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

  • 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.

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  • 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 !