SS AMERIKA [Author: Lum the Mad]

I find a great deal of irony in these and other threads on this topic as well.

See, I was first a pen and paper, then computer wargamer long before any MMORPGs came out. No, really. I’m well aware of the tendency of some folks in that community to glorify fascism – I still remember once when Strategy and Tactics, SPI‘s house organ, ran their regular survey of “rate which games we’re thinking about making” and one of them included was “Case Gelb” (I think that was the name, working from memory) which postulated the Axis defeating Britain and Russia, then moving on to the invasion of America.

It was the highest rated suggestion S&T ever posted. SPI never made the game. Why? Because after self-examination, they decided that wasn’t the kind of game they wanted to make – it played right into the SS-worshipping mindset.

Interestingly, that game did finally get made ten years later, by another company, as “SS Amerika“. I own a copy. It’s interesting as science fiction, I suppose (the thought of Nazi Germany building a navy and then landing hundreds of thousands of troops on US soil is pretty removed from reality, thankfully). Has a nice cover painting of a guy right out of Nazi propaganda reels raising the swastika standard over a ruined Capitol dome.

The threads on this subject ask if it’s appropriate to do a PSW on World War 2. What’s funny is that they answer their own question. If you go to Cornered Rat’s own forums (they show up in my referer log often, from people angry by what’s been posting here and demanding that the loyal troops come to defend the standard) you see a ton of really, really really angry people, calling myself, my site, and its posters any number of foul ephitets, by folks who apparently without any trace of irony sign their posts with references to “squadrons” (WW2OL’s version of guilds) such as “Hermann Goering Panzer Division“, or the “Das Reich 2nd SS PG Division“.

Of course, you could argue the point that Waffen SS divisions weren’t the elite shock troops of the Nazi party that most folks remember them from Hollywood as. What’s a bit harder to argue is that patterning yourself after the Einsatzgruppen – the flying squads of killers who hunted down and killed Jews and Communists on the Eastern front in massive genocidal quantities -would probably not be the most appropriate way to simulate the War.

Unfortunately, some folks seriously argued that it was simply hunky dory.

You see this is the problem that you get with “political correctness overaweareness” Einsatzgruppe means Task Force in German, This is a Navy unit only. Task Force -and I’m sure the German equivalent has been used far longer in the Navy than it had ever been anywhere else.

Why should he have to have a disclaimer explaining the name of his squad? Just because someone is too stupid to know the difference? I’m sorry, but I don’t see why he should be asked to provide information for someone who is going to get on his case anyway.

PC sux…keep the name. It has nothing to do with death squads. If someone has a problem with it…that’s their problem.

Let me be perfectly clear here – the problem doesn’t lie with the developers, the publishers, or anyone else remotely associated with developing or designing the game. In fact, Cornered Rat is actually developing an “alternate world” World War 2 where the Germans are de-nazified. “Killer”, one of the Cornered Rats, posted this in response to Nicademus on their own board:

The people here have been dealing with this particular set of issues for over a decade, we have taken precautions in game play, in web community support and elsewhere to keep this problem under control and disruptive behaviour to minimum.

Will it be a challenge? yes.

Will Nazi grief players show up in the game? definately. This we have known since before game’s conception and are prepared to handle.

We cannot control players web sites or any aspect of a players actions outside our system. We can provide top notch web hosting for any fan sites that would like that service and completely neglect those with innapropriate content.

We can and will do anything within our rights to alienate disruptive politically or racially based sites or viewpoints from the games general community.

We can enforce keeping politics out of the game itself. We can provide tools to make that process more efficient and effective than UO or EQ players are familiar with.

This isn’t the first online WWII game, it isn’t our first online WWII game, and I can promise everyone that we are and have been from the conception of this game much more aware of community issues such as these than the developers of UO, EQ, or AC or -any- of the posters on LUM’s board. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, thank you.

Will we do this to the satisfaction of everyone? No, grief players will have to actually cause an amount of grief to be banned, and will probably be given warnings depending upon the offence. We refuse to let them control the game or the community.

Will we do it to the satisfaction of the many of the anti WWIIOnline posters over on Lum’s? No, you simply can’t please everyone, and were not trying to.

Will we do it the satisfaction of the majority of players of the game and standards of common sense? We had damned well better, our livelihood depends on it.

To Honestly compare what other companies have done with their initial foray into online communities and player bases to our’s is unfair at best and apples/oranges at worst. It is quite obvious to me that those teams didn’t realize what they were in for and much of these issues were handled in a completely reactive manner.

Even so without the actual game being released what I say simply will not be accepted by many of the posters at Lum’s so I will not waste my breath in posting there.

You can’t really fault Cornered Rat:they’ve gone to every effort to remove the stench of genocide from what by all accounts should be a pretty decent game.

So why do the players insist on dragging it back into the game?

I don’t have the answer here.

I’d like to think it’s because of people honestly ignorant of history, like the brain dead morons who actually tried to argue in an earlier thread that there was no real difference morally between Nazi Germany and those who defended themselves from it. But obviously many of WW2OL’s enthusiasts are avid, knowledgeable students of history.

I’d like to think it’s because a few people just like pretty uniforms. But that doesn’t explain the often humorous re-appropriations of Nazi propaganda.

Maybe I just don’t get it. But just as someone at SPI twenty-five years ago decided that making a game about the Nazi conquest of America left the realm of “historical simulation” and entered the realm of “historical pornography”, so too should the folks who find nothing wrong with naming your group of online friends after some of the most efficient mass murderers history has ever witnessed take a few steps backward, if only to reflect on how they’ll explain it to Senator Lieberman next year.