Bitterfeld: Real or imagined?
While playing the Bitterfeld (not Bitterfield) missions in Yager, I got to wondering if Bitterfeld was a real place, or just a figment of some game developer's imagination. So I typed it in google and there is a real Bitterfeld. It's in East Germany* and bears the distinction of being the most environmentally devastated region of Europe!
Bitterfeld's infamy is well known. Apparently, lignite strip mining and chemical and manufacturing plants got out of hand and did some serious environmental damage. I even found a site with illustrations, portraying a formally verdant meadow-forest area that became a moon-like landscape.
In Yager, Bitterfeld is a brown, barren landscape crisscrossed by leaking pipelines, train tracks and rusty, automated machines. In the first Bitterfeld level, your ship is outfitted with a radiation detector and you're directed to find the source. In a typical Yager plot twist, the radiation detector ceases working (I could find nothing about the real Bitterfeld that indicated excessive radiation).
There are several hotels in Bitterfeld (in case you're planning to visit) and it's home of the 10th FAI World Gas Balloon Championship. (I just might go there for that!) The main advantage of the Bitterfeld Gas Balloon Launchfield is the gas pipeline that delivers hydrogen directly into the field for the balloons.
Though I could find nothing about a nuclear disaster or weapons in the real Bitterfeld, Yager still portrayed it reasonably accurately. Whether or not there's a message about nuclear war in Yager remains in the game developer's minds.
I wonder though, how many people in Bitterfeld have played Yager and what do they think?
*City (1994 pop. 17,030), Saxony-Anhalt district, E. Germany, on the Mulde River. It is an industrial center and rail junction, but industrial development has led it to be one of the most polluted cities in Europe. Manufactures include chemicals, aluminum, machinery, and plastics. Lignite is mined in the region. Bitterfeld was founded in the mid-12th century and passed to Prussia in 1815.