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Germany: new video game in search of the new "Nazi"

“Leon has disappeared. The reluctant student has apparently left home without leaving any traces. Friends, family and the police are insecure: could you see it coming? Were there any signs that none of them noticed?”- And don't you feel like doing a little detective work now?

Leon's identity - an exploratory adventure” was presented on Friday by the Ministry of the Interior of North Rhine-Westphalia and the State Chancellery. The video game, the development and production of which cost around 225,000 euros, is intended to “educate children and young people from the age of twelve about extremist influences on the Internet, strengthen their media skills and, last but not least, be fun,” said Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU).

The player slips into the role of Jonas, Leon’s 15-year-old brother, in the mini-game with large financial needs. Like a real detective, he combs the young person's room and comes across numerous indications of the creeping radicalization of the older brother. If you have stereotypical images of extremists in your head, you will immediately notice that Leon is not a typical extremist.

Participate instead of mere voyeurism
In 2016, the Right-Wing Extremism and Violence Unit (ARUG) from Braunschweig and the Center for Democratic Education (ZDB) in Wolfsburg had already taken the trouble to recreate the room of a “neo-Nazi typical of the scene” as true to the original as possible . At that time, however, the inclined voyeur had to be content with looking at them. The new game from the Ministry of the Interior finally enables interaction.

And Leon's room is also visually more appealing. It looks clean and relatively neat. The dark gray and brown tones of the "neo-Nazi room" contrast with light floorboards, wooden beams and modern furniture. The room is flooded with light. There's a lot of space, Leon obviously has style.

It remains to be seen whether the video corner and the punching bag with the stylized Spartan helmet on it should give an idea of ​​his right-wing extremist sentiments. In any case, amateur detective Jonas finds the brother's changed taste in music striking. Books such as “The Great Replacement”, which was originally written by the French philosopher Renaud Camus, can be found in a search, as can a booklet with the name Popoli. “Eco-dictatorship? Gender-Gaga? ”Is the headline and, according to the makers' statement, is intended to be a reminder of the right-wing youth magazine Arcadi.

In the middle of the room there is a sticker with the symbol of the “Atavistic Action”, which takes on forms of action and narratives of the Identitarian Movement in the game “in an alienated form”. Wherever Jonas encounters opinions in social networks, events and symbols, the little detective can spot his brother's simulated radicalization.

The new cliché
Now that the classic neo-Nazi is rarely seen in public, the new right-wing extremist is now apparently to be entrenched in the minds of the youth. So, dear children, like Leon, please don't be. A pleasant appearance and a well-groomed appearance can be suspicious. Anyone who also has international literature on the shelf, loves Germany and has recently started martial arts is clearly right-wing extremist.

The game itself, with its obvious educational mission and the poorly copied symbols and clichés of the Identitarian Movement, comes across as if "right-wing extremism experts" from the Amadeo Antonio Foundation had given stage directions during the development. "Leon's identity - an exploratory adventure" creates tension a little less than the learning CD on the ancient computer in the primary school classroom.

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