Educational game Czechoslovakia 38-89 wins prestigious international competition

The educational simulation Czechoslovakia 38–89: The Assassination developed by the experts from the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University in Prague, in cooperation with the Institute for Contemporary History of Czech Academy of Sciences, won the first prize in Games Learning Society Showcase 2015, a prestigious contest held in Madison, USA.

The international Games Learning Society brings together scientists, game developers, and industry leaders engaged in digital educational games research and development. In June 2015, as part of its annual conference, the Games Learning Society hosted the contest for the best educational game of the year at the University of Wisconsin. In its final round, the Czech creation defeated Twelve a Dozen, a mathematics learning game developed by the London-based company Bossa Studios. The American game Stagecraft by Pioneer Drama Service won the third prize.

Tereza Selmbacherová from the Faculty of Arts CU, who represented the Czechoslovakia 38–89 project at the US competition, says: “There were some true legends of gaming design sitting in the competition committee and the games that made it to the finals with ours were all excellent. I was extremely nervous – and the more excited when the winner was announced.”

“You did a great job. Czechoslovakia 38–89 shows us how children could learn in the future,” said the game developer John Romero, one of the judges and the author of the famous Wolfenstein 3D and Doom. According to the official committee evaluation of the winning Czech game, “Czechoslovakia 38–89: The Assassination has an outstanding execution and an enchanting atmosphere. At the same time it approaches a serious subject with greatest respect.”

Czechoslovakia 38–98 is a series of educational simulations, which give the pupils insight into important moments of contemporary Czechoslovak history. Its first part, The Assassination, concerns itself with the Nazi occupation and the period following the assassination of Deputy Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich.

“Our aim was to show the great historical events from the point of view of real people who lived in that period. I think that it was precisely this approach that caught the attention of the American jury,” says Stanislav Kokoška from the Institute of Contemporary History ASCR, who was one of the guarantors of the project’s historical content. “Winning the first prize in this competition is further proof that academic environment can also produce successful educational games with commercial potential. I am likewise pleased that our newly opened study subject, Development of Computer Games, is top-quality and comparable to other subjects taught at our faculty,” adds Ondřej Čapek, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics.

The Czech version of the internationally acclaimed simulation game is available to schools at the project’s webpage. General public can obtain a modified version of the game at the e-shop of the Faculty of Arts CU.