Luftrausers Isn't About Nazis But Vlambeer Is Sorry Anyway

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Luftrausers Isn't About Nazis But Vlambeer Is Sorry Anyway

Luftrausers logo

Vlambeer says its hit indie action game Luftrausers isn't about Nazis, but it's very sorry for any discomfort it may have caused.

Luftrausers is an awesome arcade blastfest that earned 4.5 stars in an Escapist review. It also sports an undeniably distinct theme, hinted at by its title, and even if that's not quite obvious enough there's no mistaking the roots of the visual style. It never comes right out and says you're flying for the Nazis, but you sure ain't up there yanking and banking for King and country.

Despite the obvious silliness of the game, it's a theme that not everyone is comfortable with, sentiments that came up on Twitter last week. In response, Vlambeer's Rami Ismail wrote yesterday that he's "extremely sad" that some people see the game in that light, and added that while the Nazi link was never intended, it is a valid interpretation of the game.

"The fact is that no interpretation of a game is 'wrong'. When you create something, you leave certain implications of what you're making. We can leave our idea of what it is in there, and for us, the game is about superweapons. We think everybody who plays Luftrausers can feel that," he wrote. "But even more so in an interactive medium, we do have to accept that no way of reading those implications is 'false' - that if someone reads between the lines where we weren't writing, those voids can be filled by the player, or someone else. If we accept there's no wrong interpretation of a work, we also have to accept that some of those interpretations could not be along the lines of what we're trying to create."

Ismail said Luftrausers is intended to be a sort of alternate universe game set sometime between the end of the Second World War and the beginning of the Cold War, and that the player is part of an "undefined enemy force" that never actually existed. A desire to be "genuine" about the game's time frame led to the use of stylistic cues from the era, while the characters are actually rooted in the old Thunderbirds television show.

But to his credit, Ismail didn't dismiss the concerns of those who found the game disturbing. "Each interpretation of a cultural artifact is a reflection of not only the creator, but also of what the user cares about, what they find important and what shaped them. We wouldn't dare to fault people for finding the atrocities of the Second World War important. It is important," he wrote. "Having been born and raised in the Netherlands, we are extremely aware of the awful things that happened, and we want to apologize to anybody who, through our game, is reminded of the cruelties that occurred during the war."

Source: Vlambeer

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Humility and understanding is nice. Good for them.

Curious. Yeah, I didn't play it, but what I saw in pictures and videos, well, was unclear. The banner with the white circle and the cross-shaped plane in the middle (as seen on the picture in the article) is pretty obvious. On the other hand, much of what I saw in the actual gameplay made me think of an alternative World War I more so than World War II; I thought one would be playing some sort of alternative history, high-tech Red Baron or something. Then again, they themselves set it after World War II, so I guess I was way off with my assumptions. I dunno. I can see the Nazi-references, sure.

So we've reached the point now where developers preemptively apologize for all the thin skinned folks that are going to throw a fit over their game?

"The Nazi link was never intended"
Umm, bullcrap. Yeah, I'm overall happy how Vlambeer is taking it, but no. One look at the logo tells me that yes, the Nazi link is very much intended, the aesthetic just screams "Third Reich".

Clive Howlitzer:
So we've reached the point now where developers preemptively apologize for all the thin skinned folks that are going to throw a fit over their game?

We've been past that line and beyond for a while.

The developers should have responded with "South Park: The Stick of Truth" and dropped the proverbial mic. I'll gladly buy the game of any developer that openly calls people who complain about stuff like this cowards and tells them to grow up.

AzrealMaximillion:

Clive Howlitzer:
So we've reached the point now where developers preemptively apologize for all the thin skinned folks that are going to throw a fit over their game?

We've been past that line and beyond for a while.

The developers should have responded with "South Park: The Stick of Truth" and dropped the proverbial mic. I'll gladly buy the game of any developer that openly calls people who complain about stuff like this cowards and tells them to grow up.

I think the people who call people cowards over video games are the ones who need to grow up.

Clive Howlitzer:
So we've reached the point now where developers preemptively apologize for all the thin skinned folks that are going to throw a fit over their game?

Yes because using German in title, using the SS deathshead emblem and using German uniforms isn't in anyway looking Nazis.

RealRT:
"The Nazi link was never intended"
Umm, bullcrap. Yeah, I'm overall happy how Vlambeer is taking it, but no. One look at the logo tells me that yes, the Nazi link is very much intended, the aesthetic just screams "Third Reich".

So what of it? With so much US war porn on the market I think we can handle one indie title that adopts some German military aesthetics from 1940s?

While I'll almost certainly agree that the aesthetics style is leaned all the way towards the Nazi Germany side of all things but there's really no harm done; there isn't any ideological aspects in the game other than stealing the art style. I would a liar to say that I didn't find the German military uniform aesthetically appealing when compared to the other nations at that point in time.

In this case, it's a worse version like if someone was reading the book mein kampf/Communist manifesto and then being called a Nazi/Communist as a result and even the Taliban controversy with Battlefield 3. People do need to grow-up and grow out of judging a book by it's cover.

james.sponge:

RealRT:
"The Nazi link was never intended"
Umm, bullcrap. Yeah, I'm overall happy how Vlambeer is taking it, but no. One look at the logo tells me that yes, the Nazi link is very much intended, the aesthetic just screams "Third Reich".

So what of it? With so much US war porn on the market I think we can handle one indie title that adopts some German military aesthetics from 1940s?

I'm not for taking it off the market or telling people not to play it. Everyone is free to get their entertainment as they want, long as it doesn't hurt anybody. What I was saying is, admit what you did, don't deny the obvious.

albino boo:

Clive Howlitzer:
So we've reached the point now where developers preemptively apologize for all the thin skinned folks that are going to throw a fit over their game?

Yes because using German in title, using the SS deathshead emblem and using German uniforms isn't in anyway looking Nazis.

Death's Head emblem goes back to a Prussian cavalry unit, the Death's Head Hussars. This emblem was also standard uniform for any German tank crew, as tanks were considered an evolution of the cavalry role in military doctrine.

While the SS were generally loathsome human beings, the German army deserves a certain amount of respect. Their batshit crazy leader demanded the impossible out of them and they did a pretty good job of making it seem possible at times.

That plays a funny little parallel to the game. You're given an impossible mission and then you get to go at it for a while, but you'll always die in the end.

Oh, and the emblems look nothing like the skull up there. The emblem the Nazis used was never forward facing but presented a 3/4ths view and always had the mouth closed. Also, the German military still dresses impeccably. It's a German thing, not a Nazi thing.

This entire enterprise is to ensure that if you're going to be offended, you should be well-informed and offended. I don't actually care that much, but I do love a good history lesson.

Hah, that's some quality bullshit right there. If Vlambeer weren't deliberately going for a Nazi aesthetic, they must have done it subconsciously, which would be far more concerning.

But still, it's been almost a century now, get the fuck over it. People who get offended over such trivial bullshit don't deserve an apology.

Eh, I never really got a strong vibe of WW2 from the game in my 28 hours of playing it, uniforms kinda piqued my interest but the fact that every character looks tanned due to the art style made me think twice.

Only really went "Oh WW2" when the blimp cinematic played which, for the sake of not spoiling anything, depicted a certain WW2 leader exploding in a blimp

Well that's a mature, understanding response! I appreciate that from a game dev. He shouldn't change a damn thing about his game, but acknowledging sympathy for those that were discomforted by it is pretty admirable.

I am from Germany. I find it surprising that a Nazi comparison was drawn. Maybe because the name sounds German (well, half of it is).

WouldYouKindly:

albino boo:

Clive Howlitzer:
So we've reached the point now where developers preemptively apologize for all the thin skinned folks that are going to throw a fit over their game?

Yes because using German in title, using the SS deathshead emblem and using German uniforms isn't in anyway looking Nazis.

Death's Head emblem goes back to a Prussian cavalry unit, the Death's Head Hussars. This emblem was also standard uniform for any German tank crew, as tanks were considered an evolution of the cavalry role in military doctrine.

While the SS were generally loathsome human beings, the German army deserves a certain amount of respect. Their batshit crazy leader demanded the impossible out of them and they did a pretty good job of making it seem possible at times.

That plays a funny little parallel to the game. You're given an impossible mission and then you get to go at it for a while, but you'll always die in the end.

Oh, and the emblems look nothing like the skull up there. The emblem the Nazis used was never forward facing but presented a 3/4ths view and always had the mouth closed. Also, the German military still dresses impeccably. It's a German thing, not a Nazi thing.

This entire enterprise is to ensure that if you're going to be offended, you should be well-informed and offended. I don't actually care that much, but I do love a good history lesson.

Yeah right mate, next you will be telling me the Swastika came from India so it shouldn't be counted. I have no respect for the wehrmacht whatsoever. There is the upwards of 10 million rapes committed by them for for start. How about the mass executions for partisan activity or clearing minefields by driving civilians through at gunpoint. Real nice guys, you want to invite them round for dinner. Before posting about the germany army please try reading some history that wasn't written by Von Manstein. The Wehrmacht was up to its rotten little neck in war crimes.

The Plunk:
Hah, that's some quality bullshit right there. If Vlambeer weren't deliberately going for a Nazi aesthetic, they must have done it subconsciously, which would be far more concerning.

But still, it's been almost a century now, get the fuck over it. People who get offended over such trivial bullshit don't deserve an apology.

I suggest you read this list and I would really like to see you tell them that should get over surviving a concentration camp.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Holocaust_survivors

Not offended in the slightest. The amount of Nazi-related materials I've seen in games through the years is beyond counting.

Its ridiculous that he ever felt the need to apologize. Even if it was an accurate representation we should receive it in open arms (like the movie Downfall) as pretending that WW2 never happened is bad for our future (we learn from our mistakes) and since this is more of a goofy representation and more based around the cultural status of the nazis (you, know, kind of how the Wolfentstein series handles them) its still just as valid to exist as the use of the french revolutionaires cultural status that gave us things like Allo Allo or the Americans with most WW2 media or even the soviets with all their other representation.

WW2 has already reached a point where its in a way romanticized (in the artistic sense) and this is just how the nazis are represented in that artistic view, in this game we get to play as that representation (something that is completely different from playing a nazi simulator where you kill minorities where the pleasure comes outright from being able to be a nazi and take according actions)

If you are offended by Nazi style imagery why would you play a game with an aesthetic that takes some inspiration from that? I appreciate him saying he regrets people being made uncomfortable but if you look at anything about this game you pretty much know in advance if it is going to make you uncomfortable or not.

albino boo:

The Plunk:
Hah, that's some quality bullshit right there. If Vlambeer weren't deliberately going for a Nazi aesthetic, they must have done it subconsciously, which would be far more concerning.

But still, it's been almost a century now, get the fuck over it. People who get offended over such trivial bullshit don't deserve an apology.

I suggest you read this list and I would really like to see you tell them that should get over surviving a concentration camp.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Holocaust_survivors

I'm pretty sure I'm gonna be called a nazi because of this, but still...
I am from Germany, born and raised. I have a general interest in history and seeing how it's rather recent history for us, WW2 and the holocaust in particular. I've gone as far as to live in concentration camps twice, for 2 weeks a time, learning and volunteering, so this is coming from an informed point of view.

While I do acknowledge what has been done by germans in the 1940s (primarily, before too of course), I, personally, accept no guilt or responsability for what has happened WHAT SO EVER. This has happened a rough 50 years before my birth, so i personally CANNOT be at fault for anything that has been done. And dont give me any crap about the sins of the father, that is the same kind of medieval, prejuidiced thinking the nazis had going for themselves (neither of my parents were born by 1945 btw).

So yeah, all my sympathies go out to all holocaust victims and/or survivors, but leave my generation out of it.
Oh and btw: I'm pretty sure that none of those who really "have a right to be offended" and are still alive have ever heard of this game.

albino boo:

The Plunk:
Hah, that's some quality bullshit right there. If Vlambeer weren't deliberately going for a Nazi aesthetic, they must have done it subconsciously, which would be far more concerning.

But still, it's been almost a century now, get the fuck over it. People who get offended over such trivial bullshit don't deserve an apology.

I suggest you read this list and I would really like to see you tell them that should get over surviving a concentration camp.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Holocaust_survivors

I feel confident in saying that not a single one of them has heard of, let alone played, Luftrausers.

The Plunk:
Hah, that's some quality bullshit right there. If Vlambeer weren't deliberately going for a Nazi aesthetic, they must have done it subconsciously, which would be far more concerning.

But still, it's been almost a century now, get the fuck over it. People who get offended over such trivial bullshit don't deserve an apology.

It's been 70 years, still well within living memory. The main people I saw discussing this on twitter were Jewish, and oddly enough WW2 has left something of an imprint on Jewish culture. It's not like I saw any cries of "Ban this sick filth" or anything, just some pretty reasonable people saying that it made them uncomfortable, that they were weirded out and a bit upset that what they saw as obvious Nazi imagery on the protagonist's side caused no discussion beyond a footnote in some reviews, and they wondered whether Vlambeer were being given a bit of a free pass for being indie where a AAA publisher would probably get chewed out over it.

So yeah, I can't directly relate to those feelings myself, but I can definitely sympathise, and it seems the Vlambeer guys too (Rami Ismail has demonstrated repeatedly that he's a considerate and empathetic guy). And there's nothing wrong with apologising, if I stand on someone's foot, even if it wasn't my fault I'm going to apologise to them. I might explain that it was completely accidental, but at the end of the day they're the one that's hurting and I can still be sorry that it happened despite not feeling the pain myself. Same thing goes if I accidentally hurt someone emotionally.

Just wondering if anyone else has ever played Bugs vs. Tanks for the 3DS. You play as the driver on a German tank crew whose entire battallion got shrunken down smaller than an ant. In Nazi Germany, during the war. From what I've played of it (I got stuck early on, it's hard as balls), your crew is sympathetic, but your commanding officer is a Nazi dick. It was made by Keiji Inafune[1] of all people.

Anyway, just kind of a random though. It's one of the higher profile digital only releases for the 3DS, and you openly play as a Nazi, but you don't see much mention of that outside of reviews of the game itself. Meanwhile, some random indie game uses a Nazi aesthetic, without actually using the Nazis, and people get (understandably) up in arms. Just kind of odd the things that fly under the radar.

Just in case anyone's wondering how I wound up with a game like this: it's one of the Level 5 games, the ones where they gave funds to a bunch of small teams and let 'em run wild. I bought all of them (minus Weapon Shop de Omasse, which wasn't part of the sale) for a couple bucks a piece when they were last on sale. Attack of the Friday Monsters, Crimson Shroud, and Liberation Maiden are the standouts, but they're all pretty good, questionable content of Bugs vs. Tanks aside :P

[1] yes, the Megaman guy

albino boo:

Yeah right mate, next you will be telling me the Swastika came from India so it shouldn't be counted. I have no respect for the wehrmacht whatsoever. There is the upwards of 10 million rapes committed by them for for start. How about the mass executions for partisan activity or clearing minefields by driving civilians through at gunpoint. Real nice guys, you want to invite them round for dinner. Before posting about the germany army please try reading some history that wasn't written by Von Manstein. The Wehrmacht was up to its rotten little neck in war crimes.

Oh how rich. "This army commited rape and mass civilian killings, therefore it is not ok to play as them." By that logic, no army of the WWII is playable, am I right to assume you protest every time a new WWII game comes out?

So am I missing something? I looked at this game a while back, and again just now, but where is the genocide? All I can find is a low-res 2d flight game. No war crimes, no atrocities. Just nondescript black airplanes shooting nondescript black enemies.

Yes it uses imagery to look like it takes place in or around the time of world war 2, and yes it looks like the player is a part of the German air-force. So what? Why is it OK to shoot several hundred planes with a star on your wing, but disturbing to shoot several hundred planes with an Iron Cross?
Hippocrates.

I'm sorry that you were offended by a non existent thing.

Allow me to apologize for the hard life you have ahead when you realize nobody cares about you and will shit on you your entire life. In fact from this day forward you will suffer indignity after indignity, be it small like the subway operator staring you in the face whilst you are running to catch the subway and he just drives off, or be it big where you get shanked in the gut and your wallet is taken from you.

Life sucks and you should relish the time you have left to worry about imaginary issues. The time for when you will be drowning in real ones is fast approaching.

The pussy-fication continues.

Braedan:
Hippocrates.

Please leave the grandfather of modern medicine out of this.

We

james.sponge:

RealRT:
"The Nazi link was never intended"
Umm, bullcrap. Yeah, I'm overall happy how Vlambeer is taking it, but no. One look at the logo tells me that yes, the Nazi link is very much intended, the aesthetic just screams "Third Reich".

So what of it? With so much US war porn on the market I think we can handle one indie title that adopts some German military aesthetics from 1940s?

Not to mention how the character on the options screen looks suspiciously like Heinrich Himmler, leader of the SS: http://i.imgur.com/qboIbZn.png

"I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream" depicts "totally not Jews" with bones removed, eyes cut out, and strung up on barbed wire in a "totally not a concentration camp" with freaking ovens full of corpses, as you play an honest-to-God Nazi scientist.

It was critically acclaimed, received with open arms, and remains a classic to this day.

"Luftrausers" has a Third Reich aesthetic.

People complain on Twitter, resulting in a full-on apology.

^How is this fair?

1337mokro:

Braedan:
Hippocrates.

Please leave the grandfather of modern medicine out of this.

These are my favourite parts of this forum. It happens all the time. Typos are great.

lacktheknack:
"I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream" depicts "totally not Jews" with bones removed, eyes cut out, and strung up on barbed wire in a "totally not a concentration camp" with freaking ovens full of corpses, as you play an honest-to-God Nazi scientist.

It was critically acclaimed, received with open arms, and remains a classic to this day.

"Luftrausers" has a Third Reich aesthetic.

People complain on Twitter, resulting in a full-on apology.

^How is this fair?

shhhhh, if you point out how stupid an argument is, you will cause all the social justice weekend warriors to cry and break their hug-box.

besides, that was a point and click game, and had rape victim shaming in it.

The Plunk:

There are no qualifications required to have an emotional response to anything. Your grandfathers do not bestow upon you more right to have a feeling about this game than any other person's grandparents. Anyone who feels uncomfortable is one hundred percent within their rights to do so, just as anyone who doesn't feel uncomfortable is one hundred percent within their rights to do so.

It's very weird to me how so many people in this thread have this need to tell others that an emotion is wrong. What is the basis for such a judgment? I mean, so far as I know based on the article, no one has even asked the developer to change the game or anything, but just expressed their own reservations.

Kalezian:
besides, that was a point and click game, and had rape victim shaming in it.

Seriously? The "shamed" Ellen? I didn't detect that. Care to elaborate?

EDIT: Wait, you're talking about AM's dialog? If so, got it.

I think that it needs to be mentioned that the person who complained about Nazi implications in Luftrausers has a video on Youtube complaining that there are no female players in the male only league of FIFA 2014.

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