In the Crosshairs
The 1999 Columbine High School massacre has inspired movies, books, and plays, so it's not entirely surprising that the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history would one day be made into a video game. Still, the freeware Super Columbine Massacre RPG is decidedly creepy. Using cartoonish, Donkey Kong-style graphics of the school and killers, interspersed with news photos of the tragedy, the program puts the gamer in the black trench-coated role of Eric Harris as he and Dylan Klebold shoot teachers and classmates to death. Though many victims and afflicted family members predictably find the game in unspeakably bad taste, that reaction isn't unanimous. "I think I get what he was trying to do, at least in part," said Richard Castaldo, a Columbine student who was paralyzed from the chest down in the shooting. He downloaded and played the game after reading about it on a gaming Web site. "Parts of it were difficult to play through, but overall, I get the feeling it might even be helpful in some ways."