There was clearly much more to this cooking game that features Southern Indian food when Abhi, the man behind Venba, began telling the tale of the upcoming Nintendo Switch release. The story revolves around Tamilian Venba, who left India and settled in Canada. She made sacrifices to raise a son in a foreign country with her husband Paavalan while managing the family’s limited resources. As she repairs her mother’s recipe book and instructs her small son in cooking, Venba’s story unfolds across a number of years.

Cooking becomes extremely important because you are attempting to communicate through food everything that cannot be expressed, said Abhi, 28 . I believed it would be intriguing to investigate what may be possible if we created a culinary game with South Indian foods and a narrative about a Tamilian Indian family residing in Canada, the author explains.

The independent video game is currently being developed for the Nintendo Switch and PC, and it will debut in the spring of 2023.Immigrants from the South Asian diaspora were either stereotyped or underrepresented for a long time in popular culture, particularly in movies and TV shows. Venba makes an effort to shed new light on the experiences of numerous Asian immigrant populations in Canada and the US.

Utilising the individual

Although there are well-known cooking games like Cooking Mama, nobody has ever attempted to explain South Indian cuisine and the local culture through a video game. Venba, a video game created by Toronto-based Visai Studios, was inspired by Abhi’s personal space and his interactions with local Tamil families in Canada while growing up surrounded by pop culture references.

Abhi, who was born in Chennai and moved to Canada with his parents when he was 12 years old, claims that there was a cultural divide between his generation and his parents. “I discovered that the children in many Tamil homes would lose the language and speak English at home. Therefore, I felt that what I wanted to discuss in the game was that kind of inequality in that relationship.

The game’s concept is that Venba carried her mother’s recipe book with her when she came to Canada, but it was destroyed in transit. You see the recipe each time you prepare a dish, but you only see a portion of it. The remainder of it is destroyed. As a player, you must assemble ingredients and prepare meals in accordance with the recipe’s instructions. According to Abhi, “I tried to incorporate the idea that cooking is more like a puzzle in the game.”

Even though he often prepares traditional Tamilian meals at home, Abhi claims to have spent a lot of time researching the food and recipes. It was crucial to get the recipes right because many people will be trying them for the first time. “As I researched this game, I realised how much depth and knowledge there is in our cuisine and how much history attached to it,” he says.

Conducting appropriate research

In order to understand why certain dishes are prepared a certain manner and to determine which foods are best for gameplay, Abhi and his team interviewed professional and home cooks as well as conducted historical research on the recipes. “Because [Venba] moved to Canada in the 1980s, I also had to do some research on what foods make sense to prepare there. It gets easier and easier to find these components with each passing decade, but making a dish like biryani in the 1980s was certainly considerably more difficult. In comparison to now, it might have been much harder back then, he says. “Our recipes require a lot of stages and materials, and they are highly sophisticated. Additionally, I thought it was a really lovely approach to convey the tale.

As a Tamil, Abhi feels it is his duty to portray the people, the culture, the music, and the cuisine in the game as accurately as possible, giving India’s many and captivating stories a credible voice.

“Making anything into gameplay is different from making something into a movie because we can’t just record it exactly as it is. Since a game is interactive, you must also consider if the players find it interesting and enjoyable. Therefore, I’m trying to strike a balance without sacrificing precision,” he explains.

You never get the impression that you’re playing a video game; rather, you get the impression that you’re watching the real lives of people pass in front of your eyes. Through a shared passion for cooking, Venba gives the player an inside look at a local Tamilian Indian family living in Canada. It forges a visual connection between Vemba’s aspirations and her reality by being strikingly reminiscent of how a Tamilian family gets through a typical day.

Ready to face the world

Prior to Venba, Abhi and his team were developing an action platformer but shelved it after six months of development. As an alternative, they focused on Venba and began developing the game.Over a year ago, at the WholeGames festival, Venba was first revealed. In June of this year, at the Tribeca Games Showcase, the game’s first visual was shown off. It started out as a PC game, but the major break came in November when Venba participated in Nintendo’s Indie Showcase World event.

Nintendo contacted us very early on after they watched the game’s initial trailer and wanted to assist us in bringing it to their platforms, says a delighted Abhi, noting that Nintendo has been pushing for games that are new, unusual, and intriguing. Raji: An Ancient Epic, which showed how recently games with Indian characters and narratives are becoming global, debuted on Nintendo Switch before Venba.

In general, local Indian game makers are not yet persuaded to express their deeply embedded stories to a worldwide audience, and Abhi concurs that this is to their detriment. “I haven’t noticed many changes around here. Saying that the game is based on Indian culture or context is met with a lot of opposition, he claims. But he is hopeful that things will improve in the future. “I believe that game creators in Pakistan and India should concentrate on creating short stories from their homes. The world is prepared for that, in my opinion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *