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First Person Shooters (Games) Games

Wolfenstein Being Recalled In Germany 625

Posted by Soulskill
from the ach-mein-leben dept.
D1gital_Prob3 tips news that Activision's recently-released shooter, Wolfenstein, is being recalled in Germany due to the appearance of swastikas in the game. Such symbols are banned in Germany, and the German version of the game went through heavy editing to remove them. Apparently, they missed some. Activision said, "Although it is not a conspicuous element in the normal game ... we have decided to take this game immediately from the German market." Reader eldavojohn points out a review that has screenshot comparisons between the two versions of the game.
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Wolfenstein Being Recalled In Germany

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  • by oldspewey (1303305) on Wednesday September 23, 2009 @11:37AM (#29516169)

    I have to agree here. If a nazi-themed game runs afoul of German law, then simply don't sell the game there.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 23, 2009 @11:38AM (#29516179)

    The interesting thing now is if they're gonna remove that texture, remaster, repackage and send the new ones to all stores again, even more so because the game is over an month old now and the best sales are already gone.

    They ought to simply say "We'll address that in the next patch." and leave it at that.

    If German authorities want to get bitchy about it then Activision could simply point out publicly that the portion of the content being complained about is some ridiculously tiny fraction of the entire content in the game. e.g. "The content of the game when rendered in its entirety comprises some 60 billion pixels. The objectionable swastikas take up approximately 5000 pixels of that amount."

  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday September 23, 2009 @11:46AM (#29516317) Homepage

    It's freaking history. The U.S. didn't respond to the history of the civil war by banning any and all rebel markings. The symbols of Germany's history will always exist. Making it so that people don't see it as often changes nothing. But the existence of law that outlaws particular symbols or words are harmful. The next step is outlawing thoughts and feelings.

  • Re:so long ago (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 23, 2009 @11:51AM (#29516409)

    It is a criminal offence in Germany to say that less than 6 million people died in the Holocaust but it is perfectly fine to deny the Nazi's existed.

  • Re:so long ago (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Wednesday September 23, 2009 @12:04PM (#29516657)
    I agree that denying access to free speech is not the answer. There is enough collective German guilt still around to keep neo-Nazis in check for quite a while.

    It's been over 60 years, Germany. You don't have to worry about symbolism bringing back the Nazi party; most of them are dead.

    That's not quite true, though. Yes, most original Nazis are dead, but with their death also comes a greater tendency to forget the dangerous tendencies that got things started.

    For example, the NPD [wikipedia.org] (National Democratic Party) has had representatives in the national government for years now (and it receives 5-10% of the vote in some regions). They are widely portrayed as being associated with Nazi ideals, and though I think the media is a little overboard about such things, I start to wonder when their official party statements are concerned about "alliances of Jews and Negroes" threatening to take over the world (from the Wikipedia article):

    In November 2008, shortly after the 2008 United States Presidential Election, the NPD published a document entitled "Africa conquers the White House" which stated that the election of Barack Obama as the first African-American President of the United States was the result of "the American alliance of Jews and Negroes" and that Obama aimed to destroy the United States' "white identity." The NPD claimed that "A non-white America is a declaration of war on all people who believe an organically grown social order based on language and culture, history and heritage to be the essence of humanity" and that "Barack Obama hides this declaration of war behind his pushy sunshine smile." The NPD also stated that the extensive support for Obama in Germany "resembles an African tropical disease."

    Do I think this is a reason to suppress speech? No. But I do think Nazi symbols could exacerbate some of the right-wing, who does seem to adhere to tenets similar to the rhetoric of the early Nazi Party.

  • Re:censorship (Score:2, Interesting)

    by JerRocks (885412) on Wednesday September 23, 2009 @12:20PM (#29516925)
    Back in the early nineties when Wolfenstein 3D was all the rage, a friend came over with a German exchange student and I fired up the game to show them how cool it was. The German kid freaked out. I assumed at the time it was because it was all about killing Germans... but maybe it was simply due to the existence of swastikas...
  • I gotta ask... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BenSchuarmer (922752) on Wednesday September 23, 2009 @12:24PM (#29516967)
    How far does this ban go? For example: the good Indiana Jones movies have a lot of Nazis and swastikas in them. Did they have to be editted for this ban?
  • by harks (534599) on Wednesday September 23, 2009 @12:41PM (#29517283)
    Jean Plantureux, the political cartoonist from France's Le Monde newspaper, came to talk to my college a few years back and explained that due to anti-Nazi laws they couldn't draw any swastikas on anyone. So what they do if they want to say somebody's a Nazi is they draw them with an armband with a white circle on it. Everyone knows exactly what the white circle means.
  • Re:States (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Comboman (895500) on Wednesday September 23, 2009 @01:00PM (#29517639)

    One would guess that the display of swastikas would be protected speech (and thus laws against it unconstitutional). However, given the attention to "hate crimes" apparently gaining a lot of focus, you never know.

    Hate crime laws are (at least supposed to) look at the intent of the speech rather than it's form (i.e. It's OK to put swastikas in your video game; it's not OK to spray paint one on your local synagogue).

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday September 23, 2009 @01:00PM (#29517643) Journal

    Immediately after the war, Germany was essentially under military occupation by the victorious powers. In effect, most of the normal liberties that the citizens could have hoped to enjoy (not that they actually had enjoyed said liberties since the Nazi rise to power) were suspended. The logic at the time was they did not want the provisional military government(s) undermined by an aggressive push by remnants of the Nazi party. It was the same justification used by the occupying military government in Japan to terminate all religious rituals and notions of divinity that the Emperor had enjoyed.

    In short, for better or for worse (and I think history indicates that in both Germany and Japan, for the better), these were moves to disestablish the regimes in question, not only to remove them (or at least in the case of Japan to castrate) but to discredit them.

    You won't find a bigger proponent of free speech than me, but if I was the military governor of, say, the British Sector in 1946, you're damned straight I wouldn't want any Nazis coming out of the woodwork to try to mount some sort of revolution. Six hard and bloody years had been spent toppling these bastards.

  • Re:Trotskydoom (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Wednesday September 23, 2009 @01:06PM (#29517739) Homepage
    It's only among leftwing Westerners that Mao-worship still exists. The city council of Berkeley, California openly describe themselves as Maoist. Otherwise, the only regions of the world where Maoism is still a going concern are horrid backwaters like Nepal or Jharkhand. Chinese people say Mao was 70% right (kicking out the Nationalists and warlords) and 30% wrong (Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution, Hundred Flowers Movement, etc. etc.) Nobody in China recites his poetry or wears T-shirts with his picture on it. 100% of the Mao items for sale in shops are in tourist areas...nobody would buy that crap here.

    The reason he's not hated is that he unified China after a period of fragmentation. This happens a lot in Chinese history, and the conqueror is always a hero no matter how many puppies he kicks.

  • by notbob (73229) on Wednesday September 23, 2009 @01:18PM (#29517975) Homepage

    This censorship in germany of the swastika is beyond retarded.

    Whether you're proud of the Nazi's or not, they happened and were the pride of germany for many many years and did a great deal more to advance this world then any other group in history.

    I personally thank the nazi's for causing the world to change, and see no reason to try to rewrite history by denying the world from seeing the symbols of it.

    Many people feel the nazi's were ignorant for killing that many people, but being ignorant enough to promote censorship is just as bad if not worse.

    I'd rather fight for my life and be free then live easily under restriction and confinement.

  • Re:so long ago (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 23, 2009 @01:21PM (#29518021)

    You are completely full of shit.

    Bavaria was btw one of the least nazist lands probably.

    Bavaria was the god damned land where the Nazi pary was founded, where they tried a grab for power in 1923. After an paramilitary assault on the freaking city hall, the courts of this "least nazist" lands allowed Hitler to extensively present his worldviews, and provided him with a public forum for his delusions. Afterwards, they sentenced him to 5 years and released him after nine months. They refused to sentence him for treason, because:âzsomeone who thinks and feels as German as Hitlerâoe and who is of âzpure patriotic spirit and of the most noble willâoe would be unable to commit treason.

    Remember that we are talking 1923 here!

    For the actual third Reich period, I'll just note that the Nazis themselves called Munich "the capital of the nazist movement".

  • Re:censorship (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DancesWithBlowTorch (809750) on Wednesday September 23, 2009 @01:38PM (#29518303)
    Sorry, but you are ignorant.

    By quashing political dissent, you are becoming like the Nazis. Let the right wingers openly glorify the nazis, so reasonable moderate people can see just how awful they are. Here in the states we let the KKK march freely, and usually the protests over the march are bigger than the klan march itself. If you do not trust your populace to make the right choice when fully informed, how can you even pretend to be democratic?

    Freedom of Expression is guaranteed by the German Constitution. There are Nazi marches in Germany and the corresponding, much larger, counter-marches, just like those KKK marches in the state that you are referring to. Nobody suggested those were forbidden. The only "expression" that is expressively forbidden is denial of the Holocaust, and that law is simply a special, very strict case of legislation against libel.

    If you really want to prevent Nazis from gaining power again, don't outright ban them in your constitution. Codify principles incompatible with Naziism in your constitution. Freedom of religion, Freedom of Expression, etc. As long as Freedom of Expression is not protected by your constitution, it can be taken away from you. When (not if) that happens, do you really care if it was the Nazis or some other group?

    The German Constitution does not ban National Socialism. It codifies human and civic rights, like those that you mention, and several others (most importantly, the right to dignity). You have clearly never read it, otherwise you wouldn't lecture about it like this.

    German law strikes a different balance between Freedom of Expression and the Protection from Intimidation than the Anglo-American system, because of the country's history. Imagine living in what was arguably the world's most industrially advanced, culturally influential, progressive country. Then, one day, the houses of parliament are disbanded by armed paramilitaries. Your intellectual elite is driven into exile or killed. Almost all civic rights are abolished. About eight to ten Million Jews, politicial dissidents, Gays, Roma, mentally ill and others are killed. Finally, your country goes on to unleash the world's deadliest ever war, killing well above 30 Million people in the battlefields. I think you can be forgiven for outlawing the symbols of the movement that caused all this afterward.

    Jeez, people, everytime anything related to this law comes up, everyone starts crying censorship. There is one small bloody set of symbols that's forbidden. One stupid verse of a song, and one stupid greeting. That's it! It's not like Germany had a censorship agency. In most of the United States, you can't even take a piss in public! How's that for freedom of expression?

  • by toadlife (301863) on Wednesday September 23, 2009 @03:18PM (#29519887) Journal

    Opinions should be allowed. Lies stated as if they were facts to back up those opinions, and hate speech should not be. In many countries more civilized that the United States, many of the people that we have on the air would not be allowed on the airwaves.

  • by CODiNE (27417) on Wednesday September 23, 2009 @06:54PM (#29523421) Homepage

    Earlier this year while preparing for a move I put some old Lucas Arts games up for sale on eBay.

    Day of the Tentacle, Sam and Max, Indiana Jones, etc...

    Well the weird thing was how the Indiana Jones auctions took off and I started getting all these international bids on it. It complicated things for me since I wasn't familiar with international shipping but anyways, I checked and they were all German. HUH! Then I realized for the first time that Indiana Jones must be completely banned in Germany.

    Of course with Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls it really IS for their best that it remain banned...

  • by Zoxed (676559) on Thursday September 24, 2009 @04:12AM (#29526285) Homepage

    > Many people feel the nazi's were ignorant for killing that many people, but being ignorant enough to promote censorship is just as bad if not worse.

    Have I understood you correctly: are you saying that banning the Swastika in German is the same as starting WW2 and creating the Holocaust ?

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