2009-11-02 10:53 by Rohit Shirke
Continuing their foray into creating games with Indian contexts, Sony computer Entertainment (SCE), Europe announced the launch of 'Desi Adda: Games of India' – specially developed by Indian game development studio – Gameshashtra Solutions, Hyderabad for PS2 and PSP.
The partnership between SCE and Gameshshtra Solutions has resulted in the development and publishing of ‘Desi Adda: games of India’, for India as well as the global market. Developed for both PS2 and PSP, the game will be available in the Indian market at a suggested retail price of INR 499/- and INR 999/- for the PSP.
'Desi Adda' comes with a number of firsts, it’s the 1st console game completely developed by Indian Development Studio for the PSP, 1st console game to be played in three languages: Hindi, Punjabi and Tamil and has 6 traditional Indian games namely Pachisi, Goat & the tiger, Kite Fight, Kabaddi, Gilli Danda and the beat matching dance game.
‘Desi Adda:Games of India’ emanates from the inspiration drawn from the good old, traditional games of India on to a contemporary and modern platform. The interest in such traditional games will help spreading both the usage of PlayStation as well as the knowledge of the games amongst young Indians.
Speaking to GamingXpress Atindriya Bose, Country manager- PlayStation, Sony Computer Entertainment said, “Desi Adda has been launched keeping the tradition and culture of India in mind. Localizing content is a key step in expanding the market and a country like India has very large potential for games. Hanuman Boy Warrior was India’s first console game and it was a really big step. The game has made almost 65,000 unit sales till now and we believe Desi Adda will sell much more units than Hanuman because it is being launched on the PSP as well and also it is a global launch. Desi Adda will be available in countries of the Middle East, South Africa and the U.K. We are also working with developers like Immersive games, Gameshashtra and Trine.”
The game is a story of Avinash, son of an NRI businessman, who comes to visit his ancestral village. Since Avinash has lived all his life abroad, and this is his first visit to an Indian village, he is fascinated by what he sees. The story unfolds as he roams around the village, plays the different village games, and meets Gowri and Gopal , a couple who are in love, but cannot get married as the village head, Garjan Singh, is opposed to their match. Avinash must now seek different people in the village, who play a part in this story one way or the other and try to find a way to get Gowri and Gopal married and also save the village from the evil plans of Garjan Singh.
Prakash Ahuja CEO Gameshashtra said, "It was in January 2008 that we came up with the idea for the game as one of my co-workers from Norway saw kids playing gilli danda on the streets. He was very interested by the game and we started thinking on the same lines and build a game based on Indian games and by the end of January 2008 we presented the idea to Atindriya Bose. He was very enthusiastic about the idea and that was the green light for us. The localization done by Sony has really helped Indian game developers like us. We are Sony’s lead partners on the PS2, PSP and we are also developing titles for the PSP Go-the new hand held console by Sony. The market can only grow with the development of local content. Indian Bollywood industry runs because the content is developed keeping the Indian audience in mind. Same is the story with games. We have developed our skill set with the development of Desi Adda and we think that we can build our next game in half the time that we took for this game.”
The initial team size at Gameshastra was 30 people and it peaked to 55 at a point of time. The overall development and publishing took about 15 months. The game characters have been animated with the help of MOCAP and the game was developed using the Viscous Game development engine. Gameshastra is looking to develop games across many platforms like the Wii and the DS. It is currently working on games based on a Bollywood movie, Cricket and Indian mythology. These games will be for the PS2 and PSP platform. Gameshashtra is also working on a game based on Diwali, which they are planning to launch on the PS3 platform by Diwali 2010. The game will be distributed by Milestone Interactive.
The game prices are kept low keeping in mind the target audience. The game will be distributed by Milestone Interactive. Jayanth Sharma, CEO, Milestone Interactive said, “I am very pleased by Sony’s initiative of bringing in local content as it appeals to all levels. It’s high time we start to realize that we have to touch the base of the pyramid and just touching the top is doing the industry no good. We want to penetrate deeper by reaching to smaller towns and cities, where people are willing to pay and play console games. We want to go deeper and just not be happy making sales in the metros. The launch of Game4u.com, our online retail store has helped us reach a far greater audience as gamers from all over India can sit at home and order their favorite games as it’s not possible for us to merge with stores to sell games in all the cities and towns of India. We have the option of online payment, payment by cheque and cash on delivery option as Indians are still hesitant to use their cards online. So we have done everything possible to touch gamers from all over India. We are hoping to get a lot more people initiated into gaming through enhanced reach into markets that are under-represented via traditional distribution.”
The 6 traditional games include:
-Pachisi: Pachisi is a turn based board game played using the cross shaped board and two regular dice. It’s a game of chance and strategy
The Pachisi game played between the Pandavas and Kauravas is a significant event in the great epic Mahabharata.
-Aadu Puli Aatam(Goat & the Tiger): This is a hunt game and a game between the extravagant Tigers and the deceitful goats. The general rule of this interesting strategy game is the number of tigers varies from 1 to 4, and the number of goats from 11 to 12 to 23 to 24. The general aim is to hem in the tigers so that they cannot move, but the arrangement of pieces, the method of play and the rules of capture vary from game to game.
-Kite fight: In India people fly kites to cut each others kites. Specially made threads, mostly coated with fine powdered glass, are used for the kite fight. Kites are made from colored paper and are available in various shapes. Two bamboo sticks called “tuddah” (which is straight) and “Kaamp” which is arched, hold the paper together. The string attached determines the performance of the kite.
-Kabaddi: two teams compete with each other for high scores, by touching or capturing the players of the opponent team. Each team consists of 12 players, of which 7 are on court at a time, and five in reserve. Two teams fight for higher scores alternating offence and defense.
-Gilli Danda is a game like cricket or baseball but without a ball with a different set of rules. The ball is replaced by a small stick called Gilli. The gilli 3 to 4 inches long and both the ends are tapered. Danda is a 24 inch long cylindrical stick used like a bat. Players can enjoy batting the gilli or fielding among the free cattle.
-Dance game is a beat matching game, in which the user has to match the beats of a song playing in the background, by pressing a combination of buttons at the right time as they scroll on the bottom screen. The aim is to try and successfully press the right combination of buttons at the right time in order to win the game.