The reality of the video game industry and what the media reflect does not always go hand in hand. While a large part of society still believes that video games are synonymous with assured work, millions of euros and a promising future, the data reflects that a quarter of the development studies in Spain are about to close the doors for lack of economic viability. Creating videogames in Spain is a risky sport, but, luckily, not everything is tears. Events such as Cowboy Developer Burger Awards They are in charge of bringing together the small developers to forget the hardships between beers, do self-criticism and put their finger on the wound of this industry.
The fifth edition of the Cowboy Developer Burger Awards was held last night in Bilbao coinciding with the festival Fun & Serious and, again, he did not leave a puppet with a head. Their awards are the most honest and clear summary of what has happened this year in the sector. The worst news of the year? The announcement of Diablo for mobiles. The prize for originality? The umpteenth installment of Mario Kart. The prize for the best bug? All Fallout 76. The Mourning Prize? To all the studies that have closed. The best Battle Royale mode? The one of the homemade flan Royal, because yes, here the majority are thirty-somethings that in their life have played to the Fortnite.
The 'Cowboy' would come to be a spin-off to the Basque of the Indie Developer Burger Awards who were born seven years ago in Barcelona by the designers David Jaumandreu, Juan Albero and a handful of irreducible indies. Although the latter were born as a parody of the national awards of the video game industry that are delivered annually in Gamelab, the 'Cowboy' want to be more of a Razzies of the videogame industry, a critique of the sector's greats orchestrated from the headquarters of the also developer Arturo Monedero, the bar and culture center of the Biscayan capital Dock.
"They are necessary rewards because it is necessary that the industry of the game remove all that intensity that is on top and take with humor how big it has become", explains the director of the veteran program Zoom Net of Televisión Española, Manuel González. "All those gurus, those big companies that dominate the market are also wrong and these awards want to prove it," he adds.
The Cowboy Burger Awards are 'troll' awards to the sector, but also an exercise in self-criticism which is reflected in the great videos that precede each award delivery. The worrying number of videogame educational centers, the self-proclaimed "gurus" of the industry, the "weeping indie" who only complains about their difficulties, the 'influencer' that neither clicks nor cuts, etc. It is almost ironic that both the Fun & Serious organization and the videogame giant Epic Games support a festival of these characteristics, but it is also a reflection of an industry in which both big and small share concerns.
"I think a bit of self-criticism is good, with a lot of scorn and a lot of satire, laugh at big companies like Electronic Arts or Ubisoft, about education, about the press, but also about ourselves and the clichés", says the person in charge of the cultural magazine Cactus, Koldo Gutiérrez. "I think that the Indie Burger of yesterday, with their Pantomime Full-style videos, exemplified very well all of these themes that, at times, are a bit opaque," he adds.
Among the around one hundred and fifty attendees who gathered yesterday in the Dock auditorium, most were veteran creators of games willing to have a good time, but there were also videogame students, journalists and onlookers eager to discover this mythical party of the Spanish scene. "They were my first Indie Burger and I had a great time", says the editor of the portal Eurogamer.es, Chuso Montero. "They do not earn anything organizing them, but doing so they have managed to give the developers an excuse to get together, get to know each other and, at least for a day, not all business, but take a few beers and some hamburgers while they throw some laughter, "he adds.
About 2:30 in the morning the Cowboys Burger Awards roll down the blind. Unlike previous editions this year the party does not continue in some center of Bilbao, perhaps because the next day plays the bulk of the festival, perhaps because of fatigue. Thus ends a new edition of the most ephemeral, but also the most authentic prizes, which has the much vaunted industry of this country. The only prizes that put their finger on the wound and, therefore, the most necessary.
Events like the Cowboy Developer Burger Awards are responsible for bringing together small developers to celebrate the shortage between beers, make self-criticism and put the finger on the head of this industry.