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9) KZ Manager (1990)

The Premise: KZ Manager from a gameplay mechanics perspective looks like your basic resource management game. You play a manager (or in this case Commandant) and you manage the resources at your disposal (in this case Jews, Turks, Gypsies, poison gas supplies, money and equipment) with an eye to achieving certain goals (balancing public opinion and ‘productivity’).

I’m sorry what? Jews? Turks? Gypsies? Poison gas? Am I playing Concentration Camp Tycoon here? Turns out if you were playing KZ Manager you would indeed be playing a resource management game in which the resources were partly constituted of people and your ‘production goals’ consisted in killing them.

As I’m sure you are well aware the Holocaust is not really a subject to be taken lightly but KZ Manager doesn’t take it lightly as on its own terms it removes any considerations of morality entirely. So I guess that’s OK then. Right? I mean, completely dehumanising certain groups, be it groups within video games or groups in real life never leads to bad consequences. Right? Slobodan, help me out here.

It’s also the concentration camp management game that just won’t die. Starting out on the Commodore 64 it was remade several times throughout the 1990’s moving from a DOS text based game to a graphical DOS conversion before making the leap to Windows in a version called “KZ Manager Millennium”. Also before that a rumoured Amiga version and its associated DOS port purportedly allowed you to bask in the reflected glory of the murder of millions of innocent people in a full 256 colours. Well if that doesn’t sound like a good time to you then I doubt your IQ is lower than 50. What more do you want from your gaming experience? Tact and intelligence? Creativity and entertainment? Sod off and play Zork.

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