Life is a game that we should enjoy, but what if death would be a game too? We spend our lives planning our futures ahead in detail, but when it comes to our death, we tend to forget about it. Although we all will eventually be confronted with death, it is still a taboo. Anouk, a young designer, had a near-to-death experience which made her think about her own death. She would like to introduce to the world her new game which helps people to make peace with death in a fun way.
Together with designers Guang and Jonas, Anouk designed a boardgame called Memento Mori with the goal to let the players to think about the position of death in life and make it more tangible. Throughout the game, the players can collect ‘life event cards’ which represent events that can happen in life. Depending on the event on the card, the player gets to move an anmout of steps forward or backwards.
These life event cards can also be traded for funeral ritual cards. A player wins if they are the first one to collect a complete funeral ritual, which consist of the five
categories: location, corpse treatment, dresscode, visitors, and music. The winner can then use an augmented reality app to scan their funeral ritual cards which will visualise it.
Throughout the game, the players can also trade life event cards with one another so that they can try to create the best funeral ritual. In the game, there are also question cards for the players to answer and rethink their vision on death. Besides this, you can also land on a snake space, which sends you directly to snakemouth. Here, you have to pick a card which you can scan to experience a way to die. Then, you are resurrected and sent back to the beginning of the board. The board path uses the death methophor of Ouroboros, which represents a snake that eats its own tail. This is an ancient symbol that stands infinity and the cycle of birth and death. In the game, it represents the aim to let the player understand that death can sometimes be unexpected but it doesn't necessarily mean the end.
Memento Mori is an example of how our trend Tangible Loss expresses itself in society. Tangible Loss is a trend that shows how the way we deal with death and loss is changing. We are more and more clinging to what has been and what is, to perserve the past so we don’t have to experience loss ever again. However, Menento Mori shines a different light on this trend. The game is not about how to never experience loss again, but rather about how to deal with it and give it purpose. This game actively challenges the boundaries of our vision on death, empowering us to think about our death, making it more tangible. Because who doesn’t want to have Trump visiting their underwater jazz funeral, where the dresscode is dapper skeleton and your corpse is treated with coffee?
If you want to know more about the project, click here.
Do you want to know more about the trend Tangible Loss? Then read our trend book for the Dutch Design Week 2020 here.