The Migrants’ Chronicles-project is a serious game teaching migration from Luxembourg to America around 1892.

The team of the Cologne Game Lab (TH Köln) is responsible for the game, while the Faculty of Humanities Education and Social Sciences of the Luxembourg University and the Humanities Center of Carleton College is responsible for the content and the historical accuracy of the game. It uses gaming to teach the history of Luxembourg emigration & spark empathy for migrants of yesterday & today while giving an impression of the general Zeitgeist of 1892.

Within the project, a digital educational game about migration is created, with the pilot focussing on 19th century Luxembourgers who migrated to the United States. The main use of the game is planned to be in schools and museums.

The educational role playing game lets 11–13-year-old students choose from three characters: a widow with young children, a wealthy couple or a young craftsman from the North. As they race against the clock to journey to the US, they make critical decisions along the way – like what to pack or what harbor to depart from – each with their own set of consequences. The game, designed for tablets, is set in 1892, when the US opened Ellis Island, just before the first Chicago World’s Fair, which employed many Luxembourg tradespeople.

Expansion to Other Countries With Migration History is planned

With the official launch planned for 2023, the game will be provided to schools & museums (in Luxembourgish & English) as an effective method for teaching history & life skills. But: The project will not stop with Luxembourgish emigration! Future installments will tackle diverse immigrant experiences – modern emigration from the Middle East to Europe, for example. The first prototype of this digital game can serve as a template that can accept a variety of content of other historical and contemporary migratory waves. Developers can freely develop the open source project to pursue whatever stories they want to tell.

The game is primarily intended for primary (grade 6), grammar, and professional school students (grade 7/8), ages 11-13 in a formal educational environment and in museums. The immersive nature of the role play game also makes it suitable for school children with special needs. The bilingual game (L; EN) can be used in Luxembourg and in the US.

Educators may easily include our game in the school curriculum and museum educational programs. Teaching educators how to use our game will be an essential part of our project. In Luxembourg, this will occur as part of the continuing education of teachers and training sessions for museum educators. In the US, we will collaborate with specific museums and middle schools in Luxembourgish communities.

The historical research started in 2020, the development of the game started in 2022. The team delivered a beta version in 2023, to make a pilot educational impact evaluation. Then the game will be upgraded to a final version and released in the end of 2023.

The Migrants’ Chronicles: 1892 – Trailer

With a total budget of roughly €500,000, the initiative received funding from Digital Luxembourg’s Innovative Initiatives & the Ministry of Education, with the majority of funding coming from the Oeuvre Nationale de Secours Grande Duchesse Charlotte & the University of Luxembourg.

Project funded by the Oeuvre, Luxembourg