Text by Giorgos Riskas and Roope Sorvo, photo by Casimir Kuusela
The November IGDA gathering at the Helsinki Hub was a non-commercial celebration. There wasn’t a specific agenda for the evening so developers had time to meet with friends and relax while discussing their plans for the year that is rapidly reaching its conclusion.
With no sponsors or presenters, the most visible banner of the night belonged to the documentary The Name of the Game. The film tells the story of Nex Machina, the collaboration between the legendary arcade game designer Eugene Jarvis, and the Finnish game developer Housemarque. The movie was shot over the course of three years in five different countries, resulting in 200 hours of footage detailing the creation process of the game. “However, it is more about the characters and their journey than a straight up documentary about the game’s development,” emphasized Heikki Kareranta, co-writer and producer of the film. “We wanted to make a good story rather than just a documentary.”
When asked about how much the subject will resonate with general audiences, Kareranta replied, “People in Finland are especially interested in video games on a large scale, but the average Joe has little idea about their creation process. This gives them a sort of a peek behind the curtain.”
The first press screening was arranged earlier in the day prior to the IGDA Gathering.
The Name of the Game premiered on November 23.
In addition to the Hollywood bigwigs, a wig of another kind also graced the event with their presence: IGDA Women In Gaming (WIG) was among the attendees joining the gathering, as they have done many times in the past. Its main goal is to build a support network for women in the industry and the group recently reached the milestone of 1000 members in Finland.
Two developers presented their games in this month’s demo corner:
Stone is a story driven ‘stoner noir’ game developed by Convict Games. The player assumes the role of a hungover koala detective in a colourful society of anthropomorphic Australian fauna. The game draws inspiration from pieces of media of the same genre such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Big Lebowski.
The game was in development for about a year and is now available for purchase on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/agecheck/app/907770/
Chopball is a competitive multiplayer party sports game, currently in development by a studio that is tentatively calling itself Kanto Games. The gameplay combines elements of soccer and pinball while introducing a few interesting twists, such as breakable defenses in front of the goals. The game has been in development for a couple of months and aims for release in late 2019 as the studio’s first title.
See you in December!