I went to gamescom to find out Romanian indie game devs shine bright like diamonds

We’re all overwhelmed by the current state of events. 
Wildfires burn around the world.
Attacks pop-up daily motivated by separatist beliefs. 
State leaders blame video games for their own mistakes.
These were some hardcore topics passionately debated at the Romanian game devs beer drinking & schnitzel eating meeting in gamescom.
This festival brought us together, 10 teams of mere dreamers to fix the world a little. 

What’s not idle it’s the current state of events in the Romanian gaming industry. 
Outside your natural environment you get the bird’s eye view.
You gain clarity, you see where you are in the world. And start appreciating more the things you often take for granted. 
So thanks gamescom for giving me the opportunity to meet the Romanian game changers or more appropriate to say, our local pioneers in game development.

Romanian Entertainment Booth: Rikodu, Quantic Beans (AMC Games), Sand Sailor, Last Tales, Critique Games

Our country has lightning fast internet speed, low ping, ranked no.1 by Speedtest by Ookla. It’s only natural the gaming culture has flourished.
But the struggle is real.
Almost everyone I met in the field is a self taught specialist. 
No schools for game devs, not to say business schools not even ways to get serious into 3D art study. That’s why us AMC folks teach 3D graphics for games at two art universities in Bucharest – National University of Art (UNARTE) –  Department of Graphics and Cinetic (the Research Centre of the National University of Theatre and Film) – undergraduate and postgraduate program in Game Design.

If you would have told me last year I’ll have the chance to live the gamescom experience – hundreds of thousands of people under the same roof, playing or making the gaming business – I would have taken you for a joker.

I’m a n00b, my last ten years were dedicated to cultural and education management. I knew nothing before joining forces with AMC in January 2019.
To me everything gaming unfolds its peacock tail. 
The last time I played a video game was SuperMario Bros on the TV Plug & Play Game Console as a child.
Seeing so many people standing in line for 5 minutes of gameplay, I totally can relate to this, I have a younger brother. He always had first dibs on gaming stuff.

Pikachu 💕

After exploring the world – gamescom in all its glory, my heart beats faster for our folks at home, for sentimental reasons.
Knowing the struggles and pains, and seeing so many talented and determined people altogether made a strong impression on me that I feel like sharing it to the world.

I’ll start my local heroes litany with RGDA – Romanian Games Developers Association, the non-profit organization supporting the Romanian video game developers market into making us successful and profitable on the internal and international market. 
This handful of people with Andreea Medvedovici-Per as Denzel Washington are the tough cookies that reached to convince the state the gaming industry can generate revenue, like a lot. So they’d better invest now or be sorry later when the intelligence will fly over our cuckoo’s nest, as it has already happened in other sectors.
Or corporations will take over. Oh, wait! Already happened.

Romanian Business Booth: Amber, Tractor Set Go, Those Awesome Guys, AMC Ro Studio, Whyttest

In a country where people’s basic needs for food/shelter/education/sanitation/healthcare are raising massive protests, getting your state to support the emerging creative industry is a very difficult challenge. RGDA managed to send us in trade missions twice this year, at San Fran’s GDC and at gamescom, with the support of the Department of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Business Environment, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, Government of Romania.
Thank you very much! To many more!

Last Tales, Alexandru and Cristina Simion, this lovely devs couple left home two kids with their grandparents to entertain other families at gamescom. They’re the creators for Raiders of the Lost Island, a game that brings smirks this big on people’s faces:

In the beginning was the Word for Critique Gaming Studio, then video games followed. Debates aficionados, CGS are the poster people for when you believe in your dream, you’ll make it real. They applied to state funding with the Start Up Nation program and put their small studio together while facing the traps of bureaucracy.

They really went big this year after convincing people in Tech Angels Romania that their idea, Interrogation, deserves 120k Euros. Now their “difficult noire detective game about ethics, morality, radicalization and the nature of authority” has a publisher and awards.

The Rikodu team hailing from Cluj presented their Second Hand: Frankie’s Revenge, a 1-4 player co-op action game with badass robots built from household appliances. Players use chainsaws, disco balls, tennis ball launchers and even a time-bending clock to save their world of machines and kick alien robot ass.

Sand Sailor Studio went out in public with Bossgard, a game where you’re the boss. And the most interesting part of the story follows:

They made it to shortlists of best indie games @ gamescom. Congrats!

Those Awesome Guys, international hotshots, already on Forbes list 30 under 30, are also very humorous guys. Have you seen their roast?
Freakin hilarious!

We’ve shared cookies, technology, rumours and gossip, and even life stories with neighbours at Whyttest.
They’re “the perfect mix between young blood and veterans of the testing industry”.
>>> https://whyttest.com

I found out about Tractor Set Go‘s new project after two glasses of wine. This action shooter placed in time at the beginning of WW2 they’re working at now it’s insane. Their characters’ stories are so unique I remember imagining myself one of the snippers in my drunkenness. Can’t tell you more for confidential reasons.
Did you know people from Cluj believe themselves to be living in the Sillicon Valley of Romania. I didn’t. Isn’t it enough that you guys have the heart of Transylvania label all to yourself , Horia?

Having developed their offices also in L.A. & San Francisco, Amber is an example of 360° top quality game dev services, strategic vision and persistance.
For sure you’ve heard about them already!

We went there with mothership AMC Art for expanding our network and teasing AMC Game’s “Future Tribes”, topics to be treated in another article. This one is about the beautiful others.
Until we meet again, remember to apply sunscreen generously before going outdoors, plant a tree and ACT LOCAL!
Love you all and see you at Dev.Play!

Georgiana Toea
Community Projects Manager for AMC Ro Studio