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MoA Master
Photo: Sami Perttilä

Photo: Vilja Helkiö

Photo: Risto Helkiö

Photo: Luis Orozco

Vilja Helkiö

Katakana Challenge is a visual game to teach players Japanese. The idea was to make it surprising and hysterically funny to help people get rid of learning blocks. What could do-ri-n-ku or ka-n-to-ri bu-ru-u be in English? My tools included photo compositions and fast animations. The work was inspired by my experience as an exchange student in Japan in summer 2006.
    Katakana Challenge is designed to be used with the Flash player on the Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP). The music was composed by Antti Mäki, the voice of the main character provided by Kaori Otsu, and Risto Helkiö helped with the programming. The game won the DARE innovation competition organised by the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and PlayStation Portable. It was exhibited in Kiasma in December 2006.

Vilja Helkiö is a graphic and Flash designer with a focus on games. She will graduate from the Media Lab at the University of Art and Design Helsinki in spring 2007. She also holds a B.Sc. in media technology. While studying at the Media Lab, she participated in creating the multi-user Internet-based Tulse Luper Journey Flash game and the Talking Oven Mitt sound interface installation. She spent summer 2006 as an exchange student in Kyoto and her final thesis work is a game called Katakana Challenge, which motivates the player to learn Japanese Katakana characters. The game won the innovation competition called DARE, organized by Kiasma and Play Station Portable, and was exhibited in Kiasma in December 2006.
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