Germany softens ban on Nazi symbols in computer games

Lester Mason
August 10, 2018

Now though, German authorities have granted the Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body (USK) the power to issue age ratings to titles containing any such imagery.

The USK, which is tasked with regulating age ratings and game content, had previously deemed that the game broke German law by depicting "anti-constitutional" symbols such as the swastika.

'This has always been the case for films and with regards to the freedom of the arts, this is now rightly also the case with computer and video games'.

The lifting of the ban on Nazi symbols, if used in a "socially adequate" way, was announced by a German industry group on Thursday. "Computer and video games have been recognized as a cultural medium for many years now, and this latest decision consistently cements that recognition in terms of the use of unconstitutional symbols as well".

Because movies are deemed works of art, they are exempt from the ban, similar to material used in research, historical or scientific purposes. This led to an uproar in the gaming community demanding that games should be treated like films. Computer games will now be assessed in the same way.

When games like that make it to Germany, they usually have to be very careful of Nazi imagery.

In the German version of the newest edition of the game, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, images of Adolf Hitler were changed to remove his mustache and the swastika was replaced with an alternative symbol in the Nazi flag.

Computer games featuring Nazi symbols such as the swastika could now be sold in Germany after the game classification body lifted the longstanding ban.

The double standard between video games and other media has also lead to some interesting juxtapositions.

In an April decision on Bundesfighter (as reported by Lexology), Germany's attorney general ruled that the art exemption does apply to the game. "Many games produced by creative, dedicated developers address sensitive topics such as the Nazi era in Germany, and they do so in a responsible way that encourages reflection and critical thinking".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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