Valve removes controversial school-shooting simulator from Steam

Ruben Fields
May 31, 2018

A controversial video game that would allow players to simulate a school shooting has been removed from its digital storefront after widespread criticism from parents, lawmakers, police and even gamers who trashed it as "morally corrupt". Active Shooter would reportedly allow players to choose whether they wanted to play as a SWAT team member responding to a shooting at a school, or as the shooter themselves.

Andrew Pollack, whose 18-year-old daughter, Meadow, was killed during the February 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, told the Miami Herald that the "sick people" behind the game were contributing to the desensitization to violence that ultimately claimed the life of his daughter.

It wasn't the reach that anxious people but it provided a clear example of a video game that almost everyone is calling inappropriate.

Another Parkland father, Fred Guttenberg, who lost his daughter Jaime Guttenberg, also slammed the game.

Acid shared a clarification on the Steam Community forum, writing "this game does not promote any sort of violence, especially any soft of a mass shooting", adding, "After receiving such high amount of critics and hate, I will more likely remove the shooter's role in this game by the release, unless if it can be kept as it is right now".

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An online petition by the activist group Change.org urging the game distributor not to launch the game drew almost 200,000 signatures.

"To make light of anything like that, it's a huge cultural problem that we've developed" said Sara Helman Martinen.

Valve Corp., Steam's parent company, said Tuesday that it was removing the computer video game because the developer was a "troll with a history of customer abuse". One this is clear, however, and that is Valve refusing "to do business with people who act like this towards customers".

The statement concluded by noting that Steam will soon have a "broader conversation" about their content policies. If you feel like hurting someone or people around you, please seek help from local psychiatrists or dial 911 (or applicable).

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