LukaszJanczuk

COMTOG Interview with Lukasz Janczuk on ‘My Memory of Us’

Interviewed by Iván Escobar Fernández

Lukasz Janczuk is the co-founder and lead designer at Juggler Games and a former Design Manager at CI Games. Janczuk was ‘My Memory of Us’ lead designer. My Memory of Us is a narrative-driven puzzle-adventure video game developed by Juggler Games. The game is set in a fictional version of Poland during World War II and tells the story of a young boy and girl who must navigate through a city divided into two parts: one for Jews and one for non-Jews. The game features hand-drawn art, puzzle-solving, stealth elements, and a unique memory-manipulation mechanic that allows players to change the past to solve puzzles and progress through the story. The game received positive reviews for its story and art. Overall, My Memory of Us is a touching and emotional game about friendship, love, and survival during a war.

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AngusMol

COMTOG Interview with Dr Angus Mol on ‘Bury Me My Love’

Interviewed by Martin Galland

Dr Angus Mol is a Games Studies scholar from Leiden University. ‘Bury Me My Love‘ is a game about distance. It is a game which places front and centre relationships between humans, how they interact, and what drives people to take a leap into the unknown and risk their lives in the hope of reaching safety. The eponymous phrase, ‘Bury Me My Love’, is an Arabic expression to take care roughly meant to signify, “don’t think about dying before I do.” The game is inspired by but does not tell, the real-life story of Dana, a Syrian woman having left her country in September 2015. Both the journalist who wrote the article on Dana’s story and Dana herself working as part of the game’s editorial team (Le Monde, 2015). Developed by The Pixel Hunt in 2015, Bury Me My Love is a branching text-based narrative based around the story of people on the move during the 2015 Syrian refugee crisis. Its main characters are Nour and Majd, a young couple from Homs, Syria. The player takes on the role of Majd, having stayed behind in Syria to take care of his mother and grandfather, while his partner, Nour, goes on to attempt the journey to Germany in order to receive refugee status there. Much of the game is based on three core mechanics which impact the outcomes of choices made throughout Nour’s journey: Time; the itinerary; and finally, Nour’s own variables of morale, budget, her relationship with Majd, and what she has or does not have on her person in key moments. With this expansive and branching narrative, there are 50 different locations to go through and nineteen possible endings for Nour’s journey, with widely divergent outcomes.

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TigsLouisPuttick

COMTOG Interview with Tigs Louis Puttick on ‘Bury Me My Love’

Tigs Louis-Puttick, Communications and Advocacy Coordinator for Samos Volunteers, a non-profit organisation supporting refugees and asylum-seekers on Samos. ‘Bury Me My Love‘ is a game about distance. It is a game which places front and centre relationships between humans, how they interact, and what drives people to take a leap into the unknown and risk their lives in the hope of reaching safety. The eponymous phrase, ‘Bury Me My Love’, is an Arabic expression to take care roughly meant to signify, “don’t think about dying before I do.” The game is inspired by but does not tell, the real-life story of Dana, a Syrian woman having left her country in September 2015. Both the journalist who wrote the article on Dana’s story and Dana herself working as part of the game’s editorial team (Le Monde, 2015). Developed by The Pixel Hunt in 2015, Bury Me My Love is a branching text-based narrative based around the story of people on the move during the 2015 Syrian refugee crisis. Its main characters are Nour and Majd, a young couple from Homs, Syria. The player takes on the role of Majd, having stayed behind in Syria to take care of his mother and grandfather, while his partner, Nour, goes on to attempt the journey to Germany in order to receive refugee status there. Much of the game is based on three core mechanics which impact the outcomes of choices made throughout Nour’s journey: Time; the itinerary; and finally, Nour’s own variables of morale, budget, her relationship with Majd, and what she has or does not have on her person in key moments. With this expansive and branching narrative, there are 50 different locations to go through and nineteen possible endings for Nour’s journey, with widely divergent outcomes.

See the Report

JakubJablonski 

COMTOG Interview with Jakub Jablonski on ‘My Memory of Us’

Interviewed by Iván Escobar Fernández

Jakub Jablonski is the co-owner and co-founder, art director, and creative director of Juggler Games. ‘My Memory of Us‘ is a narrative-driven puzzle-adventure video game developed by Juggler Games. The game is set in a fictional version of Poland during World War II and tells the story of a young boy and girl who must navigate through a city divided into two parts: one for Jews and one for non-Jews. The game features hand-drawn art, puzzle-solving, stealth elements, and a unique memory-manipulation mechanic that allows players to change the past to solve puzzles and progress through the story. The game received positive reviews for its story and art. Overall, My Memory of Us is a touching and emotional game about friendship, love, and survival during a war.

DavidKirschner

COMTOG Interview with Dr David Kirschner on ‘My Memory of Us’

Interviewed by Iván Escobar Fernández

Dr David Kirschner is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Department of Human Services and Cultural Studies at Georgia Gwinnett College. My Memory of Us is a narrative-driven puzzle-adventure video game developed by Juggler Games. The game is set in a fictional version of Poland during World War II and tells the story of a young boy and girl who must navigate through a city divided into two parts: one for Jews and one for non-Jews. The game features hand-drawn art, puzzle-solving, stealth elements, and a unique memory-manipulation mechanic that allows players to change the past to solve puzzles and progress through the story. The game received positive reviews for its story and art. Overall, My Memory of Us is a touching and emotional game about friendship, love, and survival during a war.

FlorentMaurin

COMTOG Interview with Florent Maurin on ‘Bury Me My Love’

Interviewed by Martin Galland 

Developed by The Pixel Hunt in 2015, Bury Me My Love is a branching text-based narrative based around the story of people on the move during the 2015 Syrian refugee crisis. Its main characters are Nour and Majd, a young couple from Homs, Syria. The player takes on the role of Majd, having stayed behind in Syria to take care of his mother and grandfather, while his partner, Nour, goes on to attempt the journey to Germany in order to receive refugee status there. Much of the game is based on three core mechanics which impact the outcomes of choices made throughout Nour’s journey: Time; the itinerary; and finally, Nour’s own variables of morale, budget, her relationship with Majd, and what she has or does not have on her person in key moments. With this expansive and branching narrative, there are 50 different locations to go through and nineteen possible endings for Nour’s journey, with widely divergent outcomes.

See the Report

Susi Meret

Susi Meret on “The impact of the Russia-Ukraine War on Right-Wing Populism in Europe. The case of Denmark”

Meret, Susi. (2023). “The impact of the Russia-Ukraine War on Right-Wing Populism in Europe. The case of Denmark.” In: The Impacts of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine on Right-wing Populism in Europe. (eds). Gilles Ivaldi and Emilia Zankina. European Center for Populism Studies (ECPS). March 8, 2023. Brussels. https://doi.org/10.55271/rp0016

Download Report on Denmark

At the referendum held in Denmark on June 1st, 2022 (Indenrigsministeriet, 2022), two-thirds of the electorate (66.9 %) voted for the removal of the Danish EU opt-out on Common Security and Defense Policy. This result was noteworthy, and it must be understood within the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and in the light of the situation of instability and insecurity sparked by an international crisis, that added up to the effects of the global health crisis. The populist right-wing parties in parliament were against the removal, arguing Denmark would renounce decisional power on key military and security areas. Instead, these parties advocate for the strengthening of the military within the NATO-alliance, starkly opposing further development at EU level. The impact of the Russia-Ukrainian war opens new opportunities for the populist right, whose electoral support has been waning over the past years. The newly established party, The Denmark Democrats can gain from the situation to strengthen and consolidate their position. The New Right and the crisis ridden Danish People’s Party can exploit the situation to gain voters’ support, playing on feelings of insecurity and international crisis. 

Keywords: right-wing populism; opt-outs; Danish People’s Party; foreign policy; NATO.

ReportCover2

Cecilia Biancalana on “Italy’s multiple populisms facing the Russo-Ukrainian war”

Biancalana, Cecilia. (2023). “Italy’s multiple populisms facing the Russo-Ukrainian war.” In: The Impacts of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine on Right-wing Populism in Europe. (eds). Gilles Ivaldi and Emilia Zankina. European Center for Populism Studies (ECPS). March 8, 2023. Brussels. https://doi.org/10.55271/rp0022

Download Report on Italy

Italy has been defined as a laboratory for populism and a “populist paradise.” Indeed, multiple forms of populism coexist in Italy, covering the entire political spectrum. From the “left-wing” Movimento 5 Stelle to the right-wing coalition composed of Fratelli d’Italia, Forza Italia and the Lega, we can be sure that populism is very popular in Italy. We can be equally sure that, over the last few years, all these parties have had links to the Putin regime. Suffice it to mention the decades-long friendship between Silvio Berlusconi and Vladimir Putin or the admiration Matteo Salvini, the head of the Lega, has demonstrated for the president of the Russian Federation. However, the Russian invasion and the extensive popular and institutional support evinced for Ukraine in its wake changed everything, leaving populist parties scrambling to review their positions and modify their discourse. In the report, I will examine the ties between the main Italian populist parties (Fratelli d’Italia, Forza Italia, Lega, Movimento 5 Stelle) and Russia and the shifts in their positions towards President Putin in the aftermath of the invasion. Against this backdrop, the September 2022 elections in Italy can be considered as a “test case” to measure the success of the populist parties’ strategies to negotiate the crisis and to shed light on the changing balance of power within the broad populist field.

Keywords: Italy; Fratelli d’Italia; Lega; Berlusconi; Movimento 5 Stelle.

Yannick Lahti

Yannick Lahti on “The impact of the Russia–Ukraine war on right-wing populism in Finland”

Lahti, Yannick & Palonen, Emilia. (2023). “The impact of the Russia–Ukraine war on right-wing populism in Finland.” In: The Impacts of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine on Right-wing Populism in Europe. (eds). Gilles Ivaldi and Emilia Zankina. European Center for Populism Studies (ECPS). March 8, 2023. Brussels. https://doi.org/10.55271/rp0018

Download Report on Finland

As Finland’s neighbour, Russia, attacked its neighbour, Ukraine, the response across the political spectrum in Finland was universal. All the parties underscored the importance of patriotism and sovereignty and messages of solidarity and support for Ukraine (alongside condemnation of Russia). Support for Putin or the war is basically non-existent in Finland. Still, the Finns Party (FP), which is part of the populist Radical Right milieu in Finland, polls extremely well. Moreover, groups combining anti-COVID-19 measures with pro-Putin leanings have registered as political parties in preparation for elections in spring 2023. Still, their combined support is in single digits. The concrete consequences of the war include a U-turn in foreign policy from long-standing neutrality to NATO membership, with all parties—including the FP—supporting the government’s pending application to join alongside neighbouring Sweden. Interestingly, as the conflict heated up in early 2022, “Niikkogate”—a scandal in which a parliamentary committee chair from the FP was replaced after tweeting pro-Kremlin sentiments—has indicated the degree of pro-Ukraine support across the political spectrum.

Keywords: Finns Party (FP); Finland; Russia–Ukraine war; populist Radical Right; digital counterpublics; disinformation.

Bertjan Verbeek

Bertjan Verbeek on “Disagreement among populists in the Netherlands: The diverging rhetorical and policy positions of Dutch populist Radical Right parties following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”

Nijhuis, Chris; Verbeek, Bertjan & Zaslove, Andrej. (2023). “Disagreement among populists in the Netherlands: The diverging rhetorical and policy positions of Dutch populist Radical Right parties following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.” In: The Impacts of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine on Right-wing Populism in Europe. (eds). Gilles Ivaldi and Emilia Zankina. European Center for Populism Studies (ECPS). March 8, 2023. Brussels https://doi.org/10.55271/rp0032

Download Report on The Netherlands

The Netherlands boasts a wide array of populist Radical Right parties, from the Freedom Party (PVV) and Forum for Democracy (FvD) to Correct Alternative 2021 (JA21). To complicate matters further, the left-wing Socialist Party (SP) is also considered a populist party. Mirroring the diversity of responses to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the rest of Europe, Dutch populist parties have reacted in myriad ways. Whereas the PVV condemned the Russian invasion, the FvD remained highly supportive of Putin. Interestingly, while many European populist Radical Right leaders, following public opinion, pivoted away from support for Russia, the FvD has maintained its support for Putin’s regime throughout 2022. JA21, on the other hand, has followed the non-populist parties, calling for tougher sanctions on Russia. This report maps the diverse positions of the three populist Radical Right parties regarding Russia. However, we also seek to explain why they have chosen such diverse paths. The report focuses on supply-side considerations, such as the impact of the parties’ relative degree of populism, their attaching ideology, and their position in the highly fragmented party system.

Keywords: Populism, Foreign policy, the Netherlands, Russia–Ukraine war, Party for Freedom (PVV), Forum for Democracy (FvD).