Every now and then the mainstream media gets its knickers in a twist about a computer game and 1378 shows just how silly it all is.
The game, 1378(km) is about the Berlin Wall and requires players to either shoot at fugitives fleeing the East or be the fugitives crossing the border. When the game was announced there was a perfect storm in a tea cup.
It was condemned as “utterly inappropriate” and “insensitive” by a victims’ group and there were demands for the game to be banned.
Rainer Wagner, head of the Association for Victims of Communist Tyranny (UOKG), said that the game trivialises the trauma and suffering of those who tried to escape East Germany.
However, demand for the game brought down servers following its release over the weekend, a spokesman for the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design told Reuters .
But it seems that the game was not all that bad. It was written by Jens Stober, a 24-year-old who created the game as part of his university degree.
Stober said that there has been a misunderstanding between the game’s intentions and how it has been perceived. Border guards are transported forward to the year 2000 and put on trial for any crimes.
Michael Bielicky, a professor of digital media at Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design, said that the game was not a shoot-’em-up as it was first sensationalised in the press.
Instead, it enables a younger generation to access information on recent German history using a medium familiar to them.
Far from the game forcing ‘border soldiers’ to shoot the ‘refugees,’ they can only “win” if they don’t.
It looks like the press with its desire to make the perils of computer games the problem of the 21st century, is going to make itself look stupid as it blasts the good with the bad.