Interaction and storytelling
When I was in university I was part of a new project roughly every three months, with varying classmates and assignments and various results because of that. One of the most successful ones resulted in a product called “De Commissie” or “The Commission”. In co-operation with a local hospital we were all assigned cases in health care, important issues that employees of medical facilities needed to be educated on by means of a serious game we had to develop. We got the diagnosis of delirium and quickly realised that it would be a cool way to get players involved in the situation if we could make them experience a case of delirium themselves, where something horrible had happened to a patient and they would have to come before a group of their seniors to explain their actions.
Style meets story
My biggest role by far was that of art director alongside my teammate Alex. We created all the visuals that Ronne, another classmate, then put together with several other members of the group. This resulted in a dark, noir-like set of hand drawn illustrations being shown throughout the playing of the game, either resulting in a dismissal of the case or the person playing getting fired in the storyline. This was one of the first encounters I had with interactive storytelling and it would not be my last by far either, both in enjoying them and creating them myself.
I am Mosul
Fast forward a whole bunch of years and I find myself browsing social media when I suddenly encounter a promoted advertisement by BNN-Vara, a national broadcasting company here in the Netherlands, mostly known for it’s demographic of young adults and sometimes childish content. But this was different. In the advertisement the company posed a question what you would do if your city would suddenly turn into an extremist movement’s home town. Reason for this question was, of course, the town of Mosul in Iraq that befell the wrath of the ISIS fighters.
Cause & effect
Getting back to my original story about De Commissie; I recognised some of the stylistic and conceptual elements in I am Mosul. Curious as I am I clicked the link and with a list of several larger cities within the Netherlands to choose from the player can be put straight into the shoes of someone who gets confronted with a situation just like in Mosul. Would you grab your cell phone? Would you take of forget the charger? Would you run for your life and freeze without clothing? Would you accept refuge but fear rejection from locals? All these questions to remind us what horrible things happened in Iraq and how lucky we are that we are living a relative safe life. The website is interactive, feels familiar and sometimes has very stylish visuals. Click the image below to find out for yourself what I am Mosul is all about and scroll further to see some images left of my own personal serious game from university.