The Marathon Attack Inspired the Worst Video Game of All Time

Graphic depictions of recent violent tragedies do not a good time make.

While America has long debated whether video game violence inspires real mass killings, rarely do we as a society debate the issue of whether real mass killings should inspire violent video games because … ha ha who thinks that a recent tragedy is ripe material for a video game? Oh, the makers of “Boston Marathon – The Video Game!” that’s who.

“Boston Marathon – The Video Game,” sample gameplay of which has been uploaded to YouTube and is attracting outrage on web forums like Reddit and in various news outlets this week, is an NES-like interface in which a marathon runner jumps over pressure cooker bombs that approach him from the right side of the screen. If the marathoner finishes the race, he’s told that he has “willed those asshole terrorists to stop terrorising [sic] forever!” which means he can “have sex with Obama’s wife. America forever.” (Class act, this video game designer…) If the marathoner doesn’t jump in time and hits a bomb, an incredibly gruesome and horrible image of his injuries pops up.

We’re not even going to embed the video of the game because we just don’t really recommend you watch it. Actually we’ll go so far as to suggest that each time you watch this video, somewhere in the world, a kitten dies. Don’t kill Snowflake. Instead, to give you a sense for how the game feels, here’s one of the least offensive screenshots we could capture:


We reached out to the YouTube account that uploaded the video, SonSukka, which lists itself as Finnish. In the comments, the user says, “We made this during the last weekend and wanted to get it out while the incident is still fresh and people haven’t still forgotten about it,” adding in the video description: “Yup, there goes my Boston Subscribers.”

Yup, indeed. The videogame itself is hosted on the website, which is no stranger to inflaming outrage. With that in mind, we recommend some vigorous head shaking and sighing in response to this, but we’d caution against too much passion or anger. Trolling those affected by tragedies in the form of videogames isn’t entirely new—there was a Columbine video game after all*. Your fury  just empowers people who seek to exploit situations where they can cause the most offense. But boy, did they settle on a situation ripe for offense. God almighty, this is despicable.

*A commenter argues that the motivation to make the Columbine game differed from the trolling that’s likely inspired these creators. As ever, Wikipedia has a decent summary of the controversy over it.

  • Brian

    Your article is despicable sir – comparing this video game to the Columbine game is a disgrace. The Columbine video game addressed the psychological issues that the shooters experienced, and dissected why they turned to violence. The game was made by a victim of the shootings. It made incredible progress for games and social justice, but writers like you throw its name into the mix for shock value. Please, just do some research before posting.

    • Karzon Skyefyre

      “The game was made by a victim of the shootings.” No it wasn’t.
      “He never went to Columbine rather he attended another Colorado high school during the time of the shooting.”

      • James

        In a way, aren’t we all victims of the shootings?

        People need to rethink video games. They are just another way of expressing yourself. Would there be outrage over a book or painting about one of these terrible events?

        Now, I’m saying that a video game about something like this isn’t inherently distasteful. I’m not saying that they they never are. I haven’t watched the video, but from the description this game does seem to be in bad taste.

        In a game mechanics course in university I had a guest lecturer who told the class “Make a game to express your passion, whatever your passion may be. If you’re passionate about rape, make a game about rape.” I found this to be really interesting. Think of games as an interactive experience. They’re a way to express yourself, and allow you to pass on an experience to people in ways that aren’t possible through non-interactive media.

        • Karzon Skyefyre

          All true. I was just disagreeing with that one point.

      • Brian

        Wow, my apologies! I have a distinct memory of seeing a picture of a kid who was shot twice in the chest at Columbine, from an article talking about figuring out why the shooters did what they did. My memory told me that it was the individual who made Super Columbine, but I guess I was wrong. Sorry about that!

        • Karzon Skyefyre

          No big deal – you were defending the game, not the author, and the rest of your statement held true regardless. And that whole thing with Slamdance still upsets me.

        • Nil Admirari

          I recall the same thing, but as far as I remember that wasn’t the creator of the game, as we now know, but rather someone asked one of the shooting victims what he thought of the game and he defended its portrayal of the events.

          Also SCMRPG is a great game.

  • agingcynic

    Yes because Wikipedia is SO dependable.

    • Eric Randall

      Ah yes, the evils of Wikipedia. You’re showing your age, Mr. Cynic.

  • SkylerZio

    I wonder how many additional subscribers this article has given the youtube channel? For being so against it, this writer sure went out of their way to detail it and draw in the morbid curiosity!