Which brings us to the real reason why it may be time to reconsider our fixation on pixilated Nazi genocide: it's just plain lazy at this point. No one, especially no gamer, likes seeing the same ideas rehashed ad nauseam. As consumers and players, we should crave—perhaps demand—freshness, innovation, and at least some level of intellectual stimulation in our beloved games.
Obviously I can't speak for everyone, but for me, the best memories I've had playing video games are those in which I'm taken somewhere new, where I'm granted the ability to let my imagination run wild through a world of wonder and possibility. Taking on the Nazis was fresh at one point, but the reality is that it just isn't anymore. I've fought in World War II. In fact, I've taken at least 25 separate tours of duty, so I'm a bona fide war hero at this point. I'm not going back anymore.
If we still have to shoot up the Third Reich for hours on end, though, let's at least agree that, in most cases, we should be doing so for reasons a little more substantial than "because they're Nazis" or "because they're there." Frankly, it's a slight against consumers to trot out the same enemy type and the same setting over and over again, as if we're content with eating up the same tired tropes pie year after year. We aren't, and we shouldn't be. And while there's been a small reprieve from the Nazimania as of late, this same sentiment can be applied to any all-too-frequented type—zombies, I'm looking at you.
This isn't to say there hasn't been quality, dare I say refreshing examples of Nazism in video games over the past few years. For example, Guerilla's Killzone franchise gives a relatively unique, space opera-fied take on the typical goose-stepping, black-uniformed bad guy with its Helghast, portraying some of the realities and complexities of endless battle while even managing to tastefully develop a hint of sympathy for their villains. Call of Duty's Nazi Zombie mode is earnest, campy fun which doesn't pretend it's doing anything other than giving you walking, brainless corpses to shoot back down. There are others, but suffice it to say there is room for video game Nazis to grow if they're going to keep inviting themselves back to our party.
But if that's not enough, let's at least think of our German gaming brothers and sisters, who probably don't appreciate being reminded of their nation's past mistakes with every war-related game's release. As an American, I know I wouldn't be too thrilled to see dozens of games where I take out waves of Confederate soldiers, incessantly reminding me of how I partly descended from a nation of misinformed racists (although one or two more titles like that may be nice). This sentiment should go both ways.
So yeah, Nazis aren't cool. We proved that point in video games over a decade ago. Now, I think it's safe to say that gaming at large needs to either evolve or move on from this Hitler-bred Stockholm Syndrome. If not, we may soon find ourselves bored at war. Nobody would like that, right?
Date: August 16, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central. This week's is also purely a work of fiction*