Interactive game brings Faust into the 21st century

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From 11 to 13 September, the Goethe-Institut in Johannesburg is hosting a real-world game with online elements called “Being Faust – Enter Mephisto” at the Ithuba Arts Gallery in Braamfontein as part of next week’s Johannesburg leg of the A MAZE Festival.

The game is based on German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s famous play “Faust”. In the play, the protagonist Faust makes a deal with the devil where he exchanges his soul for all knowledge and earthly pleasures.

Players can register for the game here and can then attend one of the six gaming sessions taking place between 11 and 13 September. There’ll be two games each day, one between 5-7pm and the other between 8-10pm. Players need to have an account on social media service Facebook  and a smartphone or tablet in order to play the game.

Faust Mephisto

Each player will play as Faust and will experience moments of Goethe’s literary classic through a range of gaming scenarios. Players enter the world of Faust’s nefarious counterpart, Mephisto, where values and ideals are up for sale.

“Being Faust – Enter Mephisto” is the result of a collaboraition between the Goethe-Institut Korea and Korean game developer Nolgong. The original play was adapted for the digital world in cooperation with playwright Benjamin von Blomberg of Theater Bremen.

The fateful deal between Faust and Mephisto is sealed when the game begins and players are asked to make decisions about how far they’re willing to go to give things up in exchange for various pleasures.

Some of the questions the game raises are whether success and beauty can really be purchased? And whether there’s a way back to simpler pleasures or things like true love and friendship? While the player acts as Faust, the Goethe-Institut says “Mephisto remains merely a sinister, virtual phenomenon of the modern digital world”.

The interactive game came to life when the organisers asked themselves how, and with which means, Faust and Mephisto would meet and interact in the digital age. The game tackles many of the big questions Goethe raised in Faust, like what we ought to value in life? What our personal values are derived from and based on? And what sort of price should someone be willing to pay for success (and whether that sort of purchased success is valuable in and of itself)?

For more information, or to register, visit the Goethe-Institute site.

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