'Video games are a great place for politics': meet India's modern magical realists

'Video games are a great place for politics': meet India's modern magical realists

Alexis Ong 22/09/2020

Studio Oleomingus create surreal games that unpick India’s thorny past – and take aim at its chaotic present

In Gujarat, a tiny independent studio is drawing on India’s rich literary history to create surreal games that flow like visual poems, evoking decades of colonial literature and folk theatre to draw attention to the politics of today. Through fantastical environments where buildings and oversized monuments are made of rubber sandals and toothpaste tubes, Studio Oleomingus – made up of writer/artist Dhruv Jani and programmer Sushant Chakraborty, with help from another programmer, Vivek Savsaiya – crafts interactive stories that cast a playful light on India’s complicated past and present.

“We find video games to be excellent spaces for political discourse,” Jani tells me over Skype. “The government is hardly bothered about something as ‘trivial’ as video games, and they also give you a lot of room to think and ponder complex ideas.”

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