Report article RSS Feed Why we removed the school shooter mod

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

Posted by INtense! on Mar 19th, 2011

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 454)
SM_Sith_Lord
SM_Sith_Lord Mar 19 2011, 1:24pm says:

Modern Warfare 2 had extra offensive content like this, and they just put a warning on it and the option to skip the mission. Maybe putting a big advisory on their ModDb profile that lets you either proceed or go back would keep everybody happy.

+2 votes     reply to comment
HeadClot
HeadClot Mar 19 2011, 1:27pm replied:

I belive that they did do that and they put that they do not support or condone such acts

+2 votes     reply to comment
Deuce_Savage
Deuce_Savage Mar 19 2011, 1:30pm buried:

(buried)

It would appear the Supreme Court just got the paint brush stuck up thier yin yangs to allow this violation of the peoples contitutional rights to proceed! Tommorrow there will be gulags for all modders! Maybe Cabbage Patch Dolls are more sadistic, excessively violent causing heart failures on a dailey basis! I would'nt play that shooter mod myself but in principal people fought & died to protect your way of life so one faint of heart hero, cough, cough, can cry wolf & spit on the constitution!

-5 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 1:38pm replied:

ModDB isn't a country. It's a privately-owned website that can do whatever they want for whatever reason they choose. They can lie and say things about freedom of speech and expression all they want, but it doesn't apply to them.

+6 votes     reply to comment
DougBailey
DougBailey Mar 19 2011, 1:41pm buried:

(buried)

So what you're saying is they are hypocrites? Yes... Yes I agree. Astute observation, Dr. Pop.

-5 votes     reply to comment
Spartan0536
Spartan0536 Mar 19 2011, 1:44pm replied:

Not entirely true, if their Database Servers are in the USA they are governed by US Law, while net neutrality is still in effect, the rights of any American citizen are to be upheld while in American Jurisdiction, therefore if this mod had Americans on the team and the Mod was hosted on an American Server, their Constitutional Rights have just been violated.

-2 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 1:53pm replied:

I will actually pay up to $100 to let a judge take a look at this case. I want to see his laughter as he throws out this case.

You are wholely uninformed about Net Neutrality. It is centered around Internet Providers, not individual websites.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Cryrid
Cryrid Mar 19 2011, 1:44pm says:

I've been saying mods like this would cause problems with the media/parents/victims for a while now, so I can't say I'm surprised it happened.

For those going on about freedom of speech, you do realize that ModDB is a website, not your government? This is a site they own, and they can remove what they want whenever they want. The terms of use for this site has only said for years now that "This is not a Free Speech Forum or Venue", why make a fuss about suddenly realizing this?

At the end of the day ModDB/IndieDB/Desura has to decide what is best for them and base their decisions around that. If they're in the process of working with other companies or getting advertisers to help support the financial aspect of the service they provide, issues like this need to be ironed out. Like it or not (I'm sure we all don't), even if it isn't content they've made the association is still going to be there. For this reason I wouldn't expect to see any rape sims, mods where you play as the KKK and go around beating up African Americans and homosexuals, addons where you can go to a supermarket and shoot a senator in the back of the head (and spray bullets into anyone else in the area, including little children), etc. If people have the right to make these mods and you want to defend that freedom, ModDB and its staff should be expected to have the right whether or not they wish to showcase them and finance the bandwidth for it. It's a two-way street. If you're going to cry about freedoms, you'd be a hypocrite for not defending ModDB's freedom to do this.

+8 votes     reply to comment
DougBailey
DougBailey Mar 19 2011, 2:05pm replied:

Did you read their statement? They said they want to stand up for the mod so everyone can have the right to say what they want through the creative process but they immediately rescind their own comment and remove the mod. This is the dictionary definition of hypocrisy. Stop replying.

-4 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 2:13pm replied:

So, what are you going to do about it? Nothing. You have no power; you even have no responses on your ****** little forum. No one gives a ****.

+6 votes     reply to comment
Cryrid
Cryrid Mar 19 2011, 5:15pm replied:

Apparently you didn't. They said they were sitting on the fence, and ultimately did what is in their own best interest. In life there is often a difference between doing what you want to do, and doing what you need to.

Touche on the irony of trying to tell me to stop replying though.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Attila1945
Attila1945 Mar 19 2011, 1:52pm says:

Well, this was a stupid trolling mod. The team wanted to be famous, but they can't able to do something good, so they decided to make something flagrancy. I never liked this mod, but I noticed thanks to its name. About its quality, why they not able to make new human models? Anyway they have won, because they are famous now...

+3 votes     reply to comment
Nokiaman
Nokiaman Mar 19 2011, 1:57pm says:

Good job being babies.

-3 votes     reply to comment
ebol4
ebol4 Mar 19 2011, 2:08pm says:

Just shaking my head...

+1 vote     reply to comment
TrashCan-Man23
TrashCan-Man23 Mar 19 2011, 2:16pm says:

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

0 votes     reply to comment
Gunjack
Gunjack Mar 19 2011, 2:24pm says:

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

+3 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 2:24pm says:

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.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Dušek
Dušek Mar 19 2011, 2:35pm says:

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?

+8 votes     reply to comment
mekose
mekose Mar 19 2011, 2:40pm says:

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.

+3 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 2:48pm replied:

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?

+7 votes     reply to comment
version15
version15 Mar 19 2011, 10:54pm replied:

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.

+3 votes     reply to comment
CovertChaos
CovertChaos Mar 19 2011, 3:58pm replied:

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.

+3 votes     reply to comment
mekose
mekose Mar 19 2011, 9:01pm replied:

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.

+1 vote     reply to comment
TrashCan-Man23
TrashCan-Man23 Mar 19 2011, 2:48pm says:

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).

-1 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 3:00pm replied:

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 ****.

+2 votes     reply to comment
a_coathanger
a_coathanger Mar 19 2011, 3:00pm says:

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.

+2 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 3:01pm replied:

Because ModDB hates you.

-1 votes     reply to comment
a_coathanger
a_coathanger Mar 19 2011, 3:11pm replied:

fair enough.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Elizabeth_Lestrad
Elizabeth_Lestrad Mar 19 2011, 3:03pm says:

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.

+4 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 3:05pm says:

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

+1 vote     reply to comment
Elizabeth_Lestrad
Elizabeth_Lestrad Mar 19 2011, 3:09pm says:

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.

+5 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 3:19pm replied:

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.

-1 votes     reply to comment
Dušek
Dušek Mar 19 2011, 3:22pm replied:

What's YOUR name broski?

+4 votes     reply to comment
Dušek
Dušek Mar 19 2011, 3:21pm says:

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.

+4 votes     reply to comment
Elizabeth_Lestrad
Elizabeth_Lestrad Mar 19 2011, 3:44pm replied:

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.

-1 votes     reply to comment
Dušek
Dušek Mar 19 2011, 4:41pm replied:

When did they idolize Columbine?

+2 votes     reply to comment
Neurological
Neurological Mar 19 2011, 3:22pm says:

Giosuè Carducci ate a basket cow.

+4 votes     reply to comment
ZaliaS
ZaliaS Mar 19 2011, 3:34pm says:

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.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Phenixtri
Phenixtri Mar 19 2011, 9:53pm replied:

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

-2 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 10:25pm replied:

Want a ******* medal?

+4 votes     reply to comment
Elizabeth_Lestrad
Elizabeth_Lestrad Mar 19 2011, 3:47pm says:

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.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Ryswick17
Ryswick17 Mar 19 2011, 3:49pm says:

This saddens me.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Cervi_Messias
Cervi_Messias Mar 19 2011, 3:52pm says:

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.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Odyanii
Odyanii Mar 19 2011, 3:58pm says:

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.

+6 votes     reply to comment
KimJongLulz
KimJongLulz Mar 19 2011, 4:19pm says:

Sensitive pussies :3

-2 votes     reply to comment
PIINPOIINT
PIINPOIINT Mar 19 2011, 4:22pm says:

I still like moddb

+7 votes     reply to comment
Akujin
Akujin Mar 19 2011, 4:49pm says:

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).

+2 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 5:03pm replied:

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.

+1 vote     reply to comment
MagnumPI
MagnumPI Mar 19 2011, 5:11pm replied:

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

+4 votes     reply to comment
moppop
moppop Mar 19 2011, 5:16pm replied:

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.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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