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Rush’s Morning Update: Games?
October 4, 2010

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A 23-year-old student in Germany has created a firestormover a video game he produced,due to be released on the 20th anniversary of German reunification.

The game is called “1378,” for the length in kilometers of the border between East and West Germany during the Cold War. Players have the option of assuming the role of an East German border guardand are awarded points for shooting fugitives attempting to flee East Germany. But later in the game, guards are transported to the year 2000and face trial for killing on behalf of the communist regime. The other option is for players to take the role of the fugitives. If caught, they’re either shotor imprisoned.

Jens Stober, who developed the game as part of his university degree program, defends its educational value. “Becoming an East German escapee or border guard enables players to identify with these figures,” he says. “It’s a novel way of encouraging young people to take an interest in coming to terms with recent German history.” Really?

Families of the thousand or so real human beings who died trying to escape East Germany are outraged;they say the game “makes a mockery” of the victims’ lives.

So if you think disdain for the sacrifice of innocents is a cultural norm for just American liberals– think again. What’s next for this young gamer? Graduate work producing a 9/11 game, in which players can pretend to fly planes into the World Trade Center? Imagine how much novel “fun” and “education” that would be.

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