India’s ludic history is rich and ancient; the world’s longest epic, ‘The Mahabharata’ has as one of its crucial episodes, a dice-game match, and the consensus among games historians is that Chess originated from chaturanga, the four-handed strategy game. Today, India is a major Cricketing nation and has a large presence in the Olympic games but it is also emerging as an important centre for digital gaming, particularly mobile gaming. Digital games have also emerged as platforms of cultural contentions, controversies, creativity and discussions around social issues. From a sole games researcher in 2001 to about a hundred-odd in different parts of the country, research in digital games has grown significantly. As there is no other platform that facilitates research on non-digital games as well on a regular basis, DiGRA India aims to provide a space for discussions on all kinds of games and game culture(s).
We started our journey as Games Studies India Adda, a collective of game enthusiasts, developers and researchers from India. Our journey began in 2020, amidst the Covid 19 pandemic, when people all across the country returned to games as a communal medium to affirm ties and bonds that had been suddenly frozen in a nation in lockdown. Our aim was to seek to uncover, discuss, engage with existing as well as emergent game traditions in India that had shaped and contributed to its rich panoply of cultures, habits and political thought through the ages. Conscious of the importance of ‘play’ in the subcontinent, we choose an important Indian tradition of discourse on games-the Bengali mode of ‘Adda’ (an informal symposium-like conversation with multiple speakers where everything under and beyond the Sun can be discussed). We are excited to be at the cutting edge of games research in India and aim to situate our work firmly within ongoing global research on games and culture as DiGRA’s Indian chapter today.
DiGRA India has been founded in an endeavour to:
- Conduct events such as workshops, podcasts, talks, and addas to facilitate the game studies discourse to a hitherto untapped academic audience and enthusiasts in game cultures and production.
- Create publications from the talks that we have organised so far, as well as offer a conduit for publishing.
- Organise a series of master-classes by experts to aid awareness-building about the discipline among the rather young group of scholars in the region.
- Create a reading-group that will discuss both books on games and games themselves.
- Build a cell within the group that will aid members to find suitable research projects and gain funding.
- Create a shared Zotero reading list for members.
Check out our previous talks, podcasts, and adda sessions on: https://digraindia.com/
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