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  • Re-writing History in games?

    In Company of Heroes, I've just lead my elite ad-hoc panzer battle group to a narrow victory during Operation: Market Garden. I'm rewarded with a short cutscene, one portion of which shows numerous German soldiers marching in what is apparently a mock up of a propaganda film, and I notice something. The flags that these guys are marching under all bear the Iron Cross.

    Most games set in world war II do not portray Nazi Germany as Nazi Germany. You'll almost never see a Swastika these days, even if the German forces aren't playable. I'm a little worried that as time goes on, more and more kids are going to be learning a lot of things about world war II from playing WWII games, and with all references to the Third Reich more or less edited out of the story, they're going to be learning about a war that never really happened.

    What are your thoughts? I imagine that at least part of the reason that references to the Nazis are removed is in deference to Germany's laws regarding the display of Nazi insignia, but is it really right or productive to basically lie about who was involved and what really happened?

  • #2
    Re: Re-writing History in games?

    Ehh a lot of games show that history has been changed, names changes, etc. etc. before they start the action,
    "A Veteran is someone who , at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to
    'The United states of America' for an amount of 'upto and including my life'. That is honor, and there are way to many people in this country who no longer understand it."-Author Unknown

    "I got kicked out of barnes and noble once for moving all the bibles into the fiction section" -Any.

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    • #3
      Re: Re-writing History in games?

      First, kids should not be turning to video games to learn the fundamentals of history unless the primary goal of that game is to teach. Company of Heroes does not meet that criteria. It's main purpose is to provide fun gameplay in the dressing and spirit of that conflict, which is not to say that it should be 100% historically accurate. If you want to split hairs even further about historical accuracy, you could tear CoH apart. (Motorcycles driving in front of tanks to block them from moving forward? Tanks with only a 45m range on its main gun? Etc...)

      Second, the offending symbol is typically kept out of games because of its implications in antisemitism both then and today. "Playing" a faction branded with Swastika doesn't sound very much "fun" to me, and I'm sure it would be downright offensive to many people. Not to mention the implications it has in the German market, where PC gaming is even more popular than it is in the U.S.

      I think in the context of other video games that try to tackle the subject of WWII, Company of Heroes does an outstanding job of balancing history with gameplay. There are a few historical errors in the campaign, and the way the multiplayer gameplay works looks ridiculous to the way battles played out back then, but it definitely conveys the subject better than about any other WWII-themed game I've ever played.
      "No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country.
      He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."

      - Attributed to General George Patton, Jr.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Re-writing History in games?

        How involved were the Nazis in front line battle? Was it not mostly regular army with the SS operating as oversight to keep everyone politically correct? I got the impression that the Soviet military worked the same way. Don't ask questions. Follow orders. Do what the higher ups say, and trust that they know what's going on. Deviations from that strategy would lead to drastically shortened careers.
        Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

        snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

        Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Re-writing History in games?

          In Germany it's forbidden by law to show Swastika in any other context that a history lesson.
          former TacticalGamer European Division



          A Tactical Gamer since 2005 (the glorious days of BF2)

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          • #6
            Re: Re-writing History in games?

            Wasn't the swastika taken from something christian also??? Trying to remember what it was but pretty sure of it,
            "A Veteran is someone who , at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to
            'The United states of America' for an amount of 'upto and including my life'. That is honor, and there are way to many people in this country who no longer understand it."-Author Unknown

            "I got kicked out of barnes and noble once for moving all the bibles into the fiction section" -Any.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Re-writing History in games?

              Originally posted by Fenian420 View Post
              Wasn't the swastika taken from something christian also??? Trying to remember what it was but pretty sure of it,
              I think it's part of Hinduism or Buddhism, but I'm not sure...

              Wikipedia link here I wouldn't recommend clicking that link at work or around family members...

              We'd better hope that children aren't taking what they see in games for truth, or there's gonna be some dispute over Crysis.

              "It's 2020, I want my nanosuit!"
              "They're not real, Jimmy."
              "I used one in Crysis, so it must be real! And where's my Crosscom? I was supposed to have that by 2013!"
              |TG-Irr| westyfield

              Sig pic by Sonic, avatar by Chalcas. Thanks!
              Irregular since 2007.

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              • #8
                Re: Re-writing History in games?

                I was annoyed by the Iron Crosses in lieu of swastikas as well.

                It's really just a form of censorship. You're not silencing a person, but you're still silencing history and, whether you agree with it or not, a point of view.

                South Park had an episode on the Muhammad cartoon thing. They pointed out that as soon as you censor the image of Muhammad, that means that you're caving to what the Muslims want. Then it means that the Christians can get something they want removed. And the Catholics. And blacks. And anyone else who has a joke aimed at them. Either everything is okay, or nothing is okay.

                Hell we can fight the Red Army no problem, even though more people died to Stalin's hand than the Nazis'. Why isn't the Hammer and Sickle considered the same as a swastika then?

                So what's the real story then? People being offended? It's like black people today being offended about slavery. None of them were alive for it, so it's really just a bunch of eye-rolling on my part whenever Jesse Jackson cries about it. Are we just waiting for the last Holocaust survivors to die before the swastika is 'okay'? That's pretty pathetic.

                In all of Asia, the Swastika is still regarded as what it always was. In the Western world, it's just something people hang onto so they can be heard about some complaint now. Very few people will be able to feel an actual emotional impact from the presence of a swastika.

                I feel the same way about the Confederate flag. It's part of history, like it or not. Whether it's in bad taste or not isn't for me to judge, but I should point out that Civil War games don't censor *THAT*.

                In 100 years, 50 years, whatever, eventually the Swastika will return to WW2 games and the like. That we have to wait for everyone to die in the meantime (which is really all that that delay is) is pretty sad.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Re-writing History in games?

                  Originally posted by Uranium - 235 View Post
                  So what's the real story then? People being offended? It's like black people today being offended about slavery. None of them were alive for it, so it's really just a bunch of eye-rolling on my part whenever Jesse Jackson cries about it. Are we just waiting for the last Holocaust survivors to die before the swastika is 'okay'? That's pretty pathetic.
                  That's the spirit! When the hell can we start showing pictures of people being gassed to death and thrown into incinerators in video games, huh?? Damn censorship! Why can't we just forget the whole slavery thing like it never happened? When are people gonna learn that it isn't that important! I'm not offended, so they sure as hell shouldn't be either, right?! :madsmile:
                  "No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country.
                  He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."

                  - Attributed to General George Patton, Jr.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Re-writing History in games?



                    How dare these people mock the memories of everyone who was burned alive at the stake in the name of religion. How DARE THEY!

                    I expect you'll be writing an angry letter to the BBC now, no?

                    You may write to:

                    BBC Complaints,
                    PO Box 1922,
                    Glasgow G2 3WT

                    08700 100 222*

                    You'll even be upset to see that the same bigot who was responsible for the satirical portrayal of the torture of tens of thousands of people also made fun of the very topic we're on about!

                    [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1k7U-_tJVmw[/media]

                    I know, I'm just mocking you now :p

                    The fact is, lots of horrible things have happened in human history. Yet somehow we've still gotten over it, and eventually we just don't care anymore. Funny, that. Maybe I just have a much more pragmatic, practical point of view (or bitter and jaded). Someday, too, the holocaust will eventually be little more than a brief note in history books. It'll be no worse than any of the other events that both preceded and followed it.
                    Last edited by Uranium - 235; 05-27-2008, 09:18 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Re-writing History in games?

                      Originally posted by Uranium - 235 View Post
                      How dare these people mock the memories of everyone who was burned alive at the stake in the name of religion. How DARE THEY!

                      I expect you'll be writing an angry letter to the BBC now, no?

                      You may write to:

                      BBC Complaints,
                      PO Box 1922,
                      Glasgow G2 3WT

                      08700 100 222*


                      The fact is, lots of horrible things have happened in human history. Yet somehow we've still gotten over it, and eventually we just don't care anymore. Funny, that. Maybe I just have a much more pragmatic, practical point of view (or bitter and jaded). Someday, too, the holocaust will eventually be little more than a brief note in history books. It'll be no worse than any of the other events that both preceded and followed it.
                      You're right, but I still don't think you have any place saying whether a person or group should be offended by something. I am not a bleeding heart, but I think that game developers treatment of this subject is pragmatic with regard to the fact that the Swastika is still used prominently as a symbol of hatred by neo-Nazi groups. It's (developer) Relic's choice whether or not to use it in the U.S. market, and they don't, so it's not censorship by any means.
                      "No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country.
                      He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."

                      - Attributed to General George Patton, Jr.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Re-writing History in games?







                        I agree, that's ridiculous, yet still completely relevant.

                        So the issue is, if enough people are offended by something it's not okay? But if only a small few are, then it's good to go? I can find all kinds of things that would offend a 'small minority' that you'd call ridiculous. Well I call the issue with the swastika ridiculous, especially in regards to how we're literally just waiting for a set amount of time before it'll suddenly be okay. I just think people need to get the **** over it, and get over themselves, and stop being so damn politically correct all the time. Especially in regards to a world war 2 *GAME* that features *NAZIS*.

                        Yet, the swastika ISN'T censored out of everything. The movie Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow had swastikas in it. Hell, every WW2 movie I know of had them.

                        As for the Neo Nazi thing, should we censor The Wall for all the references to Nazis? Because there's a Nazi group that picked their name from parts of the Comfortably Numb video?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Re-writing History in games?

                          Originally posted by Fenian420 View Post
                          Wasn't the swastika taken from something christian also??? Trying to remember what it was but pretty sure of it,
                          It was taken from their own Germanic roots, not Christianity. The Swastika is the crossing of 2 sun rays/lightning bolts known as the Sig Rune. It was considered to be the Rune which symbolized the ultimate source of all power. The SS also used 2 sig runes side by side as their insignia.

                          Sig Rune:
                          | | |

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Re-writing History in games?

                            Originally posted by dawolf View Post
                            In Germany it's forbidden by law to show Swastika in any other context that a history lesson.
                            Imagine if Iran and the rest of the Middle East was a huge video game market. How would that affect what could be shown in video games?
                            Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                            snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                            Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Re-writing History in games?

                              As to being offended, consider the anger that arises at TG when someone questions the military, or the role of individual soldiers. Stir up too much anger in any community and the banhammer will come down. The ban on the swastika is just Germany's version of the banhammer.
                              Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                              snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                              Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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