After white nationalist Richard Spencer got punched during Trump's inauguration, even The New York Times asked if it's okay to punch Nazis. To highlight what some see as the inherent absurdity in this debate, game developer Ramsey Nasser used id Software’s open-source Wolfenstein assets to make Dialogue 3-D.
Where Wolfenstein 3D asks you to slay Nazis with extreme prejudice, Dialogue 3-D politely demands well-meaning liberal gymnastics before you press the trigger.
Here are some questions Dialogue 3-D forces you to ponder before defending yourself against violent Nazi soldiers:
- Has violent resistance ever solved anything?
- Is it okay to deny fascists a platform?
- Doesn’t this make you the real Nazi?
This barebones version of the 1992 MS-DOS title is not really playable, much like how nonviolent protest wasn’t exactly an option when taking the beaches of Normandy or liberating concentration camps. But Wolfenstein is the perfect venue for Nasser’s commentary, since the title helped both pioneer the shooter genre and establish Nazis as the central Bad Guys in video games.
Nazis have served us in games and film as the most convenient punching bag for righteous zealots of liberal democracy, because the question are Nazis worth fighting was settled long ago. Or so it seemed.
Arguing with a group of people who are not interested in good-faith debate — and who, history and recent events show us, might be inclined toward violence — is often a fruitless exercise. So next time you play Wolfenstein, skip the weapon upgrade and go straight for the best power-up in the game: moral certitude.