Understanding the mental toll the Holocaust took on the victims — especially children — is pivotal in a global society. – Luc Bernard
Many have confronted the Holocaust with books, poetry, stage plays, paintings, movies and more. All of these things were applauded and welcomed upon their arrival. However when a man wished to make an educational video game about the subject, he was demonized, said to be trivializing the Holocaust by turning it into a game. This showed a backwards and willfully ignorant view on video games as a storytelling platform. If we can sing a song or write a novel or film a movie on the Holocaust then surely we can use the interactive medium of video games to tell a story as affecting as; The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Schindler’s list, The Diary of Anne Frank, right? Not according to Nintendo who initially was going to publish the project and eventually balked, seemingly dooming the project to never seeing the light of day, due to a sizable, unjustified, backlash against it. I almost cried when Nintendo, being cowardly, refused to defend this game. I thought that I’d never hear from it again. However thanks to Indiegogo it now has new life and hope as it is currently being crowd funded through the site.
The Holocaust is an atrocity where all I need to do is write two simple words and an entire story unfolds in your mind. There has been much genocide in human history, but the Holocaust is one that sticks out among them. Maybe you’ve never asked why the Holocaust does so. Perhaps you thought to do so would be unseemly or inappropriate. However, I believe that asking why is an exercise we all should take. It helps us to understand better the actions of evil men. Perhaps that’s why you avoided the question of why; to avoid understanding evil. No one can nor should find fault in you if you avoid such lines of questioning even in an introspective manner. To do so would mean enveloping your mind in the evils of avarice, sloth, pride, lust, and wrath. It’s like staring at a devil, an evil spirit, to avoid doing so is not weakness, it’s simply survival.
When concerning matters such as the Holocaust there is a comfort in simply accepting the melancholy and leaving it be. However doing so has never been enough for me and in questioning the reason as to why the Holocaust affects us so much to this day, the reasons of it being recent and its magnitude can be easily discarded. There have been more recent genocides, deadlier genocides, and genocides that are both more recent and deadlier (Stalinist Russia tends to come to mind when writing this article). My personal belief is that the Holocaust sticks with us like it does due to its mechanical nature. It was organized, well thought out and precise. The atrocities committed were done so in a factory line fashion. It was cold and mechanical; everyone in single file marching to their death, imprisonment, or worse. The men in charge standing opposite their victims at the head of the line, their hearts filled with hatred, anger, and resentment towards their victims; making no attempt to hide it on their faces they decided their victim’s fate with simple gestures or single syllable words.
If ever you were going to give to one game, give to Imagination Is the Only Escape. It is the one game that deserves it above all else. If you have a spare dollar, please give it to this game. If you were thinking of giving to another project, please reconsider what you wish your money to go towards. Make gaming more than it is. Show all that the term video game should not be taken lightly and that we as a community are mature enough to handle such a subject. Show that we are more than a simple diversion.
The Indiegogo campaign can be found here
- Holocaust Video Game Designer Seeking Public Funding (jewishpress.com)
- Holocaust-Themed Video Game Will be Released in 2014 (algemeiner.com)