ADL Report: Growing Proliferation of Racist Video Games Target Youth on The Internet
New York, NY, February 19, 2002 … Attempting to capitalize on the vast popularity of computer video games - especially among the young - hate groups are manipulating available technology to create violently racist and anti-Semitic versions of popular video games, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) says in a new report.
With titles such as "Ethnic Cleansing" and "Shoot the Blacks," the manipulated games are proliferating on the Internet, where they can be previewed, purchased or downloaded on the Web sites of some of the nation's most dangerous hate groups. These so-called "White Power" games are advertised as "entertainment" on extremist sites run by neo-Nazis, white supremacists and Holocaust deniers.
"Once again, racists are finding new ways to exploit technology to spread their message of white supremacy, anti-Semitism and hate to a mass audience," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "As with most computer games, these games are being created primarily for a teenage audience. The difference is these games are loaded with blatantly racist messages and themes. It's a disgusting, sick perversion of the original games, where the manipulated versions give players points for killing as many non-whites and Jews as possible."
Several hate groups have invented new game levels and characters by taking advantage of a built-in feature of some commercially sold games that enables them to be modified - creating "mods," in the industry parlance - of the original games. Other hate groups have created their own original racist games using "open-source" software that enables new games to be constructed essentially from scratch.
Resistance Records, the white supremacist label of the virulently racist group, the National Alliance, is currently selling a new game called "Ethnic Cleansing," an anti-Semitic and racist game created using the powerful open-source game engine Genesis 3D. The makers of this software allow the game to be altered and sold as long as certain preconditions are followed, and Genesis 3D takes no responsibility for any alterations to the game software.
In "Ethnic Cleansing," the player kills Blacks and Hispanics (the game uses pejorative terms) before entering a subway, "where the jews are hiding." At one point in the game a video clip is shown featuring National Alliance leader William Pierce talking about an "upcoming white revolution." The game is offered for $14.88 on CD-ROM on the Resistance Records Web site. Racist caricatures of African-Americans, Hispanics and Jews appear throughout the game, which also contains a variety of racist symbols, including National Alliance signs and slogans.
The "Ethnic Cleansing" sound effects, described as "Realistic Negro Sounds," turn out to be "monkey and ape sounds" that play when dark-skinned characters are killed in the game's first level. Jewish characters appearing in the second level are made to shout "Oy vey!" when slain.
Resistance Records describes "Ethnic Cleansing" as "the first in a series," followed by the forthcoming, "Turner Diaries: The Game." The Turner Diaries, an apocalyptic racist novel written by Pierce, describes a white underground resistance army that destroys the U.S. government and takes control of the world. Among others, the book is believed to have inspired Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
Other anti-Semitic and racist Web sites have recently created new games, or modified older games to give them a racist underpinning. Many of the altered games are visually realistic and violently racist.
The Peoria, Ill.-based World Church of the Creator, the anti-Semitic and racist group led by Matt Hale, offers several downloadable games as part of a newly created "comedy" page. The Creator Web site features several "run the concentration camp"-themed games and others in this vein. A modified version of "Escape from Castle Wolfenstein," the original "first person" 3-D shooter game, enables the player to shoot Black men, with the words "Dead N-----" appearing by their bodies. The action takes place in hallways and rooms lined with white power symbols, anti-Semitic graffiti and pictures of Adolf Hitler and Anne Frank, among others.
The World Church of the Creator's "comedy" section, which includes racist jokes, comics and media files, boasts several downloadable racist games. These "White Power Games" had been posted to a public Internet provider's site, where the files could be easily retrieved and downloaded.
The Nebraska-based neo-Nazi and Holocaust denier, Gary Lauck, offers a game where the player is challenged to shoot "Jewish" rats racing between canisters of Zyklon-B and a Star of David. The setting is the concentration camp Auschwitz.
Lauck, whom ADL dubbed "the Farm Belt Fuhrer" several years ago, has three games on his Web site, including "SA Man," a version of Pac-Man where the player maneuvers a Nazi figure chased by caricatures of Jews through a three-dimensional maze of buildings. The game includes "Seig Heil" sound effects and Nazi marching music. One of the leading suppliers of Nazi paraphernalia to Germany, where such material is illegal, Lauck served prison time in Germany in the 1990s for inciting racial hatred and anti-Semitism. The games include his Web site and mailing address in the opening and closing graphics.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.