Columbine High School massacre
The Columbine High School massacre occurred on April 20, 1999 at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado, United States. Two teenage students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, executed a planned shooting rampage killing 12 other students and a teacher before committing suicide. Part of a rash of similar school shootings in the U.S., the events triggered a wide-ranging debate about the effect of violent entertainment, particularly the video games Doom and Quake.
Doomworld posted an editorial defending Doom and the staffers of the time participated in a variety of press interviews. Andrew "Linguica" Stine and Matthew "Mattrim" Dixon were interviewed by SFGate.com, and Scott "Covaro" Cover appeared in a round-table discussion with then-President Bill Clinton on Good Morning America. Javier "Dukrous" Heredia defended Doom as part of an interview by CNN.
Doom connection and the Harris levels
Eric Harris was an enthusiast of the Doom series, owning some of the Doom novels and having designed Doom levels under the nickname "RebDoomer". In a videotape recorded before the shooting, Harris expressed enthusiasm for the planned shooting, saying it would be "like fucking Doom." He also pointed out that the shotgun was "Straight out of Doom". Despite this obsession, neither shooter was involved in the mainstream Doom community on the Internet, and their levels and activities were virtually unknown before the shooting.
According to a statement made to government investigators of the Columbine attack by then-CHS student David Proctor, who occasionally played Doom with Harris and Klebold via modem, Harris told him in 1999 that he had created a level of Doom that was Columbine High School. Proctor added that another classmate had told him he had heard the same. Though Harris did release several WADs, the alleged CHS levels are not known to be on the internet. After the shootings, many websites refused to provide downloads to any of the levels, seeing the shootings as something from which the community should dissociate itself. Although this position has largely dissipated, Ty Halderman regularly rejected the maps from inclusion in the idgames archive during his period as maintainer.
A PDF containing some of Harris' documents and personal writings  includes designs for some of his levels (page 112 onward). On page 272, Harris says "Doom is so burned into my head my thoughts usually have something to do with the game", while on page 321 amongst others he references the Doom novels. Page 281 includes a reference to his shotgun which he nicknamed "Arlene," after the character of Arlene Sanders from the novels, which he refers to "holding a grudge against" due to the weapon having jammed - other nearby writings project thoughts and emotions onto inanimate weapons and ammunition such as shotgun shells, stating how they "hate to wait."
Harris's UAC Labs WAD contains comments which appear somewhat disturbing in retrospect. For example, the description ends, "Good luck marine, and dont forget, KILL 'EM AAAAALLLL!!!!!", while the copyright section threatens, "You may NOT change a damn thing with this WAD, if you do, i will blow you up".
Copies of the following files are known to exist:
- UAC Labs (uaclabs.wad)
- A two level single player WAD. The most well-known of the Harris levels, it has an E1-style techbase theme. The WAD includes extra graphics that increase the gore in the monster death animations. In the second level, the player is confronted with an enormous arena filled with Demons. This level, along with bricks.wad, were created in the Edmap editor, which is known as the text files go out of their way to thank the authors thereof.
- Deathmatching in bricks! (bricks.wad)
- A deathmatch level, the name refers to the abundant use of brick textures. The level mainly consists of a number of high rise walkways which players must walk along. Dylan Klebold is credited for playtesting this level.
- Mortal Kombat Doom (fightme.wad)
- Deathmatch level consisting of an arena containing four pillars on which the players start. Each player is given a berserk pack, the intention being that the players should fight each other using fists.
- Hockey.wad (hockey.wad)
- Deathmatch level consisting of an ice hockey rink and surrounding stadium.
- KILLER (killer.wad)
- Deathmatch level consisting of a large open grass arena containing several buildings with weapons.
- Station (station.wad)
- Techbase-themed deathmatch level consisting of several rooms connected by a single corridor.
The ENDOOM screen for uaclabs.wad also mentions the following, although no known copies of them are publicly available:
- realdoom (which is consistently mentioned in the text files for all of the Harris levels; Harris encourages the reader to email him to ask about it)
- tier (described as his life's work)
In April 2001, family members of Dave Sanders, the only teacher killed in the shooting, filed a lawsuit in US District Court against id Software along with 25 other video game, film, and pornography companies, alleging that the effects of violent content in media were directly responsible for the attack. The plaintiffs sought a total of US $5 billion in damages. id Software was no stranger to the courtroom, having just concluded a similar "carpet bombing" lawsuit launched by activist attorney Jack Thompson over the Heath High School shooting which was dismissed in April 2000. Due to the judge's finding in that case that computer software was not subject to product liability laws, this new case was not expected to succeed by most legal experts. After narrowing in scope to eight of the originally named defendants, the case was eventually dismissed by Judge Lewis Bobcock on March 5, 2002.
- Wikipedia article about the Columbine High School Massacre
- Doomworld - The Top 10 Infamous WADs - "UAC Labs" can be downloaded here
- Seligman, Katherine (22 April 1999). "Video game players say it's just that - a game." San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
- Cover, Scott et al. Interview (4 June 1999). "Good Morning America." ABC. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
- Candiotti, Susan (28 April 1999). "No easy explanation for Columbine killings." CNN (archived 🏛). Retrieved 10 September 2017.
- Walker, Trey (25 April 2001). "Id responds to Columbine lawsuit." GameSpot. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
- Varamini, Giancarlo (5 March 2002). "Judge dismisses Columbine lawsuit." GameSpot. Retrieved 22 January 2015.