Literature and games come together in innovative productions
Subsidy for two literary games
22 January 2016
The Game Fund and the Dutch Foundation for Literature are jointly subsidizing two literary games. Flemish writer Joost Vandecasteele is collaborating with indie game studio Happy Volcano to create a game in which the gameplay determines the course of a dark story. In the game ‘Puzzling Poetry’ by Studio Louter and poet Lucas Hirsch, players transform poems.
These two one-off pairings between game developers and authors were among the responses to an open invitation by the Game Fund (an initiative of the Creative Industries Fund NL and the Dutch Cultural Media Fund) and the Dutch Foundation for Literature. All three organizations are hoping to promote cooperation between the literary world and the games industry.
Suzanne Meeuwissen of the Dutch Foundation for Literature says, ‘The strengthening of cooperation between the two disciplines is both exciting and highly relevant, given current technological developments. Literature is venturing beyond the book, playing with technology and focusing on a new, younger reading public. For game developers, too, this is an enriching initiative. Literary scenarios or storylines add a new, often surprising layer to a game and deepen the gaming experience.’
The call for applications brought in almost fifty proposals, of which five were chosen for further development. A joint advisory committee selected two groups to receive subsidies for developing their games. The committee was particularly impressed by the way these two applicants managed to combine literary quality and game design. They also took into account which games would be most appropriate for presentation at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2016.
‘Puzzling Poetry’ is a game in which the player refashions deconstructed poems by Lucas Hirsch and other poets. The challenge is to look not just at the meaning of the words but at the rhythm and typography. ‘Playing with words leads unexpectedly to a new, concentrated way of reading,’ the advisory committee concluded.
The game ‘Winter’ by Flemish collective Happy Volcano is a mobile game in which the player navigates step by step through a world of tiles. Gradually a story unfolds, an interior dialogue written by Joost Vandecasteele, the course of which is determined by the player. The fresh, clean design of Happy Volcano complements Vandecasteele’s dark literary story.
Frankfurt Book Fair
In October 2016 both ‘Puzzling Poetry’ and ‘Winter’ will be presented by the three sponsoring organizations at the Book Fair in Frankfurt, and for the occasion they will be translated into English and German. This year’s Fair will pay particular attention to innovative forms of literature. The Netherlands and Flanders are guest of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2016.