My Child Lebensborn teaches players about the repercussions of a lesser-known historical situation that took place during World War II: namely, the Lebensborn program. This Nazi initiative aimed to breed Aryan children in isolated communities and usually involved unmarried women and German soldiers. The children would then be given to married German couples in order to expand the race. These programs existed in Germany and several other European countries, with Norway containing the most. After World War II ended and the initiative collapsed, the remaining children were adopted by families throughout each country. My Child Lebensborn documents the adoption of one of these children into a single-parent Norwegian household and the ensuing difficulties the family faces as they are continually confronted with the child’s past and World War II’s frightening effects on Norway and its citizens.
This narrative, interactive game unfolds a rich, yet dark, history of Nazism, German occupation, and life after the war by having you care for a young Lebensborn child you have recently adopted. Part of the game involves rationing money and resources to support and care for the child, yet another important aspect involves conversing with the child and learning about the community from his point of view. He is bullied at school by both his peers and his teachers because of his German genes, confronted by terms such as Nazism that he doesn’t understand, and confused about his biological parents.
As the child’s guardian, you must help him through these emotional difficulties while attempting to learn more about his past. Each day in the game, letters arrive from which you piece together historical events about the German occupation and the Lebensborn program.
The game is based on true events and interviews with real Lebensborn children and features actual newspaper clippings from the time. As a player, you learn so much about not only the Lebensborn program, but also about how difficult life was for Lebensborn children and their guardians after the war. They were, in many ways, a reminder of the war for Norwegian citizens.
Although the story of the Lebensborn children could not be told in a light way, the game’s content is heavy, dark, and sometimes difficult to progress through. While I was truly engrossed in the story and felt mature enough to handle it, I don’t think this game is suitable for young children. High schoolers, college students, and adults should all be fine to play, but even then, those who are more sensitive to childhood hardships and bullying might find this game difficult to play.
My Child Lebensborn is a rich and emotional portrait of a tragic piece of World War II history that few people know about. The story is compelling, and the situations conveyed likely apply to many children born of war today and throughout history. However, users should be prepared for a dark gaming experience; one that might be too heavy for younger or more sensitive players.Image: via My Child Lebensborn