Catalyst: Hakan Seyalioglu


New Modality Catalyst:
Hakan Seyalioglu, Language Game Designer


Profile edited by Michael J. Seidlinger

Photo courtesy of Hakan Seyalioglu
Last update: February 20, 2020


Hakan Seyalioglu is an independent game designer and one of our NewMo Catalysts. Here's more about him.

How would you present your bio?

I would say: "Hakan Seyalioglu is 50% of Thorny Games, an independent design studio of live-action roleplaying games (LARPs) and other roleplaying games that tells new and unconventional stories. In his design, he’s deeply explored what language means for us culturally and emotionally, and how it can be an engaging mechanic for play. Hakan helps computers keep secrets and crack codes (a genuine cryptographer). His games have won the IGDN Game of the Year, the Silver ENnie Award for Game of the Year, and Best Tabletop Game at Indiecade Europe. He was the keynote speaker at the 2018 Living Games Conference (the foremost conference in LARP writing and theory in North America).

"He also really enjoys breakfast."

What are some of your own favorite past projects?  Why do you feel great about them? 

My work on Sign: A Game about Being Understood has definitely been one of my favorites. A live-action game about the emergence of Nicaraguan Sign Language, it's helped make the genre more approachable to many players who cite it as their first LARP ever. It's also allowed us to build a strong connection with the Nicaraguan Sign Language Foundation, who we've since accompanied on two trips to Nicaragua to help evaluate rural communities in Eastern Nicaragua for potential deployment of sign language educational resources.

What's a current cultural edge you're excited to see people pushing? 

What is means to be a game. Many folks are becoming much more comfortable with pushing through preconceptions about what is and isn't a game, while also exploring topics like community, compassion, and connection within their gameplay.

What are your favorite links that will help our audience learn about you, your life, your work, and your values? has all the latest and greatest on our current and upcoming projects.


New Modality Catalysts

The New Modality is about experiments in culture — and the people who do those experiments. NewMo Catalysts are people who do things we admire and want to celebrate. They also help us stay accountable to our values. To learn more about NewMo Catalysts (or nominate someone to be a Catalyst), check out the Catalyst FAQ.

This profile was edited by Michael J. SeidlingerMichael is a writer, editor, and creative entrepreneur living in New York City. More about Michael at his NewMo profile

The information in our Catalyst profiles usually comes directly from the subjects, and we usually don't fact-check them. You can learn more about The New Modality's fact-checking and epistemological ideas by reading the page about our process for truth and transparency.