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Luftrausers' Nazi Controversy Isn't Censorship. It's A Discussion

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Giant Bomb's Patrick Klepek wrote a great piece about the Luftrausers Nazi kerfuffle, in which people pondered if the arcade-y shooter is about playing as a super cool, er, Nazi. Developer Vlambeer politely disagreed and explained its intentions, but also acknowledged the complaint as valid. That's basically amazing.

I highly recommend that you read Klepek's full piece, but here's the long and short of it:

"It is unlikely Luftrausers will undergo any major aesthetic change as a result of what [vocal critics] Simins and Dubbin said, but the conclusion of this exchange brings a better understanding of what Vlambeer intended by creating Luftrausers. No one has to agree with either side, but our understanding of Luftrausers' place in game culture was deepened."

"That's not controversy. That's criticism, and I wish we had way more of it."

Given that critique on the Internet often brings out the "art should have no boundaries" anti-censorship squad, this is a hugely important point to make. Criticism is not a call for censorship. It is a discussion - one in which creators can choose to participate if they so please. As this situation demonstrates, even if creators opt to climb into the ring, that doesn't mean they have to concede or make a 180 on their artistic vision.


It's about discussion, acknowledging other viewpoints, and making decisions (note: inaction is still a valid decision) from there. We can talk about controversial topics in video games without screaming over each other and hurling insults. Creators can (and in my opinion, absolutely should) join in. That's an "argument" I think everyone wins.