“Just look at the window, there’s such a beautiful weather outside. It’s the perfect time for gaming”. These were the opening words to kick-start the annual Gameday organized by OuluSES and Oulu Gamelab on May 8th at Business Kitchen. The house was packed full while nearly 150 video game-enthusiastic visitors gathered all over the building to catch the latest news from game industry, have a test-round with upcoming Oulu-based games or just compete with each other in classic games.

By: Janne Rautiainen

Gaming industry has evolved significantly in Oulu during the past few years and Gameday showed that there is a huge buzz going on. Most of the speakers represented the Oulu game-scene telling their companies’ backgrounds, current projects and visions for future.  It seems that companies have grown out from garages and they are working on something totally new concepts with fresh ideas. And the ideas are what matters the most, Daniel Rantala, CEO of Namida Games, stated that the future of game industry relies on young talents who are able to create something new. He is also fond of doing work with young game makers and wants to offer job opportunities for talented students.

One notable aspect in game industry right now is the possibility to be independent in game production. The keynote speaker of the event, Jani Kahrama from Secret Exit, presented some valuable thoughts about how independent game companies can stand out and make a living. The quality of work and attitude seems to play the major role than stone cold selling methods. “If you think about a garage band, there’s no way to succeed if their main goal is to be as big as Lady Gaga. But if they want to establish a good fan base, then they are heading the right way”, Kahrama explained.

 

Kokkikoulu was transformed into a real demo-area with stands and screens and the lights were dimmed to create darkened atmosphere. The freshly formed game-teams and already graduated ones from Gamelab let visitors to test their newest projects with a possibility to give feedback. Dozens of curious visitors formed a crowd in front of the stands while the teams guided them into the variety of features. All of the games exposed were well designed and while taking a chat with the developers it seems that aims are as high as they should be. “We’ve been negotiating with Asian contacts and I hope we will get our game published there in important markets such as Japan”, said Ville Helttunen, the producer of State of Matter, 2D platform mobile game where player can change the characters form between liquid, solid and vapor to pass levels.

 

Gameday with ouluses at business kitchen

 

All the projectors and TV-screens found a repurpose while they were convertedinto a game stations. Corridors were covered with sofas and chairs where people competed each other in Soul Calibur or other arcade games. Later on a smashing, nearly two hour lasting Speed Runners tournament took place with 32 contestants and the ultimately tight competition ended in massive applauses and cheers while the grand prize, a DJ-controller, was handed to the lucky winner.

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One thing is sure, games are not only a source of fun but they are more than that: Gaming is a way of life and people in gaming scene are willing to put all the effort to make their projects come true and succeed. “One of our team members was offered a full-time job but he declined because he believes in this project and wants to do this with us”, said Helttunen as an example to show how dedicated people are in game industry.