German wall game sparks off bad memories

On the anniversary of the reunification of Germany, a computer game has stirred up such memories that its release has been postponed.

The game, which was to be named "1,378 (kilometres)" and would allow players to take the part of East German border guards manning the old wall that divided East and West Germanies, has got some stuffy old shirts in the Vaterland in a right tizz.

Its developer, a 23 year-old student named Jens Stober, has been lambasted for having the audacity to allow the guards to shoot at characters trying to flee the old East Germany, under the mis-apprehension that things would be better in the West.

The name of the game refers to the length of the manned border between East and West, which began to be torn down in 1989. The reunification is officially celebrated in Germany today.

The first-person shooter allows players to choose to be a guard or an escapee. Escapees are unarmed of course and so much less fun to play. As well as having big guns, border guards also have the option of giving up and trying to hop over the wall themselves.

"In the game, you ask yourself: 'What would I do?'"Stober told the German news agency DPA. "You may come to the conclusion that you would not shoot at your fellow countrymen and women."

Such freedom of choice has alarmed some Germans who it seems who would apparently like to go back to the old days.

Such was the outcry that the game won't be released today and may rather see the light of day in December when the New Stasi have calmed down a bit.