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Why Are There 183 World War 2 Games?

| 14 Aug 2009 16:59
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Sure, everyone likes killing Nazis. But do we really need almost 200 games set during the Second World War?

There's a great piece over at 1UP about the prominence of World War II games in the industry. They're super-saturated. They're beyond super-saturated to the point that "Hey, another WW2 shooter" has almost gone past the point where it's ironic, to simply becoming the norm: death, taxes, and storming Normandy.

There are plenty of 20th century conflicts that America fought in, but WW2 outstrips them all by a large margin: 1UP's research found 183 games set in World War II, ten times the number of the next-highest war (World War I, with 18 games).

Of course, it makes sense in a way. In World War II, there was a clear villain - you don't get more evil than Adolf Hitler. The enemy wore black uniforms with a Deaths Head motif; they weren't normal-looking people blending in amongst civilians. For gameplay purposes, WW2 took place at that crucial moment in history where military technology was just starting to become modern enough to make for exciting battles, but not too modern to the point where standard troop tactics and maneuvers gave way to "send in the F-22s and missile bombardments."

It was an age of heroism - of Britain's "finest hour," of the Greatest Generation, of covert resistance to an oppressive conquering force. So yes, it's completely understandable why developers would want to set games during this period as opposed to, say, a FPS set during World War I (colorfully compared to "a version of Team Fortress in which Sniper is the only class and everyone randomly dies for no reason occasionally.")

But when will we move on? Will we ever move on? WW2 may have been an incredibly pivotal moment in the history of the world, but when will enough finally be enough?

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