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Posted on Apr 14, 2008 in Electronic Games

Uniformity: Where Do Video Games Get Those Uniforms?

By Peter Suciu

Hot fashion in Castle WolfensteinMovies aren’t history, they are entertainment. Video games are even less historical than movies, but it seems ironic that with the continuing resurgence in all things World War II that the details are often so bad. Many video games feature German soldiers that more closely resemble the vile villains from 1960s-era “Sgt. Rock” comic books than anything historical. The irony is that today’s digital scanning technology and the endless volumes of source material should make everything more historically realistic.

In fact, quite a few games have done a very good job with the uniforms.

Some of the games purposely take liberties with the uniforms – creating “elite” squads of German soldiers that never existed — but even when it is done right there can be mistakes. Yet what remains confusing is that although most developers take the time to record the real weapons and photo vehicles from all angles, they then mess up the simplest uniform details. For collectors this can be laughable; but even the average player should know the Germans seldom wore gasmasks while shooting super flamethrowers!

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All hope is not lost, however. In fact, quite a few games have done a very good job with the uniforms. And it is worth mentioning that the best examples of uniforms in games have tended to be from smaller, independent game developers and from “mods,” which are fan created games. And we won’t complain too much when it is a little lacking, because any step towards some authenticity is a good step forward.

What follows is a look at the good, the (not so) bad and the downright ugly of World War II uniforms in video games.

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