Watching internet Nazis get mad at Wolfenstein II is sadder than the game’s actual dystopia

The white nationalist alt-right is upset about Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, a game about fighting Nazis who control America in an alternate 1961. No one is surprised by this reaction, and coverage of it is one part schadenfreude, one part reminder that the new white supremacy hasn’t strayed far from its horrific roots. While these reminders are useful, the fact that Bethesda made racists mad is less interesting than watching the entire saga play out in the trailer’s YouTube comment section.

Like many unmoderated comment sections, the Wolfenstein II trailer is the purest argument against the notion that a marketplace of ideas will improve the world. It’s a free-for-all between people who don’t know or care about each other, can’t figure out who’s serious, and are having their entire debate under a video about a man named “B.J. Blazkowicz” who’s been fighting cyborg Nazis since before many of them were born.

Warning: graphic hate speech and offensive language ahead.

The saddest thing about Wolfenstein’s YouTube comments isn’t the offended white supremacists. It’s the fact that in 2017 you can write “I can’t wait to kill some Nazis in a video game” as though that’s a meaningful political stance — which is exactly what a lot of the most popular comments are about. The second saddest thing is that you’ll be proven right by someone named “Pepe Von Europa.”

Of course, the offended white supremacists are there, too, like this one, who appears to find the notion of Nazis losing a war unrealistic.

And a lot of racists are very upset about the fact that the game includes a black female character.

Beyond the overt slurs, you get dogwhistles like “Black Lives Matter overtone,” which is usually code for “acknowledging that racism in America exists.”

A few people were spoiling to take the alt-right / antifa street fights of the past few months online.

But who’s serious here? To some extent it doesn’t matter — an ironic Nazi is still a Nazi. But Poe’s Law is out in full force, so things that seem like obvious mockeries of the alt-right get taken for the real article as well.

Fortunately, some people got on the same Nazi-killing page after a while.

This confusion matters, because people use these comments to gauge the influence of the alt-right, and a parody that falls flat isn’t the same as someone using “it’s a joke” to say something they really believe. When I went to check a comment calling Nazis “a bunch of people you disagree with,” I saw a follow-up apparently disavowing the statement — both posts seem to have disappeared since then, so I’ve followed up with the user on Reddit to clarify.

And not every dumb statement about Nazis is part of a white supremacist resurgence. “Never mind Nazis, what about communism?” isn’t an alt-right position, it’s an embarrassingly canned old-school conservative talking point. And, as another commenter points out, not a great one in video games.

Even the replies from apparent national socialists are more complicated than “Bethesda made the alt-right mad.” Nazis have guilty pleasures, too, I guess.

Sometimes you find a little oasis of meaningful criticism, like this takedown of Nazis having a monopoly on national pride.

And the vast majority of people who responded to Pepe Von Europa found him ridiculous.

But really, the best lesson you can take out of the past days of Wolfenstein commentary is that most people aren’t Nazis, which is a depressingly low bar. Overall, this is a pretty good summary of events.

We’re hoping to get a chance to try Wolfenstein II at E3. Hopefully we’ll find fighting the Nazis there a lot more satisfying.


I love the guy bemoaning that "Wolfenstein should be the most offensive game." Since when? Wolfenstein since W3D has been about gruesomely killing Nazis. Yeah, that was majorly offensive in 1992, but that’s nothing these days. Does he think Duke Nukem and Wolfenstein are the same?

What? You did not play Wolfenstein 2 on the Commodore 64? Newb

Let garbage be garbage, don’t create more divisions by giving this type of content a platform or headline.

I go back and forth on that. The alt-right and alt-left are so tiny in numbers so it would be easy to ignore them, but at the same time, as small as they are, they both seem to be causing violence. So it’s probably best to mock them as much as we can.

#KillingNazis #KillingCommies

There is no such entity as the alt-Left, that’s bullshit by the alt-right to make it seem like they have someone to fight when they are actually just racists hiding behind a new banner.

I disagree. I abhor the alt-right, they are truly awful. At the same time there is a growing regressive left that hurts progressivism.

The Alt-left or whatever the hell it is. Doesn’t come from a history of murdering and terrorizing minorities so. Not comparable at any way.

Tell the people who had to clean up after the Berkeley riots that. Seemed like terrorizing to me

Show me all the people who got lynched at the Berkeley riots. I’ll wait.

Wow, strawman much? Yes past and current oppression of any and all people’s are disgusting. The alt-right has no place in modern discourse.

Your waving away of the seriousness of the regressive left is also problematic. People were injured and property on the campus was burned just because some loser right winger Milo was going to give a speech. If that is how you suggest we respond to those we disagree with nothing will ever heal.

This thread proves Americans in general are greatly confused about politics, spectrums, axes, and charts.

Not a strawman. You act like the "alt-right" is just as dangerous as the "alt left" and that’s just bs. The "alt-left" has already been given political power and histroy showed what they are capable. Taking some property burning hooligans and painting them as the equal opposite is bs and I won’t stand for it. The Alt-left are the sympathizers of Nazis, KKK, and white supremacy and patriarchy. What do the "alt-right" represent? Sjws and keyboardwarriors?

I don’t want to continue to hijack this thread so this will be my last reply.

I didn’t say the two were equivalent, but that they were both problematic which they are. If you don’t see that I don’t know how to help you. "Property burning hooligans" have no place in modern discourse as the alt-right does not. I would agree the alt-right are the worse at this time because the alt-right currently occupies the presidency. However, the alt-left does not represent modern progressivism and as such I reject it and what it stands for. You can reject the alt-right and left at the same time. The world doesn’t exist in binaries.

Tell that to the families of police officers killed in Dallas a year ago. There is an alt-left as devistating and problematic as the alt-right. I know "progressives" unable to articulate their positions to a conservative without descending to rage, anger and near violence.

Hmm. Still not an equivalent. unless there are thousands of police officers being round up tortured and killed, then no. Still not an equivalence.

Wait, what? Those police officers weren’t killed by radical leftists. Are you just grouping any people you don’t like under the banner of a made-up fringe organization?

What do you call the violent rioters at Stanford? just leftists?

Anti-Fa, a reactionary group to the rise of the neo-nazi Alt Right. Its about the same size as Ancap (anarcho capitalists, a small subsection of the far right).

There’s a very small group of super far authoritarian left, that gets a lot of media attention, and does need some addressing, but its much much smaller than the Alt-Right/white nationalist/gamergate movements that have a ton of overlap, and feed eachother with propaganda and have among the same people helping to guide what was once a small thing into something much larger. Its quite dangerous.

How dare you throw gamergate into the same group as racist. This is the problem, no one cares enough to actually get the facts right.

Gamergate: A movement meant to attack bad journalism and ppl who didn’t tell the truth when distributing information about gaming culture. Some ppl too it too far the same way Antifa did at Berkeley.

Please don’t compare gamers to racist.

Gamergate: A movement meant to attack bad journalism and ppl who didn’t tell the truth when distributing information about gaming culture.

Then why wasn’t there that rise to all the old gaming media like Nintendo Power that directly published company information?

GamerGate had nothing to do with Game Journalism, and entirely to do with the perceived threat to white male’s bubble. It went after largely women, and almost all the youtube videos of popular Gamergate promoters offer recommended videos to very alt-right, neonazi, and ancap promoters.

You really can’t in any way suggest the movements aren’t connected.

I mean…I challenge you to look at any random Youtube video with over 100k views and comments enabled that aren’t filled with hot garbage and hate.

I don’t think there’s anything remotely unique about the Wolfenstein 2 video.


Edit: I think most sensible gaming companies (not many) keep comments disabled and just use youtube to host videos. Afterall, what value is there really in enabling toxic commentary?

Well, this is why I tell people "we don’t want YouTube comments" here on site.

Also, can’t understand why people (who have played The New Order, at least) would be salty about women in the resistance, especially Anya, considering there was that whole subplot in the first game where you find out that "Anya’s cousin" was a gleefully remorseless and prolific recreational Nazi mass-murderer, which was finally explored in detail at the end of the trailer for The New Colossus.

Thank you to all moderators for your hard work. Its noticed.

Why, thank you! We aim to clean!

Like many unmoderated comment sections, the Wolfenstein II trailer is the purest argument against the notion that a marketplace of ideas will improve the world.

Anonymity is the key ingredient, actually.

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