Gulag computer game is in the works

October 17, 2023

Our organisation has joined MEMENTOES, an international project that brings together memory and museum organisations with game developers. This collaboration will yield three computer games based on history knowledge.

The project involves three organisations in three countries whose activities are focused on learning history and raising the awareness of topics that are not always known to the majority society. In the case of our organisation, the topic is the Gulag, Soviet repressions, and their tragic impact on the destinies of both individuals and society at large. The other partners in the effort are the War Childhood Museum Bosnia and Herzegovina, which explores the impact of war conflicts on children and their world, and the Le Bois Du Cazier memorial in Belgium, which documents the history of a major mining disaster.

Alongside three developer teams in Greece, Austria, and the Czech Republic, their objective is to develop computer games that will allow their users to grasp the perspectives of different groups that took part in historic events with emphasis on common people’s experience. This will be attained using modern technologies and the gaming principle. The Czech partner in the project on the developer side is Charles Games, an independent game studio.

The game that are developing along with Greek game studio The Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas will enlighten gamers on the difficult subject of Soviet repressions. The game is not intended exclusively for schools and educational institutions – it will also be available on gaming platforms, which is why we anticipate that our target audience will grow to include an entirely new gaming community. It will reach many users who would otherwise be unlikely to encounter the Gulag issues. Based on many years of our own experience, we see a strong potential and benefits in using modern technologies for instruction and education, especially with young people. It shows that even a topic as difficult as the Soviet repressions is more easily accessible if conveyed using advanced technology.

Our participation in the international project is very much aligned with the chief mission of – which is doing our best to make sure that this dark part of our shared history is not forgotten. Ultimately, the games should develop the players’ empathy with human suffering, help them learn more about the past, and encourage interest in getting to know the subject matter and the related topics in greater depth.

The game will be available to players in 2025. We will inform you about more details on an ongoing basis.

Link to the project website:
The project is supported under the European Union Horizon funding programme for research and innovation.

Experts interested in computer game development and history subjects are invited to the workshop titled Vide Games, History, and Museums: Challenges and Opportunities for Joint Development of Games, which will be organised by MEMENTOES as part of the Central and Eastern European game studio conference, CEEGS 2023: Meaning and Making of Games! from 19 to 21 October 2023. The workshop will cover issues such as the use of museum exhibits and real-life stories in computer games, approaches to creating complex narratives based on real-life stories, and strategies for achieving balance between entertainment and historical reality.
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