Nicosia is Calling – a serious games that crosses boarders

Concept Developers & Coordinators:  Shirin Jetha & Daphne Lappa (Association for Historical Dialogue & Research)

Developer: Dolphins

Educational purpose: History of Cyprus, Conflict Resolution and peace building, Geography of Nicosia and Tourism

Target audience: Young people and adults

Platforms: Web

Web:  to be provided following the launch of the game in autumn 2015

Further information: ahdr@ahdr.info

 

Nicosia, the capital of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus and the only remaining divided capital city in the world. The inter-communal conflict between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots that began in the 1950’s transformed the shared city of Nicosia into an almost mutually exclusive ethno-religious zone, until the division of the island in 1974.

Today the dividing line or buffer zone as its commonly known remains, physically divides the old city within the walls into two, separating the northern and southern parts of the city.  It is the old city that the ‘Nicosia is Calling’ game centers on. The game is a project of the Association of the Historical Dialogue & research (AHDR); an inter-communal non-governmental organization based in Nicosia, Cyprus.

One of the catalysts for the creation of the game is the fact that the divided city of Nicosia, and especially the old city within the walls, is a place that is relatively unknown and unfamiliar to Cypriots, and even the residents of the city itself.

Despite the ease of restriction of movement, with the first checkpoint being opened to the public in 2003, some people remain afraid to cross to the “other” side. Moreover, Cyprus currently has two separate educational systems that teach the history of the Island to its young people in a form that perpetuates the notion of the ‘other’ and the ‘enemy’.

‘Nicosia is Calling’ was created in an effort to combat such disengagement, by providing young people a resource enabling them to learn more about the old city of Nicosia without having to rely on the formal education process, or even needing to leave their computer! As children living in the northern part of Cyprus and children living in the southern part of Cyprus can simultaneously learn without limitation about the common history of Nicosia, the game is an invaluable resource.

Nicosia is Calling is organized into several mini-games designed to teach players about the rich history and culture of the island’s capital city Nicosia. In the Puzzle game, players must drop and drag each of Nicosia’s twenty-three quarters into its correct place on a map of the walled city before using information provided to answer questions about the quarter’s history. The Then and Now game requires players to match old photos of Nicosia with modern photos captured in the same location, thus providing players with a sense of the city’s incredible evolution throughout time. The Pin It game allows players the opportunity to learn about important landmarks throughout the city, as well as where to find them, through choosing the correct quarter for each landmark on a map of the walled city. Both the Match Pictos and Match Photos games are memory challenges in which players must identify pairs of matching landmarks or photos of Nicosia within a larger group of cards.

 

It is the hope of the AHDR, that the ‘Nicosia is Calling’ game will contribute to the healing of wounds, as well as prompt Nicosia’s residents (and Cypriots in general) to identify once more with their city, to empathize with its turbulent past, to understand what it means to be living in a shared city as well as to reflect on what this could mean for the future of the island.

 

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