A Room Full of Doom

Did Columbine take the fire out of the splatter-game business? Not judging by last week's big expo

Morgan Hildreth, 24, jerks back from the keyboard as a loud burst of automatic gunfire erupts on his computer screen. "I got somebody!" shouts a nearby player, as a body explodes in a red mist. Around them, a few dozen spectators in baggy T shirts and oversize shoes watch in a trance as grown men with joysticks stalk one another through underground mazes, firing guns and blowing one another to bits. When chunks of bloody body parts thump to the ground, some of the onlookers laugh out loud. "This is gonna sell like hot cakes," chortles one.

It was as...

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