Gaming

Light in darkness – a cognitive historical experience about the Holocaust in France

There has never been a shortage of video games from the Second World War. However, they rarely mention one of the greatest tragedies of the era: the Holocaust. A recent UK study found that 52% of UK residents do not know how many Jews died in the Holocaust. As video games are becoming the number one storytelling format of choice for this generation, if we are to preserve the memory of those killed in the Holocaust, we must start telling their stories through video games. I’m going to do this with the Light in Darkness educational video game about the Holocaust. This is a project that I’ve tried to work on for the last decade, and now, after many trials and tribulations, it will finally hit Xbox and Windows 10 next year and will be available to everyone as a free game.

In Light in Darkness, I wanted to focus on the Holocaust in France for several reasons. Firstly, I am French, and people rarely talk about the Holocaust in France. Another reason it resonates with me is because I was a boy and my grandmother used to tell me stories of her babysitting at Kindertransport in the UK. So the Holocaust formed my family.

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Many people ask how the game mechanics will work, as video games are usually based on the choices the player makes. However, the game will intentionally not contain choice-based mechanics that mimic the feeling of “no control” in order to simulate a powerless experience during the Holocaust. Instead, the game is more about history and observing these dark times through the eyes of a family to humanize the victims and show the kind and heroic actions of those around them.

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The game tells the story of Moses, Blume and their son Samuel, Polish Jewish immigrants who came to France in search of a better life. The player will experience events from the times before the occupation of France by Nazi Germany, to the atrocities committed by Vichy France, known as the Vel D’Hiv Roundup. The story was inspired by stories from several survivors, but to make sure everything is historically accurate, we consulted with several Holocaust survivors, their children, and historians. In addition to a compelling story, Light in the Dark will also serve as an educational platform. Players will be able to access archives and photographs, as well as explore the history in the so-called educational mode. There will be survivor testimonies that can be viewed along with historians’ video recordings. The goal of the Education Regime is to make education about the Holocaust accessible to all, including those who are unable to visit museums. Finding new ways to educate and educate people about history and what hate leads to is important, and I believe video games are the perfect vehicle for that. This is why I’m very proud to bring this historic educational experience to Xbox and Windows 10 next year.




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