People in Germany May Start Seeing Nazi Imagery in Some Video Games

Hitler's toothbrush moustache was digitally removed from the German version of WW2-themed video game Wolfenstein II

In a landmark move, Germany has made video games featuring "unconstitutional" symbols and themes - including Nazi imagery - eligible for release in the region.

The Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body (USK), which is responsible for issuing age ratings for video games, said they will ensure the policy shift doesn't promote Nazism. This section is written to assess whether or not "those symbols [Nazi imagery] serve an artistic or scientific goal, or depict current or historical events".

USK Managing Director Elisabeth Secker added that games which clearly express opposition to the unconstitutional organisation or its ideology, for example, could be considered "socially adequate".

There was controversy in Germany over the shooter game "Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus", which is set in a fictional 1961 after the Nazis won World War Two, because it appeared without swastikas and Hitler's moustache in Germany.

For instance, in the German versions of the famous Wolfenstein series, images of Adolf Hitler had to be altered to remove his mustache and the swastikas replaced with a triangular symbol.

This was not the only game to be censored under German rules for their use of Nazi symbols as so were "Call of Duty: Black Ops, ' 'South Park: The Stick of Truth" and 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade'.

The USK, which was given responsibility for policing content by Germany's youth protection services, also said that games themed on the Nazi era would be subject to an age limit.

In practice, the decision means the USK will be able to assess relevant games on a case-by-case basis, with the aim of finding out whether a "social adequacy clause" can be applied. This has been the case for other forms of media, such as film, for years now.

Secker said the general ban on symbols of unconstitutional organizations nonetheless remained in place.

The lifting of the ban on Nazi symbols, if used in a "socially adequate" way, was announced by a German industry group on Thursday.

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