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Complete package
Contains the story file, the accompanying essay, the cover art, and the source code.
Requires a Z-Code interpreter. Visit IFWiki for download links. (Compressed with ZIP. Free Unzip tools are available for most systems at www.info-zip.org.)
German translation
Website that contains the German language story file, the accompanying essay, the cover art, and the source code.
This is a pseudo-format used to represent download adviser records that apply to multiple formats.
Walkthrough and map
by David Welbourn

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The Game Formerly Known as Hidden Nazi Mode

by Victor Gijsbers profile

2010

(based on 28 ratings)
6 reviews

About the Story

The Game Formerly Known as Hidden Nazi Mode was, in fact, formerly known as Hidden Nazi Mode. As such it was a failed experiment, detailed in the accompanying essay. In this release the Nazi mode has been removed, and what remains is, as the subtitle says, "a cute game for unattended young children". It involves bunnies and lots of hints.

Not necessarily recommended for seasoned adventurers.


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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful:
Wheels Within Wheels, March 3, 2011
by Matt Wigdahl (Olathe, KS)

Sometimes Victor Gijsbers gives you everything you need to understand one of his works within the context of the work itself (The Baron, Fate) and sometimes you can't get the full picture without external information (Vampires). So when Victor releases a game on September 11th called The Game Formerly Known as Hidden Nazi Mode, and it contains both source code and an accompanying essay explaining his original goals, I find it hard to believe that this is merely the well-packaged remnants of a failed experiment.

So once we get past the cute cover-art bunny that has a vague resemblance to a certain WW II leader, what do we have? Emily Short has already analyzed the apparent argument posed by the game as released: if TGFKAHNM has truly had its hidden Nazi mode stripped out, how would we really know? Sure, we can inspect the source he provided -- even build it ourselves -- but since a compiled version was included, how can we know that version was built from the source that's in front of us? Could I7 source be obfuscated sufficiently to hide this material in plain sight, even with access to the source? Probably. In fact, it would be theoretically possible for an IF compiler to include a "Hidden Nazi Mode" that injected objectionable material into otherwise unobjectionable source text.

This line of argument risks being taken to sophomoric extremes, however. Emily correctly boils this down to an issue of trust; at some point you have to trust your toolchain, or trust the author(s) of the games you choose to play. Or not. Either way, you make a decision to play or not, and that decision may or may not turn out to have been wise.

But let's go beyond the surface argument. Victor didn't have to release this game with the title he did, nor with the essay that spelled out what was originally in the game. He particularly didn't have to do so and also release a precompiled version of the game.

What if Victor had simply released the source code to a game called Fluffy Bunny Friends, saying only that it was, perhaps, a mildly interesting experiment with integrated personalization and tutorials? But for the highly suspicious circumstance that it would be Victor Gijsbers releasing a game called Fluffy Bunny Friends, would anyone have spent time scouring the game for hidden anti-Semitic content? Had he also provided a compiled version, would anyone have seriously entertained the notion that the compiled version of Fluffy Bunny Friends might not correlate precisely to the provided source? I don't think so. In my opinion, it's fair to say that his intentional choice of title, intentional inclusion of the backstory essay, intentional inclusion of a compiled version of the program, and the possibly intentional choice of September 11 as the publication date all add up to a package deliberately semiotically charged with threat.

And indeed, when you are thus sensitized, there are certainly plenty of unsettling things to find. The prominent challah bread and other traditional Jewish food that is described as "not being appealing to you". The bookcase, filled with books by Jewish authors. Ignoring all the external, non-game context, these are arguably neutral references; it's certainly not inherently wrong to set a rabbit hunt game in a Jewish neighborhood, and not everyone likes rice pudding. But you as a human player can't actually ignore everything outside of the game, and so instead these same details of setting and description take on a darker character in the light of what you bring into the game. Even the personal references by the narrator seem somehow oppressive, and the mere act of searching for and feeding cute little bunnies takes on sinister overtones.

TGFKAHNM is amusingly subtitled as a "game for unattended children". Let's assume that there is no actual programmed hidden Nazi mode -- that Victor played fair with us. You could put this game down in front of a child who didn't know what the word "Nazi" meant, and they would have an enjoyable few minutes searching for bunnies and feeding them carrots, and never connect that experience with anything beyond that. Those of us who do understand the references and symbology Victor uses, though, can't help but become sensitized, and subsequently perceive the exact same game in the light of that sensitization -- literally, we have pre-judged it, and that prejudice colors our perceptions. And in that respect, the hidden Nazi mode is real after all, but it's inside our own heads.

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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful:
A cute little game and an interesting argument, just not in the same place, September 15, 2010

The game here is a cutesy piece about finding rabbits and feeding them carrots. It takes maybe five minutes to play. Probably the most interesting thing about it is the way it has tutorial commentary folded in with the gameplay, an approach that might work for other larger and more serious games (especially if the tutorial comments could be turned off).

As the title suggests, there was originally going to be a hidden mode in the game that would spew nastiness of some sort. Instead the game now comes with an essay about why open source is important for games that are going to be assigned for classroom use, so that teachers can be sure they're not giving their students something that might be triggered into showing inappropriate content.

I can see the concern, but am not completely convinced that this is practical. Unless the teacher is not only going to read and understand the source but recompile the game himself, he can't be absolutely certain that the compiled version he's given was actually generated by the same source code.

(For that matter, I find myself wondering whether this is an elaborate double-bluff on Victor's part and there *is* a further hidden mode to the game, and the included source code is truncated from what he actually compiled. If so, I didn't find it.)

So some amount of trust is probably required somewhere along the line, either in the author himself or in the community that has provided feedback about the game file.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
An effective argument, December 2, 2023

I found this game to be an effective argument that the fear that games may be hiding secret hateful content is silly, because games don't need to do that in order to send ideological messages. While in the accompanying essay the author writes that he "decided to take out all the Nazi stuff," just because the hidden mode is gone (or at least, has been rendered inaccessible via the originally intended method) doesn't mean the game is suddenly perfectly innocent. We're told that the PC took bus 88 to get to their destination, which is Muranowska Square, and our task in the game is to seek out the hiding places of frightened rabbits--which given this context takes on a deeper, more sinister meaning. A child playing this game might never understand or pay attention to these references, but an adult can see that the game is not, as it claims, simply a cute story about bunnies.

This game is an effective illustration that messaging can be baked into games in far more subtle ways than via a "hidden Nazi mode", and for that reason, vetting games for objectionable content is never going to be as simple as glancing over the source code and verifying that it doesn't contain any slurs.

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The Game Formerly Known as Hidden Nazi Mode on IFDB

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