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2 minutes to read Posted on Tuesday January 9, 2018

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Maria Drabczyk

Maria Drabczyk

Head of policy and advocacy, Board member , Centrum Cyfrowe

portrait of Małgorzata Szynkielewska

Małgorzata Szynkielewska

Content & Exhibitions Coordinator , Europeana Foundation

Game Jam with History - TuEuropeana: Archives Inspire

Weekend session for video game developers in Poland resulted in 11 games inspired by First World War digital archives.

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Participants of Game Jam with History, December 2017. Malwina Toczek, National Film Archive - Audiovisual Institute.

From 1 to 3 December 2017, Game Jam with History took place at the National Film Archive - Audiovisual Institute in Warsaw. Created in collaboration with the Indie Games Poland Foundation, the event aimed to show the potential for game makers to integrate archival materials into their works, both as inspiration and as an element of the final product. It was a weekend session for amateur and professional designers and video game developers who were tasked with reusing archival content from Europeana Collections and Polish online repositories (National Digital Archive, the National Library and the National Film Archive - Audiovisual Institute). The overall theme was the First World War and the interwar period connecting to the upcoming centenary of Polish Independence next year.

Maciej Dydo, Deputy Director of the The Intellectual Property and Media Department, Ministry of Culture and National Heritage said:

[The Game Jam is] an incredible event that shows how the work of many people who spend years digitising our heritage: photographs, documents, images, and then publishing them on the web, can be creatively adapted into video games. Games are a new medium whose audience is growing, they engage young people, allowing them to experience history.

32 participants, ranging from graphic designers and Atari enthusiasts to game developers have worked together developing games from scratch. In less than 48 hours they created 11 new games approaching the topic creatively. The final games were very diverse, starting with different mechanics - from trading card games and walking simulators to time management games - and taking various angles to the theme - from regular battles and games to rebuilding a country’s infrastructure as a consequence of a war or solving romantic dilemmas with political factors in the background of the game.

Marek Czerniak, Game Jam co-organiser & founder of the Indie Games Foundation said:

The last couple of days showed that Game Jam and archives are a good fit. Archives are a great source of inspiration for graphic artists and game developers who create new worlds and stories.

The jury, formed of representatives of the Polish Ministry of Culture, Europeana Foundation, a video game producer and a Polish Radio reporter, selected three team winners:

  • Janusz Lejtan, Joanna Lejtan for '1920-Battle of Warsaw'
  • Michał Wroński, Aleksander Bydłowski for 'Fronty Wojenne'
  • Marta Stawska, Martyna Wasiluk, Patryk Woźnicki, Maciej Kozłowski for 'Kwatermistrz' ('Quartermaster')

The jury also awarded teams in extra categories, like 'The Best Use of Archive Materials' and 'The Most Archival Game'.

A brief AV recap from the History Game Jam FINA, CC BY-SA.

Second edition of TuEuropeana

The TuEuropeana project started in Poland last year, inviting potential Europeana users and institutions with digital archival collections to exchange knowledge and experiences. Created by the Polish Europeana Network, a local working group initiated by The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in 2014 and coordinated by FINA (previously known as the National Audiovisual Institute) with support from the PSNC, the project raises awareness of Europeana Collections materials and promotes reuse of digital archival content.

Last year, the project included among other things educational events for cultural institutions, teachers and workshops for design students. This year, as well as the Game Jam, they continued with a series of events: workshops, webinars and transcribathons.

Check out the projects from Game Jam with History in our dedicated Flickr album!