So, you got the Desura Version of Into the Dark? Or you are thinking about it, but whondering if its really full of fascist or communist propaganda, like some sources claim?
Well, you can of course first buy the game
and read later. Or read first and buy later, it doesn´t matter in the end.
Fact is, that Into the Dark, despite all trashy B-Movie references, pop culture jokes and cheesy gags indeed contains a lot of politics and political messages, some in a context of mocking them, some to show links between attitudes that may sound opposing each other at the first glance. We are not talking about "Operation Paperclip" and the poster motivating former Wehrmacht soldiers to join the USA in their fight against communism, we focus now on the movies:
We added to the very beginning of the Desura version a video from ComradeReds youtube channel. This was an important act, as due to the other videos in the game, some people actually believed we share the views and values of the US Administration during the McCarthy years. That´s nonsense, so we decided to slam a clear socialism propaganda video into the face of the player before.
This video pictures the messages transported by the famous pro-UDSSR song "Sozialistische Weltrepublik", Ernst Busch was the singer then in the political very "interesting" years between WW1 and WW2, before Germany was taken over by the Nazi party (which had at this point only 33.1% of the voters behind them, but thats another story...). It shows a naive view of the political powers before WWII, a time in which many socialists and communists haven´t heard about Stalins cruelity and madness yet. The events during the Spanish civil war (also inspiration for "Animal farm") were still ahead, so most communists actually believed they would create the paradise for all mankind. We choose this video to demonstrate that we didn´t use Anicommunism propaganda to influence the player in the original game, we wanted to encourage the players to think about what their fathers and grandfathers actually believed.
Having said that, we must also point out that grass-root and indie developement are in terms of working structure very close to the ideals the early communist philosophers had in mind.
And it has a catchy tune, too!
Ok, the second video has only as far to do with politics as it was spread by the Sovjet Union to show their superiority in medicine.
We hereby warn you, that the content may not be for the lighthearted or for animal lovers who tend to faint. Yes, we are talking about the famous "Dog Head Video", and no, we dont want to show it here. But lets get some facts straight:
1. Yes, the video is real footage from the experiments.
2. Yes, the heart of the dog lived on without the dog.
3. Yes, the head of the dog lived on without the rest of the dog and was capable of thoughts and sensorics.
How cruel these experiments may seem from a todays point of view - they lead to several medical breakthroughs, including the heart-lung-machine, modern life support and therefore saved millions of lifes.
Ok, back to the propaganda:
The movie you see in the cinema level when entering the cinema itself, as well as one of the movie rolls you find and load into the projector, is a short film from the years of McCarthy himself. Then, at the beginning of each "normal" movie people went out to see in the U.S. cinemas, a short propaganda flic was shown. Movies of that kind were also used for re-education and shown to army personel. Here is an example (not from the game, we dont spoiler you here):
An interesting fact is that it actually happened to people, who stood up during one of those movies to go to the rest rooms or for another coke or to grab some popcorn, that they were blamed to be "communists" or "sympathizing with communism" (the so-called "fellow travellers"). Many of them ended up in front of the infamous tribunals, teachers lost their jobs, some were even improsened.
The Executive Order 9835 - signed by Truman - led to the review of the political views of almost all federal employees. 1210 of them were fired, 6000 reisgned, either as protest or to protect their families.
These years between 1947 and 1955, but especially between 1952 and 1954 are among the darkest in US history. And yet the anticommunism propagandists tried to use humour and even cartoons to transport their messages:
We haven`t been able to put the whole flic into the game, because our legal advisors were not 100% sure that (although the movie was produced by a college with federal fundings 60 years ago) the copyright situation would allow that, so we took some small parts to be in compliance with the fair use rules for quotation / reference / parody. However it´s very interesting, as it clearly targets younger audiences (but not kids).
We have left notes, newspaper pages, voice-over-hints, posters and sheets in many parts of the game that give additional background information, so the players who look carefully will learn what we had in mind (aside of all the fun, jokes, trash, hookers and tentacle sex).
This also applies to the informations on free energy, the inventions of Nikola Tesla and the Repulsine built by Viktor Schauberger. We hid some nice pieces of "largely unknown" and "supressed" knowledge in the game, but, again, it won´t be understandably by people without ANY background information or by players who simply shoot their way through the levels.
If you manage to reach the final level, the context between the original fascism, the Anticommunism during the McCarthy years and some aspects of modern "war on terror" are revealed in one short dialogue.
We are no fascists.
We are no communists.
We are no socialists (well, at least my team members aren ´t, I actually am).
We are not dividing the world and the political views and the Governements into "good" and "evil".
We are game developers, we want to make games that are entertaining, funny, cheesy, bizarre, we want to entertain YOU.
But we believe that games, especially story-driven and investigation games, are a good way to encourage people to think and reconsider what they thought to be ultimate truth.