“HALT! ACHTUNG! VERBOTEN!” How games paint Nazis wrong, why this should bother us and how we can change it.

31. January 2019
16:00  -  16:25
Alte Kaserne

In this talk we will explain how the way historical Fascism is portrayed in video games is often dangerous and wrong, why we need to change it and how this can be achieved.

  1. How it is wrong

Most games fail on a fundamental level when they portray historical Nazism because they are:

  • Reducing historical fascism to the military aspects of World War Two
  • Skipping the slow rise of authoritarianism in the early 1930ies
  • Using tropes like the “brave and honourable German soldier in WW2”
  • Repeating and imitating fascist aesthetics
  • Leaving out the persecution and murder of Jews and other groups
  1. Why this should bother us

As game developers we should realize that our creations form and change human culture.

  • Neo-Nazis build their communities around games that don’t challenge their revisionist histories.
  • Gamer Gate worked as a blueprint for later similar Alt-Right and Pro-Trump-groups.
  • Games must learn to deal with critical topics responsibly if they want to be equally valuable as movies or books.
  1. How to change it

Games need to take responsibility when portraying such critical parts of history as the historical Nazi-Fascism:

  • Developers need to look out for different views outside of war and military.
  • We need to incorporate civilian perspectives and destinies into our game medium
  • We carefully choose our aesthetics and avoid fascist tropes and aesthetics.

This session is part of the summit “INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCES. A PLAYFUL REFLECTION ON SOCIETY”, curated by ZHdK Subject Area of Gamedesign in collaboration with Ludicious Zürich Game Festival.