After laying the foundation with Bethesda Softworks/id Software as a partner and releasing the first Quake: The Offering bundle, GOG brings the next batch of classic FPS titles, but not without its problems for German customers.
If you’re from Germany and have the default language setting on the website, you might not even be aware of this release, because it’s completely absent, as are the games. Quake II: Quad Damage and Quake III: Gold are included in the current Quake Damage bundle, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Wolfenstein 3D, and Spear of Destiny are put into the Return to Wolfenstein bundle. However, they’re nowhere to be seen for German customers due to legal restrictions. For all other countries, they have a 33% discount that will last until October 8, 12:59 PM GMT.
There’s obviously a very good reason why the Wolfenstein games aren’t available, as they’re simply banned in Germany because of swastikas. This might sound strange to the outside world and it’s extremely annoying for Germans who can watch Indiana Jones without any cuts, but can’t play the games without the historical accuracy. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this is censorship of the worst kind, and considering that the Wolfenstein games are so over-the-top ridiculous (even more so than the movie Iron Sky) with the zombie theme and that the first one is so old that it’s even less violent than Doom (that was recently deleted from the Index and is now rated 16+), it’s all a bit strange. But there you go: it has the swastikas, and the law in Germany dictates that these are not to be shown in a game. End of discussion (if one has any rights in Germany to say anything against it, anyway)
But what’s even weirder is that Quake II and Quake III are region-locked, while the first one isn’t. The second one is more or less like the first one, and the third one isn’t any different from Unreal Tournament that is also available for German customers (even if it’s on the Index like quite a few other titles). Well, let’s hope at least this one stays and doesn’t follow the Commando series when GOG went German.
Well, enough about the German censorship/banner discussion, as many of you reading the blog don’t live in this country with these strange laws and those stranger regulations. So those lucky enough not to be excluded, you’re in for a treat. Wolfenstein 3D (with Spear of Destiny) might look dated and the corridor shooting mechanics aren’t very exciting, but it’s a piece of FPS gaming history (only the German government wouldn’t acknowledge) everyone should at least try once. The sequel that was released many, many, many years later, is much more fun, with a ridiculous medieval-meets-nazi-occultism story and much better graphics.
Quake II is again a more story-focused game than the first one (even if the fourth one would surpass it again), but has enough of that satisfying first-person shooter template to stay true to the original, with just better graphics, bigger maps and more variety in gameplay. Quake III is a completely different beast, offering lots of multiplayer action (although it’s still fun to play with bots) and over-the-top violence.
So if you’re only slightly interested in the history of FPS gaming, if you want to see where it all started with competitive or team-based gaming, and can see that these games are trash-y fun (with a Mecha-Hitler, how more ridiculous can you get?) despite their controversial violence and use of anti-constitutional symbols/songs (at least for Germany), then you owe it to yourself to check them out.
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