Cologne Game Lab

Cologne, Germany   |   Consortium

Screenshot of Antura and the Letters game

Project/Innovation Name
Antura and the Letters


Prize Amount
$650,000 (innovative tender)

Organization Website

Prize Competition Summary
The development of a smartphone application that can build foundational literacy skills in Arabic and improve psychosocial well-being for Syrian children who are out of school or struggling in school.

Antura and the Letters

Innovation Summary
“Antura wa al Huruf” (Antura and the Letters) uses the properties of play to achieve its pedagogical and psychosocial goals, featuring principles such as stealth learning, flow and player psychological modeling. The narrative context tasks the player with helping an old keeper watch over the living letters – wild little creatures.  With the help of the keeper’s dog, Antura, the player embarks on a journey through multiple mini games, which correspond to content from Syrian elementary school curriculum.

The Do Not Harm humanitarian approach guides their production and distribution choices, evidenced by the inclusion of numerous focus groups and playtests with Syrian families, and the continuous involvement of field experts.

The project is the result of the successful collaboration of three partner entities​: Cologne Game Lab (German university), ​Wixel Studio (Lebanese development studio), and Video Games Without Borders (international nonprofit organization). Their team, the majority of which is composed of Middle East and North Africa residents and refugees, is a mix of scientists, entertainment game veterans, and humanitarians. 
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