3 video games that are unapologetically Filipino

The gaming world has seen but a glimpse of the Filipino story. Thankfully, Pinoy indie game developers have taken it upon themselves to demonstrate to the industry just how rich and complex our myths, history, and culture are.

At the recently concluded E-Sports and Gaming Summit (ESGS) 2017 held at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia, a batch of indie developers showcased video games that are unapologetically Filipino in terms of subject matter, themes, and style. In no particular order, here are three such games.


1. Mayari

Ingenuity Games describes “Mayari” as a “story-centric mobile game app that utilizes visual and audio storytelling.” Specifically, it’s a “point-and-click, mystery-adventure game set in a fantastical version of South-East Asia.”

In the game, “you see through the eyes of Mayari, a girl entrusted with an inescapable destiny. You guide her through the story of her remote village and their devotion to their goddess Idayen, through each chapter of the game, solving puzzles and helping her unlock more and more of her story.”

For Ingenuity Games, it was important to make a uniquely Filipino experience.

“Most of the games in the market today do not feature the unique and colorful culture that we have in the Philippines,” they said. “And the mystery of Philippine folklore, mythology, and mysticism is a fitting backdrop for a game that is focused on immersing the player in a world rich in stories and mystery. We wanted to create a game that would be truly ‘ours’ – something that feels both familiar and mysterious at the same time.”

The game’s stunning visuals also borrow from other Southeast Asian cultures:

“We drew inspiration from the tropical sceneries of Southeast Asian countries and attempted to recreate some of the popular landmarks such as the statue of Buddha in Hong Kong or the hanging coffins of Sagada in the Philippines. The structures featured in the game environment are mostly inspired by Islamic architecture and the wooden carvings on the walls are Maranao’s Okir, seen most prominently in houses called the Torogan.”

Character design was inspired by Filipino tribal clothing:

“The clothing patterns were inspired by the patterns of the tribal costumes in Mindanao and a lot of other cultures all around the Philippines. The accessories and the fashion in the game are inspired by a combination of many of the prominent tribal costumes in the Philippines.”


Ingenuity Games encountered several hurdles while developing “Mayari”:

“One of the many challenges that we have faced in creating the game is trying to get the story, gameplay, and art just right. We had to rewrite the narrative, test puzzles that will ultimately work for the game and our story, and work towards an art style that would work for the environment and the character design.”

Ingenuity Games has already garnered a number of awards and nominations for “Mayari.” They aim to put Davao City on the game development map.

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Source: gmanetwork

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