A student-developed videogame centered on the “death strip” that separated East and West Berlin during the heart of the Cold War has run afoul of the Director of the Berlin Wall Memorial.
The game, entitled 1378 (km) and named for the length of the border between East and West Germany that was patrolled and policed for some 28 years, was created by Jens Stober, a student at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design.
According to The Local, 1378 (km) allows players to take on the role of border guards or escapees, while having them choose whether to “shoot, arrest, run, give up, kill, or be killed.”
The game is set in 1976, though “border guards who shoot to kill more than three times are magically transported to the year 2000, where they face trial for their crimes.”
A statement from Stober’s school on the game read:
Through the personal identification as a fugitive of the republic or a border guard, and the intensive experience of the border areas, the interest of the young generation in the conflict of recent German history will be awakened.
Axel Klausmeier is Director of the Berlin War Memorial and he took exception to the plot of the game, calling it tasteless and insulting to families of relatives killed while trying to escape. Klausmeier also dubbed the game as “unsuitable” for teaching historical facts, adding, “The seriousness of what once went on at the border can’t be portrayed in this way.”
Stober plans to release the game for free on October 3, German Unity Day.