Retrospective: Unforgettable Gaming Moments - #1: Killing Hitler
- Posted March 7th, 2011 at 15:11 EDT by Steven Williamson
Videogames have long harnessed the power to awaken the many different emotions that bubble away inside of us. Over the years, some games have made me laugh, while others have brought a tear to my eye. Some games have entranced me with sublimely-told stories of good prevailing over evil, while others have made me jump out of my skin with fright. Certain titles have even left me speechless and blinded by their beauty, while others are memorable for more personal reasons, or for just daring to be so different from the norm. There are many unforgettable gaming moments that I’ll personally never forget.
Each one of you will remember a game that has special relevance to you, and all of you will remember a specific moment in a videogame that sticks out in your minds. As part of a new regular feature on PSU, I’ll be taking a trip down memory lane to review and reminisce about some of my most memorable moments in videogame history. These short articles will largely focus on specific instances in certain games that are personal to my own gaming experiences. But I do hope some of you will remember them too and that they’ll spark some discussion and nostalgic memories, while also encouraging you to let us know the moments that you might remember for all the right, or even the wrong, reasons.
To kick things off, I’m taking you way back to the early nineties and a game that soon became known as the catalyst that ignited the first person shooter. Though Wolfenstein 3D arrived on the scene shortly before PlayStation did, it has more recently been ported to PSN in practically the same format as the original. Playing it again just a couple of years ago reminded me of a specific moment that really sticks out in my mind as being quite an unforgettable moment in videogame history.
Hitler is no stranger to videogames, but coming face to face with him in a fight to the death is a rare occurrence that will probably never happen again in the world of gaming. The end boss battle in Episode 3 of Wolfenstein 3D tasks you with facing a boss dubbed Mecha-Hitler. This came at a time when the nasty dictator’s evil-doings were still at the forefront of the minds of people all over the world, largely due to the significance of the fall of the Berlin Wall only a couple of years before. While many wouldn’t want to be reminded of the atrocities of Hitler’s reign, Wolfenstein 3D brought Nazi-killing to the forefront of the gaming world, and made the chance to take down Hitler a videogame reality and an opportunity that many didn’t want to miss.
Wolfenstein 3D and its unique blend of Nazi-killing and dog stabbing was memorable enough in its own right, but this specific battle sticks out vividly in my mind. Not because it was a brilliant, epic and cleverly-designed boss battle, but because Hitler was right there in front of you – portrayed as the short-legged, moustachioed, nasty-looking man that he was and barking out German phrases like Scheisse (Sh*t) and Die, Allied schweinehund (Die, Allied pigdog) to try and incite you. The big difference to his real world persona was the fact that he started the battle in a mechanical suit, and then burst out of it in full Nazi regalia armed with chain guns on the end of his wrists. This boss battle stands out as being quite an iconic moment and the snapshot below still evokes in me quite a strong feeling of nostalgia.
The inclusion of a Death Cam, which replays the moment that you take Hitler down as he shrivels up and evaporates into a pool of blood, was also stroke of genius. Now, when you play Wolfenstein 3D, the Mecha-Hitler boss battle isn’t as hard-hitting because the game seems so graphically dated in comparison to today’s videogames. But at the time I gained immense satisfaction from the mere act of taking down one of the most evil men in history. Who wouldn’t?
The re-birth of Wolfenstein 3D on PSN in 2009 only really served to appease retro enthusiasts and evoke those memories of a bygone day where you could happily kill Hitler without it being considered too taboo and off-limits. Wolfenstein 3D will always be remembered, and the greatest single thing about the PSN version is that it cements it into PS3 history as the only game that awards you a Trophy for killing one of the most notorious men to have lived; and I doubt that will ever happen again.