video game and creators

Video Games As A Form of Expression

Pickering Library showcases locally made video games for Culture Days

Young people are expressing all kinds of unexpected ways these days — and one of those ways is by designing their own video games.

“A lot of indie games are very politicized because it’s an opportunity to express what you are thinking and feeling. Typically, they are not censored in that route,” Jessica Trinier, Adult Client Service Specialist for the Pickering Public Library said.

The city of Pickering and many others across Ontario recently participated in the 8th annual Culture Days from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, an event that showcased art and culture in communities. It included events in participating cities that ranged from painting to open galleries. Pickering showcased video games people made through a program called Twine.

Video games have became an unexpected form of culture because people are looking to create games that are not just fun to play, but send a message to the player.

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Girl next to computers
Jessica Trinier sitting next to the gaming computers at the Pickering Library

Ryan Orlecki

“With Twine, I wanted to connect it to Culture Days because it’s an opportunity for clients to express themselves in a story in a literary form, and allows them to connect to an element of culture that they might not be experienced with,” Trinier said.

Twine allows users to make text-based video games. The program uses HTML coding in the form of pseudo code, making it very simple for almost anyone to use. This program lets the creator tell a story that they think the user should experience.

“With Twine, you are putting the person in the story, so you can play around with those emotions as well. Put them in a position where they can view something from someone else’s perspective,” Trinier said.

One of the games created was The Sword of Pepe, a game focused around the concept of memes. Its creators, Rithik Kalra and Rian Khandakar,  wanted to develop a game young people would relate to by incorporating references to Instagram, memes, Reddit and more.

Rithik Kalra and Rian Khandakar discuss and play through their game, The Sword of Pepe, at the Pickering Public Library for Culture Days

“I was trying to think of something funny that other teens would like, and everybody likes memes,” Kalra said.

The landscape of video games are changing, and people are looking for more than just an entertaining game to be able to play.

“With indie games becoming more popular, there is a huge push for video games to take on a more artist type of approach and to view video games as art,” Trinier said.