Uniformity: Where Do Video Games Get Those Uniforms?
The (Not So) Bad:
Don’t get me wrong; Battlefield 1942 is still one of my favorite games. It lets you fight as an infantryman, fly planes, drive tanks and even pilot a battleship. It was a game that featured huge maps and included German, American, British, Soviet and Japanese sides to play. The game’s designers had to cut corners somewhere, however, and the uniforms look a whole lot like those generic plastic soldiers we all had when we were kids – the ubiquitous “Green Army Men.” Don’t expect a lot of details, and with up to 64 players it feels like an attack of clones at some points. These Soviet troops give new meaning to faceless enemy.
Medal of Honor
This is another old-time favorite, but it really did a dishonor to historical accuracy when it came to the uniforms. Despite numerous historical consultants including Dale Dye, the game designers really failed to get the details – large or small – even close to right. We’re not complaining – the games were a lot of fun – but some of these are just laughable they’re so bad.
The camo patterns would be more appropriate in a hunting simulation, and what’s with the Afrika Korp and the masks? This is too reminiscent of The Invisible Man. Of course the SS with the pre-war black uniforms and armbands are video game favorites, no doubt a throwback to comic book days. Evil looking, yes. Appropriate? Not even close.
Return to Castle Wolfenstein
What can you expect from a game that features Nazi zombies, Norse mythology and super machines straight out of a science fiction comic book? The simple German uniforms weren’t bad; in fact we’d probably put them in the “good” category. Some of the details were actually well done, notably with the selection of weapons. The problem is that the inclusion of the over-the-top super villains – including the scantily clad ones – just left a bad taste when it comes to thinking about uniforms.
Peter Suciu is a New York City based freelance writer. He has covered military history for more than a decade, and his work has appeared in Military Heritage and Military Trader. An avid collector of helmets and militaria for nearly 30 years, he is the author of Armchair General magazine’s “Badges of Honor” department.