SkyTrain massacre game creator was inspired by transit 'frustration'
Transit Police in B.C.’s Lower Mainland are launching an investigation into a new online video game in which the player’s objective is to murder SkyTrain commuters.
The goal of Main Street Massacre is for the main character, Mack, to embark on a murderous rampage through a Vancouver SkyTrain station.
The game claims it’s dedicated to working class people who know what it’s like to be a frustrated transit rider.
Its creator Colin Palmer - also known as Alexi Wildman - told CTV News he made the game out of frustration, both over recent system-wide outages on SkyTrain and over the working conditions of construction workers on projects like the Main Street Station upgrade.
The game opens telling players that Mack has just had “a horrible, crappy day at work.” Now, he’s stuck on a crowded train car that is having technical problems.
The game takes a turn for the disturbing when the main character reveals a gun and decides to force his way out.
Players have to shoot every last person on the platform to advance to the next level on the stairs. Another 47 kills gets you to another platform and then onto the final level.
The entire game is seen from the perspective of SkyTrain staff watching on CCTV.
“We are in the process of reviewing this video to determine if any police-related issues come to light,” Transit Police spokesperson Anne Drennan said in a statement.
The website hosting the video was registered on July 30, after a week of multiple SkyTrain delays. Service shut down for hours on both July 17 and 21, leaving thousands of commuters stranded on trains or at stations. The domain is registered to a fake address on Main Street.
SkyTrain riders CTV News spoke to on Wednesday called the game’s plot and violence “frightening” and “disturbing,” but Palmer doesn’t see it that way.
“Is it really that violent and gorey?” he asked. “It’s cartoon-based. Actually my original idea was to do it in 3-D and make it a lot more realistic.”
He also took issue with the suggestion that people might play the game and decided to act out its plot in real life.
“It’s a completely invalid argument to say that one video game, done in sort of cartoony violence, is going to be the sole cause of something like that,” he said.
Media analyst Brent Stafford said the crudely-made game wouldn’t take much time or skill to put together. Players are controlled using only arrow keys and a spacebar.
He told CTV News before Palmer came forward that game’s violence may not be the point.
“I think it's designed to make a political point to gain publicity,” he said.
The game ends with a request for donations and a vague message about Palmer’s plans for the future.
“MSM (Main Street Massacre) costs money to run,” it reads. “And I have many more things to build.”
With files from CTV Vancouver’s Penny Daflos