Hubbub has gone into hibernation.

Introducing Victory Boogie Woogie

We’ve been writ­ing about project SAKE here since June last year. A while back it was unveiled to be (Your Dai­ly) Vic­to­ry Boo­gie Woo­gie, an online col­lab­o­ra­tive writ­ing game we’ve made togeth­er with De Gids. Next week on Mon­day, the game will start. So I thought I’d take the time to tell you a bit more about it.

Over the course of ten weeks, a small group of Dutch writ­ers and who­ev­er feels like join­ing in—including you—will write about the dis­cov­ery of a new Vic­to­ry Boo­gie Woo­gie, Mondriaan’s last, unfin­ished work which is of con­sid­er­able sig­nif­i­cance in the Nether­lands. As a play­er you’ll be asked to write about an ever grow­ing range of top­ics, with which you can influ­ence what comes next. You’re also able to con­tribute new top­ics, and have oth­ers write about them, includ­ing the writ­ers behind the scenes. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll be invit­ed to pull the strings of one of the main char­ac­ters and real­ly make a splash…

Victory Boogie Woogie is almost here…

It’s all very open-end­ed, and not so much about telling one coher­ent sto­ry but more about weav­ing an ever expand­ing tapes­try of writ­ings in var­i­ous genres—prose, poet­ry, essays, etc. Which is very much in line with how De Gids tra­di­tion­al­ly tack­les a theme in each of its edi­tions.

The his­to­ry of ludic writ­ing exper­i­ments is a long one. Influ­ences on our work here include obvi­ous ones such as the sur­re­al­ist game cadavre exquis, sto­ry­telling boardgames such as Once Upon a Time and sto­ry-focused indie RPGs such as In a Wicked Age. But also ear­ly online writ­ing exper­i­ments such as Fray and final­ly, sto­ry-focused hybrid games such as World With­out Oil and oth­er ARGs. The list goes on. I’ve been col­lect­ing references—mainly new­er online writ­ing services—on Kit­sune for a while now. James Bri­dle wrote a love­ly piece about writ­ing, play and the net­work for De Gids in which he dis­cussed a large num­ber of exam­ples too.

There’s a whole series of posts I could write about the inter­est­ing design chal­lenges that rear their heads when you attempt to rec­on­cile play­ing with writ­ing. For now, I’ll just say that with Vic­to­ry Boo­gie Woo­gie we decid­ed ear­ly on that we want­ed it to be a game that you play by writ­ing.

I could also talk at length about what it was like to make this. We went from ear­ly paper exper­i­ments, to teas­ing out some of the details relat­ed to scal­ing to an unpre­dictable amount of play­ers using machi­na­tions and final­ly to devel­op­ing a web app in typ­i­cal Hub­bub style with a dis­trib­uted team.

Sake playtest leftovers

Zoom­ing out a lit­tle, this is the lat­est in a series of projects in which inves­ti­gate what play can mean for ‘tra­di­tion­al’ cul­tur­al domains. Not by talk­ing about it, but by mak­ing some­thing. Before, we worked with Dario Fo on game opera Mega Mon­ster Bat­tle Are­na™ lat­er we col­lab­o­rat­ed with music and film fes­ti­vals for a series of game instal­la­tions for PLAY Pilots and now, with the Nether­lands’ old­est lit­er­ary mag­a­zine, Vic­to­ry Boo­gie Woo­gie, an exper­i­men­tal col­lab­o­ra­tive writ­ing game.

So please join us, if only to read what will unfold but hope­ful­ly to also par­tic­i­pate.

Thanks to the edi­tors at De Gids for reach­ing out to us, in par­tic­u­lar Dirk Vis but also Dirk van Weelden, Arjen Mul­der and Edzard Mik. Lies­beth Bened­er and Esther Wils for keep­ing us orga­nized. Rob­bert Wela­gen, Niels ‘t Hooft and Han van der Vegt for agree­ing to join the edi­to­r­i­al team on this crazy adven­ture. Joris Dor­mans for his won­der­ful machi­na­tions tool and his advice on how best to apply it. And final­ly my two col­lab­o­ra­tors on the game pro­duc­tion side, Alper Çugun and Simon Scheiber—always a plea­sure.

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