To enter a Faustian bargain is to surrender your moral integrity for power, success and worldly pleasures. It is a concept that has been around since the 15th Century and is best known through the plays of Christopher Marlow (The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus, 1604) and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Faust, 1832). In both, the scholar, Dr Faust, sells his soul to the devil in the form of Mephistopheles.
It is a theme that has been explored not only in theater, but in music, film, poetry, art and literature over the ages. And now in the 21st Century it has been revived once again as an interactive game with online social media elements.
The Korean gaming company Nolgong in association with Goethe Institute in Korea has created Being Faust – Enter Mephisto. Armed with their smart phones and an up to date facebook account gamers meet at a central location for an hour long experience of the taboo side of life. Assuming the role of a young Faust they enter the tempting digital world of Mephisto & Co., where values and ideals are up for sale.
Being Faust – Enter Mephisto premiered at the Seoul Metropolitan Library on the first of September. From the 11th to the 13th of September six games were played at Johannesburg’s A Maze Festival. On the 29th of November two games are scheduled to be played at Hong Kong’s Fringe Club.
With 159 Goethe Institutes around the world and plans underway for European and Asian tours next year, Being Faust – Enter Mephisto will be coming to a venue near you.