Yesterday, we sought to list all of the video games investigators found in the home of Adam Lanza, the shooter who killed 26 people — 20 of them children — at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14 last year. We missed one and, as its title suggests, it’s kind of important: “School Shooting”. But we’ve never heard of it before.
We can’t locate exactly what this game is, who made it, or where it’s bought or downloaded. We thought investigators may have meant to say School Shooter: North American Tour 2012, (above) a notorious mod for Half-Life 2 (which was also recovered from the Lanza home). But Stephen Sedensky, the state’s attorney for Danbury, Conn., whose office released the report, said that wasn’t the case.
“The game ‘School Shooting’ appeared to be a very basic stand alone PC game that had no connection to the game Half Life,” Sedensky told Kotaku in an email.
As the report describes the game, “the player controls a character who enters a school and shoots at students.”
What else “School Shooting” did, or what incidents it reenacted, if any, is so far unknown. Its very title would make it highly unlikely to be any commercially released game. The game Super Columbine Massacre RPG, released in 2005, was a one-man effort made with the development program RPG Maker 2000. School Shooter was a mod and yet, after news of it spread in 2011, a major hosting site was compelled to remove it because of the bad publicity coming from mainstream accounts.
The fact remains that while the report’s conclusion does not mention video games as any cause for Lanza’s murderous rampage (nor does it speculate on any motive), one video game was, at least, part of the buffet of mass shooting news reports, books, and other media Lanza was consuming, according to evidence recovered from the home.
Investigators also found a news clipping from The New York Times regarding the February 18, 2008 shooting at Northern Illinois University; photocopies of newspaper articles from 1891 regarding the shooting of schoolchildren; a book on the 2006 mass shooting of children at an Amish school in Lancaster County, Pa.; a spreadsheet listing mass killings over the years; and other “electronic evidence or digital media that appeared to belong to the shooter [that] revealed that the shooter had a preoccupation with mass shootings, in particular the Columbine shootings.”
There was only one mention of “School Shooting” in the 44 page report released yesterday. As for Lanza’s gaming activities, the title described most at length was, unusually, an arcade edition of Dance Dance Revolution, which Lanza filmed himself playing, and would visit a local movie theatre to play for hours on end.