Nazis: I hate those guys!

By Kieron Gillen on February 8th, 2008 at 10:16 am.

There's not really many alt-text jokes I can do tastefully here.

We try to keep up to date with all forms of Indie-development, so were paying close attention to Traveller’s Tales’ forthcoming Lego Indiana Jones game. However news reaches us, via the C&VG chaps reading their latest copy of the looming-black-obliesk of the games press, Edge, that the game will actually sidestep the Nazi issue by excising them completely. “Lego having already replaced them with an anonymous genocidal, occultist, trenchcoat-wearing master-race”, they’re quoted as saying.

Whatever to make of this?

Well, there’s several takes. Throwing the obvious white-washing of history card is an easy one, but – I think – probably a tad too much. It’s a kids’ videogame. I can entirely understand how a satirical videogame that features funny Nazis is kind of beyond the pale, and should be sidestepped. Amusing Hitler-devotees as family entertainment kind of went out with ‘Allo ‘Allo, and so any game with Nazis for the pre-teen isn’t really going to happen.

Conversely, since that’s true, you have to question why on earth would you think making a Lego-Star-Wars-esque game based around the Indiana Jones films was a good idea in the first place. Much of the charm of Lego Star Wars was how faithfully they deconstructed the films, with a mixture of celebration and welcome irreverence. You can’t do that if you excise part of the film. So as cute and charming as it looks, it’s not going to be able to do what Lego Star Wars managed so elegantly.

That said, my biggest disappointment is that we couldn’t use the title “Lego Blocks Nazis” for this post, because despite the pun, it’s clearly libelous as we don’t really know who decided not to do this. This makes me sad. I cry for the death of a pun.

[LegoHitler appropriated from here]

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35 Comments »

  1. Phil says:

    Nazis, comedy or otherwise, are the bedrock of the Indy back story. Would we have felt so pleased to see anyone else go through a plane propeller or collapse to dust or simply melt?

    This is partly why the second film was such a pile of monkey brains.

  2. Meat Circus says:

    By the sound of things, there will be Nazis, they just won’t be called it. No Swastikas, basically.

  3. Nick says:

    But but.. I watched Indiana Jones as a kid (as do many kids, I’m sure) and it had real looking non-lego Nazis in it.

    WTF the fuck?

  4. James T says:

    ‘Monkey brains’ is code for ‘awesome’.

  5. Ben Hazell says:

    I have similar concerns about Battlefield Heroes cartoon Nazis.
    But; I agree that it probably just means no swastikas.

  6. Kast says:

    Gut reaction: Gurph, cop out. And bring back stuff like ‘Allo ‘Allo! I was raised on re-runs of that and Are You Being Served? etc.

    I do agree that Indy without Nazis somewhat misses the point. It’s like Indy without his whip or his trademark hat. The Nazis are a motif.

  7. Schadenfreude says:

    Not to mention Hitler signs the Diary at a book burning rally. Don’t see how they can do it without just getting rid of the Swastika. Which means some inventive soul will mod it back in very quickly. So no worries.

  8. Dracko says:

    How can you make an Indy game with no Nazis?! It’s not like they were children films in the first place. Not at all.

    Worst censorship injustice since Bionic Commando!

  9. IcyBee says:

    obliesk?
    You may be able to remove Nazis from a video game, but you can’t get rid of spelling Nazis in a public forum!

  10. icabod says:

    I imagine it would help to get more global sales – otherwise it would never get released in Germany (where I think Nazi images are banned). It’s cheaper to remove them altogether than it is to have two versions.

  11. Tellurian says:

    That saves the game from having to have a de-nazified German version. Cause, you know, Nazis in movies are okay. Movies are art. So swastika wearing guys are a-okay in movies. But in games it’s a crime to display swastikas and other nazi paraphernalia, even if it’s stuff the bad guys carry around, cause you know, games are NOT art and thus it’s a totally diffrent thing, when Indy punches nazis around compared to Blaszkowic giving them hell in the Wolfenstein franchise.
    So, while Indy movies with nazis are okay, an Indy game with a swastika would be confiscated nationwide.

  12. Zeno, Internetographer says:

    But… The scene where Hitler signs Indy’s book is the most hilarious of all the movies!

    Also: Tellurian, it’s because it’s a kid’s game. You don’t see many Nazis in modern children’s movies, do you?

  13. Mattress says:

    But why don’t we see Nazi’s in modern children’s movies? If Indy could do it twenty-five years ago, why can’t other movies do it today? Is our society becoming more intolerant and and restrictive as we progress? That doesn’t make sense…

    Anyways, I emailed Traveller’s Tales just to see what they had to say about the issue and whether it was their design decision of Legos… I hope there’s Nazis in the real lego sets.

  14. Will Tomas says:

    Our society is becoming more sensitive about stuff like the Nazis, yes. As we get further away from the event, oddly, people (by which I mean the mass media) have started taking the Nazis more seriously.

    You couldn’t, for example, make the Germans episode of Fawlty Towers now, at all. It just wouldn’t be allowed to be broadcast if it was made now, I suspect.

    Which is odd, but I think it’s partly a mixture of society chronically wanting to avoid offending people – both people do were affected by concentration camps etc., but also those People Who Take Offence At Anything.

    I don’t know if it’s society being less tolerant, and more about society only being able to see the Nazis as unquestionably evil to a degree that people can’t see the funny side of comedy Nazis anymore. The reason being – strangely – that (in my opinion) it’s because far fewer people are alive now who were present through the whole thing than were in the 80s.

    At the time people were taking the piss out of Hitler (vis Chaplin, but also on a more general “doesn’t that marching look silly” way during the 30s), and the post-war generation had a continuing sense of the ludicrous nature of it all. Partly as a way of dealing with the horrors, and also because – at the same time – lots of aspects of fascism do look fairly rediculous. I think that now, because people don’t have the context of seeing the Nazis as a potential source of humour but only in the context of the horrors of the concentration camps and worthy WWII films/documentaries (Schindler’s List as opposed to Indy) that society now can only fail to see the funny side.

    /cultural history essay

  15. Dracko says:

    Will, I’d argue the exact opposite, actually. Have you seen the sort of films about WWII being made by Germans or victimised nations of the Nazi regime as of late? Downfall, The Counterfeiters, even Black Book. All of these are more sober takes than, say, Schindler’s List, not glamorising Nazis, but more prone to humanising them if, of course still in a dark manner.

    In time Hitler will only be remembered as another Napoleon anyway. But we do live in a PC, overly sensitive media frenzy of a society.

    Anyway, the Indiana Jones franchise is not a children’s one, less so than the likes of Star Wars. It’s got swearing! And guns! And blood! And the main character is a mad bastard!

    I’m glad I saw it all as a kid, though!

    P.S. Schindler’s List is hardly a documentary. It’s utterly laughable as an effort, doing more harm than good, really. But oh, what an amusing failure it is.

  16. Michael says:

    But think of the children!!!

    If we all, and I mean ALL, pretend that there never were any National Socialists then perhaps out future will be ever so bright and filled with ponies and rainbows. All we have to do is just kill off all the remaining socialists on this here planet.

    Actually this doesn’t sound too bad at all. Where do I sign up to do the killing?

  17. Fumarole says:

    Indy without Nazis is hardly Indy at all.

  18. malkav11 says:

    I believe what they said in the GameInformer preview was that Nazis didn’t lend themselves very well to cute mute Legoism. But yeah, I think it’s pretty much going to boil down to dumping the swastikas.

  19. antonymous says:

    Should have made the “Nazis” contemporary, wearing Stars&Stripes or some biblical symbols..

  20. Michael says:

    Wow, what a beautifully ignorant statement.

  21. Masked Dave says:

    Our society is becoming more sensitive about stuff like the Nazis, yes. As we get further away from the event, oddly, people (by which I mean the mass media) have started taking the Nazis more seriously.

    Erm… didn’t a big film version of The Producers come out only last year?

    Why yes! It did!

    It sounds like TT are just sticking to what Lego have already done with the actual toy sets. I’m not sure how the licensing works, but seriously, who gives a rats arse? It’ll still be the same.

  22. Optimaximal says:

    Tbh, Indy doesn’t ‘require’ nazi foes – The new film and a lot of other ‘material’ sees him squaring off against the Soviets, amongst other things.

    The Nazi’s just happened to be the bad guys in the 40′s.

  23. Nick says:

    The Sound of Music had Nazis.

    Also.. he does require Nazis if it’s based on the films in which there were, in fact Nazis.

  24. Will Tomas says:

    @Masked Dave:

    The Producers gets away with it because it’s a remake: everyone knows the content, and has already passed judgement on it. I’m not so sure it would have got the same reception had it been an original piece. Also Mel Brooks is part of that older generation. I can’t see many younger directors trying something similar.

    That said, there wouldn’t have been much complaining had Lego Indy had Lego Nazis in either. I was commenting on the point by Mattress, rather than on the Lego thing specifically, but I do think that has been a general mass media move in the direction I pointed at.

  25. Dracko says:

    That’s because younger directors are wusses.

  26. Janto says:

    Reaction against Nazis in the meeja? Hardly – I mean, there are much more recent (and more extreme) examples of Nazi jokes than Faulty Towers’ Germans episode – there’s a Father Ted one where the whole house gets filled with Nazi regalia and a waving Fr. Ted is mistaken for a nazi saluting maniac. And probably much more recent exampes too.

  27. Sum0 says:

    [dailymail]It’s political correctness gone mad![/dailymail]

    I think they’ve made the right decision here. Mixing Nazis with Lego is just… weird.

  28. Optimaximal says:

    Also.. he does require Nazis if it’s based on the films in which there were, in fact Nazis.

    I understand that. I was just making a generalisation that Indy doesn’t just fight Hitlers goons.

  29. Nallen says:

    But but.. I watched Indiana Jones as a kid (as do many kids, I’m sure) and it had real looking non-lego Nazis in it.

    WTF the fuck?

    I prefere ‘What the WTF’

  30. Piratepete says:

    ‘Won’t anyone think of the children’

    /swoons

    Well what concerns me is that by Pc’ing history it stops children, adults even, from learning the lessons of history. The most important lessons humanity has for future generations. I believe that this a bit dangerous and the dividing line between the truth and being politically correct is constantly being crossed to the point where, as a society, we will not remember the sacrifice of the millions who died to give us the freedoms we now enjoy. We should not shy away from history but treat it with respect, even if the truth of it is sometimes difficult to pallette.

    Tell it like it is i reckon.

  31. Champagne O'Leary says:

    I don’t think the point of Indiana Jones is to portray the evils of the Nazi party. I feel we’re maybe losing perspective here. It’s a game about daredevilry rendered in Lego, not a holocaust memorial.

    I guess if you remove the swastikas they’ll still literally be brownshirts. Ho ho. Anyway, this isn’t a gaming choice, it’s a Lego choice. If you had actual nazis in there, and the Lego games let you pick any character, I think any sensible producer wouldn’t touch that with a bargepole. Letting children control nazis, however theoretically harmless, is going to upset someone and they maybe have a fair point.

  32. Optimaximal says:

    I guess if you remove the swastikas they’ll still literally be brownshirts. Ho ho.

    They’ll probably just use the Balkenkreuz or the Iron Cross instead – it’s what all the WW2 FPS had to use in Germany to actually reach retail shelves (before being promptly indexed or whatever it is those strange people do).

  33. MrMelons says:

    How about the movie, The Producer? Spring time for Hitler and Germany, Winter for Poland and France. I mean talk about using Nazi’s for a laugh and that went to broadway. All in all i don’t think it would have been a big deal having the Nazi’s in there, really all it is doing is what the late Bugs Bunny Cartoons did and that is make them look like complete buffoons with a good laugh at their expense.

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