My name is Niels ’t Hooft. I was born in Leiderdorp, The Netherlands in 1980, grew up in Leiden, and now live in Utrecht with my wife Annemieke and daughters Mia and Sun. (Photo by Karlien ’t Hooft.)
I started my sole proprietorship Anticlimax in 1999, naming it after a spaceship in the comic book I’d just stopped working on. Hence the crashing spaceship. My work is wide-ranging, and for years I posted a detailed, ongoing account of what I did in my weeknotes. A more compressed, reverse-chronological overview of some of it is below.
- Radio Laika, my series of 13 monthly audio story for Dutch literary podcast Ondercast, becomes a really cool zine.
- With Paulien Dresscher and Emma O’Hare, for KVB Boekwerk and the Dutch Foundation for Literature (where I am an advisor), I do a scan of digital literary projects.
- I’m a Gouden Guppy jury member, promoting quality apps for young children, after the Kinder Media Awards take a new shape.
- With Two Tribes I release RIVE: Ultimate Edition on Nintendo Switch, a year after the Steam/PS4 version of our “hard, fast & hilarious action game”. I developed the game’s world, characters and story, and continue working on its marketing.
- After hundreds of installments, I drop my weeknotes in favor of a monthly newsletter in Dutch.
- Oh, and my left kidney is removed after a 75 mm cancerous tumor is discovered. After surgery, I stay in the hospital for a week, then start preparing to do great work again!
- At the Control Conference, I do a talk about the development of RIVE’s story.
- After helping Codeglue get funding for its team-based shooter Antegods, production starts. This includes the writing and production of a comic book.
- My article about digital literature is published in Boekman 108.
- My Geometry Girl project, funded by the Dutch Foundation for Literature and the Creative Industries Fund NL, goes into development.
- I work with Hubbub on Vrije Vogels (‘Free Birds’), a location-based museum game about freedom for children aged 8-12 and their families. Like on earlier Hubbub projects Code 4 (for the Dutch tax administration) and Ripple Effect (for Shell), I’m the copywriter.
- I get a monthly tech column in popular science magazine KIJK.
- I consult for RIVM.
- With David Nieborg, I write for New Scientist and visit Helsinki to profile the Finnish games industry.
- In the Hybrid Writer’s Podcast, I interview 12 Dutch and Flemmish writers.
- To wrap up Literatuur op het Scherm, I read a column to a packed audience at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.
- Two Tribes releases Toki Tori 2, an ambitious puzzle adventure game for which I developed the backstory.
- My third novel, De verdwijners, is published by Atlas Contact, which I celebrate with a first-of-a-kind read test.
- With Codeglue, I develop an iPad version of my debut novel.
- I join writing game Your Daily Victory Boogie Woogie.
- I start spending time on personal game prototypes.
- For Taskforce Innovatie Regio Utrecht, I write a booklet about applied games.
- I blog about TV drama The Spiral for VARA.
- Travelling to Berlin, I attend the Global Game Jam for the third time.
- My daughter Sun is born!
- I go to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco for the first time.
- I start writing for nrc.next really often, including a weekly column with David.
- I consult for the Ministerie van Veiligheid en Justitie.
- I join the Global Game Jam for the first time.
- My daughter Mia is born!
- In Official PlayStation Magazine I publish the serial story Ninja Gimmick Girl, in 12 monthly episodes, which later becomes the basis of Geometry Girl.
- I translate and subtitle 75 episodes of the machinima series Red vs. Blue for Bright.
- I work as game designer on documentary game Energy Risk, which becomes the interactive story Collapsus.
- I start writing for nrc.next regularly.
- I get a writing grant for an ambitious novel called Sexy Sadie, which I work on for the next two years or so, but don’t finish. Yet!
- I’m part of Chronicles during Crossing Border, a year after Den Haag Verhalen.
- My short story Het meisje in de motorsloep appears in a collection curated by Karin Spaink.
- I write for GMR and Veronica Magazine.
- And I buy and renovate a house.
- Out of Frankfurt and Kyoto, I translate the system menu and official Dutch terminology for Nintendo’s Wii.
- For the very first issue of nrc.next I interview the founder of Lulu.com.
- With Bart Breij, Vincent Leeuw and Debby Rijnbeek I start Bashers.nl.
- My short story In een vulkaan is published in the collection 25 onder de 35.
- Oh, I also get married to Annemieke!
- With Richard Borgman and Sigfrid van Driel I create jouwPSP, a one-off magazine about the PlayStation Portable. Later, an Xbox 360 edition is made with Bart Breij.
- My second novel, Sneeuwdorp, is published.
- I’m part of Hollandse Nieuwe, an exhibition at the Letterkundig Museum, and of the Querido Karavaan, reading from my work around the country.
- Among other publications, I write for Bright, Mister Motley and Power Unlimited.
- I get a monthly column in Official PlayStation Magazine.
- My debut novel Toiletten is published by Querido. It’s soon nominated for the Debutantenprijs 2004 and translated to German.
- I contribute to magazines like N Gamer and GameQuest, and write most of the copy for TV show Gammo.
- With Sigfrid, among others, I launch n3 Nintendo Magazine, in time for the GameCube console launch.
- GameSen and friends organize the (prescient, really!) Art in Games exhibition.
- GameSen moves to an office in Schiedam.
- With Jurjen Tiersma I attend Space World in Tokyo, where Nintendo unveils the GameCube and Game Boy Advance.
- With the foundation of my sole proprietorship, Anticlimax, I’m officially in business.
- I start Total RPG, a site with long reviews of RPG’s, and GameSen, the first all-round Dutch games website.
- I work for the Dutch N64 Magazine and a tiny games mag called Games+.
- Visiting E3 in Los Angeles with my new friend Jurjen, I run into my hero Shigeru Miyamoto. Since then I interviewed him multiple times, cut my hair, and started wearing tighter shirts (but never too tight).
- I receive my HAVO certificate and get admitted to the Utrecht School of the Arts, but don’t go. Nearly two decades later I’ll do some game jamming and teaching there.
- My first ever plane trip and games trade show, as I visit England for ECTS.
- I also go to Germany for a preview of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which I write about in VPRO Gids and NRC Handelsblad.
- Journalist Rob Smit teaches me a ton about writing, as I start working for him.
- We publish articles for publications like Autovisie, Oog & Oor and PC Consument, mostly about games.
- I get kicked off school and my real life begins.
- ZHQ.com, my website about Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda series, kickstarts my games journalism career and makes me some advertising money.