It’s said that in order to make it easy for players to shoot their enemies, you can make them robots, monsters, or Nazis. For young Israelis, the latter was preferable. Tablet’s senior writer provides a fascinating first-hand account of what it was like to play the game with revenge in mind:
Killing Nazis is an appealing proposition, which made the game a hit the world over. But nowhere was its appeal greater than in the Jewish state, where many of the teenage boys who fervently pounded on their keyboards in an effort to nail Nazi scum were the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. When we played, we played in silence and in darkened rooms. We weren’t exactly sure why. To us, after all, it shouldn’t have made any difference if the pixilated enemy was a spiked-shelled beastie like Bowser, the arch-villain of the Super Mario game series, or Hitler, the very real executioner of so many of our relatives. The play experience was the same: move fast, press buttons furiously, kill, kill, kill.
Somehow, we knew better. We knew that Hitler, even robot-Hitler, was real, and it made us want to play more fervently. Curiously, we didn’t care much about completing the game’s tasks, the way we did with every other video game. All we cared about was killing as many Nazis as possible. All we cared about was revenge.
The entire article is well worth reading, and goes on to explore exactly why games are so good at dealing with revenge.