Historical Accuracy of Call of Duty World War II

For the past week and a half, I have been thinking about the historical validity of various video games. Mainly Call of Duty World at War. I have played this game for a few hours and have actively thought about many historical aspects of the game. I have also looked at the portrayal of the Nazis. Juxtaposing online multiplayer and campaign, it is instantly apparent that campaign is more historically realistic than online multiplayer. Although the campaign is more accurate than multiplayer, it is still historically inaccurate. Both game modes over glorify war by making fighting into a competition. For the most part, a player’s score is based on how many kills a player gets. I have noticed that the two game modes diverge from reality on many occasions, most notably with customization. In online, the main way to show ones skill is through gun camouflage. This is not historically accurate. One of the most prestigious camouflages in the game is solid gold. Preliminary research into whether or not soldiers used vibrant camouflages on their guns show it did not happen. The historical accuracy of online multiplayer is so limited, a review pointing out all of the flaws would be too long for a blog post. Therefore, I will focus mostly on the campaign. The campaign is thoroughly enjoyable and very marketable as well. War is over-glorified in campaign mode, which likely one of the reasons the game is enjoyable. The game wouldn’t have been as fun if it was less action packed, which makes the over-glorification of the game understandable for marketing purposes. Another inaccuracy of the game is the type of weapons used. On campaign, many German soldiers used Russian weapons, which is historically inaccurate. One common occurrence is on the Western Front, many German soldiers used the PPSh-41. The PPSh-41 is a Russian weapon and was never used by the German forces. There also weren’t any swastikas on German soldiers’ fatigues. The use of swastikas was blocked in the United States, Canada, and in Germany. This is interesting because many other countries heavily affected by Nazi influence have the swastika in the game. The swastika is still very taboo throughout the world, but is still especially stigmatized by the Germans and the North Americans.

I asked one of my friends about his thoughts regarding the historical accuracy of the game. He said, “I have never really thought about it, I just like the combat and first person shooter aspects of the game.” He went on to agree that the game is over-dramatized and over-glorified.

I believe that it is interesting to think about the historical significance of games, rather than mindlessly running around shooting people.

Group update: Team Senseless violence is making rapid progress. We have begun to write dialogue and are edging closer to the use of twine. Hard work and camaraderie have been good catalysts for Team Senseless Violence.

All the best,

Leland Gray

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