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Play NYC Will Feature Games From First-Generation Immigrant Developers

Video game expo Play NYC will be showcasing the work of first-generation immigrants in its Graffiti Games installation second year.

Playcrafting, the organizer of the event, says that diversity is in the DNA of New York, which is why it is “proud to celebrate what makes New York and the American gaming industry so special by commissioning six, new ‘Graffiti Games’ installations created by local, first-generation immigrant developers that will debut at the [event],” according to a press release.

Dan Butchko, founder of Playcrafting, told Variety that the intent is to capture “the essence and spirit” of New York City and its gaming community.

“Last year was the first convention, and we wanted to make our sophomore year even more impactful,” Butchko said. “There’s a lot of dialogue that focuses on people’s differences lately. Games are the great uniter, whether you’re creating or playing them, they have a way of bringing people together, no matter where you’re going or where you come from. Giving these talented developers the space to express themselves with no restrictions, was our way to celebrate diversity and the beauty of the NYC gaming community.”

The eight game developers whose work will be featured are originally from China, India, Kazakhstan, Peru, Spain, and Venezuela.

Jose Zambrano, a developer from Venezuela and co-founder of Stuido Studios, commented on his participation in the event and noted that the “mix of cultures and subcultures in New York” makes the city inspirational.

“[Through our installation, we hope to] break communication barriers through games,” Zambrano said. “Communication going beyond words and language.”

The two day event starts August 11, and will be held at the Manhattan Center. Play NYC 2017 had 5,000 attendees, featured 112 games, and included six Graffitti Games installations. For 2018, Play NYC is prepared for up to 10,000 attendees to discover the Graffiti Games installation, which will be featured in six opera boxes inside the historic Hammerstein Ballroom.

Butchko explained the value of 2017’s Graffiti Games display to Variety in an interview in May, which “puts the power in the hands of the developers.”

“These were projects from local artists and developers that would not have been possible had it not been for Play NYC,” Butchko said. “The point of the Graffiti Games is that Play NYC gives birth to them and then they take on a life of their own.”

Tickets are now on sale, and those who can’t attend this year’s expo can still see the installations via Play NYC’s Twitch Channel.

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