Best of 2011 – Reviews From The Future: Video Gaming in Germany

Nominated by Markuz and Lorna

As has been previously established, I have access to a Time Machine. However, it only follows that it can only go back as far as to when it was created, and can only travel as far as to when the machine stops existing. Now, while I’ve been using the Time Machine to boost my internet credibility to bring you reviews of games… from the future… handling all the fame I presumably have by now is undoubtedly going to be an arduous task.

Crowds gather in Berlin's Tiergarten as iconic gaming effigies are set alight. Toxic fumes followed.

As is customary for anyone who has had the tiniest bit of fame, and therefore thinks that they’re super important and that what they say matters, I’m going to pretend that this somehow gives me the right to preach my views and tell you how to live your lives. As GamingLives’ self imposed Bono, it’s now my job to tell you about the horrors of things and then make you feel like you have to take action over something I could easily help solve myself with my fat sacks of cash if I wasn’t such a massive hypocrite by putting my money in Dutch bank accounts to avoid paying higher taxes. So, while I board one of my three private jets to one of my seven homes, I’m going to tell you about something terrible that happens in the future.

While we know of the censorship that hits videogames in Germany, it’s probably harder to live with that if you’re an actual videogamer actually living in actual Germany. I come to you with a warning from the future thanks to my good friend Jan (Jack) Klama, who documented what happened to him and had it delivered to me so I could send it back to the past to warn everyone (and also gain mad e-cred). My future self also saw fit to review some of the games mentioned in the article to reduce the distress caused by the horrors detailed. His words are in italics, while mine are not.

An actual German gamer

Hello World, it’s me again, Jack. Maybe you remember me, I once helped Edward with his radio show… good old times. My last few days were pretty hard and I’m glad I’m still alive. I wrote down my experiences to warn the world, to show the madness that’s going on in the country that used to be my home. Don’t listen to the media, they’re lying! This is the future of videogaming in Germany.

It all began with the release of “Gears Of War 3”. After the extreme censorship of “Bioshock 3” and the following Great Internet War, German gamers were tired of all this censorship madness, but the German government didn’t care. On the day of the European “Gears of War 3” release they closed down all videogame stores, privatized them and started to release their own games like “Growing Grass” and the add-on “Watering Fun Time – Now with even MORE Photosynthesis!”. It was horrible; I still have to throw up when I think about it. “Animal Hugger” needed a major update since some animals seemed to have overly sharp claws.

Growing Grass II
This was a major hit among young people indoctrinated by the government, as well as old people who didn’t know any better. While it improved on many of the problems of the first edition of Growing Grass, many felt that it was in fact as much fun as watching paint dry. However, Growing Grass II was met with a lot of controversy when it was discovered that you were able to kill insects with insecticides. The Government finally pulled the game to stop the violence and to protect the children. The original artwork was banned for being too racy (which you can see in the enlargement to the right) and was replaced by the less offensive ‘ladybird’ cover. The German Government gave out free bug zappers to everyone that summer.

The top 3 video games chart in Germany just before the wars looked like this:

3: “Walk Pro”
2: “Paint That Wall”
1: “Conversation Simulator”
(These charts are obviously faked by the government.)

Walk Pro
This was a big hit among those aiming to keep fit. It involved a converted dance mat and a pedometer in order to keep track of how much walking you did. The aim was to walk so much that you’d become the Walk Pro. However, the game was not without issue, as it didn’t really do that much to keep you fit. When confronted with said accusations, the makers of the game told people to “It’s the exact same thing as walking in real life!”. Some felt it was just rewards when the game was eventually pulled because it was possible to trample grass and plants in the game, killing them in the process. The kids that were sent outside as a punishment spent most of their free time trying to set fire to ants with magnifying glasses.

The gamers weren’t amused at all. We first tried to get our games by importing them from other countries but that became illegal very quickly. The police raided my house and destroyed my PC, consoles and all my videogames. I’m shivering when I think of the way that policeman stepped on my copy of “GTA: Moonbase Mayhem”. After that we started demonstrations to show our force.

We stood united to show the world we wouldn’t take it anymore. It was peaceful at first, but then we got attacked by the military. Street riots everywhere, smoke grenades versus cobbles, water cannons versus Molotov cocktails, German versus German. It was horrible; I never saw so much blood, not even in “Resident Evil 7”. And I don’t mean pixelblood, I mean real, warm human blood. All of my German Steam buddies died in this one last, big fight. Rest in peace H34d*HuNt3R, rest in peace…

Paint That Wall!
Yet another instant casual classic, Paint That Wall! swept the charts and took a long time to be dislodged from the number one spot. You played a series of different painters from various nationalities, trying to paint as many walls as you could within a given time. Critics slammed it, saying that it was about as interesting and fun as watching grass grow, however it generated a lot of controversy when the German Government falsely believed that children would be able to sniff the fumes and chemicals from the game in order to get high. Impressionable, and disappointed, kids therefore sniffed glue instead and ended up with sticky noses.

The game, as well as its developers, Tedium, somehow even managed to get past the controversy over the fact that certain immigrants in the game would spend a lot of time waiting for the paint to dry, and it could have been considered as an offensive jibe or insinuation that immigrants were lazy.

Outlawed poster, German and English versions

Similar outcries were heard when a cheat was discovered whereby opting to play as a Polish contractor would bring about a 10% increase in speed, cited as an “unfair advantage”, resulting in an emergency meeting at the Reichstag where it was demanded that all Poles be removed immediately, at whatever cost.

Those issues didn’t cause the game to be banned. What did, however, was when the marketing department at Tedium created that, now famous, “Missing The Wall?” campaign petitioning for a giant wall to be built in Berlin for people to paint. Shown to the left are the English and German posters, rescued from a boarded up store front on Kurfürstendamm.

I survived and fleed to Austria.
It wasn’t easy to get here; the military was after me, they tried to kill the leftovers and hide any evidence. I had to hide in the woods, but thank god I had my Nintendo DSi XXL Deluxe Premium Super Mega Beamer Edition with me. I was able to hide it in… well I was able to hide it. After almost two weeks of running and hiding I made it over the Austrian border, dirty and exhausted. A nice farmer helped me by harbouring me and telling me how to get to Vienna. And I tell you, it’s like the gamer’s paradise here. Censorship? Nowhere! Overpriced games? Are you kidding? When I entered a videogame store I hugged the seller and told him “I love you man, I love you.”. After being kicked out of there I went to the next internet café and wrote this, since I knew that Edward had this time machine thing he always talked of.

Conversation Simulator
A shockingly addictive game that became one of the best selling games in Germany. Ever. The game allowed you to actually converse with people as if you were actually there, actually talking to them. It soon overtook real conversations and all other forms of communication, despite being heavily based on the Facebook chat system used in your present time. It came under heavy fire as it was possible to have arguments with people, especially in the multiplayer mode, and was eventually pulled after causing real life violence due to how frustrating and utterly broken it was. Shortly thereafter, people resumed using the internet and mobile phones to communicate with each other whilst still avoiding all conversation in real life.

So that was the story of Jan Klama, and how he coped in a dystopian future ruled by government censorship with a major bias against videogames. But it doesn’t have to be this way. By donating money to GamingLives’ special charity “The GamingLives Charity To Stop Things From Happening That May Happen One Day, Maybe”, you help make sure that we’ll probably think about getting around to perhaps try and solve the problem eventually. Your money happiness is very important to us. I’ll leave you with some final choice words by Jan.

People of the past, listen good! Videogaming isn’t a crime, even if the old people tell you so. Play your videogames with pride, rise your controllers to show that you’re here. It’s not important what party you belong to, if it’s Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony or any other one. Feel the united pride – the pride of Gamers.
Jan Klama.

Last five articles by Edward


There are no comments, yet.

Why don’t you be the first? Come on, you know you want to!

Leave a Comment