If role-playing games (RPGs) are your thing, then you’ll get a kick out of “Mamayani” and “Lawmage Academy.” They are two PC/Mac games developed by Filipinos, and they'll make you proud.
An educational RPG, “Mamayani” shines a spotlight on the heroic women of Philippine history, specifically those who were active during the American and Japanese occupations.
In “Mamayani,” you assume the role of a young girl whose newspaper delivery job allows her to visit various locations, including Manila and Bacoor.
Along the way, you’ll resolve diverse quests, form parties with your allies, engage enemies in turn-based combat, collect items, equip gear, and more.
You’ll interact with numerous characters, including real-life heroines whose invaluable contributions are still felt to this day, like the brave Filipinas of Asociacion Feminista Filipina (AFF), who fought for women’s right to vote, and spend time with the Sakdalistas, who sought to free the Philippines from its oppressors.
You’ll also make decisions both great and small. Will you use diplomacy in your efforts to end injustice? Or will you take up arms and join a bloody rebellion? Your choice will impact how the story, and history itself, unfolds.
“Mamayani” was originally a thesis project by Meam Genovaña and Robin Greyson and has since grown into something bigger.
“We have never yet worked on a project with such purpose behind it as ‘Mamayani’,” said the pair. “[W]e finished ‘Mamayani’ as required, but continuing it meant that it became a project we believe in, that it was more than the grades now; it was about the next generation of heroes and heroines.”
“Mamayani” comes with theoretical backing in the form of the Constructivist Theory of Learning, “which states that a learner makes their own meaning of something based on prior knowledge and information they pick up as they go along.”
Furthermore, role-playing allows learners to play a more active role in learning, as it immerses players in the lessons.
“This is why ‘Mamayani’ was made into a game instead of a simple book to read, because you can make meaning not only of the Philippine heroines’ stories but also of your own experience—to be your own kind of hero,” said Robin and Meam.
So far, teachers, students, and gamers have reacted positively to “Mamayani,” with some offering to help translate the game into Filipino, or give it extra exposure via digital marketing and streaming.
Team Mamayani has many plans for “Mamayani.”
“Short-term, we're focusing on improving its graphics and user experience, switching over to Unity to improve on it without the limitations that RPG Maker has, looking into more stories and diverse heroines, and giving it a Filipino version,” said Robin and Meam.
Long-term, they want the game “to inspire as many Filipinos as it can. We want to see a future where Filipinas are not locked on to a single view of identity and bravery, that they can be whatever they want and be a hero while doing it.”
Act I of “Mamayani” can be downloaded for free from the game’s official website.
Fantasy RPG “Lawmage Academy” takes you to the eponymous school of magic, where you train to become a protector of a magical continent known as Magusgaia.
As a Lawmage Academy student, you’ll attend classes, learn special abilities, collect ingredients, and craft items.
You’ll also get to explore the campus, make friends and enemies of your schoolmates and teachers, and go on adventures beyond the school’s walls.
Enemies are dealt with in turn-based combat, which allows you to use the spells and skills you and your party members learned in school.
Later on, you’ll even be able to unleash the might of powerful Aura Skills.
You’ll also make choices that can drastically impact your playthrough. For instance, as you won’t be able to learn every spell in the game, you’ll have to pick specific areas to excel at.
Other choices will affect your relationships with the game’s characters — in short, how and with whom you spend your time will matter in “Lawmage Academy.”
“I have always fantasized about a magic school RPG where your choices can affect certain aspects of the game, but still maintain a coherent plot,” said game designer Gian Miko “Jin” Arabejo, who also goes by his developer name, Verinius.
While Jin developed the game solo, he commissioned some of its art, and purchased a license for tilesets and music to serve as placeholders. Tyler Cline composed the new main theme and battle music.
“Lawmage Academy” was inspired by “Harry Potter,” the video game “Mana Khemia,” and Jin’s own experiences in law school and as a human rights lawyer.
“I like exploring the theme of morality,” he said. “I want to create an experience where players can see that the world is complicated and people choose to act the way they do because they are coming from different contexts. Sometimes in life your choices are all equally valid, but the real question is: can I live with the consequences of my actions? That’s the difficult part. And you will be faced with that kind of dilemma in ‘Lawmage Academy.’ ”
Jin had no formal education in programming, game design, or art but it didn’t deter him from creating “Lawmage Academy.”
“I committed to learning everything about game development and worked on my game for one hour, every day, for one year. The small decisions I made every day piled up and now I have a working demo for ‘Lawmage Academy!’ Working on this project taught me that anyone can learn any skill given enough time and effort.”
“Lawmage Academy” has been well-received, and has even been featured by many local and international streamers and YouTubers.
The game’s current build can be downloaded for free from its official website.
“Mamayani” and “Lawmage Academy” were exhibited at the Electronic Sports and Gaming Summit (ESGS) 2019, where they were part of Indie Fiesta 2019, a local games exhibit directed by International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Philippines board member Gwen Foster.
— LA, GMA, News