May 16, 2007 - 1:33PM
A Sydney youth who created an uproar with an online game based on the Virginia Tech massacre, says he will remove the game if he receives $US2000 in "donations".
Add another $US1000 and he promises to apologise.
The game, called V-Tech Rampage, offers "three levels of stealth and murder" and is set on a facsimile of the Virginia Tech campus.
It is modelled on the exploits of South Korean-born Cho Seung-hui who last month shot dead 32 fellow students at the Virginia Tech campus in the worst such massacre in US history.
The game features a gun-toting character based on Cho, the dormitory where the killing spree started, the post office where he sent his manifesto to a TV network and Norris Hall, the building where most of the murders took place.
The game first came to light after it was uploaded to a site called newgrounds.com which hosts a large number of basic, mainly home made , computer games. Game makers upload their creations on to the site much in the same way as people upload videos to YouTube.
V-Tech Rampage is the work of 21-year-old Ryan Lambourn from western Sydney who goes by the screen name, Master PiGPEN.
"I've done offensive things before but they're not usually this popular," Lamourn said, adding that he made the game "because it's funny".
Lambourn, who grew up in the US, said his friends suggested putting up the ransom demand which he thought was "a hilarious idea".
He posted the demand on his website saying: "Attention angry people: I will take this game down from newgrounds [the games website] if the donation amount reaches $1000 US. I'll take it down from here [his website] if it reaches $2000 US, and i will apologise if it reaches $3000 US."
He described the exercise as "a joke". "They were so adamant about me taking my game down ... I gave them a way," he said.
"The donation thing was just to pull a few more strings and make more people angry. It's worked."
Lambourn said that while he felt remorse for those who had lost friends and relatives in the massacre, he also had sympathy for the gunman.
"No one listens to you unless you've got something sensational to do." he said. "And that's why I feel sympathy for Cho Seung-hui. He had to go that far."
The game requires players to move the pixellated South Park-like Cho character around the campus, shooting other characters.
Once shots are fired, the other characters start running around with their hands in the air screaming. A song, Shine by the band Collective Soul, is played on a loop in the background
Lambourn chose the song for the game because it was one of the gunman's favourites.
The game starts with the gunman in his room. The text on the screen says: "Locked and loaded, it's party time. I just gotta make sure no one sees me or lives to tell the tale."
In another frame, the following words appear: "The pawns are all in place, the time has come that I may finally send my message to the world."
The game text also refers to "Emily". Emily Jane Hilscher, 18, was Cho's first victim. The subject of his infatuation, she was shot in a dormitory.
"Emily stayed overnight with her boyfriend, Karl, again last night. He'll be dropping her off at school as always ...," the game text reads.
Players who fail to shoot the characters get the following message at the conclusion: "Mediocrity. You let Emily get away! Are you always full of ****, McBeef? Try again, this time don't be such a wuss."
"McBeef" is a reference to a play Cho wrote called Richard McBeef. The disturbing play features a 13-year-old boy who accuses his stepfather of being a pedophile and of murdering his father.
The play ends with the man striking down and killing the teen.
The game and its creator have been roundly condemned on blogs and forums on the internet.
"People like this need to be publicly beaten," reads one blog comment. "This ******* is possible the worst little piece festering of pond scum in years."