Eleven years ago, my posse of fellow computer geeks and myself created a .wad file modeling our business school in Angers, France so that we could play Doom in that familiar environment, frag each other with automatic weapons, slaughter the occasional teacher caricatured as a monster and catch hapless hostages in the crossfire.

I handled the 3D modeling, Erik and Nicolas chose the graphics and made some custom ones to supplement Doom’s standard issue gore fest, BenoĆ®t created custom sounds and Aymeric graced the level with an adequately creepy MIDI soundtrack of his creation. None of us has been expelled and we all live happy and prosperous lives.

To help me produce the 3D model, school personnel enthusiastically provided me with the blueprints for the school building – nowadays in the USA those guys would be fired for breach of security.

And we later even convinced the school to host a 200 player tournament – 100 teams of two competing two against two on two networks of four computer provided by the school in a room given to us for the duration of the event. The final rounds took place in our custom level and I recall passionate players and captivated spectators including professors.

That was in 1996. We had a great time both designing the level and organizing the tournament. And no one would ever have imagined that games would one day become a social issue worth suspending a student over mere suspicions.

Nowadays, when a student creates Counter-Strike map of school he gets kicked out :

“In the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre, schools around the country are on high alert for any suspicious activity on the part of their students. The problem comes when this heightened sense of fear leads to stories like the case of a Texas teenager who was suspended from his high school and moved into an alternative school. The reason? He played Counter-Strike on his home computer, on a level that was designed to look like his high school. [..]”

In a few years time in schoolyards, kids will not play “police and thieves” anymore for even in kindergarten they will be aware that playing the thieve’s side is a potential carreer liability…