A multi-platform video game where players become ‘heroes of Polish intelligence’, Polish history will be included in the national curriculum in an effort to make the young audience more attractive.
Set during the Polish-Bolshevik war, and developed by the Office of New Technologies at the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), Gra Szyfrów challenges users to break the Bolshevik cipher, protect the radio communication line, and neutralize the armored train.
Stuck in the play, the introductory text sets the scene: “It’s the late 1920s. The Polish-Bolshevik war has been going on for almost two years. The battle for Korostein – a major railway junction and technical-supply base – is ongoing.
Available for free, and playable on PC, mobile devices, and VR goggles, the game has been described as a ground-breaking project that can be used as “an instructional tool between classes.”
Consisting of three missions, the game is based on source material and historical exhibits to ensure as much reliability and accuracy as possible with history.
Starting at Warsaw Fort, the game then takes players to Korosten (present-day Ukraine) where they are accused of breaking up Soviet troops from a military logistics hub there.
By avoiding the investigation, they must have stolen the top secret documents from the officer’s train before the armored train in the railway tunnel derailed.
Released in April in both Polish and English (later titled ‘Cyphers Game – War for Everything’), the game skillfully explains the path to war as well as the “impact of Polish cryptology on a victorious ending”. .
With a large number of positive reviews, it has been hailed by international users for its “attractive storytelling and amazing visuals” as well as “surprisingly high product values for free games”.
Another critic writes, “I may even stumble for hours about music,” before adding, “It’s not just a game, it’s a peek into the past.”
Announcing the decision to include the sport in the curriculum last weekend, Education and Science Minister Prazemislo Zharnek said: “This is the next step in the modernization of Polish schools.”
Magdalena Hajduk, director of IPN’s Office of New Technologies, added: “Nanosecond culture and the needs and lifestyles of the younger generation – as well as the rapid development of technology – have made it necessary for us to create new educational models that are real and digital worlds.
“We are proud that the Cyphers game will serve teachers and inspire young people to be inspired by the heroes of Polish history. We want to not only respond to the contemporary needs of young people, but also to educate and show that history is the best teacher of values - the technologies we have developed can help us learn its lessons.
As part of a wider initiative called Games in Education, Zharnek also used the opportunity to put a rubber stamp on the inclusion of another game, This War of Mine, in the school curriculum.
Originally developed in 2014 by Warsaw-based firm 11 Bit Studios, the game – which will be made available to older students – has since won several awards for its unique approach.
Justina Orlovska, director of the GovTech Poland program, promised on the occasion that the government would explore the idea of funding Poland’s booming video game industry as long as development studios create projects of “higher educational value” that will eventually be free. Charges