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 that crashing spaceship). So far I wrote a huge stack of articles, a couple of games, and three novels. For lack of a real job, I call myself a hybrid writer.
For years, I created a detailed, ongoing account of what I did in my weeknotes. A more compact chronological list of some of these things is below.
- ZHQ.com, my website about Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda series, kickstarts my games journalism career and makes me some advertising money.
- I get kicked off school.
- 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 receive my HAVO certificate and get admitted to the Utrecht School of the Arts, but don’t go.
- 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.
- 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 Tiersma, 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).
- GameSen moves to an office in Schiedam.
- With Jurjen I attend Space World in Tokyo, where Nintendo unveils the GameCube and Game Boy Advance.
- GameSen and friends organize the (prescient, really!) Art in Games exhibition.
- With Sigfrid van Driel, among others, I launch n3 Nintendo Magazine, in time for the GameCube console launch.
- 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.
- Among other publications, I write for Bright, Mister Motley and Power Unlimited.
- I get a monthly column in Official PlayStation Magazine.
- 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.
- Out of Frankfurt and Kyoto, I translate the system menu and official Dutch terminology for Nintendo’s Wii.
- For the first nrc.next I interview the founder of Lulu.com.
- With Bart Breij, Vincent Leeuw and Debby Rijnbeek I start Bashers.nl.
- I’m part of Den Haag Verhalen during Crossing Border. A year later I come back for Chronicles.
- My short story In een vulkaan is published in the collection 25 onder de 35.
- Oh, I also get married to Annemieke!
- 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.
- 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).
- My daughter Mia is born!
- In Official PlayStation Magazine I publish the serial story Ninja Gimmick Girl, in 12 monthly episodes.
- 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 join the Global Game Jam for the first 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 Nieborg.
- On Code 4, a game for organizational change by Hubbub, I’m the copywriter. It turns out to be a fruitful cooperation, as we later work together on Ripple Effect (for Shell) and Free Birds (a children’s game for war museums).
- I consult for the Ministerie van Veiligheid en Justitie.
- I blog about TV drama The Spiral for VARA.
- Travelling to Berlin, I attend the Global Game Jam for the third time.
- Toki Tori 2 is released by Two Tribes, 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 consult for RIVM.
- I write for New Scientist and KIJK, and visit Helsinki to profile the Finnish games industry.
- I start the Hybrid Writer’s Podcast, interviewing 12 Dutch and Flemmish writers in total.
- I join the jury committee for a project called Literatuur op het Scherm. The project wraps up with a presentation at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, where I read a column to a packed audience.
- My Geometry Girl project, funded by the Dutch Foundation for Literature and the Creative Industries Fund NL, goes into development.
- After writing about the genre, I join the jury committee for an open call for literary games. Which, in turn, leads to an advisory board seat.
- I start teaching a practical writing class to Games & Interaction students at the Utrecht School of the Arts.
- And I get a tech column in popular science magazine KIJK.
- RIVE is released on Steam and PlayStation 4, the shooting/platforming game I developed with Two Tribes. I continue working on its marketing.
- After helping Codeglue get funding for its team-based shooter Antegods, production starts. This includes the writing and production of a comic book.
- I create Radio Laika, a monthly mini-mockumentary for Dutch literary podcast Ondercast. After making 13 audio stories, it becomes a really cool zine.
- My article about digital literature is published in Boekman 108.
- I’m a Kinder Media Awards jury member for the CPNB.