour
chulaksaviour

basically using Jack Thompsons Logic... the 2-3 million people who use Steam everyday are murderers..
Theres a reason why he is disbarred for life and that is because he has NO CREDIBILITY

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moppop
moppop

ModDB is doing to the School Shooter website exactly what the Bar Association did to Jack Thompson. They are saying, "We won't endorse or support you on our dollar; you can't use our name or associate with us on any level." It's like whenever Glenn Beck or Don Imus said something stupid on their shows; sponsors backed away and broke deals, just as they should.

So, if you support the debarring of Jack Thompson, you should also support ModDB's freedom to distance itself from an intentional "bad apple" in School Shooter.

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chulaksaviour
chulaksaviour

I do support Moddb in their actions because they have worked hard to achieve what they have, my point is with People like Jack Thompson who have no clue and react to rumour and spread misinformed propaganda to the easily duped masses. We in the end feel pressured to not be creative as we like for fear of being percecuted. The Modding community thrives on its imagination and creativity and to have that strangled is a step in the wrong direction.

Saying this my seem hypocritical but I do believe Moddb did the right thing it show that while we can create things in our image, we need to hold things in perspective and someone somewhere has to draw a moral line and that its best that we regulate ourselves accordingly

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Akujin
Akujin

(buried)

If it's socially unacceptable, doesn't make it Illegal or forbidden. Don't be hypocrites. How many times have you wanted to blew your teacher's brains out, or some kid that bullied you in school?

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moppop
moppop

It's not illegal nor forbidden. It's just not accessible through ModDB. Those interested are more than welcome to go to the developer's actual web site.

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ne_zavarj
ne_zavarj

I'm sorry , but for me that thing isn't a real "mod " I'm glad that they removed it .

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Armageddon104
Armageddon104

Well, I believe a lot of modders will feel threatened since they will know think you will remove anything that is violent. I feel sorry for the modders making this because their hard work has gone to waste.

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moppop
moppop

Uhhh....are we seeing the same mod here? All their hard work in reusing HL2 assets? All of their hard work with horridly simplistic map designs that don't even come close? All their hard work that they don't care to even stand behind?

This would be slightly different if the mod was done with a professional attitude and not the poorly-contrived **** on their website: Checkerboarded.com This mod provides nothing of value, and isn't even commentary on society. It's solely designed to draw flack and blame it on someone else (that being ModDB).

I don't think any serious modder should be threatened in the least; unless they are creating solely a troll mod with the intention of walking away from it, and letting someone else clean up their mess.

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D3@DM4N
D3@DM4N

there was no hard work here.

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xilefian
xilefian

Can people also remember that we're hosting mods on DesuraNET's servers, the hardware is owned by them, we are physically on their property.

So they can remove anything they want, with or without reason, they're fully entitled to make changes to their own property that we're on.

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Akujin
Akujin

I suggest all of you looking at this video (if you haven't seen this already)

http://www.youtube.com/user/kirithem#p/u/3/BFsQM6o4uoY

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moppop
moppop

The problem is that this wasn't a serious endeavour. School Shooter wasn't intended to be such when they went out shopping for hits while still using "alpha" content ripped from HL2. It's all about being famous with as little work as possible; it's not about growing the medium because they don't CARE about the medium. They don't care about it enough to properly recreate the assets.

This was solely designed for controversy with no one to own up to it. No one put a face or real name behind it. Not Pawnstick; not any of the "Anonymous" cowards that contributed to it. None of them wanted to go on camera and say that it's not a troll mod; because they know and we all know that it is. They were going to ignore any flack that came with it because no one was attached to the project; they didn't and will never care that other third-parties (parties such as ModDB that didn't want the unwanted attention) were also getting flack for it.

ModDB never "green-lighted" or endorsed the project and has zero obligation for it to stick around. You cannot make stupid comparisons between what's happening here and what happened between Konami and Six-days in Falluja.

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