Game Politics (gamepolitics) wrote,
Game Politics

Wargame Theme Reminds "Players" of Nazi Atrocity

They died by the hundreds.

In June, 1942, SS death squads took bloody reprisals against the Czech village of Lidice for the murder of a Nazi leader by local partisans. Every adult male in the village was killed. Women were shipped to concentration camps. Aryan-looking children were sent to foster homes in Germany; the remainder, to concentration camps. The village itself was flattened.

64 years later, a memorial website employs a wargame-like interface to educate viewers about the atrocity. When players arrive at Total Burn-out a banner describes the site as "The hottest new wargame."

Clicking through brings the "player" to a mission screen with the assignment "Burn down the Lidice village as fast as possible." A scoring system promises 10 points for each Czech shot or 50 for burning down a house. 300 points are deducted for accidentally shooting a German soldier.

As in many World War II combat games, a choice of secondary weapons is offered. Players may select hand grenades or flame-throwers. Once the weapon is chosen, however, the viewer is snapped back to reality by the stark message, "What game are you playing? At Lidice village it was not a game, but reality..."

It's rather gimmicky and not very subtle, but the Total Burn-out site definitely raises awareness of the Lidice massacre. For those who would like to learn more, links are offered to the Lidice Wikipedia entry as well as the Lidice Memorial.

An interesting aside of the Lidice massacre is the appearance of a similar atrocity in Mel Gibson's 2000 film The Patriot, set in the American Revolutionary War. In one scene, colonials are locked in a church by redcoats who then set the building on fire. Never happened, according to New York Post film critic Jonathan Foreman, who wrote at the time:

"In The Patriot, fictional British dragoons exterminate as ruthlessly as the real-life SS. They lock scores of civilians, most of them women and children, into a church and set it afire. No such incident took place during the War of Independence... I don't blame Gibson much. After all, he's only an actor (who was paid $25 million), but did he not consider the political or historical implications of this portrayal of the British? I'd like to introduce Emmerich and Rodat to the families of those massacred at Oradour (or Lidice, or Marzabotto)."

Tags: lidice, mel gibson, nazis, serious games, total burnout
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