Ready Player One
Vegan Life talks to plant-powered illustrator, graphic designer and video game creator, Laura Nualart, about how games can be used as tools to spread awareness
Most of us are aware that art can be a powerful form of expression, and means of sharing important experiences and messages, but have you ever thought about how video games can also achieve this?
Spain-based Laura Nualart is a vegan illustrator, graphic designer and video game creator, who is using all of her artistic talents to accomplish such a thing. We talked to Laura to find out more.
Tell us about your journey to veganism.
I've always loved animals. As a child, I was obsessed with saving insects and all kinds of creatures and felt horrible every time I saw any animal suffering.
As a teenager, I knew that it was very hypocritical to eat animals while wanting their safety and happiness, so I knew that at some point I would stop doing it.
It was in 2012, at the age of 19 when I read about an investigation that Animal Naturalis (animanaturalis.org/es) conducted in a rabbit farm here, in Spain.
What I read shocked me so deeply, that I decided to become a vegetarian at that exact moment. One year later, and after reading the book Why we love dogs, eat pigs and wear cows, I became vegan.
\"People have contacted me to tell me how my drawings impacted their life, even to the point of becoming vegan\"
When did you decide to combine veganism with art?
I had wanted to try digital art for a long time. In 2016, I bought the cheapest graphic tablet I found to try it and have some fun, just as a hobby. I really enjoyed the experience, and I slowly started getting better and more comfortable.
I'm a big fan of artivism, and without doubt it is the art that I love and follow the most, so I started drawing about issues that were important to me, like animal cruelty, climate change or poverty.
What does your artwork seek to achieve?
I would say that there are two main things: to inform, and to make people think about certain issues that are rarely discussed and that are profoundly wrong in our society.
Tell us about Vegames.
Vegames is a project that Samuel (my boyfriend) and I started four years ago. It first started as a vegan themed video game exclusive project, but we finally mixed it up with artwork content. Now, we use it as a platform to show our vegan related projects.
How useful is art in spreading awareness of animal welfare and vegan issues?
I was very skeptical at first about this matter. I knew how other artists' work affected me, but I wasn't sure if I'd be able to make a similar impact on others.
I was very surprised by how well my work was welcomed. The account grew much faster than I expected, which gave me the motivation to keep working to get better. Since then, a lot of people have contacted me to tell me how my drawings impacted their life, even to the point of becoming vegan, thanks to them.
Talk us through your video game - Vegan Odyssey.
Vegan Odyssey is the first vegan themed video game that we developed - everything started with it. Currently available in Android, it is a puzzle-like game that mixes logic with humour.
In the game, you've got to unlock excuses like 'Proteins tho', 'Lions eat meat' or 'What if you were in a desert island'.
Every time you unlock one, you also unlock a conversation in which the excuse are challenged with counter-arguments. I think it's a must-play if you're vegan, so I really recommend it if you haven't tried it yet.
It was available in the App Store as well, but given the yearly high costs that Apple demands to maintain games on their platform, we were forced to take it off.
We hope to bring it back soon, when we find ourselves in a better position. Although it looks like a small game, we invested so many hours to develop it because we tried to make it as perfect as possible. Game development is very hard, and it requires a lot of commitment and time.
Any exciting projects coming up?
We are currently working on a new mobile video game. It is the biggest game-project that we have been working on so far, so we are not sure how long it will take us to finish it.
It is quite hard to develop a project like that in our spare time (we both have our Monday to Friday jobs). But that is the only option we have if we want to keep developing games.
Our dream is to make a living by making video games that bring ethical insights. Most video games are about killing things without much concern on why you're killing in the first place.
Video games can be a very intense interactive experience, so it's a great tool to send messages and bring insights while having fun.
We think this is a totally feasible idea, but to make it happen we need resources that we don't currently have. We hope that step by step, we'll be able to achieve our dream at some point in the future.