The German government has just announced they will drop the wholesale ban on Nazi imagery in video games. Until now, games published in Germany had to remove all visual references to the Nazi regime -- only one of the ways the country's been a pain in the neck for developers.
But now the blanket ban on Nazi references under the German Criminal Code has been halted, and the country's ratings board will allow it on a case-by-case basis. Movies and TV shows have long enjoyed these exemptions by proving their art's "social adequacy," a word combo that isn't typically associated with video games.
This move demonstrates that Germany is finally coming around to regarding video games as part of art and culture, and that the medium can make powerful statements which warrant the use of hate imagery. A big victory for games as an art form, then! But we're sad to say that this move toward artistic legitimacy might damage one of German video games' most fascinating quirks: off-brand Nazi logos.
When releasing games with Nazi symbolism in Germany, most game developers simply took the path of least resistance and scoured everything, leaving a lot of game baddies running around with armbands of red with white circles, as if they were dimension-hopping enemies from Bizarro Japan. Other games took it upon themselves to design new iconography for their not-really-but-yes-really Nazis, like the new Wolfenstein games, wherein B.J. Blazkowicz brutalizes a bunch of fascists who seem to march under the banner of a grumpy wolf with a jaunty bow tie. And in the sequel, he squares off against their most elite fighters: the dreaded Order of the Crotchless Panty.
Some older games, like the Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade video game, saw Nazis pledge their allegiance to Hitler's sideways mustache:
And speaking of Hitler, the prize for weirdest fascist fashion makeover has to go to Sniper Elite, who made the fuehrer the head of what appears to be the Tropical Island Division of White Supremacists.
Clearly, the only way this dude would ever appear on stage at Nuremberg is during their annual reggae festival.
For more weird tangents and his personal recipes for toilet wine, do follow Cedric on Twitter.
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