An upcoming computer video game that would allow players to re-create school shootings by stalking school hallways and racking up kills has been condemned as insensitive and inappropriate by the parents of students who were shot to death in the school massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla.
The game — "Active Shooter" — is scheduled for a June 6 release via the digital video-game marketplace Steam. It is branded as a "SWAT simulator" that lets players choose between being an active shooter terrorizing a school or the SWAT team responding to the shooting.
It was developed by Revived Games and published by the company Acid, which has said it plans to sell the game for $5 to $10 on Steam and to release an alternate "civilian" mode.
A description of the game, which will not be sold on a console system, comes with a disclaimer: "Please do not take any of this seriously. This is only meant to be the simulation and nothing else. If you feel like hurting someone or people around you, please seek help from local psychiatrists or dial 911 (or applicable). Thank you."
The game is to be released about four months after a gunman killed 17 students and staff members at Stoneman Douglas and less than a month after 10 more were killed in a school shooting in Texas. It also comes during a year when survivors of the Parkland shooting revived a debate on gun control that culminated with a global March for Our Lives demonstration.
Adding to critics' claims that the game is seeking to monetize controversy, other games this developer has sold via Steam include "Tyde Pod Challenge" and "White Power: Pure Voltage."
The publisher of the video-game marketplace, Valve, has come under intense pressure to cancel the game's release.
Responding to some of the criticism, Acid said in a blog post last week that its game "does not promote any sort of violence, especially any [sort] of a mass shooting."
Ryan Petty, the father of a Douglas High student who died in the school shooting, on Sunday called for the game's release to be canceled. His daughter Alaina was 14.
"It's disgusting that Valve Corp. is trying to profit from the glamorization of tragedies affecting our schools across the country," said Petty, who is running for Broward County school board.