Team Centrenaut: Espionaut

 

Hello all,

Team Centrenaut presents:

Espionaut, a game set in World War II that allows the player to become a spy that has infiltrated the ranks of the Nazis. Our game takes place before the infamous D-Day invasion. In real life the WWII spies that had successfully become Nazi soldiers were given three objectives to accomplish before D-Day. To change the believed date and location of the invasion, and also, to spread rumors of larger assault that would take place after the first.  Our game is an RPG that allows the player to attempt to accomplish the same goals. The player’s success with these objectives determines the outcome of the invasion in the game. Would you be able to successfully trick the Nazis?

Here are the Members of Team Centrenaut:

Alex Wright is a First-Year at Centre college from Knoxville, TN. He enjoys all times of games, but some of this favorites are Binding of Isaac, Borderlands 2, Skyrim, and the Fallout series. With this project, Alex focused on learning how to use RPG Maker. He did some map design, but mostly put in all of the dialogue and events in the game.

Clay Hundley is a First Year Student from Louisville, KY. He enjoys playing Rocket League, Fortnite, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege. Clay focused on the referencing part of the game. Rather it be books, movies, or videogames, he found them. He wishes he could’ve found more references for the team.

Jordan Cordoba is a First Year at Centre college. He is from Murfreesboro,Ten. He plays football at Centre as well. He enjoys playing video games and hanging out with friends. Jordan’s part in making the game included some mapping for the game and historical research.

Yue Feng is a First-Year student at Centre College. She is from mainland China. Her favorite games are all from Blizzard, including World of Warcraft, Heroes of the storm, Hearthstone. Yue mainly does the research jobs in the group, collects the historical contexts from the books.

Rachel Morgan is a First-Year student from Pikeville, KY. Every game she plays is her favorite game for about a week, but the ones that have endured are the Mafia series games, Skyrim, and the Fallout series. For this project, Rachel worked on crafting narrative and dialogue for the game.

 

Here are the sources we used for our game:

Belchem, David. Victory in Normandy. London: Chatto & Windus, 1981.

Dolski, Michael, Sam Edwards, John Buckley, and Michael Dolski. D-Day in History and Memory: The Normandy Landings in International Remembrance and Commemoration. Denton, TX: University of North Texas Press, 2014.

Kross, Peter. The Encyclopedia of World War II Spies. New York: Barricade, 2003.

Masterman, John Cecil. The Double-Cross System in the War of 1939 to 1945. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1972.

Mosier, John. Cross of Iron: The Rise and Fall of the German War Machine, 1918-1945. New York: Holt Paperbacks, 2007.

Persico, Joseph. Roosevelt’s Secret War. New York: Random House International, 2003.

Who’s Who in Nazi Germany. 4th ed. Central Intelligence Agency, 2001.

 

Everyone on Team Centrenaut thoroughly enjoy working on this game and this project. We all worked hard to create a game that is a window into the inter-workings of World War II. Our main goal was for the player to have fun playing our game, but also to learn something. Our group worked incredibly well together and there was never an issue. Everyone committed to a single vision and helped to ensure that we accomplished it. With that said, our group’s appreciation of both History and Video Game has been greatly increased after this class. Thank you to Dr. Harney for all of the help, and to anyone else that contributed to Espionaut.

Nazi Germany: The Survival of Günter Schmidt

Team Decision Makers

Nazi Germany: The Survival of Günter Schmidt is impacted by Operation Valkyrie which was the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler and overthrow the Nazi Party. Take part in the events that lead up to July 20, 1944, and make your contribution to your beloved country. Each choice you make will influence the outcome of the game and the survival of Günter Schmidt. Will you be the Hero that causes Operation Valkyrie to succeed? Or will you be the cause of its downfall? Or will you choose to join the Nazis in trying to stop the plan from being successful? You control your own destiny! The importance of historical accuracy in our game attributes to the experience that each player will have. The decisions you make leading up to the finale will be based on your own perspective and the need to survive. Nazi Germany: The Survival of Günter Schmidt is a point and click adventure game that will allow the player to create their own ending to World War II. Best of luck!

 

Members:

Kaden Gervacio- Centre Freshman from Boyle Co, Kentucky. He enjoys playing sports games and shooters. He particularly likes RPG and games where you have to create your own story in that universe.

Logan Wolf- Freshman from Cincinnati, Ohio. He enjoys sports games and shooters, especially Call of Duty. Huge fan of history related games and maps that take part in famous locations especially places from World War 2.

Fisher Evans- Freshman from Boyle County Kentucky. Enjoys shooter games as well as survival games. Big fan of games that allow the story to not be obvious or upfront and need to be discovered by the player (especially Subnautica)

Will Ahrens- Freshman from Sandersville, Georgia. He is a big fan or sports games such as Madden and The Show and first-person shooter games such as Call of Duty.

Edward Lee Major- Freshman from Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Enjoys strategy games, first-person shooters, and free-roam games. He finds interest in the underlying theme of the games and the storyline they follow.

 

Important Sources to Reference:

Bartov, Omer, and Mazal Holocaust Collection. 1991. Hitler’s Army: Soldiers, Nazis, and War in the Third Reich. New York: Oxford University Press.

Fraser, David. 1993. Knight’s Cross: A Life of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. 1St U.S. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Grant, Bennington. “Just How Historically Accurate Was Tom Cruise’s Valkyrie?” CHARGE! May 23, 2018. https://watchcharge.com/just-how-historically-accurate-was-tom-cruises-valkyrie/.

Manvell, Roger, Heinrich Fraenkel, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, and Mazal Holocaust Collection. 1965. Himmler. First American. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

The History Place – World War II in Europe Timeline. http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/hitleryouth/hj-boy-soldiers.htm.

Weale, Adrian. 2012. The S.S.: A New History. London: Abacus.

Valkyrie. 2008. MGM.

 

In all, Team Decision Makers was able to enjoy Centre Term and still create a good game that focuses on moral dilemma throughout history. Our group met multiple times over break to discuss the plan for the week and to set short-term goals. The group’s dynamic provided a variety of perspectives throughout the game creation process. This variety attributed to the ten outcomes of Günter Schmidt’s life and the impact they have on the German state. The combination of our group members helped our group create an experience for players that will give them the opportunity to be a part of history. The Decision Makers would like to thank all of the contributors to our game and hope players enjoy their experience!

 

The Centrenauts: “I Don’t Know” and Solving the Unsolvable

Happy Almost-Friday Everyone!

Today, The Centrenauts did what we normally do: we wrote dialogue, designed maps, worked on our portfolio, and continued research. However, today there was a certain weight over us. Earlier on in the class, Yue gave her presentation and, during the Q&A at the end, she was asked why Juan Pujol García wasn’t accepted as a spy by the British government. Yue gave the only answer she could and that any of us would have given: “I don’t know.” Dr. Harney quickly assured that that was a perfectly acceptable answer—and it most definitely is—but hearing that “I don’t know” really brought to attention all of the “I don’t know”s that comes with our project.

Our game is about a spy during World War II and Operation Bodyguard. But, what did a spy actually do during the war? Specifically, how did they collect and return information, how did they relay false information, and how did they keep their covers? I only have one answer to that question: I don’t know. There’s no way of knowing what an undercover agent did during the war, as it was and likely still is classified information. Methods, tactics, and strategy are unknown to us because there are no books that detail how exactly Juan Pujol García did what he did. The books only say that he did do it.

So, how do you make a game about the actions of a spy without knowing what exactly a spy does? With Dr. Harney’s favorite word, of course: research. While we’ll never know exactly how a spy did their job, we can get a solid idea through research. When a book says that pigeons were particularly important to a spy’s work, we can assume that these pigeons carried messages for spies. When it says that false information was relayed back to Germany, we can assume it was the spies who did the relaying. There are many assumptions that can be made if you have a good understanding of the context around a topic. So far, our group has a pretty good understanding of the contexts of Allied spies in WWII.

As we move forward, our focus shifts more to Nazi Soldiers and life in the Third Reich and that opens up even more “I don’t know”s. But, I believe our group is ready to meet the questions with no answers and give them plausible answers. With the term slowly coming to an end, we’re looking forward to keeping you updated on our progress on the game—which is directly tied to the process of solving “I don’t know” with research.

The Value of Absurdity

Happy Friday everyone,

Yesterday and today in class, we discussed some sections from Playing With The Past, a book that dissects the relationship between history and video games. Within these sections, the idea of counter-factual history in video games was presented. Specifically, it mentioned the Assassin’s Creed series and DLC that was for the third installment. Assassin’s Creed III is based in the American Revolution and follows the Native American character Connor as his involvement in the war increases. The DLC was called The Tyranny of King Washington, and yes, it calls Washington “King.”

In this DLC, George Washington sets up a monarchy in “The United Kingdom of American” and declares himself the king. I remember when I first saw this DLC’s trailer back in 2012, my mind was blown. What an insane idea, I just played this game where I help the 13 Colonies overthrow the British, and now I had to fight George Washington! My 12-year-old mind exploded a little, but why?

This DLC is the definition of counter-factual. In reality, a democracy was put in place, and a monarchy would have gone against everything the founders believed in. This part of history had been crammed into my mind over and over again by teachers reading out of a textbook with Washington’s face on the cover. The idea of Washington being the enemy was different and exciting, subconsciously I started running through the history I knew to be true and then asking, “what if?”. A part of history that had previously been just another section in a textbook was now revitalized.

That is the power of video games. They allow one to “play” with history and to engage with it, instead of just reading facts. The question of “why?” is extremely power in history, as we have learned in this class. With this DLC in mind, why even do something like this? Granted, it is mostly for monetary value, but I think that it also has educational value. It helped little 12-year-old me to consider how a different system of government would affect America and then to visualize that difference in the game. This is undeniably valuable, even if the concept of the DLC is absurd.

Image result for assassin's creed 3 washington's tyranny

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