A boy cries out for his mama, and then he dies for his home
– ‘Everywhere‘ by Greg Trooper
Hope you’re all ready, waiting and, if possible, itching for another edition of my ill-thought out bullshit. Time to scratch that itch, you filthy bastards!
Playing Il-2 Sturmovik and Silent Hunter III recently, something occurred to me; in all my years of playing computer games, about 20 years now, I have never been given the ability to play as a German soldier during the great conflagration known as World War II. Never been able to play as any Axis infantryman, in fact.
Oh, I know in Day of Defeat and in the multiplayer of various games such as Medal of Honor or Call of Duty you can fight on the Axis side, but that’s not what I’m driving at.
Why, given the over-saturised nature of World War II as a historical setting for shooters of the first person variety, have we not seen a game in which the Single Player is fundamentally Axis-based?
There is, of course, the argument that you would be effectively playing the ‘bad guys’. This doesn’t survive even the barest modicum of scrutiny: I have commanded Axis forces in RTS games such as Sudden Strike, operated panzers on the Eastern front in the TBS Panzer Command, flown numerous aerial combat missions for the Empire of Japan in Battlehawks 1942, and hunted the North Atlantic in a German U-Boat in the aforementioned Silent Hunter games… Never have I been given the opportunity to fight as an Axis soldier in any of the famous battles that involved them – Singapore, the Ardennes, Crete, Stalingrad, Monte Casino, El Alamein, the Ardennes (again)…
Let me be clear; I have zero regard for the despotism, tyranny and inhumanity that characterised the totalitarian regimes of Germany, Italy and Japan during the period in question. It seems odd, however, that we as a gaming community have no qualms about donning their uniforms in RTS, TBS, RPG, flightsims, subsims et al while seemingly displaying zero interest in putting ourselves in their shoes on the frontlines of the largest conflict the planet has ever seen.
Am I the only one who thinks that these could be compelling games?
We have assaulted Omaha Beach 10, 20, 100 bloody times in gameworld, yet never has any developer apparently thought, ‘this Second World War stuff is a fucking MONEY-SPINNER, let’s break out some originality by putting those gamers in the gear of the Wehrmacht!’
Off the top of my head I can only recall Mortyr, a truly rubbish game but nonetheless one in which you started out as a German trooper. Then it got all weird and sci-fiey – a bit like a version of Wolfenstein where you’re a German instead of that B.J. fuckwit. Which makes it sound better than it was, granted.
The legions of Medal of Honor games, the various Call of Dutys, Hidden & Dangerous, Brothers in Arms, The Saboteur, Deadly Dozen… and not one in which you carry a k98 into battle against the Tommies hunkered down at Tobruk, or lead a Fallschirmjager squad to seize Hill 107 in Crete?
There are endless possibilities for any developer and/or publisher willing to take the plunge on this, fascinating settings and storylines that would enrich the whole canon of World War II gaming. I hope it’s just a matter of time.
Solidarity brothers & sisters…