By Charles University in Prague/Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic
Skills and Ideas Taught: Czechoslovakia 38-89 aims to develop deeper understanding of the multifaceted political, social and cultural aspects of the contested Czech (and Eastern European) contemporary history. Emphasis is given on the diversified historical experiences of various segments of the population, including previously marginalized groups (German speaking citizens of Czechoslovakia, Roma). The game’s educational methodology aims to develop skills and abilities of students to comprehend, compare and analyze sources of facts and create their critical judgments.
Goal or Challenge: Students assume different roles in individual modules of the game, interact with the “eyewitnesses” in the present and “travel” back in time through the “eyewitnesses’” memories evoked during conversations. In each module, the player has a different task, which revolves around investigating a certain historical event or personal history (e.g. player’s granddad story during the Second World War). The player can’t change the history in the game, yet discovers different layers of it through individual testimonies and historical materials. The individual testimonies are oftentimes contradictory, incomplete or the eyewitnesses simply do not want to talk about certain aspects of the past with the player. As a result, the player has to critically evaluate the gained information, exert social skills and empathy, and analytically approach the social constructions of history.
Primary Audience: 15-18 years
Assessment Approach: Czechoslovakia 38-89 tracks the player’s progress through the game and records how many “fragments of information” the player has unlocked. These “fragments of information” are related to the overarching narrative (the main quest) of each particular module of the game and there are multiple ways to “victory”. At the same time, each “fragment” is linked to an encyclopedia entry, which is enabled to a player after unlocking it. Thus, each player’s gameplay creates unique encyclopedia providing factual info reflecting this particular gameplay. Finally, important and inseparable part of the game is the detailed methodology on how to use the game in a classroom, which provides teachers with standardized methods of assessment.
Description: Czechoslovakia 38-89 is a complex single-player dialog-based adventure game with a strong narrative, including interactive comics and authentic audiovisual materials. It presents key events from Czechoslovakia’s contemporary history and enables students to “experience” these events from different perspectives. It aims to develop deeper understanding of the multifaceted political, social and cultural aspects of this time period. Its content stems from historical research and personal testimonies. Emphasis is given on the diversified historical experiences of the population, including previously marginalized groups. The game aims to develop abilities of students to comprehend, compare and analyze sources of facts and create critical judgments.
Game Engine: MIVE/Adobe Flash
Operating System: Windows 8
Platform: Personal Computer
Special Hardware: None