Although Hispanic Heritage Month isn’t something that I have circled on my calendar with anticipation, like with a fun holiday, it’s still something very important to me.
It's special because it’s a time when we all take a moment to reflect on the rich cultural contributions of Hispanic and Latino communities. I've seen countless contributions from our community and it's sometimes easy to forget how much we've added to this amazing country.
For me, this month serves as a powerful reminder of where I came from and the memories I hold dear. It's a chance to reconnect with my roots, a reminder of my grandmother's cooking, and the Spanish language. It's essential to cherish our cultural identity and Hispanic Heritage Month allows me to do just that.
One of my favorite ways to share my culture is through sharing traditional recipes with friends and colleagues. Whether it's empanadas or pastel de choclo, cooking these dishes and sharing the recipes with others allows me to introduce them to the delicious flavors of Chilean cuisine.
Food is a powerful gateway to understanding different cultures. It's through these culinary experiences that people can gain a deeper appreciation for the diverse flavors, ingredients, and traditions of various countries.
Another thing I love about the Hispanic community is that we love to share our culture with each other through gift-giving. Living in America, I love to bring candy not found in Chile to my friends at the Gamaga studio in Santiago when I’m visiting. I’ve always been obsessed with gummy worms, and in America, we have a brand of gummy worms called Albanese that are gluten-free and sugar-free which makes them easy to share with everyone! In return, I’ve received coffee beans from my coworker from Columbia, a color-changing Bit Heroes Quest mug, and a homecooked meal. Even five minutes of connection by giving or receiving a gift can mean the world and teach you about someone's culture.
But celebrating our heritage isn't limited to gift-giving or culinary delights; it can also take place in the virtual realms of video games. When we are able to have players from around the world enjoy games and participate in events together, we can cultivate more cultural understanding and appreciation – making a safer and more enjoyable gaming space for all!
The recent acquisition of Gamaga Studios by Kongregate is a testament to the power of cultural fusion.
Employees from different backgrounds - including Chile and the United States - seamlessly blend their traditions and practices, creating a unique and inclusive company culture. Simple gestures, like saying "good morning," (inspired by office traditions we started at Gamaga), or by celebrating Chilean Independence Day have been embraced by our US counterparts as part of our whole company culture.
Kongregate is about fostering unity and understanding among the team. During our wellness campaigns throughout the year, we’re encouraged to share healthy recipes with one another, teaching each other about our cultural traditions around food.
We also partnered with T2 Latam in 2022, a collaboration I headed up, to bring our Bitverse games to the Spanish-speaking community and actively engage our Latin American players. This connection was so important to me, as the Latin American player base can be one that is overlooked by the gaming industry at large, yet was one Kongregate saw as an integral part of our community - as players and developers.
This cultural fusion exemplifies the importance of diversity and inclusion in the gaming industry, mirroring the spirit of unity that Hispanic Heritage Month aims to promote. It's a reflection of how different cultures can come together to create something beautiful and unique.
Through sharing our culture, collaborating with diverse teams, and embracing one another, we create a more inclusive and vibrant gaming space for those in the industry and players from all backgrounds. As the gaming industry continues to evolve, let's continue to celebrate our heritage and make a positive impact on the gaming world!
Francisco Albornoz is a Marketing Manager at Kongregate, and has been part of the team for 5 years. He has an adorable dog, Benny, and loves discovering new games to play.