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Australian Devises Online Game Based on Virginia Tech Shootout

If the man who mowed down 32 persons at Virginia Tech in the United States last month was a psychopath, what do you call the man who has devised a computer game based on the rampage.

In the game called V-Tech rampage, players control an image of Korean-born gunman Cho Seung-hui. Screams can be heard on the soundtrack as shots are fired at the other characters.

21-year-old Ryan Lambourn, an Australian, who uploaded the rampage game online, much to the consternation of many, remains unfazed.

Sydney Morning Heral quoted Lambourn as saying that he made the game "because it's funny."

The unemployed Lambourn responded to outraged calls for removal of the game from the Internet by demanding 1,000 US US dollars for each of the two sites it is on and said that for another 1,000 US dollars he would apologise.

the game has since been removed from googumproduce.com. Visitors now receive a message saying the account has been suspended.

But it is still available on newgrounds.com, where Lambourn has posted a message about the suspension of his website.

"LOL my site is down because they got too many angry emails and they wont put it back up with v tech still on it. At least Newgrounds still believes in freedom of speech, thanks ," the message said.

The game, described as offering "three levels of stealth and murder" is set on a facsimile of the Virginia Tech campus and can be freely downloaded from either site.

"I've done offensive things before but they're not usually this popular," he said.

Lambourn said that while he had sympathy 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. And that's why I feel sympathy for Cho Seung-Hui. He had to go that far."

Lambourn told a news agency that he would not take down the game under any circumstances, even if he received a request from the victims' families.

"I'm afraid not," he said, but added: "I hope they'd never do that."

He said he empathised with the killer and that he, like Cho, had been a victim of abuse and bullying at high school.

Lambourn was born in Australia but grew up in the United States before returning to Australia when he was 14.

He said he left school in the eighth grade having been bullied and abused at several institutions in Texas, Maine, New Jersey, New York and North Carolina.

He described himself as a self-taught animator supported financially by his mother, who still lives in the United States.

New South Wales Police Minister David Campbell last night contacted the federal government about the existence of V-Tech Rampage.

"This computer game, V-Tech Rampage, is absolutely disgusting in its celebration of a tragic mass murder," Mr Campbell said.

"I will urgently speak to the Federal Government to see if they can shut down the site.

"While at first glance the game does not appear to break any laws, its insensitivity and lack of basic community standards will offend all decent Australians."

The game's message boards have been flooded with notes of outrage, but a surprising number of people also expressed admiration for the game.

"This isn't about free speech and censorship or the political backlash over games like this (sic) . These people are angry about the complete lack of respect you have shown for those who are grieving," said one.

But another wrote: "Dude! Super cool. I love it how people are crying all over this game."

Now psychologists would have to worry how Lambourn himself would evolve and how those playing his Virginia Tech game would. It is also a moment for the multi-million dollar video game industry to pause and think.


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