Wolfenstäche

Responsibilities: Developer, Graphic Designer.

Collaborators: Shalev Moran (game design, writing), Nadav Hekselman (art), Benedikt Hummel (German translation).

Development Time: Spread out across two weekends in November 2017.


Wolfenstache’s Trailer. May be blocked in some countries.

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus is a game about shooting Nazis. All well and good until you realize Bethesda censored it in Germany, of its own volition, due to Cold War-era censorship laws. Moreover, it was never officially published in Israel due to… well, Bethesda took the right to remain silent about that one. We can only assume it’s because they were petrified a game about a Polish-American Jew killing tons of Nazis would accidently offend someone there.

One day, Shalev contacted Nadav and I regarding a satirical game he had in mind: a game comprised entirely of the parts Bethesda cut out of the German version of Wolf 2, with an heavy emphasis on Hitler’s mustache. Two weekends later, Wolfenstäche was born.

Gameplay Video (by GOD MODE LOCK)

Our mini-game was swiftly covered on multiple gaming and non-gaming news outlets around the world, including (but not limited to): Kotaku, PC Gamer, WIRED Germany, Riga-based online newspaper Meduza, and Israel’s Mako, Yediot, and even Haredi (ultra-orthodox) news site Kikar HaShabat.

At the height of its publicity, we saw upwards of 20k clicks and ~7k playthroughs in 24 hours (!). As of August 2020, the mini-game had been played over 65k times.

Shortly after, the game was available to purchase on the Israeli PlayStation store (see below). In August 2018, Germany lifted the ban on Nazi symbols in video games, thus granting video games the same rights as other art forms, perhaps due to Wolfenstache.

Sometime around 2019, the Wolfenstein reboots were officially cleared for purchase in Israel and Germany in their uncensored versions. In 2020, the games were made available on GOG, where the arbitrary bans were similarly lifted.

It is unclear if Wolfenstache had directly influenced Bethesda’s silent change of heart due to its aforementioned silence, though its high publicity certainly brought the issue to the attention of gaming public in a funny and engaging way.

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