A SCOTTISH company has praised the power video games have to raise serious questions about society, politics and history.

Chimera Tales, a small Glasgow-based games development team, has been nominated for a top award at the Scottish Games Awards – part of the Scottish Games Week running from October 30 to November 7 – in the category of “creativity”.

The company, co-founded by Máté Tóth Ridovics and Thomas Salgarella, aims to “create gamified experiences or interactive tools that can be used for directly educational or other purposes for the common good”.

Their first project, Hotel Arcanum, was a demo created while the pair studied at Glasgow Caledonian University which explored the subject of “transgenerational holocaust trauma” – seeking to show how the ripple effect of the Holocaust still affects descendants of its victims.

READ MORE: Shetland shows off its culinary prowess at food and drink festival

It earned them the UK Government-funded Tranzfuser prize in 2020, which gave them £20,000 of funding to further develop the game and their studio.

Now, the company’s latest project, Marion’s Journey, has been put up for the prestigious Scottish Games Awards accolade. The game tells the story of Marion Camrass, a Polish Holocaust and gulag survivor who moved to and settled down in Scotland right after the Second World War.

The game is based on real-life segments of an interview with Camrass.

The National:

Tóth Ridovics said: “The game is developed around the fragments of an interview with Marion. The voice the players hear in the game is Marion herself.

“Marion's Journey's original prototype was developed by students years ago as part of an event organised by Gathering the Voices who later approached our company as the original developers did not want to continue the work on the game.”

The game was developed in partnership with Gathering the Voices – a Scottish organisation whose mission is to collect the testimonies of Holocaust survivors in the country.

READ MORE: Scottish Takeaway Awards 2023: See all the winners

Tóth Ridovics said that simply getting the game across the finish line was “something we are all proud of” due to facing financial difficulties during development.

He said: “Marion's Journey was not developed under ideal circumstances in terms of financial aspects or team size. Therefore, its existence in itself is something we are all proud of.

“I am proud of it as an experiment on trying to find a relatively new but valid approach in Holocaust education.

“Gathering the testimonies of Holocaust survivors and making them accessible in an educational framework for younger generations is becoming more and more crucial as we are getting further away from World War II in time.

“In light of how current generations consume media and information in general, and how the medium of video games is in constant evolution, creating accessible educational experiences in the language of that medium is an ongoing, never-ending experiment.

The National:

“For us, redeveloping an educational game around Marion Camrass's testimony is not only a single project about a story of a survivor but a contribution to that experiment.

“Hopefully, it is going to be an interactive experience that stands on its own, but also something we or other developers can learn from in order to create more and more accessible and meaningful projects about one of the most tragic events in human history.”

Tóth Ridovics said that he has faced personal internal struggles with questions of representations and depictions of the Holocaust.

He said: “I personally think that the most valid and valuable way to learn about something that is almost untellable because of its scale and social, political complexity is reading testimonies, historical studies and research.

“However, I understand that it's a privilege that is not accessible for everyone or for every age group. Therefore, I value the effort that goes into finding alternative ways in Holocaust education, but every project raises many questions regarding the representation of the Holocaust.

“We think of the medium of video games as an art form to raise questions regarding social, political or historical topics.”

READ MORE: Thousands to take part in pro-Palestine protests across Scotland

Asked why he decided to focus his work in games on telling difficult stories, Tóth Ridovics said: "I come from a political activist, participatory art background as I worked as a media artist for a Hungarian organisation called Krétakör for years.

"We created several multidisciplinary art projects, from participatory theatre about racism in Hungarian villages to opera about child abuse in Munich.

"To me, it was obvious that I would like to experiment with games tackling similar topics."