Prize-winning Tranzfuser game explores Holocaust trauma

Fri, 04 Dec 2020 09:30:00 GMT
Hotel Arcanum looks at transgenerational Holocaust trauma.
Hotel Arcanum looks at transgenerational Holocaust trauma.

A team of Glasgow Caledonian University graduates has won a £20,000 UK Games Fund competition for its innovative look at an historic atrocity.

The game, Hotel Arcanum, a 2D narrative-based adventure game about transgenerational Holocaust trauma, wowed the judges of Tranzfuser, who were impressed with how it merged “real historical facts with a dream-like magical world”.

The game's concept was the vision of Máté Tóth, who was guided by the personal stories and experiences of his family.

He said: “The game tackles the subject of transgenerational Holocaust trauma from the perspective of the third generation. It aims to contribute to the societal discourse about the remembrance of the Holocaust and remembrance of historical traumas in general as well.

“It is a story-driven adventure game with some deduction-focused mechanics that help the players explore the deeper layers of the narrative, not only by pure storytelling, but gameplay too.”

GCU had an impressive three teams of graduates take part in the competition, all of which were overseen by local hub coordinator Hamid Homatash, a game software development lecturer at the University. The winning team, Chimera Tales, was made up of the following graduates:

  • Máté Tóth Ridovics, BSc Computer Games (Art and Animation)
  • Thomas Salgarella, BSc Computer Games (Design)
  • Andras Baliga, BSc Computer Games (Design)
  • Scott Lissone, BSc Computer Games (Software Development)

Team member Thomas Salgarella said: “I saw Máté presenting Hotel Arcanum and was wowed by the concept. I then went about handpicking a team that would be able to give life to this vision and give us a chance at winning Tranzfuser. It’s been a hectic few months, accentuated by the wild circumstances of 2020.”

Hamid Homatash said:“We had three impressive teams from GCU compete in the competition out of a total of 27 teams across the United Kingdom. Having this many teams enter Tranzfuser and getting past the strict shortlisting process was an achievement in itself and showcases the quality of our graduates.

“However, having Chimera Tales win £20,000-worth of funding, truly shows what our graduates are fully capable of. I congratulate the team on their hard work over this year and say they truly are a credit to GCU. I cannot wait to see the game developed further and play the final version.”

The £20,000 prize fund from Tranzfuser will be invested in the game’s further development. The winning team are now about to apply to GCU’s business incubator UHatch to help further develop their game and company.

Thomas said: “We have now levelled-up from a team of graduates to a Glasgow-based company and, thanks to the Tranzfuser funding, we are working full time on our next big milestone, the proof of concept. We constantly seek new opportunities and strengthening our relationship with GCU is one that we can’t gloss over.”