The Politicization of Wolfenstein Games

In 1981, Muse Software released a video game for the Apple II called “Castle Wolfenstein”. It was an early steal-based action-adventure shooter in which the main character is imprisoned in a N*zi dungeon called Castle Wolfenstein, and the object is to use stealth or guns to escape the dungeon. The main character can even impersonate N*zis by stealing uniforms from chests or the dead bodies of soldiers.

While primitive, it set the tone for the series to come (after moving across several publishers and developers). A dozen more games have been made or are in the process of being made with one single premise in mind: opposing N*zis.

Since the election of President Trump, however, the Wolfenstein series has come under fire for “politicizing” their games.

In 2017, “Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus” was released featuring a storyline in which an alternate history is presented: The N*zis have won WWII and have taken over America. The main character joins with a resistance group to oppose the N*zis in America and bring revolution to liberate America from the N*zis.

In advertisements for the video game (production began before E3 2016), the developer used phraseology such as “Make America N*zi-Free Again” which led some to complain about the politicization of the game to oppose Trump, despite not mentioning Trump in their advertising or in the game.

Pete Hines, marketing VP for Bethesda Software, said, “We weren’t going to hide from the fact our game is about killing N*zis and freeing the US from their rule, and if we can reference current events as part of talking about the game, so be it. N*zis are evil. We aren’t afraid to remind people of that.”  Hines went on to say in response to protests, “We don’t feel it’s a reach for us to say N*zis are bad and un-American, and we’re not worried about being on the right side of history here. … People who are against freeing the world from the hate and murder of a Nazi regime probably aren’t interested in playing Wolfenstein.”

So, what is your opinion on the Wolfenstein games. Are they an attempt at a liberal coup over America?  Is “The New Colossus”, despite beginning development long before Trump became president, an attack on Trump and the alt-right?

Is this thread going to be a Dumpster fire? We’ll see.

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