Luftrausers Isn't About Nazis But Vlambeer Is Sorry Anyway

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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Luftrausers Isn't About Nazis But Vlambeer Is Sorry Anyway


Vlambeer says its hit indie action game Luftrausers isn't about Nazis, but it's very sorry for any discomfort it may have caused.

Luftrausers is an awesome arcade blastfest that earned 4.5 stars in an Escapist review [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/editorials/reviews/11186-Luftrausers-Review-Fliegen-die-Unfreundlichen-Himmel]. It also sports an undeniably distinct theme, hinted at by its title, and even if that's not quite obvious enough there's no mistaking the roots of the visual style. It never comes right out and says you're flying for the Nazis, but you sure ain't up there yanking and banking for King and country.

Despite the obvious silliness of the game, it's a theme that not everyone is comfortable with, sentiments that came up on Twitter last week. In response, Vlambeer's Rami Ismail wrote yesterday that he's "extremely sad" that some people see the game in that light, and added that while the Nazi link was never intended, it is a valid interpretation of the game.

"The fact is that no interpretation of a game is 'wrong'. When you create something, you leave certain implications of what you're making. We can leave our idea of what it is in there, and for us, the game is about superweapons. We think everybody who plays Luftrausers can feel that," he wrote. "But even more so in an interactive medium, we do have to accept that no way of reading those implications is 'false' - that if someone reads between the lines where we weren't writing, those voids can be filled by the player, or someone else. If we accept there's no wrong interpretation of a work, we also have to accept that some of those interpretations could not be along the lines of what we're trying to create."

Ismail said Luftrausers is intended to be a sort of alternate universe game set sometime between the end of the Second World War and the beginning of the Cold War, and that the player is part of an "undefined enemy force" that never actually existed. A desire to be "genuine" about the game's time frame led to the use of stylistic cues from the era, while the characters are actually rooted in the old Thunderbirds television show.

But to his credit, Ismail didn't dismiss the concerns of those who found the game disturbing. "Each interpretation of a cultural artifact is a reflection of not only the creator, but also of what the user cares about, what they find important and what shaped them. We wouldn't dare to fault people for finding the atrocities of the Second World War important. It is important," he wrote. "Having been born and raised in the Netherlands, we are extremely aware of the awful things that happened, and we want to apologize to anybody who, through our game, is reminded of the cruelties that occurred during the war."

Source: Vlambeer [http://www.vlambeer.com/2014/04/06/response-to-recent-luftrausers-concerns/]

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Skeleon

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Curious. Yeah, I didn't play it, but what I saw in pictures and videos, well, was unclear. The banner with the white circle and the cross-shaped plane in the middle (as seen on the picture in the article) is pretty obvious. On the other hand, much of what I saw in the actual gameplay made me think of an alternative World War I more so than World War II; I thought one would be playing some sort of alternative history, high-tech Red Baron or something. Then again, they themselves set it after World War II, so I guess I was way off with my assumptions. I dunno. I can see the Nazi-references, sure.
 

Clive Howlitzer

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So we've reached the point now where developers preemptively apologize for all the thin skinned folks that are going to throw a fit over their game?
 

RealRT

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"The Nazi link was never intended"
Umm, bullcrap. Yeah, I'm overall happy how Vlambeer is taking it, but no. One look at the logo tells me that yes, the Nazi link is very much intended, the aesthetic just screams "Third Reich".
 

AzrealMaximillion

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Clive Howlitzer said:
So we've reached the point now where developers preemptively apologize for all the thin skinned folks that are going to throw a fit over their game?
We've been past that line and beyond for a while.

The developers should have responded with "South Park: The Stick of Truth" and dropped the proverbial mic. I'll gladly buy the game of any developer that openly calls people who complain about stuff like this cowards and tells them to grow up.
 

RealRT

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AzrealMaximillion said:
Clive Howlitzer said:
So we've reached the point now where developers preemptively apologize for all the thin skinned folks that are going to throw a fit over their game?
We've been past that line and beyond for a while.

The developers should have responded with "South Park: The Stick of Truth" and dropped the proverbial mic. I'll gladly buy the game of any developer that openly calls people who complain about stuff like this cowards and tells them to grow up.
I think the people who call people cowards over video games are the ones who need to grow up.
 

Albino Boo

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Clive Howlitzer said:
So we've reached the point now where developers preemptively apologize for all the thin skinned folks that are going to throw a fit over their game?
Yes because using German in title, using the SS deathshead emblem and using German uniforms isn't in anyway looking Nazis.
 

james.sponge

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RealRT said:
"The Nazi link was never intended"
Umm, bullcrap. Yeah, I'm overall happy how Vlambeer is taking it, but no. One look at the logo tells me that yes, the Nazi link is very much intended, the aesthetic just screams "Third Reich".
So what of it? With so much US war porn on the market I think we can handle one indie title that adopts some German military aesthetics from 1940s?
 

Andy Chalk

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While I'll almost certainly agree that the aesthetics style is leaned all the way towards the Nazi Germany side of all things but there's really no harm done; there isn't any ideological aspects in the game other than stealing the art style. I would a liar to say that I didn't find the German military uniform aesthetically appealing when compared to the other nations at that point in time.

In this case, it's a worse version like if someone was reading the book mein kampf/Communist manifesto and then being called a Nazi/Communist as a result and even the Taliban controversy with Battlefield 3. People do need to grow-up and grow out of judging a book by it's cover.
 

RealRT

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james.sponge said:
RealRT said:
"The Nazi link was never intended"
Umm, bullcrap. Yeah, I'm overall happy how Vlambeer is taking it, but no. One look at the logo tells me that yes, the Nazi link is very much intended, the aesthetic just screams "Third Reich".
So what of it? With so much US war porn on the market I think we can handle one indie title that adopts some German military aesthetics from 1940s?
I'm not for taking it off the market or telling people not to play it. Everyone is free to get their entertainment as they want, long as it doesn't hurt anybody. What I was saying is, admit what you did, don't deny the obvious.
 

WouldYouKindly

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albino boo said:
Clive Howlitzer said:
So we've reached the point now where developers preemptively apologize for all the thin skinned folks that are going to throw a fit over their game?
Yes because using German in title, using the SS deathshead emblem and using German uniforms isn't in anyway looking Nazis.
Death's Head emblem goes back to a Prussian cavalry unit, the Death's Head Hussars. This emblem was also standard uniform for any German tank crew, as tanks were considered an evolution of the cavalry role in military doctrine.

While the SS were generally loathsome human beings, the German army deserves a certain amount of respect. Their batshit crazy leader demanded the impossible out of them and they did a pretty good job of making it seem possible at times.

That plays a funny little parallel to the game. You're given an impossible mission and then you get to go at it for a while, but you'll always die in the end.

Oh, and the emblems look nothing like the skull up there. The emblem the Nazis used was never forward facing but presented a 3/4ths view and always had the mouth closed. Also, the German military still dresses impeccably. It's a German thing, not a Nazi thing.

This entire enterprise is to ensure that if you're going to be offended, you should be well-informed and offended. I don't actually care that much, but I do love a good history lesson.
 

Andy Chalk

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Hah, that's some quality bullshit right there. If Vlambeer weren't deliberately going for a Nazi aesthetic, they must have done it subconsciously, which would be far more concerning.

But still, it's been almost a century now, get the fuck over it. People who get offended over such trivial bullshit don't deserve an apology.

And before someone tells me to check my privilege or whatever, both my granddads lived in London during the Blitz, so I have just as much right to be "offended" by tongue-in-cheek depictions of the Luftwaffe as anyone else.
 

Section Crow

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Eh, I never really got a strong vibe of WW2 from the game in my 28 hours of playing it, uniforms kinda piqued my interest but the fact that every character looks tanned due to the art style made me think twice.

Only really went "Oh WW2" when the blimp cinematic played which, for the sake of not spoiling anything, depicted a certain WW2 leader exploding in a blimp
 

MrMixelPixel

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Well that's a mature, understanding response! I appreciate that from a game dev. He shouldn't change a damn thing about his game, but acknowledging sympathy for those that were discomforted by it is pretty admirable.
 

Andy Chalk

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I am from Germany. I find it surprising that a Nazi comparison was drawn. Maybe because the name sounds German (well, half of it is).
 

Albino Boo

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WouldYouKindly said:
albino boo said:
Clive Howlitzer said:
So we've reached the point now where developers preemptively apologize for all the thin skinned folks that are going to throw a fit over their game?
Yes because using German in title, using the SS deathshead emblem and using German uniforms isn't in anyway looking Nazis.
Death's Head emblem goes back to a Prussian cavalry unit, the Death's Head Hussars. This emblem was also standard uniform for any German tank crew, as tanks were considered an evolution of the cavalry role in military doctrine.

While the SS were generally loathsome human beings, the German army deserves a certain amount of respect. Their batshit crazy leader demanded the impossible out of them and they did a pretty good job of making it seem possible at times.

That plays a funny little parallel to the game. You're given an impossible mission and then you get to go at it for a while, but you'll always die in the end.

Oh, and the emblems look nothing like the skull up there. The emblem the Nazis used was never forward facing but presented a 3/4ths view and always had the mouth closed. Also, the German military still dresses impeccably. It's a German thing, not a Nazi thing.

This entire enterprise is to ensure that if you're going to be offended, you should be well-informed and offended. I don't actually care that much, but I do love a good history lesson.
Yeah right mate, next you will be telling me the Swastika came from India so it shouldn't be counted. I have no respect for the wehrmacht whatsoever. There is the upwards of 10 million rapes committed by them for for start. How about the mass executions for partisan activity or clearing minefields by driving civilians through at gunpoint. Real nice guys, you want to invite them round for dinner. Before posting about the germany army please try reading some history that wasn't written by Von Manstein. The Wehrmacht was up to its rotten little neck in war crimes.
 

Albino Boo

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The Plunk said:
Hah, that's some quality bullshit right there. If Vlambeer weren't deliberately going for a Nazi aesthetic, they must have done it subconsciously, which would be far more concerning.

But still, it's been almost a century now, get the fuck over it. People who get offended over such trivial bullshit don't deserve an apology.

And before someone tells me to check my privilege or whatever, both my granddads lived in London during the Blitz, so I have just as much right to be "offended" by tongue-in-cheek depictions of the Luftwaffe as anyone else.
I suggest you read this list and I would really like to see you tell them that should get over surviving a concentration camp.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Holocaust_survivors
 

DSK-

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Not offended in the slightest. The amount of Nazi-related materials I've seen in games through the years is beyond counting.
 

josemlopes

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Its ridiculous that he ever felt the need to apologize. Even if it was an accurate representation we should receive it in open arms (like the movie Downfall) as pretending that WW2 never happened is bad for our future (we learn from our mistakes) and since this is more of a goofy representation and more based around the cultural status of the nazis (you, know, kind of how the Wolfentstein series handles them) its still just as valid to exist as the use of the french revolutionaires cultural status that gave us things like Allo Allo or the Americans with most WW2 media or even the soviets with all their other representation.

WW2 has already reached a point where its in a way romanticized (in the artistic sense) and this is just how the nazis are represented in that artistic view, in this game we get to play as that representation (something that is completely different from playing a nazi simulator where you kill minorities where the pleasure comes outright from being able to be a nazi and take according actions)