It was so difficult to understand World War 2 in school that I assumed I understood it all. It was the Battle of Britain. But, well, that’s not true. I don’t even know much about it. What can I do? I don’t know how anyone can do that. It was an world conflict. I do know some facts from the British perspective. It affected many communities in diverse ways all over the globe. What can I do to find out more? Even more so, sitting in Britain. It’s not possible for me to expect another perspective.
Today it happened. It was a game that taught me about an issue I didn’t know existed. This Czech game is called Svoboda 1945 Liberation. It tells the story of Germans who lived in (then?) Czechoslovakia’s borderlands at the close of the Second World War. Although they had been there for many years, the war left them homeless and forced them to flee their home.
Svoboda 1945 tells their story in an interesting way. This is a documentary game that combines live-action sequences with historical footage and graphic novels. Your grandfather is also involved in the investigation of an abandoned schoolhouse from 2001. Although you appear to be there to make a decision about whether or not the schoolhouse should go up for demolition, in reality, your investigation uncovers something deeper and more sinister.
Svoboda 1945 is a mixture of interactive stories and interactive maps, as well as live interviews that allow for dialogue and adventure games. It’s not Hollywood-style production but it works well. It actually fits the subject matter very well, with its dourness and the use of muted tones and performances. It blends well with black-and-white historical footage and feels convincing.
Tension builds as the story progresses and there is a feeling of someone’s secretive past. It is fictional and based on actual world events. This story is fascinating in itself, but it can also be used to educate or reveal a different side of something. It’s especially impressive that it is from the Czech Republic and Charles Games isn’t shying away from what’s clearly sensitive in the country where it is based. This is the kind of thing that the studio wants. Its previous game, Attentat 1942, did almost exactly the same thing, but it was about Nazi occupation as told through the eyes of the survivors.
Charles Games’s work serves as a reminder about the power of games to transport us and help us see things in new ways. It’s important to remember to see beyond what we are used to. We know the way they go. There are many stories to be told, and the more that we open ourselves to them, the richer our lives will become.
Publiated at Mon, 16 August 2021 08:25:00 +0000