201: See No Evil

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See No Evil

Game developers don't shy away from World War II's bloodiest battles when looking for inspiration, but they've skipped over one of the most significant events of that era: the Holocaust. Emanuel Maiberg ponders the long-term impact of this error of omission.

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Certainly the medium of games can accommodate a serious, respectful treatment of the Holocaust. See for example the upcoming DS game Imagination Is The Only Escape, which casts the player as a young French Jewish boy who is caught up by the Nazi occupation of France and takes shelter in fantasy to cope with the horror of his situation. But that game, perhaps ironically, confronts the human reality of World War Two as a central theme. It's a very different type of experience to action shooters like Wolfenstein or Call of Duty; perhaps more different than the most disparate of films. Can a pure entertainment action game like Call of Duty really hope to give such an enormous event as the Holocaust a fair treatment? Does it not risk trivialising the Nazi massacres to place a visit to a mass grave in an adrenaline-fuelled action extravaganza? It would seem incongruous at best if a standard World War Two FPS made the unstoppable player-character killing machine take a five-minute break to pay his respects to victims of the Nazi genocide before picking up his machine gun again and continuing to slaughter hundreds more Nazis.

That's not to say these games shouldn't make some reference to the Holocaust, or that the only type of game that can talk about serious issues is the indie art game. Somewhere between the likes of the explicitly educational Imagination Is The Only Escape and the popcorn action thriller Call Of Duty is Prisoner of War, a stealth game that challenges the player to break out of a series of Nazi prisoner of war camps. This game is a relatively realistic and respectful take on an aspect of the war. The goal of escaping the prison camps cannot be achieved by violence, and the greatest resource the player has is the assistance of fellow captives; the German guards are not mindlessly homicidal, but on the other hand the player's choices lead to one of his fellow escapees to be executed for resisting capture. The game doesn't take death lightly. This could be a reasonable framework for an entertaining game that deals with the Holocaust and the death camps.

In fact, escape-the-death-camp games already exist, although I think we still need a few more years before it stops feeling questionable to play an Escape The Nazis browser puzzle game.

Didn't this already get posted like a month ago?

Well, I will say the same thing now as I did then. The Holocaust is very much in the minds of all the players of WWII games. That's why we can play a game for hours on end killing endless numbers of Nazi's without feeling any remorse. If they weren't Nazi's, say they were British redcoats, after shooting the 1 millionth guy in the back you'd eventually start thinking "okay, I am pretty much turning into a mass murderer here. That guy was just minding his own business, serving king and country, and I shot him in the back..." But as long as they have that Nazi armband you don't think twice about it. You don't even need motivation for the plot. The entirety of the plot can be "there are Nazi's in front of you!" That's all you need to start shooting. So what I'm saying is, the Holocaust is a big part of every WWII game, even if it is never explicitly mentioned. It makes every soldier an enemy of humanity; guilty by association.

i would like to say that was an excellent article, by comparison to actual battles the holocaust recieves very little of the full mass media attnetion it deserves.
it would seem that World War 2 has become very black and white within the games industry as well, with the standard 'axis are bad, america is good, and no-one else did anything significant' mentality. a lot of the major non-battle turning points seem to have been assumed to not be of enough importance to merit any attnetion (e.g. the raids on german heavy water plants), whilst a very few turning points (such as d-day) are simply rerun again and again.
i do enjoy war games on the consoles, but some true variety or contextual realism would certainly improve them no end...

"Russia's role was questionable but necessary"
Russia WON that war, you retard! Without Russia UK would have been doomed. And United States actually played no role at all in this war.

Excellent article, I just wonder is the media would kick up a furoar aout the holocaust being depicted in game though. Germany would ban it outright, and no doubt the mass media in america and britian would deem it as insensative and trivilising the holocaust.

Lord_Gremlin:
"Russia's role was questionable but necessary"
Russia WON that war, you retard! Without Russia UK would have been doomed. And United States actually played no role at all in this war.

I read that line a bit differently. He's talking about the way they are represented in games were some games wipe them under the floorboards. Don't know if I read that right.

Anyway it was quite a good article, reminds me of Six Days in Fallujah though, people don't want to be reminded of the "bad" aspects of the events when playing a game.

Kojiro ftt:
Didn't this already get posted like a month ago?

Well, I will say the same thing now as I did then. The Holocaust is very much in the minds of all the players of WWII games. That's why we can play a game for hours on end killing endless numbers of Nazi's without feeling any remorse. If they weren't Nazi's, say they were British redcoats, after shooting the 1 millionth guy in the back you'd eventually start thinking "okay, I am pretty much turning into a mass murderer here. That guy was just minding his own business, serving king and country, and I shot him in the back..." But as long as they have that Nazi armband you don't think twice about it. You don't even need motivation for the plot. The entirety of the plot can be "there are Nazi's in front of you!" That's all you need to start shooting. So what I'm saying is, the Holocaust is a big part of every WWII game, even if it is never explicitly mentioned. It makes every soldier an enemy of humanity; guilty by association.

It sure did. This is our Best Of issue :)

To Lord_Gremlin - you've pretty much struck a very crucial point. We like to downplay Russia's (significant) involvement in WWII because it intrudes on our black and white image of the war, a dick move that plays directly into the themes of corrupted history that Mr. Maiberg presents here.

Another point this article starts to approach - we tend to portray the Nazis as "anything but human" because we don't want to believe that we could do what they did, that it couldn't "happen here".

I haven't had the chance to play it yet, but a stealth-based game called "Velvet Assassin" came out recently, despite the name it's supposed to be based on a true story of someone fighting back in their nation in a way other than blasting through endless waves of mindless Nazi soldiers. Like I said, I haven't played it yet, and haven't heard the story behind it, so I don't know how accurate it is, but I thought it might be relevant.

Like Fraser said, it might be difficult to convey the events that are usually just ignored in WWII game in an FPS, or anything meaningful at all for that matter. It is not, however impossible to pull off in such an FPS game. Much as it seems...odd, to bring up in a serious discussion about historical games, I find myself thinking of Bioshock, and not just because I've been wanting to play it recently. One of the things that was very much promoted when I first heard of it, alongside the plasmids and the plot, was the moral choice given the player. In the interview I read before it's release one of the developers said the Little Sisters were apparently part of an attempt to evoke emotion in the player and make the experience more memorable. It was for me, I played through the game and saved every little sister I could find, and enjoyed the "good" ending as a nice way to wrap up the game, it even almost had a "happily ever after" thing going in a sense. Then I decided to play the game through again to see the bad ending, like I usually do (in fact I usually do the bad ending first), I made my way to the first Little Sister where you are given the choice to harvest them and... I couldn't do it. Some of you may say it's just a game, and while that's true, it was something I just didn't want to do for many reasons. The little sisters are creepy to begin with, and I had never read what happens to them when you harvest them, and the term "Harvest" is horrible enough when referring to a human being, let alone a child (even though they try to dehumanize them right before so you can actually make the choice), and the term is also vague enough to force me to use my imagination, which always conjures up terrible images that are always worse than the reality, probably. To this day I haven't even seen what happens when you choose "harvest," either from playing or watching someone else play in real life or on a video on the internet, and perhaps, now that I've heard someone describe it just recently, and it doesn't sound as horrible as I thought, I will try it again. I can sit here and type about how it's just a game, but I can't forget how much that choice affected me. On the other hand, I've no idea how it impacted other people when they played the game, I'll probably be receiving one message just in response to this post telling me what a coward I am. And there's always the fact that, though it fit in well with the plot of the game, it always seemed sort of separate, like it was something they added after they finished making the game. It just felt out of place in the middle of a game where I was shooting lightning, among other things, at grotesque genetic abominations, who, while disturbing in their own right, were mostly unnamed and were not filled out as characters. Those that were given backstory, their tragic fall from humanity or sanity unveiled right before fighting them, were usually victims of their own greed, vanity, and so on, and my sympathy was further compromised by their trying to maim and kill me. In the middle of this you are given the choice about the little sisters, the moral impact of which is felt only in the moment you choose and at the end of the game. The concept did it's job, and created a memorable experience, but never really made me think other than about the consequences of the choice itself, it possibly had some sort of deep, metaphorical meaning that I completely missed, or it was a gimmicky moral choice put in to make you want to play the game at least twice. Sorry about that, my point is that an emotional experience is attainable, even if you go to great lengths to make it fit with the game's story, but there's absolutely no guarantee the player will care, and even if they do, there's also a chance they might not understand at all. In a historical themed game this might be good, since it might cause them to go find out more on their own, like a few of my classmates who were discussing just yesterday how much they had learned from a Medieval RTS they had played, either directly or indirectly.

The problem arises in the fact that any sense of plot, emotion, or moral lesson can be almost ignored by the player who just wants to shoot things, even if they were placed in the game. Anything in the gameplay environment can be easily overlooked in the middle of a hectic gun battle, and cutscenes can usually be skipped, unskippable cutscenes might cause the player to stop playing the game, get up and do something else until it is over, or just be so upset that they are being interrupted that they completely miss what's going on.

While I agree bringing the more realistic aspects of history should be at the very least mentioned in historically based games, and that developers should continues to try out new ways to make this work, so far there doesn't seem to be a clear way to put this in practice that will allow everyone to see why it's there, or in some cases, why it matters.

I played through Assassin's Creed with almost no prior knowledge about the crusades, I was vaguely aware that, at some point in medieval times, a bunch of knights went over to the middle east and started a war for some reason. The Knights Templar were slightly more important knights that got involved in a bunch of conspiracies. "Assassin" was a word for someone who stabbed someone in the back while they weren't looking, I knew the word originated from the middle eastern group that did this notoriously well, though I had heard no accounts of actual exploits of the group, and apparently they did it for religious reasons or something. Afterwards, I've learned more about the period through other sources, like my history class, and the internet articles and posts I read speculating about the sequel (before they announced it was taking place in the Renaissance and not the Crusades). But my knowledge of the period is still minimal, as is my awareness of how inaccurately it was portrayed in the game (the ending obviously hangs a question mark and how accurate the rest of it was, considering the last section is blatantly fictional).

So understanding of a game's historical accuracy and meaning also depends on the prior knowledge obtained by the player. While I have played WWII based games that do give a brief history of the events leading up to the battle, they do not cover the events outside of the actual armed conflicts just like the others you mention. The only way to guarantee that all of it was depicted would be extended historical accounts prior to playing the game, at which point you may as well sell the game packed with a DVD of a history channel show about the war and everything associated with it, since you can't confirm how much they know prior to playing it. Even then, when you've gone to such great lengths to get the whole picture into a story that people will see, there are still going to be those who are too young to understand, who will play the game anyway, possibly skipping the story in favor of multi-player gaming.

Most of it depends on the player. So while it is perfectly possible to get people to see the whole picture in one form of media, games make this difficult, and the biggest hurdle of all is the player's mindset, when someone starts up their game system looking for pure entertainment value, there's a good chance they just wont be paying attention to the history behind it.

CantFaketheFunk:

Kojiro ftt:
Didn't this already get posted like a month ago?
...

It sure did. This is our Best Of issue :)

Ah, I see. The concept of an "issue" kind of gets lost when you use the RSS feed. All I see are "new" entries that aren't exactly new.

Lord_Gremlin:
"Russia's role was questionable but necessary"
Russia WON that war, you retard! Without Russia UK would have been doomed. And United States actually played no role at all in this war.

The point of that paragraph was to identify the ways in which GAMES portray non-American factions in WW2, not how HE thinks of them. Indeed, the point of the article was to highlight how lacking games are in addressing the historical realities of that era, namely the holocaust, but everything else as well by association.

When coming across a detail that is personally controversial to you, a knee-jerk response is not the best recourse.

WWII shooter video games is just pure uninspired laziness. Developer wants to make a shooter video game that everyone can get into, it's generally agreed that Nazis are bad and therefore make good targets, thus a whole genre is born. If a game developer wanted to make a statement about WWII, perhaps showing the horrors of it and that we should learn that war causes a lot of pain and suffering on all sides (with exception of the military industrial complex), then they'd do it once and move on. Instead we have one WWII shooter after another offered up as a fun pass time for those who have no connection to real life war experiences.

Meh.

CantFaketheFunk:
It sure did. This is our Best Of issue :)

Reruns are acceptable on tv or radio because it's hard to travel back in time to watch things again but on the internet they are completly useless and annoying so stop doing this.

Asehujiko:

CantFaketheFunk:
It sure did. This is our Best Of issue :)

Reruns are acceptable on tv or radio because it's hard to travel back in time to watch things again but on the internet they are completly useless and annoying so stop doing this.

This is not just a "rerun." We publish a lot of content for our weekly. Understandably, people don't read them all. This is our way of highlighting the best of the best - articles that we thought were so good that they deserved another day in the sun.

This is a well written and thoughtful article.

True, I believe if game developers want to be making WWII games then they can't skate around
the hard uncomfortable facts in order to make it sell.

That is just plain disrespectful to anyone that died, fought or was injured in World War II.

I'm not going to say that a game needs or should be taken seriously all the time,
but given the subject matter, glorifying these Wars in games is definitely just tasteless exploitation.

War games shouldn't just demonize the people represented on the opposing side.
What are we doing that for and why?
Does it illustrate the effects of dehumanizing propaganda on the soldiers?

In the case of the article, it makes me remember an indie pc game made by a Saudi youth about joining a "terrorist" organization. It was, different, I think is a good word. It added a humanising element to something that, depending on your location, is roundly demonized by the media. The main character was a young man, poor and disenfranchised, who joined a small, unnamed group to find "purpose and family", just as many youths join gangs and criminal organizations seeking what is lacking in thier lives. A number of mods were made for the game, most based on real life conflicts around the world that were applicable.
Throughout them all, there was no fanatacism, no overbearing us versus them, "they are wrong, we are just and righteous" rhetoric you see in so many other games of the sort. It was simply based on what this young man saw and how he felt, even when he disagreed but shouldered on because of the consequence of leaving. I remember the last mod featured him accompanying his friends found in the group to Iraq just prior to the invasion, having promised to assist his family until the end in defense of their homeland.
It ends with each dying at some point in the invasion, unheard and forgotten save by the men who stood by each other in what is without doubt a suicide mission. It was powerful in it's own way, the stark reality of a story not often broached by the west. The site is gone now, went offline 3 years ago. Makes me wish I had kept the stuff, or at least the link to the site.

Low Frost:
In the case of the article, it makes me remember an indie pc game made by a Saudi youth about joining a "terrorist" organization. It was, different, I think is a good word. It added a humanising element to something that, depending on your location, is roundly demonized by the media. The main character was a young man, poor and disenfranchised, who joined a small, unnamed group to find "purpose and family", just as many youths join gangs and criminal organizations seeking what is lacking in thier lives. A number of mods were made for the game, most based on real life conflicts around the world that were applicable.
Throughout them all, there was no fanatacism, no overbearing us versus them, "they are wrong, we are just and righteous" rhetoric you see in so many other games of the sort. It was simply based on what this young man saw and how he felt, even when he disagreed but shouldered on because of the consequence of leaving. I remember the last mod featured him accompanying his friends found in the group to Iraq just prior to the invasion, having promised to assist his family until the end in defense of their homeland.
It ends with each dying at some point in the invasion, unheard and forgotten save by the men who stood by each other in what is without doubt a suicide mission. It was powerful in it's own way, the stark reality of a story not often broached by the west. The site is gone now, went offline 3 years ago. Makes me wish I had kept the stuff, or at least the link to the site.

That sounds... Powerful. I don't want to say good any more than I want to say something like America's Army could be considered good, but it sounds like the story would be well written and intelligent, which would be a nice change.

That was a very profound article; the only way I can imagine further WWII games to remain relevant is if they acknowledge the Holocaust, which killed six million Jews...

And to acknowledge the 27 million Russians who gave their lives for their country and the downfall of the Third Reich. WaW only barely touched upon that.

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Red Orchestra sequel, Heroes of Stalingrad, just announced, where there is going to be a single player campaign where you can play as a German. I think this is the first step towards showing the Germans as anything but human. While I'm sure that RTS' have done this before (most notably Company of Heroes) I'm not sure an FPS has.
Oh, and very good article

Nice article.

I've thought similar things in the past, so I'm aware of these concerns, but I am a little worried about how the masses of teenagers and pre-teens (and older, actually) view these types of games. I often wonder what a survey would turn up.

johnman:
Excellent article, I just wonder is the media would kick up a furoar aout the holocaust being depicted in game though. Germany would ban it outright, and no doubt the mass media in america and britian would deem it as insensative and trivilising the holocaust.

My thoughts exactly.

It also makes collecting the info for the survey mentioned above extremely hard to view as factual. Who could we trust not to bend things to get a certain viewpoint?

That was an exceptionally well written, thought provoking article. When he wrote the bit about playing as a jew during the slum rebellions my first reaction was disgust and surprise. The idea of playing something based on that serious a topic instantly offended me. Then I stopped and analyzed the emotion and realized I had no problem using an imaginary flame thrower, or a gun mounted bayonet in a game, and aren't those terribly serious situations? There's an obvious disconnect here. Why can I watch the atrocities of the holocaust in movies, but can't play it in a game? Oh wait, there it is. No matter how much we try to intellectualize the medium, in its most base form, it's still supposed to be a GAME. And no one wants to play a game about real world suffering, despair, and loss. It would be disreapectful to the survivors, and wouldn't do any real justice to the horrors that were committed.

Lord_Gremlin:
"Russia's role was questionable but necessary"
Russia WON that war, you retard! Without Russia UK would have been doomed. And United States actually played no role at all in this war.

FFS ABOUT TIME SOMEONE SAYS THAT. So many faggots say that america won all by their selves all they did was liberate france...again and drop a few nukes on japan.

Lord_Gremlin:
"Russia's role was questionable but necessary"
Russia WON that war, you retard! Without Russia UK would have been doomed. And United States actually played no role at all in this war.

I agree that Russia pretty much won the war, but US definitely did something. We pressured Hitler and Japan to really fight at two fronts. Not only that, the US did something pretty spectacular too: took almost full credit for the war.

But I agree with the article. If these video games seriously want to represent the war and call themselves truly WW-II games, they should not forget the Holocaust because it is one of the biggest sets of events in the war (some may argue that it is the cause of the war). However, in addition to that, I feel that WW-II games are not doing Nazis justice. When we play WW2 games or hear and see about WW2, the Nazis are always demonized. I'm not saying that they are good because what they did was terrible. But I am saying that there are reasons why Germany turned to the Nazis ideal. In fact, it is the evils that the Allied forces enforced on Germany that caused the war in the first place. So, what I'm saying is, if games want to be historically accurate, they should include these major things. The Holocaust and the desolation of Germany before the war.

Emanuel Maiberg:
I see two obvious ways to move forward. The first is to concede to the people who believe that videogames are nothing but extravagant toys incapable of tackling the same issues that other mediums do, and limit the settings of FPS games to fantasy or science fiction, where a black and white view of the world is harmless.

"Black and white" in fantasy and science fiction isn't truly harmless, is it? Whether your understanding of the world is grounded in black-and-white bastardizations of history or black-and-white fantasy, you're still gorging on the same dysfunctional worldview.

...

Dirty Apple:
Why can I watch the atrocities of the holocaust in movies, but can't play it in a game? Oh wait, there it is. No matter how much we try to intellectualize the medium, in its most base form, it's still supposed to be a GAME. And no one wants to play a game about real world suffering, despair, and loss. It would be disreapectful to the survivors, and wouldn't do any real justice to the horrors that were committed.

True, games are games, things we play for fun. What makes play fun, though? For me, a lot of the attraction is in "the magic circle" -- a shared emotional space -- and "the narrative of play" -- a fiction that the game is creating, sometimes by feel more so than explicitly. All that common stuff about competition and goals and stuff is worth talking about, too but it's not really why I play. And, like with books and movies, I find communication preferable to escapism (I highly suspect I'm in the minority here; that breaks my heart just a little bit).

A game can't do everything a film or literary work can, but, at the same time, as a game, Grey Ranks drives you to share and struggle with and personalize its subject matter in ways that a book or movie can't.

-- Alex

don't worry israel will always remember the holocaust. its like passover we have the drinks and maza bread but wee all know its about escaping from tyranny. same thing bout purim or hanuka. We make a point of remembering each time we escaped oblivion. the problem isn't remembring the problem is EXISTING. if anyone thinks that antisemitisem is over well: you are either from the states and from a rich area at that and B never been an israeli abroad. I got stuff thrown at me and later beat up in spain, chased in germany and had to walk with effing armed escort while visitng the camps in poland. thats THE WESTERN COUNTRIES,the main problem are certain oil rich countries that use the blight of a people the pissed on and were stuck with (and ill admit that israel is not effective at solving the palestinian problem) as a an excuse to again try and wipe us out.

so no in every generation we face this the holocaust won't be forgotten. LETS JUST HOPE IT WON"T BE REPEATED.

This is definitely one of the most interesting articles I have read on the Escapist so far. Whenever I play a good WWII game, like the COD series, I always think of my Great Grandfather while playing. He dies not long after I was born so I never had the chance to learn from him about his experiences. There are moments in the COD series that do show how awful war can be, and I never just run and gun through mindlessly. It's always in my head that these things happened, that the real life counterparts to my pixelated foes had families and lives and were told that we were less than human, just as we label them.

Good WWII games got me to research the actual war from as many points as possible. There were so many grey areas to it all. The Allies all played integral roles, be they American, Russian, British, Canadian, French, Newfoundlanders, Africans, Czechs. It's a shame when some of their roles are diminished. Then on the flip side, the Nazi party had the whole of Germany whipped up into such a state of fear, confusion, and paranoia that most of them didn't know up from down. There was the internal struggle with in Germany between the Nazis, the SS and the SA. Then to top it all off there was the Holocaust which eradicated millions of Jew, Poles, Gypsies, Homosexuals, and even Germans who were physically and mentally disabled.

I'd like to play a game where all of this was incorporated. I think it would have to be something along the lines of Mass Effect/Oblivion/The Witcher. Something where you are involved in the action as well as making a decisions to do one thing or the other, or nothing at all, and that would affect the rest of the game, be it subtly or more direct, like having a unit take a different path, resulting in the capture of a Nazi camp, to missing it utterly and finding out later that in the camp were hundreds of prisoners who wre executed because we didn't find them.

I'd also like to have a SWAT mechanic in there as well, where you can actually have the Nazi officers surrender, or being captured alive, instead of being killed.

Games do have the ability to do all of this and have an even greater ability, beyond other forms of art and entertainment to tell a story and to teach and enlighten those that play it or see it.

I want to experience a game where I come away from it all stunned, awed, or teary-eyed. Or all three. I can be done.

I understand the need to keep history alive so atrocities like those of WWII are not repeated. There is a need to make people aware of the facts and to try and take the sugar coating when educating the next generation. That said I feel that a game including such stimulus as gas chambers and concentration camps would only result in negative publicity. Could you imagine the outcry a sensationalised article from the tabloid press could provoke? And what would that do for the publisher?

I am all in favour of educating players during a gaming experience. (I must have been one of the few kids who enjoyed learning simple world facts whilst playing Where in the world is Carman Santiago? on the Master System) but I think a more practical solution would be to have unlockable historical content to be viewed in a features mode. Perhaps some sort of achievement unlocked for watching an educational back story before going into a mission?

I think there is enough education in school to stop kids being desensitised to war, the holocaust will never be forgotten and I think a game including gas chambers and mass burials would be received in very bad taste, regardless of its intentions.

EDIT: Just an opinion, and a very interesting article

Man people have hated jews since egypt used them as slaves wtf did they do....

ManiacRaccoon:
I haven't had the chance to play it yet, but a stealth-based game called "Velvet Assassin" came out recently, despite the name it's supposed to be based on a true story of someone fighting back in their nation in a way other than blasting through endless waves of mindless Nazi soldiers. Like I said, I haven't played it yet, and haven't heard the story behind it, so I don't know how accurate it is, but I thought it might be relevant.

I played through Assassin's Creed with almost no prior knowledge about the crusades, I was vaguely aware that, at some point in medieval times, a bunch of knights went over to the middle east and started a war for some reason. The Knights Templar were slightly more important knights that got involved in a bunch of conspiracies. "Assassin" was a word for someone who stabbed someone in the back while they weren't looking, I knew the word originated from the middle eastern group that did this notoriously well, though I had heard no accounts of actual exploits of the group, and apparently they did it for religious reasons or something. Afterwards, I've learned more about the period through other sources, like my history class, and the internet articles and posts I read speculating about the sequel (before they announced it was taking place in the Renaissance and not the Crusades). But my knowledge of the period is still minimal, as is my awareness of how inaccurately it was portrayed in the game (the ending obviously hangs a question mark and how accurate the rest of it was, considering the last section is blatantly fictional).

So understanding of a game's historical accuracy and meaning also depends on the prior knowledge obtained by the player. While I have played WWII based games that do give a brief history of the events leading up to the battle, they do not cover the events outside of the actual armed conflicts just like the others you mention. The only way to guarantee that all of it was depicted would be extended historical accounts prior to playing the game, at which point you may as well sell the game packed with a DVD of a history channel show about the war and everything associated with it, since you can't confirm how much they know prior to playing it. Even then, when you've gone to such great lengths to get the whole picture into a story that people will see, there are still going to be those who are too young to understand, who will play the game anyway, possibly skipping the story in favor of multi-player gaming.

Most of it depends on the player. So while it is perfectly possible to get people to see the whole picture in one form of media, games make this difficult, and the biggest hurdle of all is the player's mindset, when someone starts up their game system looking for pure entertainment value, there's a good chance they just wont be paying attention to the history behind it.

I studied the first crusade at A level. Pope Urban II called for an army of nobles from France to support the Emperor Alexius in his war against the Seljuk Turks. What he got was first the peoples crusade which was a ragtag bunch of peasants who raped and pillaged their way across Germany before being slaughtered near Anatolia (Turkey), shortly afterwards came the First Crusade which actually took Antioch, Jerusalem and most of the holy land before losing it quite rapidly afterwards. This sparked a succession of about twenty crusades of which three were major incursions although ironically the first was the most successful. Over the duration of the Crusades thousands, perhaps millions of innocent Turks, Muslims and Jews were slaughtered by the armys during 'pomgroms'. The main reason for the conflict between the west and the middle east to this day is their resentment for what our ancestors did to them.

Flytch:

I studied the first crusade at A level. Pope Urban II called for an army of nobles from France to support the Emperor Alexius in his war against the Seljuk Turks. What he got was first the peoples crusade which was a ragtag bunch of peasants who raped and pillaged their way across Germany before being slaughtered near Anatolia (Turkey), shortly afterwards came the First Crusade which actually took Antioch, Jerusalem and most of the holy land before losing it quite rapidly afterwards. This sparked a succession of about twenty crusades of which three were major incursions although ironically the first was the most successful. Over the duration of the Crusades thousands, perhaps millions of innocent Turks, Muslims and Jews were slaughtered by the armys during 'pomgroms'. The main reason for the conflict between the west and the middle east to this day is their resentment for what our ancestors did to them.

Yeah, case in point, or whatever the expression is, I knew maybe less than an 8th of that, and don't really care about the name of the pope who started it, and your post still banks on me having prior knowledge, because I have no idea what a 'pomgrom' is.

ManiacRaccoon:

Flytch:

I studied the first crusade at A level. Pope Urban II called for an army of nobles from France to support the Emperor Alexius in his war against the Seljuk Turks. What he got was first the peoples crusade which was a ragtag bunch of peasants who raped and pillaged their way across Germany before being slaughtered near Anatolia (Turkey), shortly afterwards came the First Crusade which actually took Antioch, Jerusalem and most of the holy land before losing it quite rapidly afterwards. This sparked a succession of about twenty crusades of which three were major incursions although ironically the first was the most successful. Over the duration of the Crusades thousands, perhaps millions of innocent Turks, Muslims and Jews were slaughtered by the armys during 'pomgroms'. The main reason for the conflict between the west and the middle east to this day is their resentment for what our ancestors did to them.

Yeah, case in point, or whatever the expression is, I knew maybe less than an 8th of that, and don't really care about the name of the pope who started it, and your post still banks on me having prior knowledge, because I have no idea what a 'pomgrom' is.

A pomgrom is a term used to describe the massacres of Jews that occured frequently in the middle ages.

Flytch:

A pomgrom is a term used to describe the massacres of Jews that occured frequently in the middle ages.

Thank you. I've learned something for today. You see my point though right? How many people do you think know that when they pick up a copy of Assassin's Creed?

A holocaust FPS where I get to hold rocks above my head for hours on end or be shot by the guards? Sounds like fun.

Wait, I got it, DEATH CAMP TYCOON! That would kick ass.

I thought this was a great article. I think that games are in a difficult position because if they came out with something like acknowledging the Holocaust directly (I don't know, for example, a level when you have to liberate a camp or something) they would be in uproar. I can imagine the British tabloids saying it's disrespectful and that the lives of the Jews, Homosexuals, Disabled and Political Prisoners that were detained in the concentrations camps weren't a game, and no game should downsize an issue as big as the Holocaust. But on the flip side, I could see that it would be a different method in educating people about it. Sure, movies like Schindler's List or The Pianist can be made tenfold, but at the end of the day, I think people can feel quite detatched from movies. With games, you're getting directly involved, and it could be used as a new type of media. So yeah, the games industry is caught in a bad situation.
Also, I'd like to add that I think it's harsh to just all out call Germans in games Nazis. Yeah, sure, some were proud to have Swastikas on their helmets, and were happy to oppress the Jews, but to systemactially call ALL Germans Nazis wouldn't be fair. I've studied Nazi Germany for the past three years, and it's fair to say the amount of opposition was tremendous and that alot of the Germans were only 'Nazis' because it meant survival. At first, if you disagreed, you lost your job. Then you lost your home. Eventually, you'd lose your family and wind up in a concentration camp if you opposed the State. Kaiser Wilhelm said that Germany needed 'her place in the sun' and yeah, many Germans shared this nationaistic view, ESPECIALLY after the harsh terms of the Treay of Versailles was placed upon her, but to say that they were all Nazis and therefore racist is quite unfair in my opinion.
Of course, none of you have to agree, but that's just what I think :)

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