If you're a Polish student or educator, the government is now providing free copies of anti-war indie game This War of Mine, along with lesson plans on how to use the game in classrooms.
This War of Mine was added to the recommended reading list for Polish students last year. As GamesIndustry.biz (opens in new tab) reported at the time, the game would only be recommended to students over 18, due to its age rating. Developer CEO Grzegorz Miechowski said in a statement that "I'm proud to say 11 Bit Studios' work can add to the development of education and culture in our country."
Today, English-speaking players discovered how the game is being distributed: it's simply a free download on the Polish government's website (opens in new tab). The download is intended purely for students and teachers in Poland, but it's DRM-free and not region-locked. The only actual restriction is that it is, of course, a Polish version of the game. (You can currently grab the worldwide release for 80% off (opens in new tab) during the Steam Summer Sale.)
In addition to the game itself, the website also provides educational materials created in collaboration with 11 Bit Studios. There are basic installation instructions, as well as a lengthier essay on the game and its educational uses, as well as a lesson plan that recommends the game be taught alongside Auschwitz survivor Tadeusz Borowski's short story collection Pożegnanie z Marią, known in English as This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Some of the nuance may be lost here due to machine translation, but the government site explains that "telling the story through the player's decisions helps to understand the atrocities to which civilians are exposed in armed conflicts. The tone of the game and faithfulness in portraying harsh realities make it a helpful tool when talking to students about wars, their history and nature, as well as ethics, psychology, the value of human dignity or human behavior in the face of situations that directly threaten life."
Earlier this year, 11 Bit Studios pledged seven days of profits from This War of Mine to support the Ukrainian Red Cross.