The BIG Festival has just wrapped up in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Marc Venturelli has been using the platform to highlight the diversity of the video game scene in Latin America.
Many people in the Western gaming scene often don’t think much of the many dynamic developers currently working in South America. GRANDE Fête (Best International Game Festival) has existed since 2012 and is the most important game festival and business forum in Latin America. This is an exhibition of the best and brightest game developers from all over Latin America. Thanks to games like Relic Hunters and Chroma Squad, Marc Venturelli is known in indie development and has a lot to say about how the world views the gaming scene in Brazil.
Titled “The Future of Video Games”, Venturelli drew a large crowd for a pre-recorded session. But there was a catch: while everyone was expecting a game design story from the famous Brazilian developer, he quickly morphed into something completely different.
“I lied to you. My conference is not called The Future of Video Games. I had to change that or you wouldn’t approve. The title is Why NFT is a Nightmare. The crowded room is exploding. Rick Sampaio announced this via Twitter in an already viral series of tweets.
While at first glance it looked like an anti-establishment developer, it was actually something much more subtle. As Venturelli explains, “The purpose of my speech is to outrage against blockchain games in general, not against the festival.”
The essence of his speech is to help the world see the vibrant culture of Brazil and Latin America. “It wasn’t really a joke, but it’s more complex than what appears in the tweet. He goes on to say, “Mainly because foreign guests think that the Brazilian scene is now mostly blockchain, which is far from the case. Actually, I don’t think they matter. They have to spend a lot of money on sponsorships to try and buy artificial relevancy, but they make up almost a tiny fraction of our industry right now.
While the intentions were sincere, the world of Twitter and machine translation has led many to believe that there is a conspiracy to silence the voices of blockchain opponents. But, as Venturelli explains when asked about the BIG reaction, “I think they were like that at first because they only saw a viral reaction. But now I think they understand that this was not my intention. In fact, I’m trying to convince them to publish my speech on their official channels.
In response to a censorship question, BIG Festival director Gustavo Steinberg said, “There were no restrictions. BIG Festival has been and always has been a democratic free speech space and we are proud to be a place where tough conversations in the gaming industry can take place. The topic of NFT can be controversial for many people and we at BIG Festival believe this is another reason to bring it up so that the industry can get a comprehensive understanding of the market and its trends. Over the four days of our conferences, we had many sessions on NFT, blockchain and cryptocurrencies, which had different voices – both for and against.
But bad translation and evil people can be a bad combination, especially when it comes to blockchain.
What was a story of a developer trying to get a little serious about blockchain and Latin America quickly turned into a story of a developer speaking out against a repressive system. What seemed suspicious at first seems to come down to a matter of logistics and planning. As Steinberg states: “During the BIG Festival 2022, all streaming performances took place in Auditorium 1. Since the performance in question was originally planned to be in Auditorium 2, it was not planned to be broadcast. .“
But the fear of these big players is real. No one wants Brazil to lose its creative voice and become nothing more than a haven for blockchain. Mark Venturelli said it best when he explained: “Blockchain games are not relevant to our industry, at least not yet. But if freelancers and the entertainment and education-focused companies that make up the majority of our industry let them, they’ll gladly take over. »
Tensions in game design are still high, especially in new and emerging markets. It is easy to feel repressed and silenced, especially when perception is far from reality. While this year’s BIG festival should go on, there are plenty of talent out there looking to make a mark on the game, and that motivation only grows every year. With developers like Marc Venturelli and festivals like BIG working to promote this massive creativity-driven talent, the Brazilian industry has a bright future.