This War of Mine, a game that thrusts players in the role of a Bosnian citizen trying to survive the long and brutal Siege of Sarajevo, is being added to Poland's official school reading list this year.
Poland-based 11 bit Studios celebrated its inclusion earlier today on its Twitter account. The addition has been confirmed by Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, and 11 bit is justifiably proud.
"Games speak a language instinctively understandable [by the young generation]—the language of interaction," tweets 11 bit Studios' CEO, Grzegorz Miechowski. "Games can talk about everything—emotions, truth, the fight between good and evil, humanity, suffering."
"I don't think we've ever encountered a game being officially included in the educational system on a national level as school reading," Miechowski continues. "I'm proud to say 11 bit Studios' work can add to the development of education and culture in our country."
Indeed, video games are often praised for their usefulness in teaching kids about STEM subjects, but schools and government rarely point out how they're also effective at teaching social subjects like history and the arts. Miechowski's acknowledgement is a breakthrough.
This War of Mine is a grim but powerful place to start for history told through video games. You play as a citizen who must try to keep themselves and their family alive through the Siege. Clean water, food, and medicine is scarce, and difficult choices must be made, often on the fly. Scavenging is difficult thanks to snipers and other wandering, besieged citizens who will do whatever it takes to survive.
If you're a high school student in Poland, you should get a copy of This War of Mine for the 2020/2021 school year. If you're anywhere else in the world, you can pick up the game on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and PC.