Being Arnon Grunberg

My first real game design related project was Being Arnon Grunberg in early 2015. As Arnon Grunberg (a Dutch writer, essayist, and columnist) was appointed as honorary fellow at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), the customary thing was to give a series of lectures and talks, but instead he wanted to explore whether games could be the next step for literature. The result was a project with the Special Collections of the UvA and the Humanities-faculty at the UvA.

Five students from the MSc IS Game Studies at the UvA would spearhead the project and start the initial game design. Fifteen additional students from various studies from the Humanities would then join to continue to design and work on the project along the Game Studies students.

I joined as part of the fifteen Humanities students as I was still pursuing my Bachelor’s in English Language and Culture (i.e. Literature and (partially socio-)Linguistics). Working in a team of twenty proved challenging for all of us, and several people left during the project, but overall it was a very educational experience.

The final product was a combination of a Live-Action Role Playing event and an audio tour to provide participants with background story set in the Red Light District of Amsterdam. My part mainly consisted of helping design the mechanics of the game, as well as various craft-related work such as designing and producing hand-outs and other physical components.

The website for the project has since been deactivated, but other resources still remain:

FOLIA – Arnon Grunberg honorary fellow aan de UvA – 26 Sept 2014
Background article on the appointment of Arnon Grunberg and additional information.

NRC – Zelf Grunberg worden? Het kan vandaag in Amsterdam – 23 Feb 2015
Article on the event day itself as well as live-Tweeting on the event.

HearUsHere – Being Grunberg
Project page of the software company that provided the audio tour application.