As India’s fortunes have changed since independence, so has its game design.
The first games were often about fishing or the arts, and later, with the arrival of the railways, the focus shifted to farming.
Today, the games have a distinctly Indian flavour.
The games are all about family, friends and love, said Satish Gupta, head of development at Dabur.
Dabu, a Mumbai-based studio, began with a handful of students at the Centre for Computer Studies in 2012 and is now one of India ‘s biggest game studios, with a roster of more than 150 staff and 30 offices across the country.
‘When we first started, we were looking for a new way of making games, and what better way than by creating a family game,’ Gupta said.
‘Our goal was to make a game where you could play as a mother, father, daughter or son.’
The first game, “Mother and Child”, was launched on the Internet in 2013, and the next three games are now available on mobile devices, from smartphones to tablet computers.
“The focus has been on the story and relationships, and we have really embraced this,” Gupta said, noting that the game is set in the late 19th century and takes place in Mumbai.
“We wanted to take the family into a very personal space,” he added.
The story has to do with the story of the family, Gupta said as he displayed a series of family snapshots, some from the past and some from present.
“We wanted the games to reflect the real experience of a family,” Gupta added.
“A family in Mumbai is not always the same.
They are not always in the same household.
You have to learn to communicate with the family.”
Each family snapshot has its own story, and each family member has its unique characteristics.
A father who is a farmer, for instance, has a big family and a small one, Gupta explained.
In a game, the father’s family are shown together and in their own way.
While the father is always the leader, the daughter, the older sibling and the younger sister, the two sisters are all important to the family.
Another game is “The Journey of the Father and Daughter”, where the father and daughter journey across India to seek their lost daughter.
In this game, it is the father who helps the daughter find her lost daughter, and it is also important for the father to help the daughter when she gets lost.
It is the fathers role to help with the children and their relatives, Gupta added, “They need to go out to find their lost family members.”
There are also games set in other Indian cities, such as Mumbai and Chennai.
In Mumbai, a game called “Dalu and the Daughter” focuses on the love story between a father and his daughter, who is travelling to meet her father.
In Chennai, the game “The Daughter in a Bag” tells the story about a young girl who is traveling to meet a family member in Delhi.
The game takes place at a busy shopping mall and is set against the backdrop of the city.
Anand Swaroop, founder and chief executive of Dabub, said the games can also be played for family bonding.
“This can be an opportunity to share a story, a personal story, which could not be told by a traditional story game,” he said.
Swaroop said the game’s focus on family is a result of the team’s commitment to creating a game that is more personal and intimate.
‘It’s about sharing a story that is both real and unique.’
“When we started Dabudu, the team focused on creating a story game that was family oriented, with an emphasis on story and stories.
But that focus changed with the advent of mobile gaming,” he explained.
Swaroop said one of the challenges of making a family-oriented game was that many people are not familiar with the concept of family.
“People tend to think of family as a family but the reality is that a family is an entire household,” he noted.
Game developers have tried to tackle the problem, introducing more family-friendly features.
For example, in “Kiran” a game set in Mumbai, the player can help the mother and father search for their lost child, who has been missing since a storm hit Mumbai.
“Our aim is to create a family friendly game,” Swarop said.
“Kiren” was released in March 2017.
Other games in the pipeline are set in India ‘ s faraway cities of Kolkata, Mumbai and Hyderabad, while another, “Towards the Heart of the Country”, is set to be released in 2019.
Swanop said while family games are becoming increasingly popular, there are still challenges