Videogame gives sneak peek inside KESKUS - learn some Estonian while you're at it!
While the ceremonial groundbreaking for the KESKUS International Estonian Centre took place on April 8th, 2022, a team of video game players across North America were already trying to find weak spots in the foundations. Not physically, of course, but rather virtually!
The objective was to de-bug and ensure the smooth operation of MisKESKUS, the video game brainchild of Tom Tiisler, Elli Kipper, and Heli Vanaselja that is now ready to play - download links are at the end of this blog post!
MisKESKUS, set in a 3D rendering of the new KESKUS building, is an English-language based plurilingual videogame. It focuses on gaining familiarity with navigating the layout of the Centre while learning some basic Estonian vocabulary. Elli and Heli, both teachers at Toronto's Estonian Supplementary School, developed a curriculum that would be enjoyable by players of all ages and specifically aimed at students aged 6-12, so that the game is relevant to their lived experiences.
Players receive a passport to track progress through the game, and through exploration and challenge completion within KESKUS, receive tokens representing the 15 maakonnad (counties) of Estonia.
With many Estonian supplementary schools around the world virtual due to pandemic precautions, and generally a rethinking of how Estonian schools can best attract students from their catchment area while also reaching interested students further afield with remote learning, the MisKESKUS video game will be an accessible and engaging way to have students of all ages practise their Estonian and stay connected to the exciting future of the community.
MisKESKUS also presents an opportunity for intergenerational bonding - take the whole family on a virtual tour of KESKUS through the game! MisKESKUS has already been beta-tested with the leads of the Hamilton, Toronto, and New York Estonian supplementary schools, as well as introduced to teachers and administrators of Estonian schools around the world, via Eesti Instituut (Estonian cultural institute) ready for incorporation into curriculum.
By the time KESKUS opens at the end of 2023, those who have played MisKESKUS will have no problem navigating the Centre, moving through the bistro, grand hall and classrooms, through to accessing the rooftop garden, the business launchlab, and Northern Birch Credit Union. Whether your Estonian language skills are basic or advanced, MisKESKUS will have you learning new things, and meeting some fun characters. Who knows, you might even spot some familiar faces!
The misKESKUS game is presented by Estonian Arts Centre, the charity associated with KESKUS, and made possible with the sponsorship of Integratsiooni Sihtasutus and Northern Birch Credit Union. Thanks goes to the programming and curriculum leads and to the whole team that includes Ene Timmusk for language and grammar help, Kongats Architects for the base 3D model, Mart Leppik for audio programming, and Ellen Valter for creating the opportunity and managing the project.
MisKESKUS is playable on both Windows and Mac desktop/laptop environments, keyboard and mouse required. The game resets with every play, so every play is unique. There's a tutorial in-game - download it here:
Check back on the download page for game updates. On the game's credits page you’ll see how to give feedback on the game too - hope you enjoy it, and please do consider donating, or adding to a prior donation to Estonian Arts Centre, to support KESKUS and the wonderful arts programming that will take place within it!
Get involved and support KESKUS
Please join our growing list of capital campaign donors. The KESKUS International Estonian Centre’s donor categories are Kalevipoja laud for gifts over $100,000 (including naming rights for specific areas), Koidula gild, which is from $50,000-99,999, Viru vanemad for gifts of $10,000-$49,999, and Kungla rahvas for gifts up to $10,000.
To make a donation, please call +1.647.250.7136 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations may be made as a family gift, or in honour of an individual or family. All Canadian and U.S. donations will be issued a tax receipt.KESKUS leadership donors are recognized here.
To follow the construction journey and for KESKUS updates: