December 15, 2004

Should Have Spent Their Time Making Soap

by Nick Montfort · , 1:14 am

Remember how the Fight Club game was in development and how all these, you know, gamers suggested that a Fight Club game should have a point to it, you know, like the book and the movie did, and how they bemoaned that the game concept was lame and missed out on the main thing the movie was about?

Well, the game’s out. I saw it proffered for sale in a store the other day. It seems that not only does it miss the point, it totally sucks in just about every other way. Fortunately, a Slaughterhouse Five game is in the works and will allow you to kick German ass escaping from a prisoner of war camp – in the end you’ll be rewarded by getting out only to be spectacularly killed in the bombing of Dresden.

13 Responses to “Should Have Spent Their Time Making Soap”

  1. Steve Says:

    “will allow you to kick German ass escaping from a prisoner of war camp”

    This sounds very racist and considering I have friends in Germany, also a little offensive.

    One of the reasons I’m not a fan of war games based on real events is that they can paint certain people as continuing to be the bad guys when we should have moved on. The world has changed.

  2. Dirk Scheuring Says:

    Germany greets Jesusland.

  3. Jurie Horneman Says:

    There’s a cliche that Germans can’t laugh about themselves. Although not everyone who has commented so far appears to be German, I can’t help but find the situation ironic.

    Even if the post hadn’t been intended as sarcasm, I find it incredible that it offends people.
    Mr. Ince, have you read Slaughterhouse Five?

    (And, for the record, I have lived in Germany and Austria for over ten years and have many German friends.)

  4. mark Says:

    Speaking of Jesusland, wasn’t Germany one of the countries pushing for enshrining Christianity in the EU’s constitution?

  5. Steve Says:

    “Mr. Ince, have you read Slaughterhouse Five?”
    What?! My comment was about the “kick German ass” and not a comment on Slaughterhouse Five.

  6. Dirk Scheuring Says:

    Speaking of Jesusland, wasnít Germany one of the countries pushing for enshrining Christianity in the EUís constitution?

    Must have been Italy, as part of the Coalition.

    We have a couple of parties here with a “C” in their names which would like to do it, but I don’t think there’s any support through our current government. The French would be against it anyway, so I worry little about it.

  7. Dirk Scheuring Says:

    Jurie wrote:

    Even if the post hadnít been intended as sarcasm, I find it incredible that it offends people.

    Some, but not all, Dutch people have got no sense of humor.

  8. Dirk Scheuring Says:

    After all, we all know that nick is stricly concerned with spreading tolerance, not hatred.

  9. nick Says:

    Slaughterhouse Five is an anti-war novel that is based, in part, on Vonnegut’s own experience as a prisoner of war in Germany, where he survived the horrific Allied bombing of Dresden, an incident that was little-known in the U.S. before Vonnegut wrote about it but would become controversial afterwards. The book does not paint Germans as bad guys.

    The joke is that a novel, which is not about kicking anyone’s ass, would become about that if Vivendi made it into a game.

    I’m not at all clear on how it’s racist to make up a fake book-to-movie-to-game in order to mock a group of developers, and to claim that this fake game “will allow you to kick German ass” – the theme of many commercial video games, at least as far back as Castle Wolfenstein. I sure didn’t intend to offend any Germans, though, except for the specific ones, if any, who were involved with creating the game Fight Club.

    What I probably shouldn’t have done was assume that every Grand Text Auto reader knows about an American novel that I happen to like – for that, I apologize, and I’ll try to gloss my jokes a bit better in the future.

    By the way, Slaughterhouse Five was made into a good movie and probably could be the basis for a good video game – I do think that it’s possible for video games to deal with atrocities, be anti-war, involve amusing time-travel incidents, and so on.

  10. Steve Says:

    OK, I just clicked on the link. I clearly missed the joke/irony altogether because I assumed it was a link to a genuine lame game. Sorry that I over-reacted.

    However, I do feel that many of the games based on real-world wars are inappropriate. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to work on a game with a well-known publisher/developer. When they told me what the game was – a war game based on the middle-east conflict – I took it no further.

  11. mark Says:

    As far as keeping Vonnegut in the curriculum goes, I read Slaughterhouse Five in my high school English class—in Texas. I don’t recall anyone trying to remove it either. The only time I remember any uproar about books, in fact, was when one English class tried to have us read specific bits of the Bible as background material, since it’s often alluded to in English literature. That generated a huge uproar about “separation of Church and State%#%!” and “indoctrinating our children with the Bible!!!31%!%!!!!!one!!”. But Slaughterhouse Five I never heard a peep about.

  12. mark Says:

    To turn more to the substance of the first comment, I find this criticism odd: “they can paint certain people as continuing to be the bad guys when we should have moved on. The world has changed.”

    Why must moving on necessitate excising history? If the game that purports to be historical grossly miscontrues events, then I could see a complaint there. But you seem to be complaining about revisiting history at all—that we ought to forget about everything that happened in the past and move on. I assume you’re not against the field of history itself, so is the problem here that it keeps historical events in the public consciousness rather than relegating them to dry books? Should we all forget that World War II ever happened and move on to this new changed world?

    I guess I can sympathize with a lot of criticisms of war games, and the portrayal of history in war games, but the fact that they include history in the first place isn’t one of them.

  13. Steve Says:

    I’m not suggesting that we ignore history, just that to create games where the player fights Germans or Vietnamese, or Japanese, etc. feels wrong in today’s multicultural world where you can communicate with people all over the globe very easily.

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