Vit Sisler on Czechoslovakia 38-89: Between Nazism and Communism – Design Challenges of Developing a Serious Game on Contemporary History @ MAGNET, 2 MetroTech Center, Brooklyn, 8th Floor

10/24/2013 4:00 pm – 10/24/2013 5:30 pm Czechoslovakia 38-89: Between Nazism and Communism – Design Challenges of Developing a Serious Game on Contemporary History Vit Sisler, Charles University This presentation introduces a complex educational serious game, Czechoslovakia 38-89: Between Nazism and Communism, which is currently being developed at the Charles University in Prague and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.Czechoslovakia 38-89 The general educational objective of the game is to present to the students the key events of the history of Czechoslovakia in the second half of 20th century and to enable them to “experience” these events from the perspective of different actors. By doing so, the game aims to develop deeper understanding of the complex and multifaceted political, social, and cultural aspects of this time period. Emphasis is given on the diversified historical experiences of various segments of the population. The game is a single-player dialog-based adventure game with a strong narrative, featuring interactive comics and authentic audio visual materials. Importantly, the content of Czechoslovakia 38-89 is based on personal testimonies of eyewitnesses of the respective periods. The player assumes a different role in individual modules and interacts with the eyewitnesses in the present and “travels” back in time on memories of the eyewitnesses yielded during conversations. The purpose of this presentation is to introduce game concepts and discuss the design challenges stemming from adapting the real-persons’ – oftentimes emotionally and ethically loaded – testimonies in order to construct the in-game narratives. On a broader theoretical level, the presentation discusses the intersections between educational aims and gameplay, authenticity and fictionality, and gaming and learning mechanics.   About the Speaker Vit Sisler, PhD., is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Arts at Charles University in Prague. His research deals with the relation between Islam and digital media, normative frameworks in cyberspace, and the topic of educational and political video games. Vit Sisler was a visiting Fulbright scholar at Northwestern University in 2008-2009. He is also a managing editor of CyberOrient, a peer reviewed journal published by the American Anthropological Association and Charles University in Prague.