Ever wondered what the coolest job in the world is? Meet Ellis Bartholomeus who is in charge of Play at IoE.

 
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Ellis is a veteran Dutch game designer and Professor of Play at Eindhoven University. She creates games that enable people to have fun, change their behaviour or learn new skills.

Ellis first came to Kenya 15 years ago for an educational project in Nairobi, but skipped the opportunity to go on safari, believing that wild animals should stay wild, instead of having people chasing around after them in jeeps to get a picture. Little did she know that years later, she would return to Kenya for work and fall in love with wildlife and safaris.

In 2014 Ellis met IoE founder Gautam Shah at THNK, a creative leadership school in Amsterdam . They teamed up to think up ways to bring play into the ‘Internet of Elephants’ concept. She came on board as an advisor and in-house Professor of Play.

 
Ellis and the Little Chicken game designers developing our first paper prototypes

Ellis and the Little Chicken game designers developing our first paper prototypes

 

Ellis juggles the different elements of animals, players, organisations and data, while looking for patterns and insights that could create meaningful experiences for players. Ellis interviews dozens of test gamers, creates paper prototypes with our game designers Little Chicken and leads test events. Read more about her findings on our first prototypes in this blog post.

 
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Her work requires her to bike her way through Amsterdam in search of virtual elephants. I mean, that's a pretty cool job. But don't be fooled by the word 'play': designing a successful game is hard work and extremely complex. Only a minute percentage of all games that are created ever succeed in finding enough players. 

 
Ellis, Gautam, Lianne & Michiel in the Maasai Mara in Kenya

Ellis, Gautam, Lianne & Michiel in the Maasai Mara in Kenya

Brainstorming five game concepts that will later become Safari Central

Brainstorming five game concepts that will later become Safari Central

 

Ellis finally had a chance to see real wildlife on a company visit to the Maasai Mara in 2016. When you play our games, you will hear lots more from Ellis in the future, as she will be interacting with our players to make the games the best they can be. Join our facebook play group to interact with our design team!  

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