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December 9, 2010 9:50 AM   Subscribe

"SonderKommando Revolt is a Wolf3D mod about real WWII revolt against the Nazis in the famous Auschwitz extermination camp."

via Kotaku
posted by griphus (26 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's good that they included the Gatling helicopter mini gun. You know, for historical accuracy.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:05 AM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


brave
posted by silence at 10:14 AM on December 9, 2010


hmmm. On watching the video link, which I didn't notice first time through, I'm disappointed. Here was I all thinking that they had used the crude graphics of Wolfenstein as an alienation device to allow an interesting analytical distance to the events...etc. And instead it's more or less just a standard ballistic revenge fantasy, basically Wolfenstein with some different graphics. ho hum.

It's hard trying to keep believing in the potential of games sometimes.
posted by silence at 10:21 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


classy
posted by leotrotsky at 10:22 AM on December 9, 2010


To my untrained eye, as a Wolf3D mod it seems impressive. The outdoor locations look great. Beyond that, I'm not sold. I see the same problems silence does, although I think I'll hold off judgement till I've seen more/actually played it.
posted by brundlefly at 10:31 AM on December 9, 2010


I think using Wolf3D is a great idea. Wolf3D is an seminal game of a very popular genre. However, it was also a game that, in its own way, sanitized a certain aspect of WW2 while glorifying another. You pretty much won the war on your own, but not a damn thing was said about the holocaust. I'm not putting blame on the developers for this; it wasn't a topic you could easily address back then, especially when you wanted to make your living off a game primarily aimed at teenage boys.

The entire point is that it is Wolf3D with different graphics. You're in the same general situation, but now you're forced to confront what the original game avoided. Not only that, you're forced to deal with it from the inside. Being a POW, as you were in Wolf3D, you were an exception to the rule: soldiers fought on the battlefield, and the reason you're able to kill Hitler is because no one expected you to infiltrate that far. On the other hand, in the mod you're also jailed but as a different sort of victim, but among millions of others. You're not going to kill Hitler (as far as I can tell) and really, the most you can do is some damage that, at the end, serves more a symbol than as a battle won.
posted by griphus at 10:40 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Am I perhaps the only one who finds such games repellent when they play death camp stuff?
posted by Postroad at 10:46 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


You're not, Postroad. The idea of making the Holocaust interactive in any way is almost inherently repellent to anyone with a lick of sympathy. Rare historical situations like this allow it to be represented in video games without automatically winning Stormfront's Game of the Year award.
posted by griphus at 10:50 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


> You're in the same general situation, but now you're forced to confront what the original game avoided.

But at the end of the day, it's still a FPS about killing Nazis. Nazis are about equal to zombies when it comes to gleeful portrayals of random dudes being killed in fictional media.

It would be a massive shitstorm, but a mod that had the player working as a Nazi guard or prison hack that put prisoners to death would offer more moral dilemmas (à la Modern Warfare 2 than just mowing down random Nazis. Not that I would want to see something like that made, but I think that there's really nothing particularly relevant about this mod beyond it the relative aspects of gameplay narrative that you mention.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:00 AM on December 9, 2010


A game about Auschwitz. What fun.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:14 AM on December 9, 2010


Burhanistan: "
It would be a massive shitstorm, but a mod that had the player working as a Nazi guard or prison hack that put prisoners to death would offer more moral dilemmas (à la Modern Warfare 2 yt than just mowing down random Nazis.
"

I remember such a shitstorm taking place in the 90s. Anyone remember the game? It was universally condemned, but even as a teenager, I really wanted to see what was actually in it. Was it shock for shock's sake, or did it have an indended educational point that the media missed?
posted by roll truck roll at 12:14 PM on December 9, 2010


If it gets 0.5% of the people to play it to actually learn a little about the Sonderkommando revolt, isn't that a good thing? I doubt I'll ever play the mod, but I didn't know about the Sonderkommandos until now, and I think it's incredible history.

Oh wait - reading history about Auschwitz maybe makes you uncomfortable too?

Is it so horrible that a game might touch on things that make you uncomfortable? Sure, lots do so in trivializing and stupid ways - as do many history books.

Honestly, I don't even normally bother to argue with people who don't think games are becoming just another form of media - capable of powerful new expression and stupid old mistakes. If you don't get it by now I just put you in with the people who thought novels were going to destroy culture a century or so ago.
posted by freebird at 12:21 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


The idea of making the Holocaust interactive in any way is almost inherently repellent to anyone with a lick of sympathy.

But books and movies about it are OK I take it? Odd - I find a good book at least as personally involving as any game. If you don't, are you sure that you're not the one without "a lick of sympathy"? Because I consider myself as not without it, yet I think these stories and history are so profoundly important they should be told and re-told in every form of storytelling we crazy monkeys cook up, from now to the end of time.
posted by freebird at 12:53 PM on December 9, 2010


Oh wait - reading history about Auschwitz maybe makes you uncomfortable too?

I fail to see how a first-person-shooter that is little different from any other first-person shooter can provide any kind of context or deep insight into Auschwitz. Hell, this game doesn't present any kind of shallow insight, other than that inmates wore blue-striped pyjamas, they all had shaved heads, and the dead, bloody bodies were crammed into cells.

This game isn't outrageous. It's just a stupid waste of time that happens to desecrate the memory of 6 million dead in passing.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:35 PM on December 9, 2010


I might question whether the quality of something is an accurate gauge of whether it's a desecration.

I like griphus' point. This is a game about games like Wolfenstein and how they portray war. In real life, the lone hero doesn't get to change the world.
posted by roll truck roll at 3:50 PM on December 9, 2010


I fail to see how a first-person-shooter that is little different from any other first-person shooter can provide any kind of context or deep insight into Auschwitz.

I'm not claiming that it's particularly deep. But it can't provide "any" context? That's a bold statement. If it just makes people curious about the history, isn't that positive?

More to the point: I'm not saying this game is particularly insightful. I'm objecting the the claims here that *any* game involving real historical awfulness is automatically objectionable. I think consigning these events to the Memory Hole is the surest way to "desecrate the memory of 6 million dead" if you want to get all melodramatic about it.

Denying that new forms of expression have value to the discourse of history is consigning that history to the Memory Hole.
posted by freebird at 3:51 PM on December 9, 2010


I fail to see how a first-person-shooter that is little different from any other first-person shooter can provide any kind of context or deep insight into Auschwitz.

It's not an FPS little different than any other FPS; it's the seminal popular FPS. The first one. The birth of the genre. And the birth of the genre happened in a World War 2 setting in which the Holocaust is only noted by its conspicuous absence.
posted by griphus at 4:10 PM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


griphus makes a really interesting point. It's probably more work to mod such an old game than a newer one, so you have to view it as an intentional choice of medium and part of the "statement".
posted by freebird at 4:17 PM on December 9, 2010


Fair enough. It's an artistic statement.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:37 PM on December 9, 2010


I think we can close this up.
posted by roll truck roll at 4:53 PM on December 9, 2010


Totally fascinating, as someone who spent countless hours as a kid playing the original, it gives me weird shivers to see the Holocaust imagery added.
posted by hermitosis at 6:03 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


"SonderKommando Revolt is a Wolf3D mod about real WWII revolt against the Nazis in the famous Auschwitz extermination camp."

You appear to have discovered some wonderful new definition of the word 'about'. From the trailer, this game is no more 'about' the events of 5 January 1945 than the original was 'about', say, Claus von Stauffenberg, or anything else remotely anything to do with the Second World War. Arguing that being in a concentration camp is 'the same general situation' as being a POW who ends up weilding a gatling gun, or that this game in any way, shape or form comes even remotely close to 'making the Holocause interactive' is ludicrous, and claiming that this splatterfest is some kind of artistic role reversal is stretching any reasonable consideration beyond snapping point.

If it weren't for the link to forrest's awesome post and your subsequent editorialising, this post would have no actual content. freebird's attempt to pass this piss-ant monstrosity off as education is a disingenuous, feeble argument - forrest's link educated more people than this game ever will - as are parallels between making / playing this effort and reading about, or watching films about, the actual Holocaust. This is 100% 'OMG NAZI DOGS EATIN TAHT D00D TAKE THAT YOU FUCKERS', and you saying 'discourse' doesn't change that.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:15 AM on December 10, 2010


Will, at least this is better than Piss Christ. It's a GAME. You know, the next generation of artistic expression?
posted by KokuRyu at 6:37 AM on December 10, 2010


Totally fascinating, as someone who spent countless hours as a kid playing the original, it gives me weird shivers to see the Holocaust imagery added.

This is what makes it interesting for me - not so much the game itself (which i have little interest in playing), but how the existence of this mod (and seeing the imagery) makes me revisit and rethink the angle that the original Wolfenstein 3D took. As mentioned earlier in the thread, Wolf3D presented a sanitized (or rather, conveniently narrow) view of WWII, and while I wouldn't wish this mod upon 11 year old me, I'm sort of happy to revisit the topic and imbue newer and deeper understanding of what the scenarios in wolf3D were really representing. Even if this was not intended by id back in the day, it's helpful and welcomed by me now.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 1:53 PM on December 10, 2010


It's been cancelled.
posted by brundlefly at 2:06 PM on December 21, 2010


Wow. That interview wasn't what I expected at all, though I'm not sure what I expected.
posted by roll truck roll at 2:16 PM on December 21, 2010


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