Attentat 1942

Game review by
Michael Lafferty, Common Sense Media
Attentat 1942 Game Poster Image
WWII history brought to life in visually striking tale.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Attentat 1942 was designed to teach players about actual events in Czechoslovakia in 1942 after the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich. The title does have some entertainment value in that it allows players to participate in timed mini-games all while collecting information about the history of their character's grandfather and how he may or may not have been part of the Czech Resistance that carried out the assassination. Cross-referencing the actual facts with links to an in-title encyclopedia (easily accessed), and using archival film footage from the region carries the learning experience forward. This isn't so much a case of a game with some historical elements, but more a title that's historically based with a few gaming elements. Kids will learn about the history of Czechoslovakia, applied with a personal touch, and get real looks into a terrible time in the history of the world. 

Positive Messages

There aren't many positive things about the time frame that's so carefully detailed in Attentat 1942, but through the stories of the "survivors," one can get a sense of the sacrifices many had to make and were willing to make in the name of freedom. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters of the game, represented by live-action video, demonstrate courage when talking about the events, and set the example through the actions they talk about and their efforts in the wake of a horrible moment in history. 

Ease of Play

There are some timed mini-games, but this is generally a point-and-click game. Thought is required to piece together clues, as the game points players toward the role relatives played during this period of history.

Violence

Attentat 1942 speaks of the violence and the terrors of prison camps, but there's nothing shown. The realization that the events talked about really happened may be a little too intense for younger players to deal with.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Attentat 1942 is a downloadable history game for Windows PCs. While the characters are fictitious (although they may actually be telling real stories), the title is about actual events in Czechoslovakia in 1942 during the Nazi occupation and covers the atrocities and civil rights abused at that time. It's a point-and-click game with no inappropriate content, although the comments and stories about prison camps and war abuse could concern younger players. It also has links to an encyclopedia that gives more information on the various topics discussed. 

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What's it about?

ATTENTAT 1942 takes the story of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the architect of the Nazi occupation in Czechoslovakia, and the aftermath of how it affected the citizens of the country. The title talks about prison and concentration camps, the abuse of prisoners, and the terror that griped the country. Personalizing the experience, this title allows players to take on the role of the granddaughter or grandson of a woman alive during the time period. Her husband (your grandfather, who is ill) was suspected of being a part of the resistance, arrested, and sent to Buchenwald concentration camp. Blending the story with a live video manner, linking to encyclopedic references and protracted articles, this title melds cinematic moments with comic book images to depict a poignant, meaningful, and horrific moment in history. 

Is it any good?

The phrase "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" comes to life in this game, showing a time and place along the lessons that must be learned from it. Attentat 1942 is a short 'gaming' experience (you can complete it in just under 90 minutes), which might be the one fault that it has. But this is also an intense experience that uses timed mini-games (you have to make quick decisions that may affect a response from the enemy) with lives perhaps hanging in the balance. 

Created in concert with the Czech Academy of Science and Charles University, the game blends archival film footage with static comic-book artwork, interactive dialogue, and graphical screens to let players create their own path to the conclusion. This is a title that seems simple but the message it delivers is two-fold: it's a look back and a reminder of where we have come from, as well as being a warning of the dangers presented when absolute power isn't checked. It's a tale of courage, with people doing what's right, even at the risk of their own lives, and it's brought home in a powerful way.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about civil rights and how they were abused during war time, particularly World War II. What are the benefits of free speech? Why were they taken away? What would happen in this country if free speech was denied?

  • Were the actions of the characters in Attentat 1942 the right thing to do? Were these actions worth the price that some characters paid?

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