Game Zone


The Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival is dedicated to showing various ways of representing reality: through original documentary features or shorts (both new and old) from around the world, through experimental films, progressive reality TV formats, or hybrid genres such as doc-fi, via audiovisual installations, and – since last year – in the form of interactive documentary films or web-docs and educational documentary computer games.

The Game Zone, made possible this year thanks to the cooperation with Dell and Intel, features ten stations equipped with the latest technology where visitors can interactively explore the Milky Way or the underwater world, be in the middle of a snowstorm in an Eskimo village or the Iranian Revolution in Tehran, or experience military conflict through the eyes of a civilian. The educational games offer an entertaining opportunity to learn about biology, math, and history, or to expand economic knowledge and spatial thinking.

Learning is not the passive absorption of information. It is the product of an intellectual and creative dialogue with the world, and the Jihlava IDFF offers a chance to engage in such dialogue on the movie screen and through computer monitors. The festival presents a broad range of games that work with references to reality or can be used to learn about scientific fields and disciplines.

Festivalgoers will be able to explore the following games and their interactive worlds:

Challenging Edutainment

Portal 2

What has already become a cult puzzle game goes through various environment scenarios to thoroughly train the imagination and teach physics and math using well-designed game chambers and situations that are a part of an absorbing story. It can be played in single- or multi-player mode and is a challenging exercise to train logic and quick wits, and also providing entertaining practice for logical and spatial thinking.

Educational games

The Radix Endeavor (2014, MIT Education Arcade)

Developed by MIT researchers, The Radix Endeavor teaches users (primarily high school students) about the natural sciences, technology, ecology, and math. This captivating MMOG takes an unobtrusive, entertaining approach to algebra, anatomy, mathematical probability and statistics, genetics, and evolutionary biology.

AAA-level docufiction

Elite Dangerous (2016, Frontier Developments)

This online AAA game and cosmic simulator is a true sensory experience whose game world spans the entire Milky Way Galaxy. Players move through realistic settings as they engage in the game’s tasks, learning about scientific laws, astrophysics, economics, and tactical planning while exploring the universe.

Artificial intelligence

Moral Machine (2016, MIT Media Lab)

Self-driving cars and buses are the most visible example of recent advances in artificial intelligence. But recent media attention on the subject has also raised ethical questions. This MIT web project contributes to the debate by providing a platform for collecting views on how machines should make decisions when faced by moral dilemmas. The game’s various moral scenarios have been crowd-sourced not with the aim of determining how people would react, but to understand what people think when such serious decisions are made by machines. At Game Zone, players can use the application to join this crowd-sourced survey, and can see specific examples of the complex decisionmaking process that self-driving cars will have to be capable of in the future.

Docugames and serious games

This War of Mine (2014, 11 bit studios)

A sophisticated simulation of war as seen through the eyes of an ordinary citizen striving for peace but also struggling to survive. In the process, the player must make complicated social and moral decisions. This aesthetically outstanding game addressing difficult and realistic dilemmas is based on meticulous documentary research.

Never Alone (2014, E-Line Media)

Based on the mythology of the Alaskan Iñupiaq nation, Never Alone was developed by members of the indigenous tribe itself. Players must survive the difficult conditions of life in an Inuit village during a snowstorm. Besides enveloping players in a virtual world of visually stunning locations, the game also includes videos on Iñupiaq life and culture.

The Cat and the Coup (2011, Peter Brinson)

Players are put in the role of the cat of Mohammad Mossadegh, the first democratically elected prime minister of Iran. The story starts with the 1953 CIAorchestrated coup that ousted him from office. Working with a visual style inspired by Persian miniatures and with music by Nine Inch Nails, the game takes just 15 minutes to explore this chapter in American, British, and Iranian history.

September 12th: A Toy World (2003, Newsgaming, Gonzalo Frasca)

An excursion into gaming history: This famous newsgame created by a team of Uruguayan developers in collaboration with a former CNN reporter helped to shape the genre. At the time, The New York Times called it “an op-ed composed not of words but of action.” Today it is exhibited in leading museums and galleries throughout the world, and teachers use it to discuss the possibilities, forms, and moral dilemmas of the war on terror.

The Talos Principle (2014, Croteam)

The most popular game at last year’s festival, this logic-based adventure creates an aesthetically appealing world in which players must explore the story of a civilization’s development while using hints, riddles, and non-linear travel through a space-time of their own creation in order to discover, invent, and explore philosophical questions.

1979 Revolution: Black Friday (2016, nFusion Interactive, iNK Stories)

In this new historical-political adventure game, players become a photojournalist based in the Iranian capital during the violent revolution that toppled the Shah and installed the Iranian Islamic Republic. Set among Tehran’s streets and underworld and with a peripatetic story based on real history, the game was created by an Iranian emigrant.

Czechoslovakia 38-89 (2015, The Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Math and Physics of Charles University in Prague, the Institute for Contemporary History of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic)

The Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Math and Physics of Charles University in Prague and the Institute for Contemporary History of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic present their most visual and sophisticated Czech educational game. Something between an adventure and interactive comics, it lets us delve deeply into modern Czechoslovak history.

Masaryk Square Jihlava / 9am-6pm

Photo Gallery

Festival edition: 2016
Event type: Game Zone


The leitmotif of this year’s edition of the Ji.hlava IDFF will be memory