About Me

Annika HoukesHello, and welcome to my site. My name is Annika Houkes. This website contains information about me, my professional background and the many other things that drive me.

Being born and raised in Groningen, my roots lie deep within the Netherlands. Over the course of my life I have found it to be a welcoming country with both the straightforwardness that we as a people are known for, as well as equal measures of warmth and tolerance. However, I have many international ties and experience with working and studying abroad, and have found myself to be a keen traveller. Having had varied international experiences, I am open-minded and interested in many parts of the world and the cultures that come with them.

Video games have been a big part of my life since early childhood. From playing Super Mario World II on the GameBoy to buying my own console at age 17, I have always been passionate about the worlds and stories that could be created through a keyboard, mouse and monitor. The entertainment value of video games is apparent in today’s society, with the sales of video games rivalling other media forms. However, I think video games can also offer benefits on another level. When we talk about serious gaming, we mean those games that have a purpose other than entertainment, for example education or behavioural change. These days, video games are being used to train doctors, military personnel, pilots and even to promote the usage of public transport over your own car to commute to and from work. During my Bachelor degree in which I majored in Game Design & Development I have worked on both entertainment and serious games, both of which posed their own unique challenges and rewards.

The stories that have also driven me my entire life were those of a more static kind, namely those found in books. At a young age I had already finished every book in my school library, and at some point I just started writing my own. At the tender age of 8 years old, I wrote my first story about a tiny person who wanted a blackberry so badly he went on an epic journey and got captured in a jam jar. By now my plot-writing has improved somewhat, and I’m still just as passionate as when I started! You can find several excerpts from stories I have written elsewhere on this site. Some of them will be in Dutch, however some of my best works I have written in English. Storywriting is a big part of why I started my Bachelor in Game Design & Development, as I view video games to be the most innovative but underutilised storytelling medium that we currently possess.

One of the other most important aspects of my life is the martial art Taekwon-do. I started in 2007 and in 2013 I earned my black belt, ranking up to a second degree black belt in 2015. Taekwon-do has not just taught me more about the physical aspects of self defence, but also puts emphasis on the mental side. Integrity, Indomitable spirit, Courtesy, Self Control and Perseverance are the five cornerstones of this discipline. I started assisting my coaches during training several years before I earned my black belt and since 2014 teach several classes of my own. I very much enjoy the dual nature of this martial art and always teach that respect for the cornerstones is paramount to its practice. Anyone can earn their black belt, even if they’re physically impaired, as long they adhere to the principles and train to the best of their ability.

Because I enjoy sport a lot, health is very important to me. I am familiar with, and enjoy many of the principles of Quantifying Self. Together with this, I think gaming can be used as a great tool to improve your life in several ways, both in a health aspect as in general. When I was working on a gaming prototype to help people recover from knee injuries, I immediately had several more ideas to get people exercising using virtual realities, custom controllers and so forth.

This is a snapshot of me and my interests. More information can be found in the other directories on this website and by contacting me directly. On this website you will also find my Curriculum Vitae and more information on my professional background.

Thank you for visiting my website, and don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Annika Houkes

Please contact me through LinkedIn