Over the years, a number of highly offensive games and movies have been published on Newgrounds and despite the hatemail and being dropped by just about every ad company in existence, we held firm on a policy of anti-censorship. Today, however, I pulled a reversal on that policy and maybe it was a huge mistake or maybe it was the right thing to do, I'm sure there will be a variety of opinions on the matter.
It's not like we don't already slip on the censorship policy. We've removed racist and homophobic stuff (moreso than YouTube I would say) and we remove shovelware games built off common templates with zero passion.
This game, however, had a certain level of artfulness and craftsmanship to it. There was a visual and technical quality that revealed a serious level of effort and passion. It also had a political message I personally agree with; a statement on gun control and the problem of gun violence in the US. It attempted to demonstrate how things can play out differently with changes in our gun laws. It made you feel and it made you think.
It did so, however, in the context of the Sandy Hook massacre, recreating the event and putting you in the role of the shooter.
Newgrounds has faced harsh criticism in the past for standing firm on not censoring distasteful material, namely games about school shootings. All I can say is that this game took things to a new level in terms of the age of the victims and the realism of the terror they faced on that day.
I was personally contacted by Sandy Hook parents and they expressed their understanding of what the game was attempting to communicate, but also expressed the sadness and horror it made them feel, and their desire to have it removed. Today I'm choosing respect for the Sandy Hook parents over respect for NG's censorship policies.
Either decision on this matter puts a knot in my stomach. I'm of course interested in hearing thoughts on the matter, especially from artists on the site.