Antura and the Letters (2016-2017)

(Antura wa al Huruf | Antura und die Buchstaben)

Cologne Game Lab (CGL), the Lebanese developer Wixel Studios and the Spain-based NGO Video Games Without Borders (VGWB) have teamed up to take part in the competition “EduApp4Syria” by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), the Norwegian Government and several international partners. The competitors were challenged to develop an open source smartphone application that helps Syrian children learn how to read Arabic and improve their psychosocial well-being.


In order to transform the prototype of „Antura and the Letters” into a fully developed game, the team received a 270.000 Euro grant in 2016. In March 2017, the game was announced the winner of the competition together with their competitor “Feed the Monster” (Apps Factory, RO). The two winning games were presented during the UNESCO Mobile Learning Week in Paris.  They both received another 260.000 € funding for the future distribution & testing among Syrian refugee families and evaluation of their games. “Antura and the letters” is aimed at children between 5-10 years. It is available free of charge in the App Store and on Google Play.


Funding: Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD)


Team Cologne Game Lab:

Project Lead: Prof. Dr. Emmanuel Guardiola

Project Administration:  Katharina Tillmanns, M.A.

Production & Organization: Prof. Odile Limpach


Team Video Games Without Borders:

NGO networking, resources, distribution: Francesco Cavallari (founder, former Ubisoft producer,  Spain/Italy)


Team Wixel Studios:

Production & Promotion: Ziad feghali (Founder, Lebanon)


Further contributors (extract):

Game Development: Zahen Malla Osman (PhD in computer sciences, France/Syria)

Networking with Syrian refugees: Lubna Odeh (Informatics, PhD candidate, France/Palestine)

Pedagogy, Educational Content, English/Arabic Translation: Bahjat (Berdj) Moura (Educator, English Language Trainer, PhD candidate, Germany/Syria)

Insight on Psychological Aspects of the Project: Dr. Marc Wittmann (Psychologist, Germany)

Lead Developer: Stefano Cecere (Independent Game Developer, Italy)

Art direction: Delphine Soriano (PhD Candidate in video game art CEDRIC CNAM, France)

…and many more


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