Pangnirtung developers raise money to translate video game into Inuktitut

Nunavut-based developers Pinnguaq recently released Beneath Floes, a critically acclaimed free game based on an Inuit legend. Through a Kickstarter campaign, they're raising funds to have it translated into Inuktitut and other aboriginal languages.

Beneath Floes, a work of interactive fiction based on an Inuit legend, has already received critical acclaim

The interactive story Beneath Floes tells the legend of the qalupaliq, a sea monster based on Inuit lore. (submitted by Pinnquaq)

A video game inspired by Inuit legends is giving a boost to a Nunavut software company.

The interactive fiction, Beneath Floes, tells the story of a child who meets a sea monster — the qalupalik — one winter night. Software company Pinnguaq, which is based in Pangnirtung, Nunavut, developed the game with Bravemule. It's is available to play for free on PC.

Beneath Floes is currently only available to play in English, but Pinnguaq is working hard to get it translated into multiple aboriginal languages.

Pinnguaq recently launched an online fundraiser using the crowd-funding site Kickstarter in order to get the money needed to create an Inuktitut version. Within the first twelve hours, they met that goal. 

"A Kickstarter campaign goes out to the whole world," said Ryan Oliver, one of the founders of Pinnguaq, "and we really wanted to see how the world would react to giving us money to fund something most of them will never use, which is the Inuktitut version of this game."

Because Beneath Floes is set on Nunavut's Baffin Island and centres on an Inuit legend, the developers say it was important to them that it was available to play in the region's indigenous language.

Pinnguaq is the only games company and technology startup that's located in Nunavut. The release of Beneath Floes has brought acclaim to the small developer, and the game recently found itself on gaming magazine PC Gamer's coveted 'Best Free Games of the Week' charts.

"We're using this, not only to see a game we really believe in, to bring attention to it," said Oliver, "but we're also using it as a launching pad for what we're doing next." 

If it can get enough funding, Pinnguaq next plans to translate the game into four other aboriginal languages, including Cree and Dene, as well as ramp up production on another upcoming game, called 'Qalupalik.'


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