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Parents' Guide to

Gerda: A Flame In Winter

By Dwayne Jenkins, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Story-centered game tactfully depicts war's many ugly faces.

Game Nintendo Switch , Windows 2022
Gerda Cover

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Many games centered around war choose to glorify chaos and violence, concerning themselves more with the spectacle of war rather than its very real, tragic consequences. Gerda: A Flame in Winter is equal parts heartfelt and distressing as it follows a central cast of characters of varying nationalities during the collapse of Nazi Germany. While Gerda is the star – and players will have their fair share of tense moral choices to make to further develop Gerda throughout her story – the game does a perfect job of keeping up with the lives of the supporting cast, their shifting allegiances, and their feelings toward those around them. The game directly asks players time and again what's more important: your needs, or the needs of others? In answering those questions, players will inevitably be forced into doing things out of desperation, even at the potential expense of the friends you've made along the way. As choices become more and more difficult, the player and Gerda become one as the stakes increase with every passing day.

Players will also have to reckon with the realities of the fascist regime that was Nazi Germany. It could've been easy to simply make every German players come across a power-hungry, violent, obviously evil person that joined Hitler's ranks just to tear families apart and commit heinous acts against those who refused to fall in line. But the game emphasizes the many reasons a person might join such a crusade regardless of the harm it caused. In this way, the story perfectly demonstrates that extremism and fascism rarely begin as radical opinions or beliefs – sometimes, it happens slowly but surely. In this game, there are no winners, even if a situation goes exactly the way you want it to. There are only survivors and people forced to live with the decisions they've made. There isn't a "perfect playthrough" to be found here – only playthroughs where things may end a little less disastrously for certain people than they did the last time. Gerda: A Flame in Winter is a bold, meaningful game, and you'd be hard-pressed to find other games that would dare to walk where Gerda has so bravely sprinted.

Game Details

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