How “Doom” was blamed for school shootings with questionable evidence.. A tale on how the media is NOT to be trusted…

Posted: June 11, 2012 in Moral Panics, Video Game Violence, Video Games
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I’ve been avoiding blogging on this one blog for one reason…. There hasn’t been any anti-gaming news stories of note lately… Until now.  On my first blog post I utterly debunked a hoax claim that was used to attack video games on many sites, ranging from medical journals, to newspapers, etc, the infamous “Doom will become reality hoax”. This is the first post  I am referring to. That hoax has been used to justify attacks on violent games, Doom specifically in at least 100 different “attack” sites.  Of course it wasn’t something the real school shooters said on their website, it was obviously fake.   Which brings me to this article.

http://extras.denverpost.com/news/shot0504f.htm

This article was written on May 4, 1999, right after columbine by 2 denverpost writers. They claim that on Harris’s AOL site there was a modified version of Doom that had begging students saying a certain quote, “god mode”, etc…. Among other things.  Similar stories with a similar “modified” version of doom had been popping up in other newspapers around then… I find this problematic that this hate site tracking group has to be the only group that even had knowledge of this “modified” version of doom.  Number 1 the hate site tracking group would have to know the EXACT Web path and file name to get this file if He did have such a modified doom version on his site. Since no one else has any corroborating evidence this mod exists (Harris’s Doom levels are freely available online, you’d think someone would have found this too…), then how the hell did some hate site tracking group (who by the way has no business tracking video games related stuff at all) find the file in the first place? If there is no link to the file at all, this is impossible.. PERIOD. They’d have to log onto his site to get a site file listing..  And without the password that is impossible, without hacking.  The article also goes into a claim that his school was made as a level for doom and duke3d. But this snopes article completely debunks that completely. There were never any CHS maps lying around on his site, nor was there any indication he was building one.  That disproves that… But what about the begging students supposedly found in this “modified” version of doom?

I have been literally playing AND editing doom in every way possible since 1997. I KNOW what is doable in doom with each source port. Since the source code for Doom was released online there have been multiple source ports that are basically souped up doom programs with new features. I know in 1999 the only major source ports out were Dosdoom, Legacy, Boom, MBF and some others.  If these begging students could be done in doom, I was going to find out. Using a doom Exe Editor (dehacked), I decided to run a test to see if Doom could even do what the articles claimed. I tried to debunk this claim through using dehacked  to see if it was possible and it was,  however upon searching for more info I came across This forum posted an article that was written in another newspaper 1 day before…  The first thing you notice is that the quote is         COMPLETELY DIFFERENT in this article. Also the denverpost article mentioned how the quote was “shouted” while this article says it’s “cried” out.. Hardly consistent. It’s like multiple writers all decided to write the same article but couldn’t get the details right, makes both articles very suspicious, in the truth department.  As a doom fan, reading the second article made me realize how impossible some of the claims are because, they mention the modified game had “Unlimited” weapons and ammunition right from the get go plus “God mode”. 2 out of these 4 are doable, but “unlimited” weapons are something that no game did in 1999, nevermind doom. And starting with unlimited weapons and ammunition is not even doable in doom.  The engine isn’t THAT customizable. It’s close but still could not be done back then.  What’s even worse is that another site brings up this hate site tracking group with further “evidence” a doom version like this exists (even though there is absolutely no evidence to support it’s claim), with completely DIFFERENT features:

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/1723

This is a paper on violence in video games, a thesis. In it the same hate site tracking group claimed to have found a modified version of doom. In this version infinite ammo is brought up again as well as enemies that can’t fight back (students, probably), and this time it brings up the claim the mod added in a “second shooter”.  The second shooter thing could be multiplayer. But I don’t think the hate site tracking group is an expert on how to set up multiplayer games. So what else  could it be. Friendly AI? Not quite. Doom can do that, but here’s the catch. The first source port (altered doom program with more features) available to allow friendly characters to be made was called Marines best Friend, and was released in 1998. But… here’s the thing. The text file included in the port didn’t even mention what code pointers are needed in MBF to create a friendly “second shooter” using a dehacked patch (needed to make a “friendly” second shooter – it’s the only way). Not till 2000 did wads (doom addons) come out that even used this concept. The problem is that the paper then claims that the “second shooter” had extra weapons just as the player did. ANOTHER thing doom could not do in 1999. The whole “begging students” screaming out “lord, why did you do this to me?” thing has bothered me since I got my life threatened on the denverpost messageboard back in april 1999, by some moron (apparently a lawyer), who responded to my post on the forum basically ripping the columnists who wrote the article from denverpost, which I had read for the first time 5 minutes before posting.

So who is behind this nonsense? People might think the hate site tracking group is behind it, but I doubt it. For one there is not a SINGLE corroboration from them that they found this on ANY site. Number 2 searching for more info only lets you see news articles and other anti-gaming articles quoting the said news articles that end up quoting the same person from the hate site tracking group, but make that person say different things, and  at least one of those things wasn’t doable by doom before 2000.  I don’t know if the articles are fabricated or not my gut feeling tells me this “modified version of doom” is unlikely to be real. Who would gain from such articles?  We obviously had a ton of idiots who wanted violent games completely  banned since 1997 and even before that, merely for the fact that the games “offend” them. Of course they have to bring up the “save the children” card because saying “ban the game, it offends me” doesn’t work in this country for the most part.  Something like this could (and has) been used against ID Software for lawsuit purposes. Some people DO blame ID for the mere ABILITY to make such a tasteless mod. These articles,  Their being cited like wildfire in arguments to attack violent games. If you search for sites on google that quote the thesis article linked above you get these search results. At least 15 different sites are using the article to attack games. One post, which was obviously done by an anti-gaming moron, was posted  in a message board for an article condemning the SCOTUS decision on Brown VS EMA links to it to use it as “evidence” that violent games lead to real life crime, all while saying “SCOTUS doesn’t care about kids!!!! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA”, basically, citing some case where the supreme court ruled in favor of “surprise!” not the kids…

You add in the troll on the denverpost message board who threatened me for merely saying one line he didn’t like “games shouldn’t be banned just because kids were killed”, and you end up getting possible motivation for the “lawyer” to threaten my life… I had posted the contents of the above denverpost article on their forum, said I was pissed off at the media. Since then I’ve been wondering just who this moron was.  I don’t know. He was basically  a “lawyer” troll with a pseudonym, who basically kept on insulting gamers over and over again calling us “gamer shitheads”, threatening to kill me, saying I should have been aborted, “crawl up your mothers fly infested c**t”, and much worse. What makes me think this moron was a lawyer?He had a justicemail.com email address, justicemail, email for the “law community”. Yeah. He even posted at the end “I have enough evidence to prove gamers get violent…” but that was deleted 5 minutes later. The suspicious thing is that 1) that last quote on evidence was deleted 5 minutes later 2) The justicemail.com account he used was deleted 5 years later, that entire forum doesn’t even exist online now. There is NO evidence but my word that this happened, and believe me it did. It basically made me absolutely despise morons like this who are (unfortunately) behind the anti-gaming movement. We have these questionable claims,  and the “doom will become reality” hoax that was “supposedly” written by Harris on his AOL site, and proven to be a hoax by the FBI. Yet literally hundreds of anti-violent games sites STILL Continue to use the articles, and the hoax as evidence that violent games make people violent, (and not being a racist, psychopath who wanted to be famous – the real reason!).Now we have these articles and even till this day, morons are still quoting them as evidence to attack SCOTUS, etc.

Even if this “modified version” of doom was REALLY found on his site by the attack group, it doesn’t rule out the idea that the modified version was NOT made by Harris, and was put online along with the fake “doom will become reality” hoax by unseen perpetrators who wanted to use Columbine as a reason to ban violent games. ANYONE with doom modding knowledge could have made this, just because HIS name was on a wall pattern doesn’t mean HE actually made it.  Hell even me, back in 1998 with crappy doom modding ability could have made something like this… In the 1999-2000 period there were at least 3 examples of “questionable” evidence being used to attack games. This is the worst. This whole thing is a shirtstorm that will never end.

Then you have the Attempted Violent game Bans in 1999 by two states. They failed. These would have banned violent games to everyone, not just kids. Everyone thinks just because our country has more freedoms then others, no one will attempt to ban things like this. It ALREADY HAS HAPPENED. Supreme court shot it down, thankfully. However all we need is another big tragedy like Columbine, with ties to violent games, and the morons have another excuse for the next complete violent game ban. It’s quite probable that stuff like the hoax and the MANY articles by newspapers all making up utter BS about violent games, lead to the government getting involved and attempting to ban violent games that year. You had at least 1 moron (the troll mentioned above) blaming ID software for the  “modified version of doom” being possible, not knowing that ID software had NOTHING to do with the modding for classic doom. It was several very dedicated fans with hex editors finding out the specs of the format of the game. Same for Wolf3d. ID software didn’t even release 1 EDITOR for the damn game. Not till quake (in 1996) did they do that (for quake not doom).  It keeps going on. It never ends. This stuff keeps fueling the fire of the anti-gaming movement.  It’s a never-ending cycle of BS.

 

The future defenders of the right to make/buy/play/own violent games has to be vigilant for the next wave of BS after a supposed video game related crime, of this degree. I wrote this article because 99% of the Gaming community does NOT know about half of this. It was swept under the rug by the media, and forgotten. Never forget the faked and “questionable”  evidence used to demonize games and the result (attempted outright bans of violent games).  This wasn’t the only major thing of this type where lies were used to try to legislate morality on this scale. Back during the SCOTUS Brown VS EMA thing in 2010, a certain violent games hating group submitted an Amicus Brief mentioning at least 3 known lies 1) Violent games are used in the military to break down the inhibition to kill 2) The “Doom will become reality Hoax”  3) Micheal Carneal became a better shot all because of Doom. They wanted the Supreme Court to believe this stuff and the Justices, not knowing these were NOT facts but absolute BS might have ruled the other way. You can be thankful they did rule the right way to prevent the badly constructed CA bill from being passed. You can’t use an Obscenity Clause (like the CA bill Did) to regulate what violent games to legislate in any way. Lacking “scientific, educational, or literary value” is not ground for fining companies who sell a game that the judges in the state find “offensive” because of these things, because those three values are…..Subjective!!!   Be on guard for the next attack when the censors will undoubtedly try something like this again with another game.

Addendum:

My work with dehacked to attempt to disprove the claim was done in the hope of a complete debunking of the “begging students” concept. I literally tried 2 times over the last few months to find SOMETHING in doom (a bug, an issue with 1 code pointer, etc) that would prevent this from even being possible. I failed. Twice. It sucks too, because I did come across a few bugs with the sound system but none of them really stopped the begging sound from being played, just partially obscured it. Without the internet search I would have found nothing to write about, really.

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