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Your view on games and the very controversial (Specifically, HOI4 and the Holocaust)

Should video games NOT shy away from depicting controversial topics accurately?


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No, this thread is not about a beaten-to-death dead horse like video game violence, but instead a thread about something that probably also is a dead horse, but I personally do not see much talk about.

This thread is about the exclusion of the very controversial in video games. Very controversial being topics like the holocaust, rape of Nanking and genocide in general.

(As noted by the title, I would basically only talk about HOI4, because that is the only one I know enough to talk about since I do have the game, so if there is a much better game to talk about this topic or an argument that ruins the entire premise of this thread and apparently it's only Paradox that does this, please feel free to bring it up.)
(Second note, if you're interested in playing the mod The New Order: Last days of Europe for HOI4, but for some reason mind spoilers for your first playthrough of an alt-his gsg, please play it first)


In HOI4, it's well known that the game does not have the holocaust and the multitude of axis war crimes depicted in the game, as understandably, having something like the holocaust or Unit 731 depicted, is messed up, and there is also the justification that, depicting things like those would let twisted individuals live-out their fantasies of well... killing Jews, Chinese and more. Besides having to have a pg 18 rating, being the game where you are allowed to play as Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan, getting media'd and shown in national Swedish news as that game company that allows angst ultra-nationalists to commit genocides, is not very cash money, nor is it something most would personally want to be known for. Very understandable.

Then I came across a very well made mod for HOI4, called The New Order: Last days of Europe. It is a total revamp mod, that sets the game in an alternate history timeline where there is a three-way cold war between the USA, the Greater German Reich, and The Empire of Japan. Very Wolfenstein or Man In A High Castle-esqe, where you have Atlantatrop draining the Mediterranean, Nazis on the moon, Chinese civil war flavoured Russia, and Pearl Harbour as a nuclear crater. Yes, it is not a very realistic mod, very ASB, but it understands this, and sacrifices how WW2 would have gone in this timeline for the story and content of this alternate world.

Now, here's the thing, The New Order: Last days of Europe, TNO for short, is a very, very, very bleak and depressing mod. Just as how a Nazi Germany victory would have been IRL, it would be an utter dystopia of a world. Most other mods have depicted very bleak worlds, but TNO is unique in how it is honest with its bleakness. The world of Kaiserriech, one of the most famous HOI4 mods, has lots of what you call "meme" content. Stuff like a White Army general becoming khan of the Neo Mongolian Empire. TNO also has a lot of these ""meme"" paths, stories and countries. One of which is the very "funny", "lolsy" state of Burgundy. A German puppet state of sorts, that is lead by none other than Mr Himmler himself. Yes, it's "funny" in quotation marks.

This state of Burgundy role and its lore in TNO, is major spoilers! and also needs a normal warning, cause it is very messed up. Anyhow, allow me to best inscribe the lore of the nation down here:

Burgundy is a rouge puppet state of Germany that is actually worse than itself or even 80's Cambodia, as it is literally pushing for nuclear war. The state arose due to Himmler having a failed hit on Hitler, for the heinous crime of being too liberal of a Nazi. Because Nazi Germany suffered an economic depression in the 50's, he believed that the reasons for that were because National Socialism did not go far enough and that Hitler and the rest of the Nazi Party and been degenerated by the remaining Jewry in the world. (I think in lore, besides Italy who now hates Germany, All Jews have been killed in Europe.) Having his coup failed, yet being politically too powerful to be punished accordingly, Himmler was given a state all for himself in Burgundy so he could do his weird Beyond-Evola Hyper Nazi fun. "Fun", being, creating a total surveillance state with more concentration camps than homes that uses a system called BurgSys that would make EngSoc blush, commit to the genocide of the Wallonian people and the genocide of French people, making Burgundy be one of the most successful Germanized states, being 40% german. Let's not forget literally killing Germanic newborns for not being Aryan enough, stealing nuclear bombs, and making one of the most messed up plans one could ever think about, which is intentionally causing Thermonuclear WW3, killing everyone in the planet besides some select Aryans who will are forcefully bred and kept in bunkers, so once it is all wiped clean, they will somehow repopulate world without getting Habsburg jawed.

Yes, this is all fucked up. And it's not just Burgundy, no, cause with a Nazi victory in ww2, it was also a victory of it's Social Darwinist views, and that leaves a very big scar on the psyche of humanity. There is the warlord state of Omsk, where men, women and children are forced to have shovels to die, killing does who are not hell-bent in the extermination of Germany, and then there is the possible path of Israel, where led by Avraham Stern they adapt literal Nazi ideology to survive and genocide Arabs and Germans. Even good nations like America are very grey, with some events where I belive they have to gun down protestors who do not want war with the Nazies. Also, speaking of events, it's not just the fact that these things are possible in the game is it horrifying, as the events and their descriptions, which depict your choices and actions, like the post-nuclear war world, where if you fail to prevent it, the whole map turns black, is shown in gruesome detail. The descriptions of fucked up eugenics and how the parents react to it, the description of a mother trying her best to calm her children as the bombs go off, the description of dread about far in the future where the descendants of the bunkers discovered that their "first" moon landing was in fact the second for humanity. The world of TNO is chilling to the bone.

Now, how do the players of TNO react to this mod? Now as the full release of TNO was just a few days ago, much "normies" who did play the beta nor followed the development of the mod, came in playing "meme" nations like Burgundy and Omsk cause of "lol nuclear!Himmler" or "lol shovel!Army", expecting a fun game, instead met a game that showed that these meme nations were fucked to the core as they depressingly read the events and see the worse of humanity shine. Many couldn't continue their games, are quickly changed to playing nations of much much much better moral character, being Demo-Rep America or the surviving Soviet Union Russian warlord state lead by Zhukov (Who apparently was super cool in this timeline and re-legalized homosexuality) Generally, many found it the mod interesting, but also way too morbid.

And it's that "disgust" reaction that is the essence of this overly long essays/question. That is, should games, or really most forms of media in general, not shy away from depicting events of very controversial status, and just show those events for what they are, horrible and morbid? Should they show in detail what happened in things like the holocaust or Nanking, so that players can truly comprehend the messed up stuff they are facing, and not just see them as numbers and percentages? What, would depicting the horrors of WW2 accurately make video game companies lose a large neo-nazi holocaust denying market? I mean, back to base game Hoi4 with the Bengal Famine where millions died is shown as a recruitable population negative modifier, but yet things like Jewish slave labour or concentration camp construction is not even shown as a differently named negative factory output modifier for Germany, is kind of hypocritical for Paradox. Respect to history's victim and a better understanding of the horrors in the past, is something that should be valued. 'd say a more accurate and uncensored version of history in video games should be considered. What do you guys think?
 
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Mark Poe

The majestic cock
Writing Champ
Decades/generations of peace and prosperity in the developed nations have effectively infantilize their populations, and made the majority of them unfamiliar with the hardships that the rest of the world considers to be normal. In the context of such societies it's far too long gone to reintroduce the uglier parts of existence back into mainstream.

But then again, what right do we have in poisoning this whimsical outlook? Sure, misery builds character but that's not a guarantee and the success rate quite frankly is horrifyingly low.
 

Eliar

Well-known member
It is bound to get very political very fast.

I can see mods being made to such effect but game companies care about their bottom line and if they depict attrocities too close to our time or make such playable they open themselves to legal action.

If you want gritty realism Total War and the ability to torch and burn everything even as the head of the Mongol Horde should be gritty enough.

Giving the ability though to feed more jews to the furnaces in a WW2 game strikes too many nerves and possibly hate laws
 

Grasshopper

Well-known member
On one hand, making a game where the fascists are the only people who don't commit atrocities is pretty messed up. On the other hand, acknowledging that the fascists commited atrocities will result in neo-Nazis jacking off to the thought of genocide. I'm not sure that there is a good solution here.
 
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