Activision Corners the White Pride Market

I’m a Mommy Blogger. I’m a Jewish woman with a Jewish last name who spends her days talking about parenting, marriage and womanhood. Occasionally I talk about the products my family uses in and around the home. Occasionally I’ll mention a video game on Whrrl, Facebook or Twitter. I still talk about Monsters vs Aliens and what a wonderful time my son and I had at the movie. I gave away a few copies of the games.

It makes sense for Activision, EA and the like to send me video games either for review or giveaway. Right? Well, today I opened a startling package. 

Today Activision sent me a video game where up to twelve players can role play together. Exciting right? Here’s the rub.

One team is made up of Nazis.

No, it’s not a typo or even a joke. One team is fighting the Nazi regime, and another team is pretending to be them.

I was going to open up the game and give it a whirl, but I couldn’t, becuase the bile rose in my throat. I wanted to give Activision the benefit of the doubt, but I couldn’t. I realized that as a company there was a level of moral turpitude that I couldn’t possibly engage. They don’t deserve my time.

How long does it take to develop a video game?
How many people are involved with the development of a video game?
At what moment in time does an otherwise bright group of people decide that the White Pride community is ripe for the picking?
When did Activision decide that White Supremacists were a group they wanted to court? 

Perhaps the folks at Activision forgot about the recent execution at the Holocaust Museum

Perhaps the folks at Activision forgot that some folks didn’t arrive on Plymouth Rock. 

Some of us have family who can’t celebrate the Fourth of July because it triggers flashbacks to bombings. Some of us have Seders where we teach our children the story of the exodus and then explain the numbers on their Auntie’s arm. Some of us buried their Grandparents along with their secrets, and we kindly pretended to not know. 

I’m startled that anyone could glimpse my blog, snapshot my words and think that sending me a copy of a video game like Wolfenstien where. I won’t even give you a screenshot. I can’t look at a Swastika without becoming enraged, and I certainly cannot comprehend what the production meetings must have been like. 

I understand in theory the need to have battles of good versus evil. I’m not against adult themed video games. I don’t hate guns or armies or even carnage. I’m just wondering why Activision would send me a copy of this video game? 

If Activision sent me the game as a gentle reminder that the world is still deeply Anti Semetic then it’s a wonderful success.
If Activision sent me the game as a not so gentle reminder that children should not be left unattended with media and gaming, then that was a success.
If Activision sent me Wolfenstein so that I could recommend to you, my trusted community, that you purchase it. Well, that is a horrendous failure.

I cannot remember the last time I was this deeply wounded.

Activision sent the child of a Holocaust Survivor swastikas in the mail.

I shall not soon forget.

 

*This post is not edited, proofread or otherwise spiffed up for you. It was written between tears and gasps. I cannot see straight and I wanted to get the words out quickly so that I can move forward.

Facebook Comments

  • http://cookienotes.blogspot.com Scattered Mom

    Omg, Jessica, I’m so sorry that happened to you. How horrible!

    There’s no words. Really.

  • http://www.rockanddrool.com melissa

    i’m sick.

  • http://www.rockanddrool.com melissa

    sorry…it should say…sickened. horrified. mortified.

  • http://www.fromtheplanetofjanet.com the planet of janet

    this is absolutely horrifying. HORRIFYING.

  • http://www.ramblingsofagreenyogurt.blogspot.com Green

    Whoa. I still remember going to visit my great-grandma in the Bronx and going to say hello to her next-door neighbor and my mom always whispering to me to remember not to stare at the tattoo on her arm.

    I look forward to seeing what response you get from the company.

  • http://tbunzel.blogspot.com Tom Bunzel

    I am so grateful that you have the guts to go public with this. I am also the son of two survivors, and my mother collected revisionist literature in the early 90’s just to keep track… but I never thought I would see what I see these days on CNN. What about the Tarantino movie? People think this is a joke–they have no real concept of history and it is beyond disgraceful. In terms of a company like Activision, it’s all about the bucks; there is no longer any standard of good taste because being “disruptive” or “edgy” is the norm and there is no argument with profit. Thank you for bringing this up. We need more awareness of what that hated symbol really stands for. You will be criticized that it’s a free country, 1st Amendment, etc., but with the “birthers” holding up images of Obama as Hitler, we need a lot more awareness of what this really means. With the deteriorating economy it’s only going to get worse, I’m afraid. Thank you for your courage.

  • Sheila

    This should never have happened, I am sorry this did. I am discusted with those people, I also have Jewish in my back ground. It makes me angry that people could be like this.

  • http://mommy-is-rock-n-roll.blogspot.com Lauren

    I hate that “Axis vs. Allies” games exist and that anyone would actually want to play a Nazi. I’m sorry you and your family had to go through that.

  • Bettina

    How many MIT geniuses did it take to come up w/ that lil game? No wonder hate spreads like weeds in this country! Yes, pull it, ban it, AND DONT BUY ANYTHING ACTIVION PUTS OUT, TILL THEY SEE THE ERROR OF THEIR HARMFUL,IGNORANT WAYS! I guess they figured if cop killing in another game is fine, why not let some Nazis kill some Jews? Its only a GAME,RITE? NOT!!

  • Florina

    I feel the pain of my father’s and his family coming out of Holocaust darkness. Why don’t we start a movement against Activision and it’s policy? Isn’t gaming rated like movies and more, because creates memories like it would be real life! Isn’t racism outside the law?

    • http://JessicaGottlieb.com Jessica Gottlieb

      Florina, racism and bigotry are protected by free speech and we should be grateful for that. Sometimes all we need to do is allow people to speak, they will prove to us all who and what they are.

      This was a sucker punch unlike anything in my adult life.

  • http://www.quixo.com MSG Quixo

    Thank you and a word of caution.

    This is probably exactly what they wanted. Controversy sells more video games and gives them free publicity. Take care not to help them sell more games with whatever campaign results.

  • http://www.fightinmadmary.com fightin’ mad mary

    What a slap in the face. F U Activision! They’ve burned many bridges with this one. Don’t even think about trying to get this blogger to do you any favors anytime. Ever.

  • http://www.rockandrollmama.com Lindsay

    There really are no words. I’m so sorry.

    As a parent, your words remind me of how easy it is for children a generation removed to come across that at a friend’s house and have no context of the people and the lives and the terror that went into the creation of such an exploitative product. And how it’s my job to make sure my kid knows why that is not, in our family, entertainment. Ever.

    Again, all I can really say is I’m so sorry.

  • http://www.lolitacarrico.com/site Lolita

    I’m disgusted. And agree with MSG Quixo, which makes it all the more disgusting.

  • http://www.nosenseoftime.org George G Smith Jr

    I thought the goal of the game was to kill Nazi’s…

    But I guess that’s beside the point. We live in a society that seems to have no compassion to sensitive issues. It’s not like we’re discussing the crusades here – it’s the holocaust and we are not that far removed from it. While I believe that Activision itself probably meant no ill will, it is symptomatic of a culture that attempts to trivialize history – especially one so painful.

    The worst part is – this shows that they are marketing the product to children. It’s rated 17+ but they obviously want the “mom” seal of approval – which is why they sent it to you.

  • http://www.landfrau.blogspot.com Landfrau

    As a German I am shamefaced when I read about such ongoings. Fortuntely the world is changing and so is my country, trying to be democratic and unprejudiced. at least the majority of the people. The holocaust should never be forgotten so that such a horror never happens again wherever in this world.

  • ciara

    can’t believe the insensitivity of game makers. i’m sorry this happened to you. i once came across an adolf hitler myspace page and was so very offended at it’s content. i couldn’t even believe that myspace had not noticed it until i reported it. they deleted the account w/i a couple of days.

  • not so fast

    I could go on and on an on(especially on the part about this post being written between tears and gasps which I don’t buy), but I’ll just remind you that Michael Morhaime, Robert Kotick, and Jean Bernard Levy, are all Jews. Oh yeah, they own and control Activision, and Activision Blizzard, and Vivendi, the creators of the unnamed game in question. Also, next time provide the name of the game in question, instead of emotionally charged non-sense about a game you didn’t even play.

    You’re opinions, as a proud jew, accusing all ‘proud whites’ as being Nazis or White Supremacists, is racist.

  • Raz

    What does Wolfenstein, a game that demonizes the Nazi party and turn them into, literal, monsters, have to do with the White Pride community? I have the utmost sympathy for holocaust survivors and their families, but seriously? You make it sound as though Activision specifically targeted you and wanted to hurt you in some way.

    You said they send you games to review… well guess what? Wolfenstein was just released and they need reviews.

    I think you, and some of the commenters here, ought to at least try the game or learn something about it before jumping to wild conclusions about its content.

  • http://holycow.typepad.com/holycow/2005/08/testing_the_blu.html Holycow

    That is extraordinary and bizarre to say the least Jessica. I am shocked and surprised by the sheer tactlessness but even more so the implications of creating games like this.

    My heart feels for you,

    Mark

  • Karl

    I wonder how many of you have actually ever played Wolfenstein and know just how cartoonish it really is? The original Wolfenstein had you, among other things, fighting 3-armed mutants, and Adolf Hitler in a robot suit wielding chainguns. The new one has interdimensional monsters, rocketpacks, and (apparently) Hitler in a robot suit again.

    While I certainly feel for you being upset as a person who was related to a holocaust survivor and can understand that as a very valid reason for not wanting anything to do with the game, saying that Activision is cornering the white pride market because they dare to have multiplayer in a *World War Two* themed game have Nazis as one of the teams is quite possibly the the most overblown, silly reaction to something I’ve read in a long time.

  • http://ilanadavita.wordpress.com/ Ilana-Davita

    This is sickening and I am sorry this has happened to you. I wonder if there is anyway we could protest vehemently about this shameful so-called game.

  • http://www.rockanddrool.com melissa

    msg quixto said exactly what i had been thinking about last night. you need to be careful because people buy things just to see what all the fuss is about. as a jew and a human…i would be repulsed to see this game start selling because of sick curiosity and prejudice.
    and there is already way too much of it.

  • Eran

    I can quite understand how emotional response can cloud the mind, and I do except your statement that you just had to get it out.
    But, what I do not understand is the nature of the response. As an Israeli (born and raised) and a Jew I really don’t find the problem. I played many hours of Wolfstein3D (or as it is better known ‘roud here, ‘The Nazi castle’) and enjoyed. I would really like to play the new one. It is only a video game.

    P.s are you also against the “Stalag” literature that was very prevalent over here in the 50’s?

  • http://www.developerzen.com Eran Kampf

    As a Jewish and grandson of survivors I’m deeply offended by your cinical use of the Holocaust for marketing purposes.

    The game is not anti-semitic. It does not encourage hurting Jews, nor support racism or the Nazi agenda.
    Its only about two teams of soldiers fighting, one wearing Axis uniform (and has German accent) and one Alliance uniforms.
    That’s it.

    Stop looking for excuses to be offended!
    Better turn your efforts to things that really matter instead of this nonsense.

    P.S.
    How about WWII movies? do these offend you too… I mean, there are actors there in Nazi roles… maybe we should protest against those actors too…

  • http://kidsarealrightto.blogspot.com kgirl

    Disgusted. My husband is a big PS3 user, and he likes first-person fighters, but this game will never make its way into our house (and not just because I’m Jewish). Just gross.

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  • Mark

    Get over yourself. The Wolfenstein franchise has existed since 1981. Don’t believe me? Look it up. Activision made the game you were sent. Activision also made the Monsters vs. Aliens game of which you spoke so highly. Do a little deductive reasoning. Activision sent you the game because you are considered “influential” (God knows why) and you’ve spoken about their previous products in a positive light.

    So, let me get this straight. You’re offended because Activision sent a game which features Nazis to a woman with a traditionally Jewish last name. Is that right? So, should we assume that everyone named Jamal or Jerome is African-American? Or for that matter, should we assume that everyone with a traditionally Jewish last name would have a knee-jerk reaction to a game like this, then run off at the mouth about being “offended” on a blog that reaches so many readers.

    Take a look around Twitter. The reactions to this post aren’t positive. Two Jewish friends of mine are more offended by your post than the game. Oh sure, the blind sheep who hold the mommy blogger movement in such high esteem will fall right in line. You guys are like mass Oprahs on crack and your readers aren’t capable of thinking for themselves.

    So what have you done here? You’ve branded Activision as “insensitive.” As a protest, are you going to throw out your son’s copy of the Monsters vs. Aliens game? You wouldn’t want any association with Activision, right? God no, you’re not. You’re not going to do a damn thing. The damage has already been done.

    You can rest assured that some of the fellow mommies out there will never let their children own another Activision game. You don’t actually have to practice what you preach. That’s your right. And it’s my right to call you out for being a hypocritical, ignorant waste of bandwidth on the blogosphere.

    God knows this comment won’t ever see the light of day. If it does, I’m sure your sheep will be outraged.

  • http://JessicaGottlieb.com Jessica Gottlieb

    To reiterate

    1. I went through the press kit and checked the screen grabs.
    2. I am a mommy blogger. My children are Young
    3. I didn’t want to give you their artwork because images of swastikas don’t belong on my site
    4. I did not play the game, I went over the press kit a number of times. That was enough for me

  • http://weldablecookies.blogspot.com/ Dawn on MDI

    I am willing to bet that the trolls who think you’re oversensitive have never been frightened, have never been victimized because of who or what they are, and have never known what it is to feel that unique kind of fear. My people (gay men and lesbians) were also killed in the holocaust, so I have the tiniest inkling of what it is that you feel. These bozos cannot know what it is to have ugly, violent names shouted at them from passing vehicles on a dark night. They have never been isolated and outnumbered by people meaning them violence. They have not had to walk around their car, looking for graffiti or vandalism, they have not had to ask the police to escort them to their car at night when leaving work late.

    Some of us are out and loud and proud, demanding justice and fighting for what is right. Often, that gets us targeted by those who wold not share power willingly, and that puts us in a dangerous place.

    The “lighten up” argument has been used for generations to excuse offensive behavior. “Lighten up” we told people of color when white folks at work made jokes about fried chicken or watermelon. “Jeez, can’t you take a joke?” we are told when someone makes a joke that reduces a woman’s stature to that of a brainless sex object. “You’ve got to grow a tougher hide” we’re told when we call out the person who made a homophobic remark.

    No, our hides are tough enough, thank you. What we need to do, if anything, is to find our collective voice and fight back, exposing the ignorance and the hate. We need to support each other, and when one is attacked, respond as a unified coalition against the knuckle-dragging mouth breathing morons who think we all ought to just “lighten up.”

    Never again means NEVER again, assholes. And really? I don’t much care if you like it. I stand with Jessica.

  • http://anniegirl1138.wordpress.com annie

    Disturbing but not surprising. We trivialize history for entertainment purposes. When was the last time Hollywood/television did something historical that they didn’t feel the need to “tweek” or alter for the sake of “entertainment”.

    I taught some Social Studies during my twenty years in the classroom and what kids don’t know about history is a lot. What grown-ups don’t know about history is a lot.

    But when President Obama can be compared to HItler and the healthcare plan to Nazism, you know there is a problem with what people really know about that war, the events and the atrocities.

    If it were me, I’d be contacting them to find out what they were actually thinking and my guess is that no one was thinking and whoever you speak to will be shocked and confused because they really don’t understand. Hard to believe but I taught too long to think otherwise.

  • http://www.developerzen.com Eran Kampf

    1. The Wolfenstein franchise has existed since 1981
    2. It was one of the first games I ever played as a kid. Same goes for almost everyone else I know
    3. I was like 10, maybe younger…
    4. When I wondered what the heck the German’s were saying, my grandparents explained.
    5. They didn’t take the game seriously. Neither should you!

    Maybe instead of yelling “Swatikas!” and take it out on Activision you should let your kids play and have fun and while they do, teach them of the meaning and history of these symbols…

    Games do not create\encourage violence and racism. People do! or should I say, Parents do!

  • http://www.darkparables.blogspot.com Carole McDonnell

    Now I find myself wondering… Are their games where there are groups of black gangs? groups of Arab terrorists? groups of Hispanic drug cartels? Italian mobs? Not sure. But there probably were. At least back in the day. Just as there were cowboys and Indians. Were folks offended about those games? Were you? Just wondering. It definitely seems like having folks choose if they want to be Nazis is an invitation to white pride, but so many other games probably had this kind of thing. It’s stupid of Activision, but I doubt it’s racist. They were “inconsiderate” in the sense of simply “not considering.” But again, am not sure if folks get peeved when other ethnic histories are part of the game (or other groups are maligned) or only when their own group is affected. I think I probably wouldn’t have thought one way or another about having Nazi bad guys. Which only proves I would’ve been as mindless as Activision. I grew up in a Jewish neighborhood and my best male friend is an orthodox Jew and honestly I probably would only have been brought to a state of mindfulness if I mentioned the game and he snapped some sense into me.

    Perhaps it’s safer to always fight aliens… (although I doubt that would work as my black friends in the specfic world are fuming about racism in District 9, right now.) But who knows? Maybe we’ll have to rethink who our villains will be.

  • Raz

    “3. I didn’t want to give you their artwork because images of swastikas don’t belong on my site
    4. I did not play the game, I went over the press kit a number of times. That was enough for me”

    And there is your problem. You’re basing your opinion on an emotional response to an offensive symbol that is seen in book, magazines, and movies. You have not played the game nor given it a chance to demonstrate the manner in which it demonizes the Nazi’s.

    Call those of us that are responding trolls if you must, but we are responding rationally and without any hateful vitriol. We are just trying to show that you, like so many other members of the press before you, are putting yet another game in an unfair light based on your assumptions of the subject matter. Assumptions that are completely incorrect.

    “I’d be contacting them to find out what they were actually thinking and my guess is that no one was thinking and whoever you speak to will be shocked and confused because they really don’t understand”

    You’re right. Because game studios usually don’t send out games to individuals one-by-one, they normally due a mass mailer to the reveiewers that they have listed. Making it seem as though Activision was “attacking” Ms. Gottlieb or being insensitive by expecting a reviewer to do their job is absurd. Had she played the game and stated that she found the material to be questionable or offensive, that would be another situation altogether.

    “I am willing to bet that the trolls who think you’re oversensitive have never been frightened, have never been victimized because of who or what they are, and have never known what it is to feel that unique kind of fear.”

    You are incorrect in that assumption.

    “Never again means NEVER again, assholes. And really? I don’t much care if you like it. I stand with Jessica.”

    Again, you don’t know the subject matter of the game. You are all making it sound like a concentration camp simulator. That’s not what it is at all.

  • http://forloveorfunny.blogspot.com Lynn from For Love or Funny

    My heart aches for you and your family. It grieves me to think that people were/are persecuted for loving God, and those who survive must bear the physical and emotional scars of such unthinkable cruelty.

    I’m awestruck by those who survived the Holocaust, and I understand your visceral reaction today.

  • http://aroundtheisland.blogspot.com/ Robin from Israel

    As a fellow Jew, an Israeli, someone who lost many relatives to the horrors of the Holocaust, and no less importantly as a human being, I am utterly appalled. Enraged, disgusted, and utterly appalled.

    This game, and any other from Activision, will never cross the doorway of my home.

  • http://formerlyaprildawn.blogspot.com April

    Hang in there, Jessica. At the risk of sounding patronizing, I’m proud of you for stating your personal reaction. Others will have theirs, and so be it.
    I don’t own a video game player, but I still appreciate the heads-up about this particular game and company.

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  • Mrs Pop

    Activision CLEARLY did not know their audience when sending out their mass mailer for a review. That is just lazy. And stupid.

  • Madison

    **So, let me get this straight. You’re offended because Activision sent a game which features Nazis to a woman with a traditionally Jewish last name. Is that right? So, should we assume that everyone named Jamal or Jerome is African-American? Or for that matter, should we assume that everyone with a traditionally Jewish last name would have a knee-jerk reaction to a game like this, then run off at the mouth about being “offended” on a blog that reaches so many readers.**

    I believe it is a bit racist to assume that because of someone’s last name they are of a certain descent. I also don’t agree with assuming that every person of said descent will be offended. As several other comments from Jewish people, they aren’t offended.

    **You’re right. Because game studios usually don’t send out games to individuals one-by-one, they normally due a mass mailer to the reveiewers that they have listed. Making it seem as though Activision was “attacking” Ms. Gottlieb or being insensitive by expecting a reviewer to do their job is absurd. Had she played the game and stated that she found the material to be questionable or offensive, that would be another situation altogether.**

    As much as you would like to think that Activision hand-picked you to receive such a game, would you perhaps stop and think rationally for a moment? I’m sure that you were on a mass mailing list of reviewers and to assume you were hand-picked is rather arrogant.

    **I am willing to bet that the trolls who think you’re oversensitive have never been frightened, have never been victimized because of who or what they are, and have never known what it is to feel that unique kind of fear. My people (gay men and lesbians) were also killed in the holocaust, so I have the tiniest inkling of what it is that you feel.**

    I disagree and if that makes me a troll, so be it. But I’m Native American and yes I can relate and have been been victimized for being a certain race. It continues today even with professional sports teams using such derogatory team names as the RedSkins and BlackHawks, and of course the “tomahawk chop”. Yet how many people protest that? I can sympathize with the hated of the swastikas, but will you also stand with me to defend against my racial injustices? Many Native Americans that I know won’t even use a $20.00 bill because it features Andrew Jackson who forced the Trail of Tears. Perhaps that if something in history you should look up.

  • http://www.scarymommy.com Scary Mommy

    I am a Jewish Mommy blogger too, and I echo your sentiments. Much as I like to forget it, hatred towards us still exists. And it will forever as long as children are being fed that garbage. Unfuckingbelievable.

  • Peter Weissenstein

    I saw your tweet where they said it was a clerical error. But I wonder what their reason was for releasing the game in the first place? Also – Cowboys vs. Indians might be polically incorrect; people vs. creatures from outer space may be fun but anything where a person can play the Nazis is reprehensible. Activision has no excuse IMHO for this version of the game. BTW – earlier versions of the game where you fought Nazis and could be killed but could also win (and that got progressively more difficult) may have been acceptible but once the gamer can actually play the Nazi it is not.

  • Madison

    **Cowboys vs. Indians might be polically incorrect; people vs. creatures from outer space may be fun but anything where a person can play the Nazis is reprehensible.**

    The mass murdering of Native American people, forcing them to give up their homelands, killing them off with disease and many other injustices is politically incorrect??? Please tell me how that is not as just as heinous as the Holocaust.
    Injustices in history happen; but they are just that, part of history.

  • Karl

    “once the gamer can actually play the Nazi it is not [acceptable].”

    Then you should probably protest against EVERY SINGLE WW2 themed game with versus multiplayer, because they all, without exception (insofar as I know offhand.), have Nazi’s as one of the sides (offhand, Battlefield 1942, Day of Defeat, Medal of Honor being some of the big names).

    This is not glorifying Nazi’s anymore than Counterstrike is glorifying 9/11 by having one team be Terrorists and the other be Counter-Terrorists.

    • http://JessicaGottlieb.com Jessica Gottlieb

      really?

      Obviously I’m not a gamer (which is part of the mystery of the game appearing here). I’ve heard of Grand Theft Auto and I think it’s a terrible item to buy, but I’ve honestly never heard of any of these games before.

      I like that gaming pushes technology forward. Many surgical techniques have their roots in gaming. I guess I just don’t know that much about it. The bloom is off the rose.

  • Jon

    While I have not played the most recent version of the game – and certainly can’t call myself a “gamer”, I have known about Castle Wolfenstein for many years… I always thought to myself, why would anyone make a GAME that involves Nazis? I mean, where is the creativity in that? It’s obvious that the creators – and now the owners of Activison, just don’t give a shit about the sensitive nature the Holocaust/Nazis have on many people in this world – they only care about making money… Perhaps they could have created a game that deals with EDUCATING our children about the Holocaust – and incorporate real pictures of the concentration camps… You know, that may just not sell that well to the kids…

    As ‘not so fast’ said, “Michael Morhaime, Robert Kotick, and Jean Bernard Levy, are all Jews” – yes, and as a fellow Jew, it’s people like them and Bernie Madoff that give Jews a bad name…

    In defense of Michael Morhaime, Robert Kotick, and Jean Bernard Levy, perhaps they all have some form of Stockholm Syndrome? I wonder if they consulted any of their ancestors (if they had any), that survived the Holocaust? Would love to know…

  • Karl

    “I’ve heard of Grand Theft Auto and I think it’s a terrible item to buy,”

    For kids? Definitely. All the recent GTA games are rated M (Think R. I wish they could use that system, but the MPAA pitched a fit about it.), and really shouldn’t be in the hands of kids.

    If an adult wants to buy it so they can play it, I have nothing against that. I could no more protest adults buying mature rated games than I could protest them going to R rated movies.

    Wolfenstein is rated M too, which only lends credence to the “Somebody put you on a big list of people who reviewed games and didn’t bother to check and see if this game is anything you’d normally have anything to do with” theory.

    “but I’ve honestly never heard of any of these games before.”

    That’s fine really. I don’t think you’re really the target audience. :)

  • http://www.britesprite.co.uk Chris Milton

    Recently there’s been pictures of Obama with a Hitler moustache being called a Nazi .. the term has become just a tag for someone you don’t like with all historical context removed. This should not be happening and leads to mindless marketing like this.

  • http://www.muddydogcoffee.com Jim

    I agree with your comment. I suggest taking it one step further.

    As parents, my wife (who is Jewish, coincidentally, not that it really matters) and I have always been sickened by war games of any sort, be it Axis vs Allies, or Monsters vs Aliens. This isn’t the behavior or mentality we want to encourage in our children. Period.

    We’ve never understood the appeal of ANY of these games.

    The choice is yours.

  • http://lagniappemarketing.net deb@birdonawire

    I’ve been out of the loop for a few days, but when I pulled up your site today, I emptied an entire box of kleenex. How a company, like Activision, in this day and age, (we are living in the 21st century right?) can produce a “game” with such horrendous overtones, let alone undertones is a total mystery. Is there no area that they will not tread? I clearly am not Jewish, I have wonderful friends who are, my “uncle” Bill who died last year was a holocaust survivor, his shared story, the tears, the numbers on his arm. All these things you brought screaming back, Jessica. Thank you. And thank you for speaking again, so boldly. As to Activision…they’re crossed off the list. Not another Activision game will be bought in my house, and in fact, the ones I have, after reading this have made a trip to the dumpster. Wake UP Activision, social sensitivity would be a nice thing, blatant violent behavior in games is absolutely wrong…A role play game of Allies vs Nazis..not worth a damned penny. I’ve passed this post to my friends in B’hm and Atlanta and hell all across the country. For my part…Activision no longer exists.

  • http://dailyhitler.blogspot.com/ Sean “Goblin” Aaberg

    1. Gottlieb is not a Jewish name, it’s a German name. It means God’s Love in German.
    2. This kind of hysterical thin-skinned “i have to be offended” programming is played out, it makes your cause look REALLy bad & no one with half a brain cares.
    3. What if they had sent you some WWII movie with big, dangerous, offensive swastikas on it?
    4. Stop acting like the Germans won WWII & get over yourself.

  • Madison

    I know not everyone will agree with me, and I’m okay with that. I’m genuinely concerned that Activision created a video game where you get to be a Nazi soldier and that they sent a copy to a woman whose resume reads “Mommy Blogger”. Perhaps even with a mature rating of ages 17+, they have children in mind?

    Again, stop being so arrogant as to assume that they hand-picked you from a list. Sheesh…you having access to the internet should mean you have an inkling as to how ads work. Perhaps from a past blog they caught the word “game” which mean you went into their marketing list. I’m sure they didn’t look around and go, “Oh hey, here’s a Jewish woman with youngsters. This game is sure to get an award winning game with her.” Very doubtful.
    Since the game is rated Mature (17+) I’m sure this isn’t something that you would let in your household to begin with and that’s okay. But before you start any mass boycotts, perhaps you should let rationality take hold before getting angry over on mailing.

  • http://www.allthingsmamma.com Kasey@ All Things Mamma

    I can’t believe it. I can not believe they would think this is OK. Good for you for speaking your mind and not ignoring that they sent the horrible game to you and for sharing with us!

  • Bettina

    Ive read thru recent posts,reacting to Ms. Gottlieb’s Activision assault. Some range from stating her name is actually “German”,YEA LOTS OF JEWS ARE OF GERMAN ANCESTRY,THOSE WHO’S ANCESTORS SURVIVED!Then the argument the game is rated M(17+),that makes a perverse concept, adorned w/ a SWASTIKA ok? BTW,not only Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, Gypsies,Gays,Anyone who stood against the HATE! I admit im no “Gamer”, but Im done with Activision for sure!

  • Florina

    Jessica, Your scream for justice got me obsessed and upset like all the above. The gaming world is so dangerous because it is emotional, another world escaping the boundaries of education that parents and teachers are creating. I like to think that it is not personal intended to offend anybody, it is just a contacts list and the computer generates a list of new products – NOBODY CARES about education or offensive – it is all profit. I believe that it is timing to create a movement for awareness on violent gaming and get more restricted ratings. You reminded the attack on the Jewish Community Center and all others, across country. Nobody makes a connection between the computer games, psychiatry treatment and guns. I had an autistic student, 12, that used to threaten that he will bring a gun and shoot everybody. Nobody cared.

  • Tim

    Just a thought…

    The longer that everyone continues to treat swastikas, toothbrush mustaches and full arm salutes as the holy symbols of the nazi party, the longer the nazi’s reign of terror really lasts.

    These symbols were used long before the nazis, and honestly the nazi scum don’t deserve them. I don’t know how, but I would love to see some reappropriation of these symbols to reduce the terror they still spread.

    It would be very hard for white supremacists to use a symbol they didn’t own anymore.

  • Alea

    I find that very disturbing.
    People rave on about products they didn’t even know.
    The wolfenstein games are about fighting the nazis,
    and always were.
    If there is a multiplayer part some one just have to play the bad guys, to make it work that’s normal,
    most multiplayer first person shooters have that.
    There are TONS of games set in a WWII scenario,
    with a multiplayer part
    where one have to play the axis forces and one the allied forces,
    i played many of them myself,
    but i NEVER came across a group of players which played it because they can play the axis forces.
    I could say something very mean right now,
    but unlike the people here i don’t like to talk about things i don’t really know about.
    This blog entry is one of the most stupid i’ve came across lately.
    You also write about things that are put out of context,
    and abused for your own purpose, you should be ashamed of yourself because of that.

    I’ve also read in another blog that the current CEO of activision actually is jewish, i didn’t tried to confirm that till now, but i don’t have to say what a big fool you made out of yourself if that turns out to be a fact.

  • Pingback: Activision Update at Jessica Gottlieb()

  • Uland

    Jessica, you are mentally ill. Go see someone, I’m serious.

  • AllenSmithee

    You do know that the Wolfenstein series has been around for ages, right? Since 1991 if I remember correctly.

    You play as the mercs in any war-game on VS mode, why not the Nazis? I’m Jewish and my great grandfather fought in World War II, I should let you know.

    Seriously though, what is the problem here? Bad shit happens. Yeah, this is a game though, you know? They have games like GTA where you can fuck a ho then bust a cap in her ass for your money back. Isn’t that more of an issue than age old history? And really, it isn’t much of an issue at all.

    How is this white-supremacist? The game I mean. How? In what way? You can play as Nazis but they’re CHARACTERS IN THE GAME. In Left 4 Dead you can play as the zombies. And zombies could kill way more people than Nazis, they don’t even distinguish race.

    Nazis aren’t even real anymore, and those who still exist are just bastards who wanna rebel. Really, you shouldn’t make a big deal out of this, honestly.

    Plus, the main game you’re playing as the Allies. And in the original you kill a robot Hitler as the last boss.

    “I don’t know why anyone would want to play as the Nazis”

    Because they’re there, they have guns, and you can have fun shooting other players. I don’t give a shit who I’m playing as, long as I can have some fun. So long as it isn’t something distinctly offensive, like that one game where you kill black people and it says they have “real nigger sounds” and it is ape noises. That is in bad taste. This is a normal video game. Go deal with Metal of Honor, Call of Duty, and countless other games, before you deal with a signifigantly less realistic game.

    Oh, and oddly enough I found this at a blog called “Daily Hitler”. It isn’t what you think, I was looking for information on Osamu Tezuka’s manga Adolf, which is about three different people during World War II with the name Adolf. One of them is Hitler, but that is for the purpose of the story, and he is in no way a good guy. Tezuka-san is actually a WWII survivor (well, he’s dead now, but that is because he’s old). Although he wasn’t actually that involved, it affected him and his works greatly.

  • Maus

    You do realize that the guys on the Allied team can -SHOOT BACK- at the Nazis, rite?

    And it’s not a ‘role playing’ game like D&D, where you totally immerse yourself in pretending to be somebody else. It’s a shooter. There’s a difference. You don’t have to create a “Nazi” persona in order to play the game. You just run out decked in German Wehrmacht/Sci-fi gear, or Allied Military/sci-fi gear, and you try to make the other poor dumb bastard die for his country. And here, we’re not even -talking- about single player, where the bulk of the plot would be, where your Nazis would be doing National Socialist things other than gunning down Allied soldiers. Did you even PLAY the game? You play as an OSS Operative, with a POLISH LAST NAME. He fights Nazis. Sounds like a lot of other WWII action games or movies. Is Band of Brothers a National Socialist’s wet dream? Is Inglorious Bastards their wet dream? How about Kelly’s Heros? Bridge too Far?

    Next you’ll be saying that Call of Duty 4 is teaching Americans to love former Soviets and Mujahadeen cuz you get to ‘role play’ them on 20 v 20 “role playing” servers against the SAS and Marine Force 1 operatives. Hell, if you want to ignore the single player’s perspective COMPLETELY, YOU ‘roleplay’ NUKING AMERICAN FORCES. HOW FUN’S THAT, WANNABE JIHADIST? YOU JUST DID SOMETHING Mr. OSAMA HAS BEEN JUST DREAMING ABOUT FOR DECADES, BY GOLLY.

    Also, last time I looked, Swastikas don’t leap up and goose step you into a concentration camp off the paper. I’m sorry, but it’s a good idea to ‘know your enemy,’ if you don’t want Nazis to come back ever again, shape or form. banning symbols only gets people on both sides worked up. This isn’t Germany, and free speech somewhat unfortunately covers the rights of idiots. Not to say that you can disallow the swastika to be displayed in your house (being private property), buuut 1) It’s a symbol, people perceive symbols differently, 2) you don’t even -know- the context of why Activision put a Swastika in their game.

  • Harriet Dusk

    Jeez, get over it. Surely there are more important things to stress about (ie. actual discrimination and genocide in the world today in Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere) then a tragedy half a century old.

  • Denae

    Let me just say this. You’re ranting and raving over a game that is, for all intents and purposes, FOR MATURE AUDIENCES.

    THIS IS NOT MEANT FOR KIDS. THIS WAS NEVER MEANT FOR KIDS. Get over yourself and do some research. I can understand the sensitivity. But to go online and rant and rave and bash a game without actually UNDERSTANDING it is senseless and it makes you look like an idiot.

    It’s a World War II based game. It’s going to have that as a symbol as apart of historical fact. What do you do when you have to look through a history book, exactly? I mean, have you actually LOOKED at the History Channel or any other source?

    How is it supposed to be evil if you are ONE of many that receive this game on a random disburse of games? White Supremest? I think not.

    It’s sad that you have to be offended without actually understanding what is offending you. Please learn to not be ignorant and post again. This is a waste of reading.

  • http://weldablecookies.blogspot.com/ Dawn on MDI

    I think what many of the people who are posting here fail to understand is that swastikas and other Nazi imagery are offensive to many people, period. That they are included in a game that is for entertainment of young people (by and large gamers run to the younger end of the age spectrum) who don’t “get” why such imagery is offensive is more offensive still.

    I would ask those who have defended the game and its use of Nazi characters to take a breath, and just accept that some images are offensive to some people. Period. It is not your fault, as a gamer, but it is something that game developers maybe should consider when in the creative process.

    Some shit is just offensive to some people. For me, images of women being treated like objects and/or abused are offensive. Thus, Grand Theft Auto will not enter my home. My house, my choice. I get to discriminate in that way. And yes, as a responsible consumer, I will tell game manufacturers about my decision and the reasons behind it.

    It’s America, folks. It’s a free country, and it is my right to voice my opinion, just like it is Jessica’s right to voice her opinion about Nazi imagery in a game. And if you are that offended by her complaints, then find other blogs to read, dude. Just like she can find other games to bring home to entertain her family, OK? Jeez.

  • KCohen

    10 years ago I was one of a handful of women in the videogame world (18-35yr old boys) working for a major game developer. I was associated with & producing titles that were both fun, as well as straight up warfare (yes, wondering if I ever was contributing to a state of moral decline).

    In it’s infancy, I demo’d the original “Medal of Honor” game to the USC Minority, Freshman Engineering Course. In one scene the player had to mimic the gesture “Heil Hitler” to get behind enemy lines. Of course, I had reservations about this in development, but not until I saw 6 people in the front row of a college classroom (Afro-American, Asian, Mexican, etc..) repeat the gesture back to the screen, did I really see the effects of what our development team has created. Really? Did college students just do “Heil Hitler” back to a game? Why? Did they even know what they were doing? I stopped the demo, had a sidebar conversation with the Professor to educate them. I was angry to say the least at how uneducated they were. Did these kids even know that many of their own were also killed in the Holocaust? Instead, they saw it as a sign of power. That’s all. First lesson for them in college, I suppose.

    I escalated my concern back home. For g-d’s sake we were the same parent company that put out Schindler’s List. After a debate, the game was marginally changed. To this day the Medal of Honor series (Call of Duty, Allied Assault, Underground, etc) is a AAA, multi-platinum, multi-$$$ game series with many titles of like (including Nazi’s) right behind it. I took a hard, moral line back then maybe even compromising my own future in the industry.

    This issue has been around for a long time and will continue to be. As far as the games industry, I have lots to say. Good, bad and indifferent. Again, before videogames it was all about comic books contributing to our so-called children’s upbringing…

    The license for creative expression should trump all. However, that DOES NOT exclude education (of controversial content). There should always be accountability from developers as much as from the parents. Both are responsible.

  • Online Gamer

    Let’s keep this in perspective….

    Castle Wolfenstein is a VERY old game (someone posted that it was developed around 1991) and it was NEVER meant to glorify the nazis or any movement. In fact, in all other variations of the game that I’ve seen, you are an allied (or US) soldier laying waste to the nazis and all their evil spawn. This is a positive thing, right?

    The logic of this NEW game from a game development perspective is that you must have shooters that are on opposing teams in order for gamers to shoot at each other… hence, nazis vs. allied forces. Nothing more than that. This is no different than Call of Duty or any other shooter-based games that have been on the market for several years know, which ALSO depict both sides of any given war… even Iraq!

    I would dare say that there isn’t a single person anywhere on the planet that doesn’t know of the horrible things that were done by the nazis in and around WWII, and why they were fought. Their belief system is of NO interest whatsoever to a game developer… that isn’t going to help them sell games. Selling games is based on connecting with gamers who enjoy period-accurate war games for the thrill of playing a REAL person, rather than the dumb AI (artificial intelligence) of a computer system.

    Bad things have been done by groups and individuals since Adam and Eve… that is the nature of good and evil. This game isn’t even about “good and evil”, it is about taking a plot from history as a backdrop for multiple people to play against each other online. This game is for mature audiences and in no way is meant to further any regime or ideal system.

    We are all horrified by the things the nazis did—even if those things didn’t happen directly to us. Most of us know at least 1 person who was directly affected by those events… I know several.

    Do your research and get an understanding of what something is before slandering a game developer (or any other group) with such allegations (white supremacy… really?!?).

    Keep things in perspective here… It is simply a period-game.

  • dhaval

    @Dawn on MDI

    I tend to find your comment quite offensive. Remember the swastika is NOT a nazi symbol. A quick look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika should tell you that it has been in existence for thousands of years before a madman in germany decided to use it as his symbol. By associating that one symbol to that madman for an eternity you are offending a major religion. Just because the western world holds sway over the world, does not mean you vilify people from other regions. Hate the man, obliterate the meaning that he had for the symbol, not the symbol itself. The swastika stands for “luck”, “auspicious” NOT nazism.

  • AlphaMonk

    You’ve got to be kidding me. Do you know anything at all about Wolfenstein?

    It’s like crying hysterics because someone send “A comic book for children about the holocaust!! THE HORROR” if you picked up a copy of MAUS.

    WTF?

  • Mileslaura

    The insensitivity of companies that are willing to create anything to make a buck is appalling !