The game, titled V-Tech Rampage, was created by Ryan Lambourn (pictured left) of Sydney, Australia. Featuring a pixelated rendition of Seung-Hui Cho--the man who murdered 32 people in the worst school shooting in history--players are directed to walk across the Virginia Tech campus, killing all in their path. "Don't let Emily get away," says one screen in the game, which is littered with references to Cho's videos and writings. The game-over screen reads: "Are you always full of shit McBeef? Try again, this time don't be such a wuss."
Earlier in the week, Lambourn remained defiant despite increasing criticism of the game. "Yeah it's staying up--freedom of speech, man," he reportedly told The Daily Telegraph, while at the same time demanding increasing amounts of money before he would apologize. "I will take this game down from newgrounds if the donation amount reaches $1000 US, i'll take it down from here if it reaches $2000 US, and i will apologize if it reaches $3000 US," his website read according to GamePolitics. Lambourn's ISP apparently removed the site shortly after, though the game can still be found on Newsgrounds.com.
It didn't take long for the mainstream press to shine a spotlight on the game. Now a New York state senator has joined the list of those rising in opposition. "There are certain things in life you don't make light of and should not be turning into a game," said Sen. Andrew Lanza to the Staten Island Advance. Lanza is the chair on the New York Senate Task Force on Youth Violence and the Entertainment Industry.
The controversy is indicative of a time when even the most rudimentary games can be used as talking points, or in some cases, ammunition for politicians and lobbyists. Using V-Tech Rampage as a jumping point, Lanza went on to compare it to the upcoming Grand Theft Auto IV. "You've got Grand Theft Auto where you murder police officers," Lanza said. "To me, I can't imagine people marketing and distributing it, and putting it in the hands of kids, but it's happening."