Sandy Hook-inspired game sparks outrage

This screen capture was taken from an online game that simulates Adam Lanza's movements at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he murdered 20 children and six educators on Dec. 14, 2012.

This screen capture was taken from an online game that simulates Adam Lanza’s movements at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he murdered 20 children and six educators on Dec. 14, 2012.

The mother of a Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher who made the ultimate sacrifice is condemning the developer of an online simulation that allows video gamers to copycat the madman who ambushed 20 children and six educators last December.

The release of “The Slaying of Sandy Hook Elementary,” which directs gamers to storm virtual classrooms with an AR-15 assault rifle in the same vein as Adam Lanza and displays a kill ratio at the end, comes less than a month before the first anniversary of the Dec. 14 massacre.

Donna Soto, the Stratford mom whose late daughter, Victoria, 27, was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal for shielding her students from the gunfire during the rampage, is calling on the site’s developer to pull the plug on the controversial game.

“It’s absolutely disgusting that somebody thinks this is funny,” Soto told Hearst Connecticut Newspapers Tuesday. “We’re all suffering. All the families are suffering. We’re coming up on December.
My daughter’s birthday just passed. It just adds insult to the suffering that we’re dealing with. It’s just incomprehensible that someone would think this kind of thing is wanted.”

The credits section of the site identifies the game’s creator as Ryan Jake Lambourn of Australia and strangely includes links that direct visitors to gun control websites and to their elected representatives.

A request for comment was sent to Lambourn’s Twitter account by Hearst.

The game opens by directing users to grab a Glock handgun and shoot their mother while she is sleeping, just as Lanza did. The game closes with an alert that police have arrived, with the shooter turning a gun on himself.


Categories: General
Neil Vigdor

11 Responses

  1. Debra Newbould says:

    I game should be banned and removed, it’s disgusting to think that someone would create a game based on real life tragedy. It’s show no respect to the victims and theirs families.

  2. Belzemat says:

    @Gary, Yes, he just poured salt in the wounds, and maybe that’s not the right thing to do… The outrage is what he wants though, he wants people to recoil from this. WHY? Because that’s what you should do! The real question is why do we not have greater gun control? Why, after multiple occasions of these horrific acts have we not made the same legislation that Australia did after its share of blood?
    He isn’t doing this for some sick sort of glorification, he wants people to get involved in this serious problem. Will signing a petition to get his game torn down going to help solve Americas horrible problem?

  3. Mary says:

    Data does indicate that the number of homicides committed with a gun declined since the middle 90s. However, homicides committed with knife or other sharp objects increased dramatically, more quickly than the decline rate of gun crime. In other words, nothing changed in Australia’s violent crime statistics beyond the weapon of choice.

  4. annoymous says:

    Dude really. I’m from Newtown myself and the Shit we went through is insaine. We do not like a reenactment of this tragedy because we try to forget about it as much as possible. But with people like you making a game we can’t forget about this. This is a horrific event why would someone think this is ok? It’s not. This is disgusting you need to take this stupid pointless game down now before more people in my town see this. And especially parents or kids who had lost siblings in the tragedy.

  5. Gaz says:

    Have this guy publish his name and address and we’ll make a little video about what somebody does to him

  6. So I played the game and I am going to recap it below with a little of my own commentary after to explain my feelings in as reasonable a manner as I can. This obviously comes with a massive TRIGGER WARNING to anyone involved. If discussions of violence, especially pertaining to the Sandy Hook massacre disturb you, please do not read any further. Thank you.

    The author’s statement embedded in the game the article didn’t bother to publish:

    “Hi, I’m Ryan Jake Lambourn. Back in 2007 I created a game called V-Tech Rampage about the Virginia Tech shootings. Ever since V-Tech I’ve been asked to create a game based on every mass shooting that’s gotten media attention. I’m someone who rarely follows the news so these updates have been a constant reminder about how commonplace mass shootings and school shootings have become.

    I grew up in Houston TX, where I remember guns and ammunition being available in unmanned sections of WalMart and it being commonplace to hear gun shots in the distance as I tried to go to sleep. Which is a stark contrast to Sydney Australia where I moved to in 2001. Australia had sweeping gun control put in place after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in which 35 people died. As a result of that sweeping legislation is that guns are no longer a noticeable part of Australian culture. Gun violence is practically non existent here and it’s just something you don’t see around anymore.

    That’s not to say there’s no guns here, though. A friend of my brother has had a firearm license since he was young. He owns a gun and has to do things to maintain his gun license such as having a secured gun safe. Back in America, though, all these massacres don’t seem to have had any similar effect on regulation. Instead, gun control and enforcement has steadily loosened and you end up with places like Chicago where gun control is its loosest and has taken over New York City as the murder capital of America. And here we are nearly a year after the Sandy Hook shootings where 26 people were killed 20 of which were first graders and absolutely nothing positive has come out of it.

    As much as you want to blame this entire state of affairs on politicians, or the NRA, you have to remember that your politicians aren’t mind readers and the NRA is not doing anything more than motivating its members to passionately talk to their representatives about their opinions. If you’re a middle of the road person who believes that firearms should have at least the same amount of regulations as a car, then it’s really on you because your absolute apathy is why the news is unbearable to watch.

    So I want you to go and click that link and find your state governor and find your representatives in Senate and Congress and shoot them an email or give them a phone call and tell them your opinions on gun control. That’s the least you can do. And if you feel inspired to shake off that apathy then you can bookmark that NRA link. The NRA are kind enough to have a very orderly and up to date list of important gun legislation from around the country so if you want to get involved it’s an extremely useful resource.

    Yeah, so you know, get involved. Hope you enjoyed the game or at least got something out of it, danke.”Now for my opinions. As someone heavily involved in the gaming scene, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen a game tackle a hard subject. A trans-woman’s game, called Dys4ia about the difficulties of being trans and going through personality and physical changes comes to mind specifically when I played this. It uses very specific mechanics to convey a deep message in a way that is jarring. Another game that comes to mind is Spec Ops: The Line. This is a game that deals specifically with the atrocities of war and tackles the subjects of PTSD, white phosphorous, the glorification of war, and justifications for war crimes.

    What each of these games have in common is something very specific: They aren’t fun, and they aren’t meant to be. These aren’t games played to get a “high score” or to crowd around with your friends and brag about. These are deeply personal games that have tackled difficult topics in artistic ways. Similar to how Heart of Darkness deals with the atrocities of war, or Grave of the Fireflies shows us a post-Hiroshima, post-Nagasaki Japan, games like the one in question here artistically try to convey a message.

    Just as not all movies or books are fun (and they shouldn’t be,) not all games are fun, especially those in the indie scene. Games are an art form just as much as movies or books, or TV, or radio. Is it perhaps a young medium? Absolutely, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from trying to explore what the medium can do. Its interactivity is distinct and can certainly lead to new ways of exploring topics.

    The Slaying of Sandy Hook does not glorify the shooter. He is quite obviously a force of evil. He slowly plods along, a tall, slender, barely human shape, wielding a gun (or katana depending on the mode). His movements are sluggish, and the music that eventually plays in the background is jarring.

    While I’m on the music choice, I should mention I question the game developer’s use of the track. It is an odd mixture of chiptune, dark metal, and rap. It seems, at least in my listening, to suggest that “Sandy Hook was an inside job” yet that is also directly in contradiction to the game developer’s beliefs. He tweeted, “the conspiracy theorists dont like me because it risks informing people of what happened.” It makes me question if the song choice was actually supposed to be a dramatic over-telling of many anti-gun control advocates’ beliefs. Especially with the line about how every “school child should be strapped” meaning wielding a gun.

    Now, all of that being said, I have many reservations about the game. In many ways I’m torn. On the one hand, I support efforts to increase gun control, and I also support the artistic use of video games to handle difficult subjects. I think he effectively conveyed an anti-gun message and provided if not a learning opportunity, then certainly a launching off point to renew discussion on many subjects.

    At the same time, my heart goes out to those who have suffered because of this tragedy, and others like it. I question the value of exploiting a specific tragedy like Sandy Hook vs. making a broader, more general game about gun control. I also question the use of games as propaganda which I believe this… probably falls under. It’s difficult to directly call it a propaganda game as it sort of leaves the door open to discussion on both sides, but yet the mechanics were designed to lead you to a very specific conclusion. I more lean to the side of propaganda, though, and I share opinions on propaganda games the Extra Credits team (

    Perhaps less than a year after the tragedy, it’s too soon for a game that is so specifically tied to the tragedy. This also raises the question, does the game developer use the tragedy to spark discussion, or exploit the tragedy for cheap points and attention? Where is the line? That that add or detract value from the artistic statement? At the same time, I believe it’s good to talk about gun control. As Jon Stewart points out, there is no good time to talk about gun control yet I believe it’s a conversation that should be had. Perhaps video games, a medium so commonly associated with first person shooters and action-based violence is a medium that can open new doors to discussion, but that conversation won’t happen so long as media outlets and the public at large dismisses games as having no artistic value or weight.

  7. Gary says:

    To Ryan Jake Lambourn:
    Your totally insensitive “game” will NOT be seen by the gun-toting rednecks, often exemplified by those still in your Texas origins. It will be used with sick humor by them, asserting their constitutional rights to do so…which you and they have. You obviously still harbor the darkest thoughts of your background to even be able to conceive of this outrage. The victims of this crime, their families, friends, indeed most of the world, are still in great pain. Most of us recoil when even thinking of such acts, repeated all too often. You have only poured salt on their wounds. I hope the people of Australia treat you as you deserve.

  8. Chucky_Dee says:

    WoW ! The video game out before the police report! Whoda Thunkit!

  9. Secondhand Rose says:

    Sandy Hook needs to go back into the privacy it keeps claiming it needs to heal, and be quiet for a change.

  10. Debbie says:

    I am not sure why the CT post would post such a horrific picture and give any attention at all to the person who created this. You have done exactly what he wanted. there is no good reason on earth to show a picture or video of such, all it does is create further trauma and brings unnecessary drama. so disappointed in what we call ‘news’.