Over the last 30 years, videogames have given us a seemingly endless supply of memorable villains on which to hang our hate. For 26 of those years, however, one has stood head and shoulders above the rest as the favorite target of millions of angry gamers. One who has the advantage, unlike Bowser or the Gravemind or M. Bison, of actually being real. Of course, we’re talking about Adolf Hitler, infamous head of the Nazi state and prime instigator of World War II.
Above: If this man knew what contributions he’d someday make to videogames, he’d probably… kill six million people or something, I don’t know
As Week of Hate grinds to a close, we can’t really think of a better way to end it than by paying tribute to some of the greatest game appearances by the most hated – and hateful – villain of the 20th century.
Shrieking Skeleton Hitler
From: Beyond Castle Wolfenstein
Given the popularity of Wolfenstein 3D, it’s often easy to forget that the series actually started years before. Created by programmer Silas Warner, the first Castle Wolfenstein was a top-down stealth-action game in you had to shoot or sneak past pacing Nazi guards (who had a habit of screaming in badly digitized German) in order to escape a prison fortress. The sequel, Beyond Castle Wolfenstein, had the same nameless Allied operative sneaking into a guard-infested bunker to take out no less a target than Hitler himself.
The task was straightforward: creep in, set a bomb outside the room where Hitler and his top brass were meeting, and then leave without arousing suspicion. The thing is, this was 1984. So when you finally shot or lied your way to Hitler’s doorstep, all he actually did was pace back and forth, irregularly saluting his generals, at which point they’d salute back.
You can’t get the full ear-shattering effect of their inanity without seeing it for yourself, either. Here, check it out on YouTube:
It’s sort of mesmerizing, isn’t it, in an ear-splitting way? You may be pleased to know that, after Hitler marches back and forth in front of his unbelievably patient toadies for what’s probably hours, the game rewrites history by literally blowing the doors off the bunker.
It’s funny to think that this goose-stepping clown was our mental image of one of history’s worst mass murderers, circa 1984. Can you imagine if someone pulled that shit today?
We’ll give him an extra point just for being the first, but Jesus this is one boring-ass Hitler.
From: Bionic Commando
OK, now this is a Hitler that people are familiar with. A Hitler gamers can get behind! Enormous, barrel-chested and insanely treacherous, the Hitler known as Master-D is raised from the dead by the wicked Badds, only to betray their leader, Generalissimo Killt, at the last minute. He then strides out of his cloning tank all big and cool, briefly menaces some young punk with a robot arm and storms off to either conquer the world or be shot in the face with a rocket launcher trying.
And, yes, technically Master-D was only Hitler in Japan. But come on: look at that mustachioed sadsack and tell us he’s not supposed to be our boy Adolf.
Above: OH, (circa 1988) SNAP!!
It’s kind of a pity Hitler didn’t officially make it past Nintendo’s US censorship rules, because then we might have had this badass box art:
Instead of this:
However, being tall and menacing and looking cool on a box isn’t really what this particular Hitler is known for. Remember that “conquer the world or be shot in the face with a rocket launcher” thing we mentioned? Yeah, well, he doesn’t conquer the world.
For many of us, this was the first time we ever saw something as gruesome as an exploding head – and the first time we realized just how cool exploding heads actually are.
Getting to shoot Hitler’s face open made for one of the best game endings of all time. Arguably, the only other Hitler to leave a bigger impression on an entire generation was the real one.
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