Entry 20: The Unplayable 1864

Civil War Generals 2: Grant, Lee, Sherman. Designed by  Douglas Gonya.

Release Date: October 31, 1997.

Available Here

There are a lot of Civil War games out there. I’ve only played a few but I spent an enormous amount of time with one of the best: Civil War Generals 2: Grant, Lee, Sherman. When I discovered this game, I was at the height of my love affair with the epic military narrative I described in my last post, so being able to lead my forces through almost all of the war’s major engagements certainly scratched the right itch. But that’s not really what I want to talk about here, nor do I want to discuss how it possesses many of the same historical and moral problems I covered in my review of Ultimate General: Gettysburg. Revisiting CWG2 for this blog, one aspect stood out like a sore thumb: the strange way it ends. Read More

Seriously Apple? No Confederate Flags in Video Games? (Updated)

Update: It looks like cooler heads may be prevailing and apparently Apple is working to restore some of its apps that use the flag “for educational or historical uses.” No news of Ultimate General: Gettysburg being restored as of yet. New of the game’s removal was surely responsible for the turnaround, as it went viral quickly and even Rolling Stone reported on it this morning. I’ll keep you posted as I hear more about it.

Update 2: Ultimate General: Gettysburg just announced on Facebook that it was able to negotiate with Apple and is now available again as an App, unchanged. Although Apple should never have pulled the game in the first place, I commend the company for recognizing the mistake and respecting Game-Labs’s artistic integrity.


 

Earlier today, Apple announced that it is no longer going to offer apps in its iOS store that feature the Confederate Battle Flag. I don’t know precisely how many apps this covers, but I do know that it includes Ultimate General: Gettysburg, which I reviewed on this site in February. According to the game’s developer Nick Thomadis, Apple will agree to restore the game if his company, Game-Labs, removes all Confederate flags. Thomadis refused and, although I support most of the efforts to remove Confederate iconography currently going on across the nation, I completely support Thomadis in this decision. Read More

On Morality in Historical Games

In my last post, I fretted about some of the unethical choices I was making in Ultimate General: Gettysburg. I’ve continued to think about the issue over the past couple of days and I have a few more comments because I think for a certain subset of people, these games are the primary way they interact with history. In essence, the central question here is the same that’s preoccupied designers and critics of modern games like Grand Theft Auto: Is something that’s immoral in real life equally immoral in a video game?
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Entry 4: Digital War is Hell

Ultimate General: Gettysburg. Designed by Nick “Darth Mod” Thomadis and Ilias Georgopoulos.

Release Date: October 16, 2014

I’m only a little embarrassed to admit I’ve been playing historical video games for almost three decades. Games like Civilization, Defender of the Crown, and Panzer General actually inspired some of my initial interest in history. It’s difficult to pinpoint what I still like about them, but it’s nice to occasionally engage with history in an uncomplicated and less intellectual way. I came into history as a buff and I like briefly revisiting that mindset. The problem is there’s really no going back. My mind starts considering the historical implications of what I’m doing whether I want it to or not. This can just make a game seem like a dumb waste of time but sometimes it can even make me feel a little guilty, especially if its a Civil War game. Read More