Why Gaming Loves WW2

World War II and gaming seem to go together like bread and butter. While some people are tired of playing the same old era time after time, others can’t get enough. I, for one, am one of those people who will gladly buy a GOOD WW2 game just to play through another take on the era. Granted, I love that time in history (and I use love in a more historical sense) so my opinion might be a little biased. But the fact of the matter is that WW2 games must be doing something right for companies to keep making them.

Now, we can’t bring up WW2 without mentioning the Call of Duty series. While COD wasn’t the first company to do WW2, they were one of the first companies to start refining the genre. No other company before COD had put out an amazing WW2 first person shooter. I know most of you are thinking “what about Battlefield 1942?!” All I can say is that I am going to get to it shortly, so get your panties out of a knot.

The reason I mention COD first is because all that game focused on was the infantryman. There were no planes to fly, no boats to drive, and no artillery pieces to fire. COD was all about feeling what it was like to be in WW2 as a grunt on the front lines.

Battlefield 1942 provided an entirely different experience. The reason I bring it up second is because BF1942, after a while, didn’t feel like it was about WW2. Sure, the maps, guns, and models were all WW2 based…but the game just became a game after a while. You really could have put any time period in the BF1942 engine and called it whatever you wanted. While it may seem that this is something that sounds negative about the game, in fact it is quite the opposite. The ability of a game to provide gamers with an experience of playing a game for its mechanics screams ‘successful title’ to me.

I want to move on from the beginning of the genre though and talk about the recent past / future. Why is it that we can’t get enough of WW2? Is it because the graphics keep getting better? Is it because we are constantly given new vehicles and weapons to play with? Or is it because it was one of the most fascinating and brutal times in history and game creators couldn’t think of a better stage for a video game? I think it is all of the above.

So what if I play Wake Island for the 1,500th time. If you provide me with new weapons, new game mechanics, and a new experience, I am totally down for playing anything that many times.

Frankly, WW2 provides a setting when men were at their finest. They had no special powers, no special weapons, and no special technology. All they had were their cumbersome machines, their steel and wooden weapons, and their love for their country. If you can think of another time in history that provides a better setting for an epic video game, by all means let me know. But until that time, I am going to keep buying and enjoying (most) anything in the WW2 genre.

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- Tyler (Chiko)

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