Wednesday, May 7, 2014

EXP Podcast #275: Visualizing History

What do you see?
Quick Rorschach test: what do you see when you look at the Luftrausers logo?  Well, aside from the two of you that said "puppies" (weirdos), it seems that everyone is seeing Nazi-related imagery.  The trick is that the game isn't about Nazis or any specific war in general.  This raises a question: do games that make allusions to historical realities have an obligation to explicitly address the events from which they draw their imagery?  It's the topic for this week and it's one we look forward to hearing your opinions on in the comments.

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Show notes:

- Runtime: 34 min 36 sec
- "Visual Styles and Depictions of the Past," by Jeff Mummert, via Play the Past
- Music by: Brad Sucks


  1. Great 'cast guys! It's been interesting listening to the next round of critical conversation concerning the portrayal of Nazis in media sparked by Luftrausers and the new Wolfenstein. I can completely understand any offense people have taken. Fortunately, there is no other historical Ultimate Evil is as readily available as the Third Reich. I think that silly, pulpy, and exploitative appearances of Nazis at the very least make this cultural argument happen again, which reminds people of the actual conflict, and warns against its repetition. And hopefully sparks a respectful remembrance (although that's a lot to ask from a property that touts Mega-Hitler). Mostly, I think that stuff like velociraptor-riding Nazis are subconsciously coping mechanisms for these events that seem so absurd in retrospect: in life-toll, violence, and ideology.

  2. The new Wolfenstein game will be released in a censored version in Germany: a german law prohibits the use of Nazi symbols and they will be replaced by what Bethesda calls "similar atmospheric symbols".
    Meanwhile a different (academic) approach to depicting history in video games is also apparent in Germany:

    (you can read a german summary here: )