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A screen capture from Counter-Strike showing a custom-built level based on a Vancouver-area high school.
A screen capture from Counter-Strike showing a custom-built level based on a Vancouver-area high school.

Ex-student defends using B.C. school as backdrop to first-person shooter game Add to ...

A graduate of Port Moody Secondary School who helped build a custom level of a first-person shooter game modelled after his alma mater says it was meant to be harmless fun for a close group of friends.

Aarman Rahim, who graduated in 2010, said in a statement that he provided photos to a game developer he has not named – also a former student of the school – “for accurate production of digital architecture” in a custom map for the popular video game series Counter-Strike.

“Why Port Moody Secondary? In high school, a close but large group of friends passed time playing the stock maps of Counter-Strike,” Mr. Rahim said. “Following graduation, the developer thought it would be nice to play a game many bonded over, in an environment everyone was familiar with. There is no ill intent; this is simply a game all alumni and peers could associate with.”

A video demo was posted to YouTube on Wednesday. The two-minute clip shows the player navigating hallways and shooting at terrorists. While no students or teachers are in the level, some have criticized the use of a school, given recent crimes such as the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that left 26 dead.

On a website created to field questions about the map, which Mr. Rahim describes as a to-scale replication that took thousands of hours, someone involved with its creation said the idea was in motion “well before the recent outbursts of gun violence.

“We also think that players of this map and games like this will be sufficiently mature to realize that the degrees of freedom allotted to you in the virtual realm do not extend to your rights in reality. Additionally, people should realize this is simply a game, no physical harm comes from it.”

Counter-Strike, which came out on Xbox a decade ago, allows users to build maps to share with friends and online. Several reports have misidentified the map as a standalone video game.

Port Moody police called the map “ill-conceived in the current climate,” but said it is not an offence.

“Investigators from the Port Moody Police Department have interviewed the developer of this game and have concluded that he does not pose a danger to the staff or students of Port Moody Secondary,” the department said in a statement.

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