Wolfenstein: The New Order supersoldier

Dieselpunk Games’ Obsession with Nazi Supersoldiers

During World War II, German scientists synthesized anabolic steriods and experimented on concentration camp inmates and prisoners of war in an attempt to treat chronic wasting. Experiments were allegedly conducted on German soldiers to increase their aggression and agility, however, there is no evidence whatsoever that something like an Übersoldier (a play on the Nazis’ idealized Übermensch) was ever in the making — let alone created.

Yet “supersoldiers” keep appearing in video games. Continue reading “Dieselpunk Games’ Obsession with Nazi Supersoldiers”

Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon

Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon
Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon

When one says that Atlus’ Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon is set in an alternate history Japan where the Taisho era (1912-26) has continued on into the 1930s, one might expect this alternate history setting to play heavily into the plot of the game. “How would Japan be different if the Taisho era had not given way to the strong militarism of the 1930s that foreshadowed Japan’s involvement in World War II?”

For better or worse, this is not the case. The story is, instead, highly reminiscent of detective novels of that era, such as the Kindaichi series written by Seishi Yokomizo, but with the addition of the standard theme of all Shin Megami Tensei games: demons, devils, and dark magic. Continue reading “Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon”

Wolfenstein

Wolfenstein
Wolfenstein

The Wolfenstein series has been around since 1981 for the Apple II computer. Things have much changed since then, though, and the games have seen many incarnations across numerous platforms with ever different plots.

The latest is for the Playstation 3 and fits in with the more modern plotline of Wolfenstein’s canon (which builds on the 1990s game Wolfenstein 3D and the later sequel, Return to Castle Wolfenstein) and like them is a first-person shooter. Continue reading “Wolfenstein”

Iron Storm

Iron Storm
Iron Storm

With the gaming marketplace dominated by a glut of World War II-themed shooters, it is always refreshing to see titles experiment with depictions of obscure or allohistorical conflicts.

While Iron Storm, created by defunct French developer 4x Studio and released in 2002, takes the First World War as its starting point, it borrows and combines elements from the long history of twentieth-century warfare to create a darkly surreal experience that should surely appeal to particularly the dieselpunk enthusiast.

Rather appropriately, Iron Storm is set in an odd little history that would warm the heart of a 1920s pulp novelist. Continue reading “Iron Storm”

Killzone

Killzone 2
Killzone 2

Besides tulips and cannabis, the Netherlands now has a more colorful, and perhaps even more addictive, export product: the video game Killzone, developed by the Amsterdam-based Guerilla Games.

The first Killzone shooter was released back in November 2004 and, in spite of average reviews, sold more than two million copies worldwide. In just a few days, on February 27, the third game in the franchise will go on sale and already over one million have been preordered in Europe alone.

So what is all the fuss about? Continue reading “Killzone”

BioShock

BioShock
BioShock

One of the risks that any genre faces is that by defining its boundaries too rigidly, it ends up telling the same story over and over again.

2K Games’ BioShock, while firmly dieselpunk, manages to avoid the obvious settings of the 1930s metropolis or World War II and stays original and unusual while making elements of both backgrounds integral to its own bizarre, self-contained world. Continue reading “BioShock”