Words by Chechiwa Nyangu
On Tuesday 25th May, Africa celebrated Africa Freedom Day. The holiday is an annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity on 25 May 1963. It is celebrated in various countries on the African continent, as well as around the world.
While Africa is known for many things, unfortunately, video game development is not one of them. It is understandable why this is the case but Africa has a very young population with reports stating that 60% of the populace is below the age of 25. The majority of gamers take up an interest in games at a young age. This means that people who are likely to work in games decide while they are still young. Africa has demographics working in its favour.
Game development on the continent is considered in its infancy for many valid reasons but the global audience has shown that they are willing to support the industry. We would like to celebrate Africa by highlighting some video games created by Africans or inspired by the African continent.
South Africa – Broforce (Free Lives)
Released in 2014, Broforce was created by Free Lives and published by Devolver Digital. Broforce initially started as a Ludum Dare entry called “Rambros” in 2012 and is now and is now PC and console legend that many are unaware was created by South Africans. The game stars a hyper-masculine action hero-style commando called Bro who fights terrorists and rescues his teammates and prisoners of war from captivity. A nod at iconic action mo
Cameroon – Aurion: Legacy of the Kori Odan (Kiro’o Games)
A PC game by Kiroo Games, Aurion is based on fictional Cameroonian folklore and heroes who try to unite various warring tribes as they team up to combat enemies with a series of magical attacks.
Ghana – African Legends: Reawakening (Leti Arts)
Created by Leti Arts and designed for mobile phones, Reawakening features characters from various African countries and is based on real African mythology, rich cultures, and history, updated to face the issues that are faced in modern-day Africa. The game also tells stories of the origins of African legends.
Kenya – Mzito (Weza Interactive Entertainment)
The adventure game is designed for mobile phones and is available on both IOS and Android. The game stars a character who, with the help of ancient spirits, must save Africa from ancient corruption by awaking sleeping lions.
Madagascar – Gazkar (LOMAY Tech)
Designed for mobile phones, the racing game is available to users free of charge. All the circuits and tracks are in Madagascar, the game features vehicles that are popularly used by Madagascans and the tracks have authentic potholes.
Senegal – Cross Dakar City
Designed for mobile phones, the game stars a boy, a talibé, who has to make it across the Senegalese city of Dakar while trying to avoid the various dangers. The game is popular with parents as it teaches road safety.
Nigeria – Mosquito Smasher (Maliyo Games)
The game is designed for mobile phones and is set in a shanty compound where a young boy has to kill as many mosquitos as he can before it gets dark. The game has a quiz at every level that teaches the player about the dangers associated with mosquitos. The dangers to the character increase at every advanced level of the game.
African women in games
Prosearium has interviewed several very talented women in game development. Below are some games that our interviewees worked on.
Natasha Chiwara – Face Fury
An adventure video game about emojis where the Face emojis (Strong warriors) and the Ninjas had a long-term feud as the ninjas had abducted weaker emojis from EmoCon (Home and village of the emojis) and kept them in cells in their Ninja kingdom. The weaker emojis were kept in different zone cells according to their characteristics as follows the food cells, sport cells, fashion cells, vehicles in the transport Zone cells, and all the others in the same way. Face fury is available on the Google Play store.
Lydia Mugure and Tabitha Karaba – Kawia’s Adventure
Developed for The Sony Talent League, Kawia’s adventure is a cinematic game following the story of Kawia, a girl on a quest to dance with her father one last time, at the dance of the tero buru, when the spirits come out to bid their loved ones farewell.
Wendi Ndaki Mutisya – Unplugged 2121
An action-packed location-based game in which the players get to save the city of Nairobi from a deadly virus that has infected the society and its systems.
Inonge Kamona – Kifaru Wa Vita
Created for Global Game Jam 2021, the storyline for the game is centered on the theme “Lost and Found”. Kifaru follows the story about a Rhino village that loses the health of its land due to a volcanic eruption, to restore the land one of the Rhinos had to go on a quest to find the village’s long-standing Afrormosia heritage plant which was also lost in the eruption. The plant would restore the health of the land.
Patience Ashiokai Ocquaye – Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!
Published by King under an exclusive license of Activision, the endless runner game follows Crash Bandicoot and his sister Coco as they embark on a mission to save the multiverse. Patience works as a level designer on this game.
Kike Ayoola – The Wagadu Chronicles
Developed by Twin Drums, The Wadagu Chronicles is an Afro-fantasy MMO built for in-character role play.
“Wagadu can be described as some sort of purgatory, a strange and wild place where people from the Upper Realms, the prosperous and more peaceful place where everyone hails from, “fall” and are stuck for good. Powerful spirits, fickle ancestors, angry beasts, and magical weathers are only some of the challenges that the Fallen face but on the other hand, fertile soils, powerful magic and powerful traditions to be revived are there to reward the hardiest survivors.” – The Wadagu Chronicles.
Estelle Mmathapelo Makhoba – Ambi
Ambi is a dungeon crawler inspired by games like Enter the Gungeon and Spelunky. It’s about going through depression and the levels and bosses represent the different stages experienced by someone suffering from depression.
Natalie Cuthbert – Monks: Succession
This game was made for Super Friendship Arcade. It’s a party game made for 4 players, playing with twin-stick controllers.
“The character design and premise were derived from my vague Christian upbringing. I grew up with all these Bible tales as a kind of background noise, but my parents weren’t especially serious about making sure that I went through confirmation. So there is this sort of hazy mythology that is intertwined with my earliest memories. I find it funny to put strange, sci-fi twists on this.”