Thursday, August 13, 2009

What's the Deal With World War II?

What's the Deal With World War II?: "


A look at videogames and wars of the 20th century

By Scott Sharkey

"Another WWII shooter" has long since passed beyond the point of being mere clich&eaute; to becoming something almost entirely meaningless -- so common there's little point in even pointing it out. The sun came up in the East today, the ocean is kind of wet, and we stormed the beach at Normandy for the five hundredth time this week. It's not until we remember, based on the minimal attention we paid in history class, that there were a crapload of other wars fought over the last century or so that it starts to feel a little odd that the second World War gets such disproportionate representation in gaming. In fact, performing a casual census of game releases since 1980 and checking them against 20th century American conflicts is more than a little startling:

The obvious question is, 'Why?' Part of the answer lies in the dates the games were released, which reveals a huge spike in WWII titles around the late '90s. While games were always heavily weighted toward WWII before that point, over two-thirds of the titles on the list were released after 1998, and almost all of them have been first-person shooters. It's true that more games of all kinds were being published by then than in the industry's younger days, but the number of titles set in other wars actually decreases at that point. Perhaps more tellingly, a large percentage of the games on the list represent only a few franchises:


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