Wolfenstein 3D pulled from App Store due to swastikas

John Carmack says Swiss and Austrian iOS storefronts no longer offer original id Software first-person shooter because of offensive symbolism.

261 Comments

While Apple allows a staggering number of programs to be sold through the iOS App Store, its iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch devices still can't be considered open platforms. A reminder of that came yesterday as John Carmack posted on Twitter that Wolfenstein 3D Classic had been pulled from the App Store in certain countries.

This screen from the iOS Wolfenstein shows some of the offending symbols.
This screen from the iOS Wolfenstein shows some of the offending symbols.

"The iOS App Stores in Switzerland and Austria just lost Wolfenstein Classic due to the offensive swastikas," Carmack wrote, following the post up with a frowning emoticon. Like the PC original, Wolfenstein 3D Classic is a first-person shooter that has players rampaging through a Nazi stronghold decorated with an abundance of swastikas.

This is neither the first time Wolfenstein 3D's imagery has caused problems for the game, nor the first time Apple has rejected a game from its store. The 1994 Super Nintendo port of Wolfenstein 3D was altered to cut some potentially offensive content, with guard dogs replaced with sewer rats and all swastikas removed. As for other games, earlier this year Apple refused to allow PopCap Games' Unpleasant Horse on the App Store, citing "mature content."

Wolfenstein 3D Classic remains available in the US App Store for $2.

GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.

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Cheddac18769

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@shanks_d_chop My comment wasn't intended to say anything bad about any country, i was pointing out that these countries were devastated by the Nazi regime and the general comments upon this thread were mostly "Hahah, Nazis r kool, don't hate on them." I was strictly trying to say that these countries were devastated by the Nazi reign of power and generally try to stray from things with Nazi involvement as seen in this game. Was trying to deter the trolls from their stupidity; not to be attacked and be called disrepectful to these nations by you. I'm not sure if you even read my comment correctly...

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fillup0

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It's because the Swastika is copyrighted by Apple.

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Ohaidere

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@shanks_d_chop Ummm, no my comment wasn't stupid and still remains true: everyone here heard of Nazis first. And uh, again, maybe you have trouble reading but one of my very first posts identified my issue, so it's not like I'm "shoving responsibility" anywhere. I stated VERY early on where I was coming from, it's not my fault you didn't bother to read.

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Shanks_D_Chop

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@Ohaidere Can I take that feeble attempt to shove responsibility for a stupid comment elsewhere as a sign that we are done here? So, back on topic... Nazis suck.

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Ohaidere

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@shanks_d_chop Well, to some extent it's the reader's fault. In the end, if someone reads a comment I make about a group and it doesn't apply to them, I'm not talking about them. There are exceptions to every social rule.

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Shanks_D_Chop

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@Ohaidere Right, so you just brought in your hostility because of a perceived link between people pointing out something that does happen to be true and a bunch of people who aren't really worth the time of day? Yeah, Rovelius called you out, to an extent, but to respond with such amazing arrogance and presumption... When you make such an absolute statement such as that, you can only be wrong, ultimately. This is the point I have been trying to make.

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Ohaidere

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@Shanks_d_chop I'm not trying to defend anything. The reason I mentioned the new element was to explain my knee-jerk hostility to the "Symbol o' peace" crowd. In my experience, these people are overwhelmingly the same once to jump to the defense of people having it in their profile; I should also mention, I did in fact say that this was my problem in my 3rd-4th post, so it's not all that new.

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Shanks_D_Chop

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@Ohaidere No, now you're bringing a new element in. This is your first mention of people complaining about having their Nazi swastika profile images removed etc. Also the first mention on this article. I did check all the other comments, it didn't take long. As a consolation, Rovelius was an arse too.

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Ohaidere

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@shanks_d_chop I understand your bafflement about my hostility about it. As I mentioned briefly earlier, my problem is with people who complain when their red-white-black swastika is taken out of their profiles (on let's say the most notable recent example: COD:BO) and they pull the "It's a symbol of peace!" clause--not with people who genuinely are interested in the subject of symbolic origins.

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Shanks_D_Chop

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@Ohaidere Nazis is what generally springs to mind yes. Recent history and all. But why be so bitter about it, I think it's a positive move if people are trying to talk about it's origins rather than it's more recent affiliations. Claim it back from the Nazi stigma, as it were.

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Ohaidere

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@shanks_d_chop I don't care if people mention the Swastika's origin; I've already specifically stated the group I have qualms with. Specifically, to act like it means anything other than Nazis in the modern world is patently ridiculous.

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Shanks_D_Chop

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@Ohaidere Yes, whereas your approach has no illusions about being neither smart nor original. Agreed, it would seem many people have no qualms about shamelessly bigging themselves up online. But I also, frequently, see many intelligent and thoughtful comments. Your contribution was purely to belittle anyone who mentioned the swastika's origins, whether that knowledge was gained from studying WWII at school or otherwise, in what can only be perceived as a feeble attempt to make yourself feel superior to people actually being intelligent.

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Ohaidere

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@shanks_d_chop I'm not saying no one in the entire world. I'm saying no one on GS. GS is full of contrarians who think they're smarter or more original than they actually are with the whole "TEH SWASTIKA IS FOR TEH PEECE" thing.

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Shanks_D_Chop

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@Ohaidere Really? Well, I'll bet my little toe that someone here will be able to make you eat that left nut. It's a small world with a lot of people in, at least one of them will suprise you.

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dr_jashugan

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Well, that's lame. They lose the epic battle against gun totting Hitler (the end is VERY satisfying). 8)

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Ohaidere

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@Shanks_D_Chop It's really not that stupid of a statement to make. As I said, I would bet my left nut no one here would know what as swastika was if it wasn't for the Nazis. Again, even if they were of an eastern religion, the symbol is not regularly used, so again: unless they learned college level anthropology before they learned about WW2, they learned it from the Nazis, and so did you.

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Gooeykat

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PC run amok

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DeadrisingX1

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WWII, what other symbol would you expect?

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andyslaker

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Right... the nazi flag didn't exist if they won't show it up. Maybe they can make WWII disappear too. Heck, maybe they can even make all the victims disappear too. So much stupidity.

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Yuck_Too

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I think we're making something out of nothing here...there are better things to be worrying about and doing.

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DARKNESSxEAGLE

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Now video games, later; THE WORLD!!!

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ProjektInsanity

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This is absolutely idiotic. I'm with BloodMist. I'm sick of people trying to imagine away certain, less savory moments in history by blindly attempting to ban anything that references them. You don't play as a Nazi sympathizer in this game, you KILL them. Oh, and lest we forget, it's a GAME. People really need to stop blurring these lines. Did these countries also ban Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Arc? If not, why not, hypocrites, because there are Nazis in that movie and a million others. Use your heads, please, just this once.

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Shanks_D_Chop

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@Cheddac18769 I disagree, quite strongly. Many countries were involved in WWII and all suffered greatly. To single out these two and suggest they suffered greater devastation is not only wrong but also kinda insulting to every soldier who laid down their life and every innocent civilian executed or worked to death. Not to mention that Switzerland remained independent throughout and was never outright attacked. There were some airforce skirmishes and that's about it.

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BloodMist

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Yep, pretending something that actually happened never did is really healthy for society.Anyway the swastika has been a symbol for thousands of years, used by many different cultures, and the Nazi Party just borrowed it, for anyone who doesn't know.In the grand scheme of things it has about as much to do with "evil" as the pentagram, which is to say very little.Quite the opposite in fact.But of course the status quo has made them out to be something they're not, because whatever symbols you don't use yourself are automatically wrong.

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Cheddac18769

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To my knowledge in German speaking countries and those countries effected by the previous Nazi reign, they are quite sensitive in dealing with matters that involve Nazis; for example to my knowledge it is prohibited to posses or read Hitler's "Mein Kampf" in Germany unless for research or collegial means. People posting on these forums probably don't realize the devastation that was caused to these countries; and countries such as Austria and Switzerland are apparently are highly offended still to this day. To those who are just spouting off, omgad its just a symbol get over it. We are not really affected directly by the symbol like these countries were therefore we have little feelings over the matter; and for you, the game is still available. It is only pulled in Switzerland and Austria, I'm imagining most of these comments are tl:dr or uncultured teenagers responding.

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zidan4000

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people will share it with each other through the mighty p2p.

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bushisprez

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A swastika the proud symbol of german nazis. Wolfenstein 3d is a videogame austria & switzerland get over it. Most people won't give a "sewer rat's arse" over whats decorating the walls when your blasting nazis.

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Shanks_D_Chop

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@starduke You're right, Hitler was such a c*** that he shot himself!

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payne6705

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I am sorry but that was the nazi symbol. There is nothing offensive about it all it was was the symbol for the nazi party that Hitler found during a expedition before he rose into power. Also c'mon lets be honest its frigging wolfenstein it doesn't promote nazism, you kill hitler at the end!! If they are so offended by the nazi symbol why not go after call of duty? white supremacy websites who sell the flag, the history channel (since WWII is on it 24/7) or hell why not go into the homes of the brave aging soliders who fought in that horrific war and if they kept any nazi memorabilia from the war like a flag, knife, gun why not destroy them and prosecute them for having offensive paraphernalia. Know why they won't do that? its too hard. CoD is a million dollar franchise that would have more lawyers than any celebrity could imagine. Its so much easier to pick on a app designer since they aren't as broad as console games. Stuff like this annoys me its history grow up. It was a dark time for the whole world and ignoring the symbol of one of the main reasons for WWII is just ignorant. If it had some offensive content like rape or a concentration camp then yes I would agree, but a swastika? are you serious?!

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aussiemuscle

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they should also ban the japanese navy logo and the confederate flag (that includes all instances of 'dukes of hazzard'). Aint they also 'evil' (groan).

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starduke

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Hmm, isn't the point of Wolfenstien 3D fighting the Nazis? Who, btw, did use the swastika as their symbol. In the game the Nazis are the bad guys, right? It makes sense that a game about SHOOTING NAZIS would have swastikas, esp if you're going thru their base as you shoot them. Heck, in the game, isn't the final boss Hitler or something? Somebody should've shot him in real life. It'd be different if in the game you actually played as a Nazi, and had to go around goose stepping and slaughtering Jews.

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Suikogaiden

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So they're censoring a game made 20 years ago? Well that figures.

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Shanks_D_Chop

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@ohdammit 28.2% isn't even a third. Would also be interested to see what percentage of the population actually voted too. So it could be that it's more like 20% or less, if you include all those who didn't vote. And while there is an anti-Muslim sentiment in various quarters across Europe, sad but true, this doesn't necessarily link up with Nazi sympathisers. I'd say there's also a fairly strong anti-Nazi sentiment across many nations, particularly ones that have a good WWII syllabus in schools... No, I think the chances of a Nazi revival are practically nil and in the unlikely circumstance that it does occur I feel it would be put down almost as fast as it arose. Which, ironically, would be kinda facist... And I do maintain that there's an element of shame at play simply because groups with Nazi sympathys are not unique to either of these two countries, yet no other nation is that bothered. I do believe this has alot to do with the fact that during the war Austria was allied with Nazi Germany and Switzerland... well, they say they were neutral... just don't ask where all that gold came from... I have to concede, however, that they are solely targeting this game and, like you say, not trying to censor school textbooks or films containing references. Shouldn't be suprising since video games are the popular target of outrage these days.

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isshiah

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unpleasant horse....sounds like my mother-in-law. hahaha! just kidding...i'm not married.

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Jedo

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Hah! Gamespot stuck this article here just to stir up some gamer emotions didn't they? Well guys, calm down, the world is not that bad.

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ohdammit

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@ Shanks_D_Chop: first of all - slim to none? the guy heading the party that got 17.5% in the last austrian national election (with two bigger parties getting 29% and 26%) was photographed doing a nazi salute (among many other things he has said and done). and a party even further to the right got 10.7%. that's 28.2% for nazis and nazi wannabes. now factor in the economic situation that'll only get worse and the anti-muslim sentiment that spreads out from the US all across the western world... while governments may or may not be embarrassed - much more importantly, there'll be (there is?) quite the explosive situation among citizens. and not just in austria. but... that's leading away from the issue with the game. it doesn't make sense that countries would prohibit the publishing of games containing swastikas in their own countries because of embarrassment. if that would be the case, they would have to get rid of swastikas in school books and movies and so on as well. and trust me, at least austrian school books for history class are quite full with them. there is no shortage of swastikas if they are part of critically dealing with what was going around WW2. it is just when it comes to mere amusement (or even as already mentioned political revival) that the respective governments have big problems with it.

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Shanks_D_Chop

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@ohdammit Good point, hadn't thought of it like that. I do believe shame still plays a part in this but I'm NOT suggesting that every Austrian and Swiss citizen should feel shame for their nation's roles in WWII, not in the slightest. It's understandable that they don't want a Nazi revival but, in all honesty, I think the chances of that happening are slim to absolutely none. On the other hand, just a mention of a 'Nazi youth party' in either of these countries, while not having any real effect on the nation in terms of economy or anything, would be hugely embarassing for the goverment... if I'm making sense?

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ohdammit

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@ Shanks_D_Chop: uhm... it's not about suffering... and possibly only slightly about shame. mostly, it's about the danger of appealing to nazi ideology that still remains in many countries and of course has its black heart in germany/austria. that's why in these countries, you have laws forbidding encouraging a revival of nazism. i don't agree with these measures because i think it doesn't fight the root of the problem but still, i find it understandable. especially considering that racism is on the rise again (the austrian right-wing party with healthy links to nazi groups does especially well among young people...).

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Shanks_D_Chop

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@baltim123 Exactly, so many nations suffered as a result from WWII and, by this logic, could complain about the use of Swastikas. But only Austria and Switzerland do... I wonder, how much of it is actually due to complaints from offended gamers and how much of it is Austrian and Swiss authorities being ashamed of their involvement... Reminds me of that Family Guy episode where Brian and Stewie trek across Europe... "We were invited. Punch vas served. Check vit Poland."

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Shanks_D_Chop

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@Ohaidere Some people here might have. Some of them might have had a Hindu or Buddhist upbringing. There are many other archeological findings, from across the world, that use the Swastika, suggesting it had a place in many ancient cultures. Admittedly, these are more obscure and specialist, hardly general knowledge. My point is YOU DON'T KNOW who knew what and for what reasons. I wouldn't have cared if you'd pointed out how FEW people were aware of the Swastika before learning about WWII because it IS generally true but to make such a condenscending, arrogant and sweeping statement is stupid.

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baltim123

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@Gelugon_baat i live in belgium , and i don't hear anybody complain about games with swastikas in them here . Yes , maybe germany has more reasons to hate swastikas , but still ,we also suffered from start to finish.

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Ohaidere

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I'd also like to point out, I think that banning Wolfenstein over having a Swastika is pretty stupid as well. I'm not defending that, I'm more referring to the crowd that is regularly upset when they're not allowed to have it in their profiles and such--which tend to be the "ITS A SYMBOL OF PEACE" crowd.

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Ohaidere

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@shanks_d_chop Nope, I'm just saying that no one here knew about the swastika before the Nazis. Don't expect anyone to believe that you were doing college level research in anthropology before you heard of World War 2.

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Reuwsaat

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@Mr_Clark true story.

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Shanks_D_Chop

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@Ohaidere Got some inferiority complex bothering you?

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Shanks_D_Chop

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@bbenyaminovich Yes, but what is a concentration camp survivor doing playing Wolfenstein? As far as your example goes, it's rubbish. If the swastika STILL bothers people yet they go out of their way to find it, that's their problem really. And yes, I consider playing Wolfenstein to be going out of their way to find it since if you play it with no concept of what it's about then you're a fool.

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AmnesiaHaze

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btw also the soviet union flag should be treated the same way , they murdered also in comparable dimensions

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bluefox755

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That would be perfectly fine bbeny, if I didn't wanna see it, ya know what i'd do? NOT PLAY IT, lol...ugh, this whole generation of entitlement...do I understand why people might be offended by seeing it? Of course...But ban it? Really?

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Geist22

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The German and Austrian law forbid the display of swastikas. There is no such law in Switzerland, apparently some politicians tried to introduce one a few years ago, but it seems they couldn't get through with it. Germany is also very allergic against any violence in games, similar to how America is allergic to games with nudity/sexual content, but I'm not sure if there's a law backing that up. It's more because of an organization called BPJS that "tests" games and speaks out bans if they deem them "dangerous to minors". Probably the reason why ID won't release most of their games in Germany in the first place. The media is really biased towards games and they embrace every opportunity to use them as scape goats. For lack of comparison, I'd like to refer to the columbine massacre which most of you should be familiar with.

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zigmars_r

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OMG! Delete that screenshot! LOL

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