Of virtual reality, board games and collective creation | Babelia

Sometimes an image can trigger an entire conceptual universe. In 2019 it hit the market Blasphemous, a game from the Sevillian developer The Game Kitchen that has become one of the biggest recent successes of Spanish video games. Financed by crowdfunding, the two-dimensional action game had a very particular visual section, which twisted the religious iconography linked to Holy Week in Seville, and the conceptual strength of its protagonist, El Penitente (a kind of metallic Nazarene, with barbed wire wrapped around its hood) was key in getting the game excited in its early stages of development. The collection was a success and, as they say, the rest is history.

That company, which when the crowdfunding of Blasphemous had only four people, it finished that project with 12 and now it has 36. Something that allows them to diversify efforts: in addition to the sequel to Blasphemousdue out next year, the company is developing another game indie and they have an incubator for external projects, Ticket Rocket. But what I have here today is your new project, All on Board.

It is a game (and a platform) designed for virtual reality that emerged when the creators wondered why there was not, in virtual reality format, something that they were excited about and that completely fit in with the proposal: board games. There was a precedent, Tabletop Simulator (2015), but its execution is clumsy, it hasn’t been updated for years and it only allows you to see the tabletop, and All on Board It focuses a lot on the avatars of our friends, since one of its great goals is to “replicate the social experience that board games imply,” says Mauricio García, CEO of The Game Kitchen.

One of the 'Blasphemous' matches.One of the ‘Blasphemous’ matches.

Last Tuesday the crowdfunding campaign of All on Board. García acknowledges that the company does not have the economic difficulties of when it began the journey of Blasphemousbut it gives a very interesting clue as to why to resort to microfinancing this time: for García, the key, who lived closely during his experience with Blasphemous, was to create a community that during the months that the development of the game lasted was strongly involved. They were interested people from the beginning (early adopter in the jargon), pending every news and advance, willing to test beta versions of the game and, above all, critical of the steps that the developer was taking. García sums it up in a very illuminating sentence: “They demanded our best level from us”.

That of making a game in a closed studio, packaging it and selling it on the other side of the world was the norm not so long ago, but times change. People, including consumers, are increasingly looking to get involved. In All on BoardIn fact, interactivity is key, as they seek not only for people to play games, but also to create their own projects and modifications.

New ways of developing creativity. This column (which takes a break until September) is also here to point it out, because that is where the cultural and creative impulses of the decades to come will filter through.

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