Hit the road! Seven gaming tips that will guide you around the Czech Republic
The video-game industry is experiencing a boom in the Czech Republic. Sectors in the culturally creative industries could safely be described as the engine of the digital economy. According to data from the non-profit organization GDA.CZ, the Czech video-game industry’s turnover in 2019 amounted to CZK 4.54 billion, thus surpassing the Czech film production several times over. In 2019 alone, developers created 65 games, which can boast more than half a billion fans around the world. Numerous experts are now calling the video-game industry the modern equivalent of Czech hockey in relation to its dominance. A distinctive feature of the sector is its connection with travel industry. Multiple games show historical places in a real environment as part of their respective stories. We offer seven tips for gaming enthusiasts:

A Czech games that a jury played behind closed doors: Attentat 1942 and Svoboda 1945  

In cooperation with the Institute for Contemporary History of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, the spin-off Charles Games is behind a pair of games depicting life during the Second World War. The company, which specialises in historical games, was established in collaboration with researchers from the Charles University Faculty of Mathematics and Physics and Faculty of Arts. In Attentat 1942, you find yourself in the role of a grandson or granddaughter of Jindřich Jelínek and discover why your grandfather was arrested by the Gestapo soon after the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich. The game features the Terezín Small Fortress and the Prague landmarks Heydrich’s Turn and Petschek Palace.

The game won the grand prize at the A MAZE festival in Berlin. However, visitors were unable play it due to a controversial law that prohibited the use of Nazi symbols in games. At the exhibition stand, attendees could see only the censored trailer and the jury played the game behind closed doors without public access. In August 2018, however, these measures were amended in Germany and the German regulatory authority newly began to assess each game individually with respect to socially appropriate use of Nazi symbolism. Attentat 1942 was the first computer game with Nazi symbolism to be published in Germany after the measures were amended. With CzechInvest, the company attended the Gamescom global trade fair in Cologne in 2019.

The planned game Svoboda 1945 follows Attentat 1942 with a story from the end of the Second World War, specifically the expulsion of the Sudeten Germans, the beginning of the Cold War and the rise of communism. The cities of Žatec, Louny and Postoloprty as they appeared at that time are depicted in the game.
Numerous institutions took part in the development of the games – for example, the Elbe Museum, the Military Historical Institute in Prague, the Municipal Library in Prague, the National Archive, the Mining Museum in Příbram, the Security Forces Archive, the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, the Museum of Romani Culture, the Jewish Museum in Prague, the Agricultural Museum or the Museum of the Police of the Czech Republic.
Interested parties have been able to play the games from Charles games also on mobile telephones and tablets since July 2020.

Someday You'll Return: Horror with Moravian folklore

Someday You'll Return is a story-based psychological horror game in which a father desperately searches for his daughter amid the Bohemian-Moravian forests. Under the direction of the Brno-based developers from CBE Software, the action-packed story line is interwoven with historical legends, herbalism and logic puzzles.

That this is a Czech is apparent in the use of traditional folk music and the characteristic guideposts of individual locations. According to the developers, you will find, for example, the ruins of Cimburk Castle, the cemetery in Hřensko, the spring of St. Gorazd and the Pravčická Archway. All of these places in the game are furnished with QR codes, which lead to mapy.cz and show those who are interested their exact location. In creating the game, the developers collaborated with, for example, the museum in Uherský Brod.

Travelling through medieval Sázava to places that no longer exist

The Czech game Kingdome Come: Deliverance from the Czech game studio Warhorse will take you to the Sázava area in the 15th century. You will take on the role of Henry, you will experience realistic elements of history from crafts to real weapons to combat techniques. You will also see monuments in a form in which they no longer exist today. You can look forward to, for example, Stříbrná Skalice with its Skalice Castle, Sázava Monastery, the Church of St. Martin in Sázava, Talmberk Castle, the town of Rataje with Pirkštejn Castle, Rataje nad Sázavou Chateau and the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Úžice.

The fact that a full range of experts in various fields took part in the game’s development is also evidence of the quality of the experience for connoisseurs. The game features, for example, the martial art of fencing, where actual fencers’ movements were recorded using motion-capture technology. Thanks to consultations with historians, you can meet people in the game who were probably actually present in the given places in the past and also visit the real places.

Go for walk around historic Prague. Bring the Golem to life

In the game Golem VR, you can see what historic Prague looked like five hundred years ago. Put an a virtual-reality headset and backpack containing a computer, and you will be immediately teleported to Renaissance Prague during the time of Rudolf II. You will see with your own eyes the ritual in which Rabbi Löw brings the legendary Golem to life. You will visit Old Town, Charles Bridge, the Old-New Synagogue and the Old Jewish Cemetery.

The game’s creator, DIVR Labs, has created a unique experience that combines virtual reality with movement in the real world. A virtual base, where those who are interested can discuss, is located in a 250 m2 space at the Hamleys toy store in Prague.

World of action: Arma 2 and DayZ

The largest domestic game studio, Bohemia Interactive, offers players tactical-action entertainment. Arma 2 promises realistically rendered military action from environment of a civil war. As a player, you find yourself in a fictional country called Chernarus, which is based on a real area around Ústí nad Labem. The creators were also inspired by the Elbe River, which served as a coast line.

In the multiplayer survival action game DayZ, the player has only one task – to survive in an environment teeming with aggressive infected zombies and other players with unpredictable intentions. In comparison with Arma 2, the creators expanded the game map, on which signposts, trail markings, ramp structures of the former missile base at Mníšek pod Brdy and Veveří Castle appear. In particular, the large, rusty warehouse in the agricultural collective complex in Lipová became an iconic structure.

Bohemia Interactive develops games and technologies for computers, mobile devices and the Xbox, Switch and PlayStation consoles at six studios in three countries. Since 1999, the company has released more than eighteen games, of which more than thirty million copies have been sold.