Think a Nintendo game is a good way to teach kids about the Holocaust? A 21-year-old British video game developer does, and the company producing his latest creation hopes to have it ready for distribution in Europe by the end of the year. Luc Bernard’s game, Imagination Is the Only Escape, is based on the ways that the Nazis tortured children, and won’t be distributed in the US.
Reactions have been as condemnatory as you’d expect. However, Bernard maintains that he’s not trying to make light of the suffering of children. He promises that there won’t be any on-screen violence, and though Alten8–the company producing the game–originally asked him to remove all swastikas from the game, it subsequently backed off. Bernard says he’s trying to make a game that will be educational and appropriate for young children, and points out that his mother is Jewish and members of his family took care of Jewish orphans after World War II.
So far, the most interesting response has come from the Anti-Defamation League. Instead of lashing out against Bernard and Alten8, Myrna Shinbaum, a spokeswoman for the ADL, is quoted as saying, “We certainly believe that we have to find new ways of teaching lessons of the Holocaust as new technologies are being developed.”