Censors and moralisers continually succeed not just because politicians of all stripes are by nature morally conservative and stiff-lipped, and because the media is full of people who love to whip up moral panics to increase sales. By David
Anti-gun campaigners are highlighting a school-shooting simulator video game available on Steam. According to its listing on the Steam, the game lets players slaughter as many civilians as possible in a school environment.
InferTrust called on Valve, the company behind the Steam games store - to take the title down before it goes on sale, on 6 June.
The BBC report omits the name of the game but in fact it is titled Active Shooter .
The school-shooting game is described as realistic and impressive. And the developer has suggested it will include 3D models of children to shoot at. However, the creator also says: Please do not take any of this seriously. This is only
meant to be the simulation and nothing else.
A spokeswoman for InferTrust said:
It's in very bad taste. There have been 22 school shootings in the US since the beginning of this year. It is horrendous. Why would anybody think it's a good idea to market something violent like that, and be completely insensitive to the deaths
of so many children? We're appalled that the game is being marketed.
Active Shooter comes out June 6 and calls itself a dynamic S.W.A.T. simulator where the player can be either a S.W.A.T. team member or the shooter. Developer Revived Games also plans to release a civilian survival mode where the player takes on
the role of a civilian during a shooting.
Revived Games, the developer of Active Shooter have responded to the controversy.
Due to the high amount of criticism the game's received, Revived Games added it will likely remove the shooter's role from the game before launch unless it can be kept as it is right now.
Active Shooter has been banned from Steam's online store ahead of release.
The title had been criticised by parents of real-life school shooting victims, and an online petition opposing its launch had reached about 180,000 signatures.
The PC game's publisher had tried to distance itself from the controversy ahead of Valve's intervention. Although the original listing had explicitly described the title as being a school shooting simulation, the reference was dropped. In
addition, a promise that gamers could slaughter as many civilians as possible if they chose to control the attacker rather than a police officer, was also removed.
Mental health campaigners have criticised the return of the Netflix drama 13 Reasons Why , expressing concern that the second series of the drama about a teenager's suicide is due for release as summer exam stress peaks. The story of
17-year-old Hannah Baker's life and death continues on Friday 18 May.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists described the timing as callous, noting that suicide rates among young people typically rise during exam season and warning that the Netflix drama could trigger a further increase. Dr Helen Rayner, of the Royal
College of Psychiatrists, said:
I feel extremely disappointed and angry. This glamourises suicide and makes it seductive. It also makes it a possibility for young people -- it puts the thought in their mind that this is something that's possible. It's a bad programme that
should not be out there, and it's the timing.
The US-based series was a big hit for Netflix despite -- or perhaps because of -- the controversy surrounding the suicide storyline. The first series of 13 episodes depicted Hannah's friends listening to tapes she had made for each of them
explaining the difficulties she faced that had prompted her to kill herself.
Supporters of the first series said it was an accurate portrayal of high school life that would spark conversations between parents and their children and encourage viewers to seek information on depression, suicide, bullying and sexual assault.