The experience of fleeing communist Czechoslovakia in the 1980s has informed a fascinating survival horror driving game
Ondřej Švadlena’s open-world driving game doesn’t look like any other. The cars are old and beat up, there are no timers or cheering crowds, and the California sun is nowhere to be seen. Instead, a brown murkiness hangs over the entire world, lending it an eerie and oppressive quality. This is a driving game inspired, not by long pleasure drives along some Pacific highway, but by a childhood spent living in and eventually fleeing the Soviet bloc.
In 1984, at the age of six, Švadlena almost snitched on his own parents to the secret police. He had come home from kindergarten and asked his mother if she would hang out the Soviet flag for Labour Day – a “tradition” enforced by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. “When she told me she would not, I told her I would have to report that to my kindergarten educators because they asked us to,” Švadlena says. There’s no telling what would have happened to his parents if he had.