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Berlin Wall 'Death Strip' Game Sparks Outrage In Germany

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the sweet-zombie-reagan dept.

First Person Shooters (Games) 193

gzipped_tar writes "According to Spiegel Online, 'A new computer game where players assume the roles of border guards and shoot people trying to escape from communist East Germany has unleashed a storm of controversy in Germany. The game's creator says he wanted to teach young people about history, but he has been accused of glorifying violence. ... The name of the multi-player FPS game, 1,378 (kilometers), was inspired by the length of the border between East and West Germany. ... [Players] choose between the roles of the border guards or would-be escapees: the escapee only has one goal — to get over the wall, but the border guard has more options, and can shoot or capture the escapee. He can also swap sides and try to clamber over the border defenses himself.' By choosing to play the border guard and kill the escapee, the player would win an in-game medal from the government of East Germany. But then the guard would time-travel forward to the year 2000, where he would have to stand trial. Jens Stober, 23, designed the game as a media art student at the University of Design, Media and Arts in Karlsruhe. He said that his intention was to teach young people about German history."

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You know what they say (4, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 3 years ago | (#33767898)

Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. However there is such a thing as tact.

Re:You know what they say (5, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#33767950)

Actually, sometimes you need to leave "tact" aside and actually teach history.

This one is pretty clear - you can be in the role of attempting to escape, or see what it was like for the guards. TFA finally gets around to pointing out that players who choose to shoot and kill those who attempt escape face the consequences for their actions by having their character stand trial later for the crime. They also give the choice of killing or not killing.

Too many people want to put an entire discussion into pure binary good-and-evil, or rewrite the history books in many cases. It doesn't help. And you can certainly make a real simulation of a tough situation without "glorifying" violence.

Re:You know what they say (4, Insightful)

Kismet (13199) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768332)

Some ideas are not effectively conveyed through the language of entertainment. Sometimes the mode of learning conveys a stronger message than the content of the lesson. Worse than rewriting history is to trivialize it. Occasionally we have good reason to rewrite history, such as when new evidence is presented; but only tyrants and fools frame history as a burlesque.

Re:You know what they say (0)

arivanov (12034) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768588)

Exactly. What's next? A game where you can play the role of the crematorium guard at Auschwitz and Treblinka?

No thanks, some portions of history have to be taught without no entertainment involved. Anything else aside, there has to be at least some respect for all those who died.

Re:You know what they say (4, Insightful)

the_womble (580291) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768648)

There are (fiction) films and books about Aushwitz. If those forms of entertainment are acceptable, why not a game?

Re:You know what they say (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768792)

Because games get just a little too close for comfort for most people. They want to be taught the lessons of history, but it has to be comfortable and simplified, even if the facts are painful and complex.

If a kid would start out playing this for fun and ends up feeling bad in his stomach realizing the reality behind it, the game has done it's job.

Problem is that people accept books or movies that make them feel negative at the end, they don't accept this from games.

Are they acceptable in Israel? (1, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769106)

There are plenty of Nazi films, but NOT in Israel.

This game about the iron curtain is in Germany. Perhaps they have stronger feelings about it then an American?

How would an American feel about a TRUE colonization game? One were mass slaughter of the natives and slavery are put on the foreground? Funny how those important elements of American history did NOT make it into the game. Wonder why?

Germany is still split over the unification. It has got the western half an absolute fortune, the eastern half is still a backwards part of the country where old certainties have been replaced with new uncertainties. Racism sky rocketted. This game is not what is wanted because the entire german ruling elite is playing a game of "don't rock the boat". You might have been following the news of a new party being formed. Same kind of party that is changing the system in Holland, Denmark, Sweden, France, Belgium. The most stable economies of the EU are showing great signs of trouble and nobody seems to have a clue how to deal with it.

This game is NOT wanted. That is a very good sign that it is needed however. Showing both sides of a war isn't always easy, but it can be essential if you want to understand why the "bad" side is the way it is. Just people, doing what they were told. Gosh, the Germans sure don't have a history with that. Eastern germany has never dealt with. There are millions of Germans who believe they are VICTIMS... yeah, it is not like Germany did anything to deserve its treatments post WW2.

And if you don't deal with that full history... well you get Japan and east Germany.

Re:You know what they say (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768896)

Dungeon Keeper http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeon_Keeper [wikipedia.org] was about as close as game makers got to that and it was done as a comedy, nobody really complained. I wonder how say Dungeon Keeper 3 would be received now considering the substantial improvement in the quality of graphics since version 2.

Re:You know what they say (1)

durrr (1316311) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769158)

Jens Stober, 23, is currently occupied with making his next game, Auschwitz Online ready for the close beta stage.

That being said: there's thousands of tragic events troughout history that is or have been turned into entertainment. Or even better, is so obscure that even if they were turned into entertainment people would think they were based on pure fiction.
But of course, some dead people are more equal than other and deserve more respect amirite?

Re:You know what they say (4, Interesting)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768700)

I disagree, I think that a "game" is an extremely effective way of conveying the true horror of history. You can show people movies, you can have them to read books and sit while a teacher lectures, and they can find some way of going into dummy mode for it all.

A videogame as media for this kind of message does not need to be fun to be effective. Actually if anything it would be extremely effective to have people play a game where they are basically horrified at their own actions and disgusted by continuing to "win". What better way to get the horror of this across than to make the player as uncomfortable with their actions as possible?

Re:You know what they say (1)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768952)

I think that a "game" is an extremely effective way of conveying the true horror of history.

If it was, it wouldn't be a game. One of the defining attributes of a game is that it has clearly defined, limited, reachable goals. It is at best a simplification of the real world, more commonly it's just a way to have fun incorporating real-world themes.

There's really no more reason why a kid should be more horrified at playing this game than playing Dungeon Keeper - unless he knows exactly how historically accurate the game is, in which case he wouldn't learn anything from it anyway. I think kids would need an unusually low level of detachment from computer games, and also a certain lack of common sense, for this game to emotionally affect them.

Even if it did, would that be a good thing? Say there was a couple of Stasi officers in exile somewhere, wanting to defend the DDR. Would they make a game trying to manipulate emotions, like this, or would they try to engage people's minds with documentation?

They would go for the emotions, of course. Minds can detect inconsistencies and see through lies. Emotions don't have that kind of resistance.

Now why should we fight with the devil's weapons?

Re:You know what they say (4, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769040)

These are "art games", they aren't really games at all, more like simplified simulations. There's not necessarily a win condition in these games.

But who is re-writing history here? (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768376)

TFA finally gets around to pointing out that players who choose to shoot and kill those who attempt escape face the consequences for their actions by having their character stand trial later for the crime. They also give the choice of killing or not killing.

The East German at the Wall was chosen for his absolute loyalty and obedience to the State.

Not to mention that he was in immeadiate danger of being shot out-of-hand as a traitor if he let someone make it through.

I can't imagine that fear of trial by the West at some later date ever entered his head.

I would be even more surprised to hear that any East German border guard was ever successfully prosecuted for a killing at the wall.

Re:But who is re-writing history here? (4, Informative)

ewe2 (47163) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768466)

Then try googling east german border guard trial [google.com] and learn something instead of lazy comments like that. Surprise surprise there have been prosecutions. Are we learning history yet?

Re:But who is re-writing history here? (5, Insightful)

galoise (977950) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768602)

Not only have there been prosecutions, but these cases are HUGE in modern criminal law academia, as they touched on fundamental questions of criminal responsibility and legality. They were fundamental in setting the bases of the contemporary discussion about human rights and the criminal persecution of state sponsored acts.

In very simple terms, the problem in terms of criminal theory is that these people committed acts that were not typified as crimes under the legal systems that was in force when they were committed, so their prosecution _and conviction_ had a tremendous impact in the modern understanding of the legality principle, which is a fundamental concept in any criminal law system, and in criminal law theory.

Re:But who is re-writing history here? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769056)

Wasn't that just legal trickery as the West German government simply considered the GDR part of its territory and hence under its own jurisdiction? Sure, it didn't have any de-facto power over the GDR while it existed but to West Germany and later the united Germany anything that happened in the GDR happened in Germany and was subject to (west) German law.

Re:But who is re-writing history here? (4, Funny)

Cylix (55374) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768680)

I'm not learning history until I find a copy of this game.

Though I'm not sure how much it's going to reflect history when I set the escapee to god mode. Unless of course anyone has heard stories of an invulnerable air walking no clipping escape from east germany destroying guards left and right. I'm sure it probably happened sometime even if no one reported it.

Re:You know what they say (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768796)

Though to be fair - don't be carried away, the consequences are really nil, zilch, nada. The actions...could still be presented to the player in a really "fun" way (as far as FPP shooters go). The whole experience would then be painful basically only if one already has such outlook.

If that's the case, the whole deal with standing trial starts to look just like an excuse...

And there are certainly ways to convey all the dillemas faced by people back then in a much more tactful way (while still "entertaining") - for example as in a relatively recently seen by me (great) film "Das Wunder von Berlin"

Re:You know what they say (3, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769028)

Since A. it does not force you to kill the escapees and B. gives you a bad ending for doing so I don't think the courts would decide that it glorifies violence. Of course the tabloids can claim what they want, as can the politicians but only a court decision can result in an actual ban or punishment.

Re:You know what they say (1)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769170)

This one is pretty clear - you can be in the role of attempting to escape, or see what it was like for the guards. TFA finally gets around to pointing out that players who choose to shoot and kill those who attempt escape face the consequences for their actions by having their character stand trial later for the crime. They also give the choice of killing or not killing.

I'm sorry, what crime are you talking about? The border guards did nothing illegal as far as the GDR law is concerned, since they were military personnel whose service consisted of preventing people to escape by any means necessary.

Putting them on a FRG trial many years afterwards is simply pure nonsense to satisfy crazy mobs. FRG law didn't apply in that region back then.

Re:You know what they say (3, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33767996)

SPOILER

The krauts lose, twice.

Re:You know what they say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768354)

Funniest post ever.
Yeah, I'm German. Not logged in since I have already modded.

Re:You know what they say (2, Funny)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769066)

The game pits Germans vs Germans fleeing from Germany to Germany, really a useful spoiler...

Re:You know what they say (3, Insightful)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768144)

"By choosing to play the border guard and kill the escapee, the player would win an in-game medal from the government of East Germany. But then the guard would time-travel forward to the year 2000, where he would have to stand trial."

Explain to me what part of this doesn't have tact. A lot of people will probably object to killing civilians, but the killing of innocent civilians IS WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED IN THE TIME AND PLACE IN WHICH THIS GAME IS SET. There isn't any way around this. Either you want to teach history with all the violence and bloodshed that it entails, or you want to censor history. There's no way to point out the atrocities of what Hitler's army did without pointing out the atrocities carried out by Hitler's army. Yes, it was gruesome, yes it was inhuman, yes it was violent. If you think that pointing this out is "tactless" then you're a moron.

Re:You know what they say (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768196)

I really don't think Hitler or his army were ever part of running DDR.
This was done by one of the parties that defeated Hitler, after WW2 was won and Hitler was dead.

Perhaps if you play this game, maybe your knowledge of history will increase ?

Re:You know what they say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768254)

Hitler was a parallel I was using because what he did is significantly more graphic than this. I didn't properly separate the two because I was quite angry at the time I wrote my last post. I often get worked up when people attempt to put political correctness in front of actually teaching things.

Re:You know what they say (2, Funny)

nebaz (453974) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768698)

Hitler had nothing to do with Dance Dance Revolution. That was Mao.

not "innocent civilians" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768358)

Those attempting to flee were illegal emigrants attempting to leave without the appropriate exit visa. They were committing crimes, and the state took action to stop it. In the context of the war between the capitalist states and the attempt to create socialism, those people were criminal traitors.

Re:not "innocent civilians" (2, Informative)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769078)

Ah but the country that passed those laws was considered an illegal Soviet occupation by the neighboring country that it later became a part of. And said neighboring country does not allow the death penalty under any circumstances while having no movement restriction across the border of the occupation zone.

Re:You know what they say (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768158)

Except, from what I've seen and heard of Germany, they aren't just forgetting, they're actively trying to ignore it. Perhaps this game going against that unhealthy culture of repression is the best thing.

And it sounds tactful to me, it sounds like the clear intention of this game is to try and teach people the lessons of the past. It sounds like, far from glorifying violence, it demonstrates that violent actions have very real consequences.

Re:You know what they say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768390)

This is not a case of wanting to repress, this is a case of being overly touchy when it comes to violence in video games. Instead of 'Think of the children!', this is 'think of the living relatives of victims'.
I personally agree that it's not warranted.
a German that already modded this thread.

Re:You know what they say (1)

oddtodd (125924) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768564)

What we learn from history is that we do not learn from history.
Benjamin Disraeli

Re:You know what they say (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768962)

No. History must be taught without "tact" or other forms of distortion. Tact becomes "political correctness". Political correctness becomes bias. Bias begets little changes in the way history is reported. Little changes give wrong impressions. Wrong impressions create bigger biases. And so on.

History needs to be taught as factually as possible. NO "tact", no "political correctness", no "Democrats or Republicans". Just facts. Those are the only things that will help us through problems of the future. Tact most definitely will NOT.

It should make you uncomfortable (5, Insightful)

assemblerex (1275164) | more than 3 years ago | (#33767926)

It wasn't handjobs and kittens you know. People died. People need to remember, even if it mean angering them.

Re:It should make you uncomfortable (5, Funny)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 3 years ago | (#33767960)

It wasn't handjobs and kittens you know.

Actually, mixing those two things together would be pretty painful.

Re:It should make you uncomfortable (2, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33767984)

Not if you keep your nails short.

Re:It should make you uncomfortable (1)

ctaylor (160829) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768108)

I'd be more worried about the kitten's nails than mine.

Kittehs haz klawz not nailz. (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768632)

U can haz WUUSH????

Re:Kittehs haz klawz not nailz. (1)

MintOreo (1849326) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768770)

He was jabbing at the lack of specificity. Woosh yourself.

Re:It should make you uncomfortable (1)

Ssherby (1429933) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768082)

Actually, the kitten might enjoy it just fine. I don't know where you get "painful" from.

Re:It should make you uncomfortable (3, Funny)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768244)

I would caution against talking about kitty porn jokingly.

Re:It should make you uncomfortable (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768488)

Well, I like pussy. But kittens are underage.

What about rabbits? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768710)

Little known fact: the Berlin Wall was actually good to some parts of the (loosely understood) population [wikipedia.org] (after all, it was essentially two walls with no-man's-land between them)

Coincidentally: one of the voices of critique directed at the game (was in the submission, I guess it's in one of the linked articles) talks about "shooting at people like they are rabbits" - well, no, apparently rabbits were doing more than fine in the area of Berlin Wall.
I wonder if they are in the game...

Slashdot & Unicode... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768722)

Fixed link. [wikipedia.org]

Re:It should make you uncomfortable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768010)

getting a handjob from an east-german guard wouldn't have been uncomfortrable?

Re:It should make you uncomfortable (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768992)

Oh, Nikita, is it cold?

Sounds like a perfectly valid concept for a game (1)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 3 years ago | (#33767954)

Too bad the hordes of PC types out there can't accept this. Kids will only learn from a game if its enjoyable.

Re:Sounds like a perfectly valid concept for a gam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33767982)

I'm a PC and 1,378 (kilometers) was my idea.

Re:Sounds like a perfectly valid concept for a gam (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768000)

The same people who protest against this likely played cowboys and indians as kids and Castle Wolfenstein in their youth. Oh, the irony.

What could possibly go wrong? (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33767958)

1: I know, let's teach young Germans about their history. What could possibly go wrong?

2: Nothing I suppose, if we do it seriously and have a thought provoking discussion.

1: How about a 1st person shooter game?

2: Uhhh--

1: Glad you approve!

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768038)

"For all intensive purposes"
For all intents and purposes, Those purposes are pretty intensive.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768356)

*whoosh*

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

lewko (195646) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768554)

Was that a capital letter after a comma?

Pedantry fail.

download link? (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 3 years ago | (#33767976)

Anybody knows where I can get this game? Seems fun :)

People get pissed about the smallest things - which is funny.

Re:download link? (1)

polymeris (902231) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768002)

TFA says it will be available for free download in December.

ok, I'm getting into the business. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768012)

For sale, one awesome game idea: Coonhunter. You spend the game putting down uppity racoons, perhaps by setting fire to effigies at their nests, perhaps by trapping them, perhaps with a shotgun fight or two. You'll do this outfitted as a ghost.

Price: Your sense of decency and shame.

History (4, Interesting)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768020)

Give this fellow a medal. I am furious when I hear USA-kids tell me (Euro-fag) that without them I would speak German. When you ask these same kids how they feel about the Jap-camps the USA had in those days they look at you as if they see water burn. They haven't been thought that part of history. Same here in the Netherlands. We are being thought about Anne Frank. The famous Jewish girl. We aren't being told about that the Dutch had one of the highest degrees of telling on people who where hiding those Anne's... And there are many, many more examples of this. So give this guy a medal for putting history as it should be... the way it was.

Re:History (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768050)

too bad you weren't being "thought" to speak english.

if it weren't for us, you'd be speaking german. poorly.

Re:History (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768052)

When you ask these same kids how they feel about the Jap-camps the USA had in those days they look at you as if they see water burn.

The US's internment camps were certainly wrong, but if you think they were anything like Nazi Germany's concentration camps, you're almost as stupid as your history teacher was.

Re:History (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768062)

I didn't compare them to the end-solution of the Nazi's... But let's be honest... there were only a couple of Auswitches and a lot of 'nazi interim'-camps... But's that a whole other discussion I guess. Kids should know about these things, because it has happened. And these days kids don't know abou these things. It's a shame really. You can't tell history when you leave a part out. History comes in a complete package. Useless in parts.

Re:History (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768126)

The difference is a big deal, considering Germans executed more people than the US had in camps total. And the conditions within the two camps were, again, completely different. Americans know about their own camps; they're not offended by you saying they had them, they're offended by your continued insistence that they were even remotely similar to the others. The primary injustice of the US camps was that their property wasn't given back afterwards. Pretty weak compared to genocide.

But please, tell us more about how your government indoctrinated you to think the Americans are comparable to the Germans in order to feel less guilty about European history.

Re:History (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768214)

Same here in the Netherlands. We are being thought about Anne Frank. The famous Jewish girl. We aren't being told about that the Dutch had one of the highest degrees of telling on people who where hiding those Anne's

tell us more about how your government indoctrinated you to think the Americans are comparable to the Germans in order to feel less guilty about European history.

Reading comprehension fail.

Re:History (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768230)

Are you ok buddy? You failed to get the idea behind what I am saying for sure...

Re:History (4, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768278)

This is a really common thought pattern and I really hate it.

"We're not as bad as the worst thing I can think of, so we must be the best! Go number 1!"

Re:History (1)

Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768276)

When you ask these same kids how they feel about the Jap-camps the USA had in those days they look at you as if they see water burn.

The US's internment camps were certainly wrong, but if you think they were anything like Nazi Germany's concentration camps, you're almost as stupid as your history teacher was.

Good job of proving santax's point.

Re:History (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768802)

Can you imagine how they'd look at you if you showed them a picture of all of the happy Americans at a good ol' fashion lynching?

Seriously, comparatively few Germans were involved in the Death Camps and the whole country has been punishing itself ever since.

We had whole towns taking smiling pictures of themselves next to the hung and burned corpse of some unfortunate who used the wrong bathroom - and all we do is shrug and say to ourselves 'Oh those silly Southerners'. (Wait ... that picture was taken in Chicago, well, let's just ignore that, shall we?)

Pisses me off.

Re:History (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768634)

If we had been on the loosing end of the war, they probably would have been.

Scenario:
1. you're loosing the war
2. your farmland is bombed to shit
3. three groups of people to feed: soldiers, civilians, prisoners... not enough food for even one of them.
4. ???
5. holocaust

Re:History (2, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769112)

The holocaust started before the war went bad. Many of the concentration camps were for slave labor, not killing so they actually supported the war effort. Also the holocaust wasn't people starving to death (though that happened), it was about systematic execution.

Re:History (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768064)

They could rename them Taliban^h^h^h^h^h^h^h opposing forces.

Re:History (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768220)

I live in the US, and I feel hell of a lot better about those camps than the ones the Japanese ran.

Re:History (3, Insightful)

viperblades (576174) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768266)

To view history in its true light requires one to not draw us vs them comparisons. Each entity took the actions they took , to get the full lesson from history one must learn from each of them.

  The Japanese tortured and killed soldiers and did worse to citizens.

The US did racial profiling of Japanese as a whole and helped fan the flames of hate against them. Then they put them in camps.

Re:History (2, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768294)

Absolutely!

BUT it puts a dent in the unquestionable goodness, power, strength and general white-knight-ness that people often proclaim for their country. This sin is not peculiar to Americans, but it is widespread in the US. And China I think, which is much more of a case of cognitive dissonance.

It's important to remember these things, learn from them, and try not to take such actions in future.

Re:History (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768312)

I live in the US, and I feel hell of a lot better about those camps than the ones the Japanese ran.

Were you involved in running them or supporting them in some way?

If not, why have a response like you have stake in it? Both are historical fact. It doesn't hurt to learn about either.

Re:History (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768872)

You shouldn't feel "better" just because another country managed to out-atrocity your country. Both the US camps and the Japanese camps were terrible. One was more terrible than the other, but they were still both terrible.

Re:History (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768300)

I like George Carlin's confusion feeling pride based on nationality and not what you, as an individual, did. The less you did as an individual, the more you have to delve finding security and reassurance in what you are. If WW2 taught anything, imo, it was individualism over collectivism in terms of judging others.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iw0MripVxss [youtube.com]

Re:History (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768714)

More likely that you'd be speaking Russian actually.

The interesting line which stopped at Germany was because the allies and the soviets reached there at pretty much the same time. If the Allies didn't have enough troops then it'd be likely that the line would have been pushed back even further.

That said, the importance of the US during the war is greatly essagerated by the media. During the cold war movies which DIDN'T portray the US as 'saving the world' were deemed possibly-communist and banned or worse.

Re:History (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768934)

You do realize that the term "allies" includes the soviets too, right?

Re:History (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769168)

You do realize that words are just sounds, or squiggles on a page or screen, right? The instant that it was obvious that the Krauts were whipped, the Russkis changed from enemies-of-our-enemies to just plain old enemies. The Cold War kicked off before WWII even ended.

Re:History (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33769046)

If the US and England hadn't landed in the West, Germany could have sent nearly all their troops against Russia and might have won on the East front.

Re:History (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768942)

We are being thought about Anne Frank. The famous Jewish girl. We aren't being told about that the Dutch had one of the highest degrees of telling on people who where hiding those Anne's... And there are many, many more examples of this. So give this guy a medal for putting history as it should be... the way it was.

Interesting. I distinctly remember from my history classes that we(the Dutch) had both the highest percentage of resistance members as well as the highest percentage of collaborators. In fact, we had enough collaborators to have our very own My First SS Division.

Anecdotal evidence score: 1:1

Re:History (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33769130)

There's a fantastically large difference between genocide and temporary confinement. You see, in the first case you're systematically killing off a group of people. In the latter, you are not.

To say that the comparison is more than skin deep is little more than empty rhetoric.

1,378 (kilometers) (2, Insightful)

Animal Farm Pig (1600047) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768040)

If this game is about people crossing the Berlin Wall, wouldn't 150 km (or whatever the exact length was) be more appropriate? Technically west Berlin wasn't even part of the FRG-- it was a foreign occupation zone deep within the borders of the GDR.

Re:1,378 (kilometers) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768246)

The game is about the border between East Germany and West Germany. While the Wall is associated with Berlin, there were
similar facilities and armored guards all along the border.

My mistake (2, Informative)

Animal Farm Pig (1600047) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768322)

The headline says 'Berlin Wall Death Strip', but actually reading TFA shows that it's about the border between the two German states.

If you're playing an escapee.. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768242)

..can you choose to not escape? Maybe wander around the empty town, chatting with the air and living out your life in peace?

Re:If you're playing an escapee.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768420)

Nah man, its communism...

"KZ Manager" (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768438)

The last big flap like this was over KZ Manager [wikipedia.org] , which is a resource management game for managing an extermination camp.

The point is, there are consequences for choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768584)

You know what?

Any real objections to this "game" are completely mitigated by the following fact.

"By choosing to play the border guard and kill the escapee, the player would win an in-game medal from the government of East Germany. But then the guard would time-travel forward to the year 2000, where he would have to stand trial."

It's not like there aren't consequences to your choices. Gosh just like real life is supposed to be.

Ob (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768642)

Der einlige vay to vin ist nich zu playen!

Re:Ob (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768794)

Unless that was supposed to be Dutch or something, that was horrible.

The full quote in the German dub is "Ein seltsames Spiel. Der einzig gewinnbringende Zug ist, nicht zu spielen."

Storm? What storm? (1)

vorlich (972710) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768782)

Guess I must have missed that, even though I am an (oft mentioned) resident of the Federal Republic. Hang on, when I am in Hugendubel (a big bookstore) later on this morning I will read Der Speigel (a magazine invented by the British armed forces post war) and feel myself filled to overflowing with outrage and indignation at what these dashed computer boffins are up to now.

The Germans love FUD

Der Speigel knows this.

The idea is to sell magazines.

Of course if you lived here you would know that what is really causing a "storm of outrage" was the behaviour of riot police during a demonstration of between 50,000 to 100,000 people (mileage varies according to source) against a new high speed railway in Stuttgart last week.
But then, that's First Life.

Re:Storm? What storm? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769006)

The Germans love FUD

s/The Germans/People/

Re:Storm? What storm? (2, Insightful)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769074)

You must be pretty out of touch with German culture and news if you can't even spell "Spiegel" correctly.

Speaking of shitstorms.... (1)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768864)

I bet it wasn't as big of a controversy as JFK Reloaded [wikipedia.org] . You could play the sniper and replay various scenarios. With bullet time. Pieces of skull flying thru the air. The game modeled bullet trajectory thru objects including body guards. Needless to say the powers that be saw that this game never became mainstream. At the time it even vanished from pirate sites. Time has dulled that I guess, but if mainstream press got hold of the fact it is resurrected... Short review with Underdogs download link: http://www.cool.com.au/computers-technology/personal-computers/jfk-reloaded-revisited-20060414256/ [cool.com.au]

Re:Speaking of shitstorms.... (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768978)

Thanks for the link. I hope I can get it working on Linux, WINE or DOSbox should do it.

Re:Speaking of shitstorms.... (1)

penguinchris (1020961) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769142)

I scrolled down to the comments on there and nearly guffawed... those are among the most ridiculous comments I've seen on an internet article. Some really stupid people in Australia I guess ;)

Still, thanks for the link - I remember that game. I tried to play a demo version of it (or something) back before it was released, but remember not being able to get it to go past the menus - and then I never heard anything about it again (and forgot about it) until now.

a fine introduction to the West (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769034)

The glorified security guard gets convicted; the bureaucrats in East Germany responsible for monitoring dissent... where is Putin now?

I wonder what happens if I try selling cannabis in the US then make an attempt to scale the prison walls? Or perhaps we can tack on an endgame to America's Army where some hypothetical court in 2038 (signed integers will surely play havoc with civilisation) lets you face the consequences of your actions?

Relevant art (1)

bkhl (189311) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769084)

Seems like this art project has been successful already.

little has changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33769154)

The sensitivity about violent video games in Germany is a sad expression of the same kind of cultural and social attitudes that made the Nazis and the GDR themselves possible: Germans oppose violent video games because their government tells them that violence is bad, just like their government used to tell them that Jews and the West were bad. Germany is still all about conformance, rules, and obedience, like it has been for centuries; all that ever changes in Germany is who Germans happen to hate these days and what the rules say. Independent political thought or an actual understanding of democracy is rare in Germany.

This is not really a "game", but media art. (2, Insightful)

w4rl5ck (531459) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769160)

While the project is based upon a gaming engine, and is "set up" as a classical game, the whole intention of the project differs totally from what is widely found as the "definition of gaming". (which is: having fun by pushing buttons to move dumb objects on a screen)

The basic concept here is to use a computer game as a media or communication platform, to use it educationally - and to use it to make people remember the BAD things that happened in history.

And you know, it works. People here in germany did not discuss the Mauer shootings for several years on such a broad base for years, and now it's all over public media again - which is basically even MORE than the author of the work could have hoped to gain with it, but it was exactly what was on his mind - maybe on a smaller scale.

In general, it's time that public opinion recognizes games as more than "a funnny thing to relax". It's an art form, it's about communication, socializing, and live in general. The understanding of a "game concept" finally has to change, but I think this will come with the next generations, who understand a "computer game" not only as an evolved version of "Pong".

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