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The worst thing about censorship is ███████ - 013 - Nazis

Salida dear readers,
my name is Jim aka "OpiumHerz" and as some of you may already guess by that nickname: I am german. With the blog series "The worst thing about censorship is ███████ " I want to simply give you a little insight in videogame censorship, which is still pretty much alive and kicking here in Germany (but I won't restrict myself to Germany exclusively).I'll try to post entries at least all two weeks or so. Feel free to comment for suggestions, corrections or critique.

This episode is about: ze Nazis!

Ohhh Nazis. It's somewhat ironic that the most likely best known military force in history has become a popculture icon. I don't know when it first began, maybe already during WWII with the anti-propaganda. But the thing is: Nazis these days aren't a taboo topic. You shoot Nazi zombies in Call of Duty, you headshot them in Sniper Elite V2 and you play Battleship with them in Silent Hunter. Nazis have become normal enemies in videogames and it doesn't matter if they are pictured more realistically or if you fight a mecha Hitler.

The thing is... this isn't the case in Germany. First you must know a bit the mentality here. While it has gotten better, the generation up to my parents were almost trained in pawlovian ways to react to words like Nazi, Jew, Hitler etc. They can't really use these words like normal, almost don't even dare to speak them at all. When I asked my mother as a child once why Wolfenstein 3D was banned in Germany, she just replied: "Because it's about Nazis.". It would take me years to find out that was only half the truth.

The thing is, many germans are still very twitchy when it comes to this. And you can clearly see that in videogames. Because in Germany there are no Nazis in videogames. At all.

This is due to a simple law. It's strictly forbidden to depict what we call "symbols that are opposing the Constitution". What are those symbols? Well the swastika, the SS runes, the Sigrune - all that stuff. If you would wear a swastika t-shirt or have a SS rune patch on your bagpack, police would most likely wanna have a little chat with you.
But there are certain contexts where it's allowed. First of all, there is history related context. You know, documentaries, books, museums and all that. In that cases, when it has a documentary background, it's allowed to show these symbols. The other thing where it's allowed it art... and this is where it gets somewhat moronic.

You see, in Germany, videogames aren't considered as a form of art by law. And they sure as hell aren't documentaries. So you see what problem stems from that. The fact is: you are NOT allowed to depict nazi symbols in videogames here. By law. Even if someone would want it, they couldn't. The game would get banned, most likely never reach store shelves, and the distributor could very well get sued. We are REALLY nitpicky here. The collector's Edition of Silent Hunter 5 was called back because they forgot to remove a single, small Reichsadler with swastika. It doesn't matter if it's some batshit crazy stuff like Wolfenstein or Nazi Zombies or taken from realistic backgrounds like Silent Hunter or the more serious WWII games.

And this is where censorship comes in. There is usually two ways how to handle nazi stuff: change the symbols to german symbols that are not critical or retouch stuff. Thus it's very popular to change the swastika with an iron cross. Take this example from Call of Duty 3.

Totally acceptable for a 12 year old - but god forbid in an 18 rated videogame

And even stuff like Dead Snow gets through without problems here. When it comes to movies it really doesn't matter how far off the ground it is, it's okay. Because movies are officially considered art in Germany. No, it's just games (and comics, but that's a different topic) and because of that it's just stupid! On the one hand you have the Indiana Jones movies with a guy saysing "Heil Hitler" into the camera, but games rated for adults have to be censored by law, because they are not considered art. It's just shizophrenic.

And as a little bonus tidbit: every month it's made public what has been indexed and banned. You find CDs of Nazi bands and some propaganda stuff like that almost every month on the list. I can always just shake my head about this. Now you might wonder: why would I be against banning Nazi stuff. Am I a Nazi? Well, no. I'm not a Nazi. Not even close. But I mentioned it earlier: this stuff? There is NO way it well get in a normal store here. Randy Pitchford will be honestly sorry in public for Aliens: Colonial Marines before any normal, public german store will sell you a Landser CD. But every month manpower and time and money is wasted on this whole shit with NO effect at all. Because you can be pretty sure that the underground stores that sell this stuff don't give a flying fuck about a CD being indexed or banned.

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About OpiumHerzone of us since 3:54 AM on 04.10.2013

German Blogger, writing the series "The worst thing about censorship is ███████ " (go check it out!) since I like to write about that topic and am invested in it a whole lot. Also writes some other stuff sometimes. Likes to listen to very strange bands and has the ultimate goal in life to taste every soft drink there is at least once.
Pure Gonzo - and while I thank god for Jim Sterling sometimes, I thank god for Hunter S. Thompson every day.

I'm a bastard. Don't trust me. Always keep asking, don let yourself get fed bullshit - not even by me.

I like good games. Yes, that's quite general, but I don't really like confining myself to certain genres. I like interesting approaches, invention and creativity. But I can enjoy a straight-up shooter as much as a "Bastion". It just has to be done well and appeal to me on some level.

Want to know anything else? Just leave a comment under a blog or write a message. Same goes for corrections (please), as English isn't my native language and thus isn't nearly perfect.

Censorship Blogs so far:
001: The System (Part 1)
002: The System (Part 2)
003: The stupid publishers
004: How Germans get uncensored games
005: Bioshock Infinite
006: Call Of Duty
007: Grand Theft Auto
008: Dead Space
009: Manhunt
010: Sniper Elite V2 (again)
011: Fallout
012: Various Games #1
013: Nazis
014: Mortal Kombat 9 on Steam
015: Contra
016: Halo
017: Saints Row
018: All the other stuff
019: Command & Conquer
020: The Lanzarote Convention
021: Various Games #2
022: Half-Life
023: The Legend Of Zelda
024: Various Games #3
025: Various Games #4

026: What system would you prefer
027: South Park - The Stick Of Truth
028: South Park - The Stick Of Truth (Part 2)
029: Various Games #5
030: Wolfenstein
031: Resident Evil (main series)
032: Resident Evil (spin offs)
033: Various Games #6
034: Turning Point: Fall Of Liberty
035: Blacks and women
036: Pokemon
037: Left 4 Dead
038: Left 4 Dead 2

039: 2015 Predictions
040: Dying Light
041: Coca-Cola
042: Pillars of Eternity
043: The Order: 1886
044: Mortal Kombat X

Stuff I also wrote and you should read:

~ Punish the individuals - not the scene they move in
~ My consoles don't fight each other - what's your excuse?
~ But what about the men?
~ Fake gamer girls and the damage they do
~ The Raid On Castle DToid
~ My little guide to german music (NVGR)
~ You should buy Goat Simulator - no, seriously...
~ Gravelord Nito, I love you more than Vanilla Coke
~ Let's clear up the console wars, shall we?

... und Pan spielt die Fl�te.