Alumnus Thomas Waterzooi launches own game

Please, Touch The Artwork is the project-name for a set of puzzling, zen, story-rich artful games & experiences. What happens when you DO touch the artwork? Part Zen-puzzle, part narrative-adventure, you'll explore the secret world behind iconic abstract paintings through over 150 puzzles. An aesthetic journey to the origins of modern art, set to a soothing jazzy soundtrack. The idea behind this project is to take some of the most iconic abstract paintings, reverse engineer them and then add some gameplay. The project has two outputs: a game (for traditional platforms such as iOS/Android/PC/Mac/Switch) and 2 art-installations. This section only describes the game. For the installations, click here.


The Game

The game bundles 3 unique puzzles each based on a different painting/style.
  • De Stijl
  • Boogie Woogie
  • New York City
Each puzzle has a different mechanic and should be challenging/relaxing in it’s own way. All puzzles will be procedurally generated so that each player has a unique copy of the game. The games do not require skill and there's no timing pressure. Accessibility is key.

Gameplay & Stories

The first puzzle tells the origin story of pure abstract art. It’s a challenging puzzle where you’ll add colors and lines to a canvas to recreate paintings.
The second puzzle is about Boogie & Woogie, two squares who just want to be together, but a rapidly growing world is making this harder and harder. You’ll help Woogie reach Boogie by figuring out how the obstacles influence Woogie’s path.
In the third puzzle you’ll move to the big city, only to be overwhelmed with mixed emotions. From joy and excitement to feeling homesick and missing your friends and family. You'll be maneuvering through the craziness of the Big Apple while collecting letters to form a poem.


In 2018 Thomas was reading a book called ‘What Are You Looking At’ by Will Gompertz. In Dutch (his mother tongue) the title was changed and it freely translates to ‘My little sister can do this as well. Why modern art is art.’ Thomas has a technical background but very artistical parents. He's always had a complex relation with modern art so this title triggered him. It’s an anecdotal and informative book which sketches the chronology of the origins of modern art, from the impressionists to the present. You go on a journey and read about where these artists lived and worked, who their friends were and what drove them to make their art. It was the period after postimpressionisme - the period of cubism, suprematism, the style - that attracted Thomas the most.
The avant-garde abstract artists are considered one of the pioneers of modern art. They reflected the rapidly industrializing society. All artists portrayed their own inner criticism and opinions on that society thus their art became very personal. It is precisely that aspect - the emergence of the path of the artist - that he found so exciting about this period.
During a night of light insomnia Thomas wanted to try writing a Mondrian-painting generator which randomly generated paintings in Mondrian's famouse Composition in Red, Blue, Yellow style. He thought it would be nice if the user could manipulate the paintings as a way of ‘becoming the artist’. A little puzzle mechanic was added and ‘Please, Touch The Artwork’ was born.
Release date: Januari 26, 2022