‘Gilli danda’ goes digital

‘Gilli danda’ goes digital

Following the success of Hanuman: Boy Warrior, Sony PlayStation launched its second Indian game Desi Adda: The Games of India. The game, which can be played on PS2 and PSP, is available in four languages: English, Hindi, Punjabi and Tamil.

The game package involves a potboiler storyline along with six indigenous Indian games. Avinash, an NRI, has returned to his grandparents’ village. He needs to recapture his ancestral house from the village head, Garjan Singh. He also needs to facilitate the marriage of Gowri and Gopal that Garjan Singh is opposed to. To meet these ends, he needs to win six games—pachisi, a chess game; aadu puli aatam, a hunting game; kite fight; kabbadi; gilli danda; and dance game, which includes garba and bhangra moves.

GameShastra, one of the leading Indian game studios, took 16 months to develop this game for Sony. Prakash Ahuja, GameShashtra’s CEO, has his hopes high for the success of Desi Adda but is aware of the challenges it faces. “Indian kids have grown up playing American games and changing the monster-slaying mindset is going to be tough," he says.

Ahuja says that according to estimates the Indian gaming industry is going be around $100 million (around Rs460 crore) by 2012 and the key factor that will allow this industry to thrive will be local content. “But for any industry to survive it needs to develop its own content. That is the only reason why Bollywood thrives and not the Pakistani film industry"

“The idea behind packaging Indian games is that they are both relatable and at the same time slightly exotic for the urban kid. A pachisi may be a simple chess game but today the board itself is unavailable."

Though Desi Adda comes with an age rating of 3+, Ahuja’s aim is to get parents nostalgic about these games hooked to it as well.

The preview of the game makes one wonder about its complexity level. By the looks of it dancing to Bollywood music may be the toughest for those only familiar with Counter-Strike and RuneScape.

Desi Adda: Games of India is available at Rs499 for PS2 and at Rs999 for PSP. The game is available in English, Hindi, Tamil and Punjabi.