Henry David Thoreau Video Game Gets $40,000 NEA Grant

By Jason Boog Comment

The University of Southern California has received a $40,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to produce a video game based on the work of Henry David Thoreau. You can explore the game in the video embedded above–what do you think?

Here’s more about the project: “The game will take place in a real-time 3D environment which will replicate the geography of Walden Pond and the woods in which Thoreau made his home using both game technologies and video. Beyond the replication of a virtual environment, however, the gameplay itself will embody the experiment that Thoreau set for himself, reinforcing the basic messages of his work. Walden, a game posits a new genre of play, in which reflection and insight play an important role in the player experience. ”

You can download free eBook edition of Thoreau’s Walden at this link. At the same time, a number of PBS shows saw significant reductions or cuts in their NEA grants this year.

A number of literary projects received grants this year.

Living Archives in New York City received a $20,000 grant “to support production and post-production costs for Dad Strangelove, a personal documentary by Nile Southern about his father, the author and screenwriter Terry Southern.”

The Odysseus Group in  New York City received a $100,000 grant “to support Power Poetry, a project geared towards youth writing and sharing their poems with each other.”

Appalshop, Inc. in Whitesburg, Kentucky got a  $75,000 grant “to support the Thousand Kites radio series and web platform for The Prison Poetry Workshop.”

Triple Canopy in Brooklyn got a $10,000 grant “To support development and promotion costs of an online magazine.”

RadioArt in New York City earned a $10,000 grant “to support the production for radio and audio media of James Joyce’s Ulysses. Produced by Larry Josephson, The Complete Ulysses will be a reading of the entire novel by a company of actors including Alec Baldwin, John Lithgow, Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara, Bob Dishy, along with Caraid O’Brien as Molly Bloom.”

(Video link via Book Bench)

Editor’s Note: The original version of this  post was updated with video material.