FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 26, 2011, Riyadh / GameTako ( www.gametako.com), an up and coming distribution and monetization platform for independent Arab game developers, announced today successfully holding its first game development weekend, named “Game Zanga” on December 16-17, 2011. The event saw more than a hundred Arab game enthusiasts and developers registering for participation from 14 countries across the region. GameTako received and published 15 game entries and will announce the winning entries in the first week of January 2012.
The Zanga was held in Amman with participants from other countries participating remotely. The Zanga had a full-house in Amman with 27 game developers filling the hall with passion and energy. The Zanga started on 12 AM Amman Time on Friday December 16th and ended 48 hours later on Saturday midnight December 17th.
“ The great turn out for Game Zanga demonstrated a thirst among Arab game developers for opportunities where they can gain exposure, blend with their fellow game developers and flex their game development muscles. It was very exciting for us to bring the Arab game development community together for 48-hours of rapid and high-energy game creation.” said Abdullah Hamed, founder and CEO of GameTako.
As is customary with game jams worldwide, GameTako introduced a compulsory theme at the first hour of the Zanga to challenge the participants and encourage the creation of all-new games within the weekend. The theme GameTako introduced was “social issues”; participants were instructed to create games relating to social and economic issues in their localities ranging from major issues like poverty and unemployment, and including any workings of the society that the participants are displeased with such as littering streets and driving manners.
Fifteen games reached the finish line and were published on GameTako’s portal. The games’ subject matter ranged from the mundane to the very personal, with games about the challenges faced in marriage, job hunting, fighting cancer and thinking differently in Arab societies.
“ With the first Game Zanga, we chose the “social issues” theme to send a message to the Arab region’s mainstream and game enthusiast community that games can be more than just a fun way to pass time; games are a full-fledged medium that can be used to express one’s self and convey ideas and therefore games can be a vehicle for social change. We were pleasantly surprised with the games created during the Zanga, which represent a snapshot of the issues grabbing the attention of Arab youth these days expressed through fun gaming experiences.” Abdullah said.
Demonstrating the importance of GameTako’s initiative to growing the regional games industry, Game Zanga received support and sponsorship from two major industry stakeholders: twofour54 Gaming Academy and Unity Technologies creators of the popular Unity Game Engine. Unity will offer the team behind the highest rated Unity-based game entry a perpetual Unity Pro license.
" Unity is excited about the growth of game development in the Middle East and very keen to support initiatives such as Game Zanga. These events are crucial in perpetuating talent and enthusiasm for game development and we applaud the efforts of GameTako in organising participation in 14 countries across the region.”, said Nick Jovic, Unity’s Regional Sales Director. “A major goal for Unity is to facilitate game development education in the region at all levels from high schools to universities, game incubator projects and game jams. We wish all of the participants of Game Zanga the best and look forward to seeing the results.", he added.
The games await verdict from a judging panel representing the Arab gaming specialist media outlets, and GameTako user voting. Winning entries and teams will receive up to $15,000 in cash prizes. The following is a list of the games created during the event including the developers’ name and location:
· Mathhar 7adhari NOT (Shumukh, Saudi Arabia): A game about graffiti in schools created with Unity. Prevent school kids from reaching the school wall and spraying it.
· Zabalooz (Ahmad Khalifa, Egypt): An action game about littering streets sporting an 8-bit retro-style created with Adobe Flash using the FlashPunk game engine.
· Exposure (Ahmad Saker, Egypt): An adventure game about our societies’ tendencies to stick to the familiar and reject the anything different with a unique art-style inspired by Film Noire. Created with Unity.
· Salatee7 School (New Age Games, Saudi Arabia): A platformer game about school-related issues such as student beating by teachers, bullying, smoking among students and fires in schools, inspired by the recent school fire in Jeddah. Created with Unity.
· Cancer (ModyWorks, Egypt): An action game created with HTML5. Control an anti-body and fight cancer cells.
· Haamoor Al Araadi (Abdullah Konash, Saudi Arabia): A 3D game about the monopolization of land by powerful businessmen and the subsequent rise in costs of land and housing in Saudi Arabia. Created with Unity.
· Anabeeb Delivery (MotionTween, Jordan): A puzzle game about saving water created with Adobe Flash. Connect houses with a water supply before the timer runs out.
· Abdullah Hamed and The Stolen Bag (Faisal Kubaisi, Qatar): A comical platformer game featuring the GameTako founder Abdullah Hamed, created with HTML5 using GameMaker.
· Swake (Ibrahim Khaled, Jordan) A Snake-like game with a miswak and smoking theme that encourages players to stop smoking and use miswak instead, create with HTML5.
· Jame3 Jame3 3D (Team Wizards, Jordan): A 3D cart game telling the story of a little boy who struggles with poverty, from collecting empty cans and selling them all the way to a university degree and marriage.
· 3atel ilal 3amal (Team Monkey, Jordan): A platformer game about job hunting created with Flash using Flixel. Collect recommendations and send them to your prospective employers while avoiding wasta thugs (representing partiality and nepotism).
· The Eastern Route (Mohammad Salem, Palestine): A cargo delivery driving game created with Flash. Drive a pick-up and deliver the cargo to its destination before time runs out.
· Raasein Fil 7alal (Ali Mohammed Ali, Egypt): A plaftormer created with Adobe Flash. Control a groom, collect money, a ring and a house and reach your bride while avoiding your in-laws.
· Prices Nightmare (Abdurrahman Khallouf, Saudi Arabia): An arcade game about rising prices and consumerism created with Adobe Flash. Avoid contact with groceries to save your money as long as you can.
GameTako is an Arabic social game portal and game distribution and monetization platform for independent Arab game developers. GameTako empowers developers by offering a publishing and distribution platform for their games, revenue share on ad earnings and an API that turns their games social. With new, exclusive and exciting Arabic games introduced every week; GameTako is quickly becoming the destination of choice for Arab online gamers.
About Unity Technologies
Unity Technologies is the creator of Unity, an intuitive and flexible development platform used to make wildly creative and intelligently interactive 3D and 2D content. The "author once, deploy everywhere" capability ensures developers can publish to all of the most popular platforms. Unity Technologies boasts a thriving community of 750,000 registered developers including large publishers, indie studios, students and hobbyists. Unity Technologies aggressively re-invests in its award-winning 3D development tools and democratization initiatives, such as the Asset Store digital content marketplace and Union game distribution service, in order to remain at the forefront of innovation. Unity Technologies is headquartered in San Francisco and has offices in Canada, Denmark, Lithuania, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Japan and Korea. For more information, visit: http://unity3d.com
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