Video game inspires praise and nostalgia for its depiction of Poland’s cultural heritage
A new video game is winning praise for its prominent depiction of details from Poland’s social and cultural past.
Despite being one of the world’s leading producers of computer games, few if any are actually set in Poland.
That has now changed with The Medium from Kraków-based games producer Bloober Team.
A psychological horror set in post-Communist Poland in 1999, the game opens with a panning shot over Krakow’s Plac Matejki before taking players into the apartment of a character called Jack.
A grand but poorly maintained building from the early 20th century, the apartment in the game reflects a past visible in the old world grandeur of one of its rooms, combined with a period of communist negligence as seen in the apartment’s dilapidated kitchen, cheap fittings, mould and damp communal corridors.
Outside of the apartment’s window, a monument of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s victory over the Teutonic Order at the Battle of Grunwald in 1410 can be seen, referring back to a glorious period in Polish history.
The details of the apartment’s interior, from the dark-wood fitted dresser cabinets, wooden parquet floors, light fittings, layout and furniture in the rooms are all characteristic of the interior features many Poles will remember from the apartments of their parents and grandparents.
Robert Zak, a video game critic and reviewer said: “There are little touches in the apartment that take me back to visiting family and grandparents in Polish apartments. Those intricately patterned metal tea-glass holders…
“The meat grinder, clamped onto the waxy tablecloth of every octogenarian Pole…There’s something wonderful about seeing your cultural heritage – so familiar to you but obscure on a global scale – consecrated in videogame form.”
Describing the game as a “poignant slice of Polish culture”, he adds: “Amid all these Polish made games, few have depicted Poland itself.
“The Medium breaks this unfortunate tradition beautifully…It’s a country that’s been reluctant to give itself credit where it’s due or even to represent itself, and it’s refreshing to see Bloober Team finally buck that trend, even in this modest way.”
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