Video game immerses players in James Ensor's paintings

A new video game about the work of artist James Ensor was presented at the Ensor House museum in Ostend on Saturday. Brussels-based game designer Thomas Waterzooi created Please Touch The Artwork 2 as part of the Belgian EU presidency and year-long commemorations marking 75 years since Ensor’s death.

Waterzooi was commissioned to create a sequel to Please Touch The Artwork, his 2022 game featuring works by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. The result is a series of puzzles based on 83 works by Ensor, with a soundtrack made up partly of music composed by Ensor.

“With this video game, I want to make art more accessible. I’m bringing the world of the museum directly to people,” he said in a press release. “It’s an adventure game in which you travel through Ensor’s paintings as a skeleton. The main character comes from one of my favourite works by Ensor, The Skeleton Painter.”

"I want to make art more accessible. I’m bringing the world of the museum directly to people"

Users can play the game on smartphone and tablet apps, as well as on the gaming platform Steam. The platform describes the game as “a hand-painted, cosy hidden object adventure” in which players “explore a surreal world, collect items for its quirky inhabitants, fix damaged paintings and solve casual puzzles”.

Funding from the region means the game is available to play for free, and visitors to the FTI innovation festival in Kortrijk from 16-21 March will be able to play the game on a big screen. ​

“Flanders is using the Belgian EU presidency as an opportunity to highlight the cultural landscape,” said Flemish Culture minister Jan Jambon. “As the presidency coincides with the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of James Ensor’s death, we decided to link the old master to one of our youngest branches of art: game development.”


#FlandersNewsService | A screenshot from Please Touch The Artwork 2 based on Ensor's Entry of Christ into Brussels

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