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Bringing Lotería from the Kitchen Table to Mobile Phone Screens

Translating 100+ Years of Gameplay, Cultural History, and Memories Into a Digital Experience.

Audrey White

April 18, 2024

5 Min Read

Creating Lotería Fantástica—a digital reimagining of the Hispanic bingo game Lotería — highlights the intricate dance required of modern game development, particularly when bringing a game steeped in cultural significance, memories, and history into the digital realm. It underscores the stakes and complexity of maintaining the soul of a game while translating it for today’s digital platforms in a way that both honors and continues its legacy. From the mechanics of gameplay to the nuances of art and sound design, each element is a thread in the fabric connecting—or disconnecting—the game from its audience. The ultimate task is to enrich the original experience without stripping away its unique spirit.

In the development of Lotería Fantástica, we first embarked on a meticulous journey to deconstruct what makes Lotería unique—not only in its gameplay but also in the myriad intangible and non-game facets that accompany the traditional playing experience. At its core, we found that Lotería is a game about connecting with family and culture. Lotería is traditionally played around kitchen tables during family gatherings and thrives on its lively, communal atmosphere. Recreating this experience from the moment that players clicked on the game was critical for us.

Engage Before You Begin

The game menu sets the tone for the entire gaming experience, serving as the players' initial point of contact with the world you've created. By incorporating lively, fiesta-inspired music, we aimed to immediately immerse players in the festive atmosphere, setting the stage for an enjoyable experience ahead.


The menu's visual element, a waterfall of colorful Lotería cards, was created to be eye-catching and nostalgic for players familiar with the traditional card game. Retaining most of the original tiles while adding new art and a handful of new tiles demonstrates a thoughtful balance between honoring the classic game and introducing fresh elements to enhance the digital adaptation.

The animation of each tile adds an extra thematic layer, bringing the cards to life in a way that's only possible in a digital format. This dynamic feature captures players' attention and creates a sense of excitement and anticipation for the gaming experience that is a click away.

Language and Gender Customization to Foster Inclusivity


As a game rooted in Hispanic culture, it was crucial for us to offer players the option to experience the game in either English or Spanish, recognizing the personal significance Lotería holds for each individual. We thought it was important that players have the freedom to select their preferred language for the caller's cues, menu navigation, and in-game notifications. We aimed to ensure inclusivity by catering to the diverse community of English and Spanish speakers on the platform, allowing players to tailor their experience further by choosing the gender of the caller. This level of customization enabled scenarios such as playing the game in Spanish with a female caller while navigating through an English menu, fostering a personalized and immersive gaming journey for all players.

The Dynamic Role of Audio

In Lotería Fantástica, audio isn't just background noise—it's a critical component that takes the experience to a whole new level. Just like the atmosphere can shift in an instant during an in-person game, our meticulously crafted music becomes another character at your virtual table. Inspired by the dynamic energy of Mariachi bands tuning up and joining in one by one, the game’s music evolves as the players progress, with each instrument adding depth and layers building towards those electrifying gameplay moments. And when the going gets tough, the music stays more subdued to help the player focus more on the task at hand.

The voice-over became another pivotal "character” in our quest to recreate the vibrant ambiance of a tabletop game. We designed the caller to respond to on-screen actions dynamically, amplifying the player's experience - both highs and lows - and capturing the essence of in-person play. Whether it's cheering on achievements like scoring a Buena, maintaining high streaks, or reacting to mistakes and poor play, our announcer's enthusiastic voice remains a consistent presence throughout the game.

Artistic Fusion - Tradition Meets Evolution


At the heart of Lotería Fantástica lies its captivating art, seamlessly blending tradition with contemporary flair. Collaborating closely with talented Latino artists, we ensured that the game's visuals pay homage to the beloved original Lotería tiles while infusing them with dynamic animations and fresh designs that resonate with modern life. Rather than replacing the original tiles, we chose to expand upon them, evolving their designs while retaining their iconic charm.

Driving Connection and Creativity With Authenticity

The project also had a significant presence of Hispanic team members. A Latino developer oversaw every aspect of the game to ensure its cultural authenticity, evident in both visuals, sound and gameplay. Our goal wasn't just to create a game for Hispanic players but to ensure it was developed predominantly by Hispanic developers, fostering an authentic connection and transparency within our community.

On a personal note, designing Lotería Fantástica was a deeply meaningful endeavor for me. Being half-white and half-Mexican, I have fond memories of playing the original tile game during visits to my mom's side of the family in San Jose, with my abuelita and tíos. Our household had some playful rules that injected excitement into the game, such as mimicking the called animal; failing to do so resulted in unique penalties. These experiences inspired features like Wild Tiles and more. Playing Lotería was a cherished tradition, especially during the holidays, where rewards often included special treats like jalapeño tamales for the first Lotería winner. These memories also influenced the addition of 22 new tiles to the original 54, including the corn husk tamale tile.


Lotería Fantástica represents more than just a digital adaptation of a classic game—it's a celebration of culture, creativity, and connection. By staying true to the game's heritage while embracing the possibilities of digital innovation, we hope to inspire players to come together, create memories, and continue the legacy of Lotería for generations to come. The game is out now and can be played on worldwinner.com.

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