The Tiger roared as she broke through the gates of the academy, scattering debris and traversing her head toward school’s atrium. Too late to seek cover, you feel the sweat begin to trickle in the small of your back as she locks her sights upon you, until a booming “Senpaiiiiiii” nearly lays you flat...
Alternate histories surrounding the second world war are plentiful and surprisingly entertaining; a testament to the enduring pleasure many readers take in imagining the horrifying ‘what-if’ of a loss by the Allies. From The Man in the High Tower by Philip K. Dick to Fatherland by Robert Harris, novelists have spent almost 50 years exploring the literary nooks and crannies of “the darker timeline”... though never quite like this.
Enter Panzermadels, a game that envisions a world where girls are tanks - literally. The American M4 Sherman has a taste for burgers and pop music, while the spunky T-34 calls everyone ‘comrade’ and argues with her German classmates. In this weird parallel version of earth, it’s clear that somewhere between 1939 and current day things have gone a little off the rails… though the cause of this divergence remains strangely ambiguous.
The real joy of Panzermadels is the writing, with clever references to military history mixed with jokes about the size of a tank-girl’s “ammo racks.” For an adult game, the humor is surprisingly high-brow: watching a pair of Russian tanks struggle to put out the school newspaper, modeled on Pravda and stuffed with revisionist history, can actually elicit a laugh.
All the best,
The Nutaku Team