Do Africans play games? That’s an absurd question you might answer with, duh, everyone plays games… everywhere. Do Africans make any games? Now depending on how informed or otherwise uninformed you are, that’s a question you might struggle with. This shouldn’t be so.
Gaming, e-sports and game development has grown across the continent at a remarkable pace. Social media and the world wide web have greatly enabled access to information, helping people in Accra for example, learn about what’s going on in the game development scene in Cape Town. This has also opened doors to creators to learn from each other and discover new tools and techniques to do what they love most, create.
Do Africans make games? Hell yes! While not as widespread as we hope, they do exist. No, we’re not referring to mobile phone games which have become rather ubiquitous. Instead, we’re referring to video games that go beyond the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. To better explain what we’re seeing in game dev in Africa, below are three video games we’re drooling over. These games are available on a number of platforms (and consoles) such as Steam for Windows, Nintendo and Playstation.
1. Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan
Arguably the poster child for African video games, Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan is a 2D African Fantasy Action-RPG. The game is developed by Kiro’o Games from Cameroon. In September 2015, Kiro’o Games started a Kickstarter campaign to complete the game. This was successfully funded a month later. Aurion:Legacy of the Kori-Odan was released on April 14, 2016, by Plug-In Digital via Valve Steam.
The gameplay, partly inspired by the old school “Tales of” series, focuses on 2D real-time combat sequences while the narration and its environment draw deeply from African culture.
In Aurion, players control Enzo Kori-Odan, the prince of Zama, who is betrayed by his fiancée Erine’s brother. Based upon African mythology, the couple visit other countries to solicit help and find allies to defeat the usurper. The game’s intriguing story has spawned a comic of its own you can read for free here.
Pretend for a minute that you have digital playdough to mold anything you want without the technicalities of 3D modelling software. Instead of say ZBrush, you get a fun, cute, colourful game. That’s Semblance.
Semblance is a puzzle platformer where your character and the world it inhabits is made of playdough. Squish, squash and deform your character and the world to solve puzzles in Semblance’s soft, bouncy world. Semblance asks, what if you could deform and reshape the world itself?
The world of the playable character, Squish, is usually entirely soft – but an infection and infestation of hard material has started to spread, feeding off the playdough world to survive. A guardian of the world gives it’s own life to give life to a very piece of the world – creating Squish. Squish must collect the very essences of their world to bring the soft world back to life.
Semblance is a game that takes the idea of a ‘platform’ in a platformer and turns it on
Buy and download Semblance for $9.99 here.
What if you could be any action movie hero from the 90s kicking down bad guys? You could be Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo or Keanu Reeves’ Neo. Whatever hero you can imagine, you can be him. The official synopsis reads, When evil threatens the world, the world calls on Broforce – an under-funded, over-powered paramilitary organization dealing exclusively in excessive force.
Broforce is a side-scrolling run-and-gun platform video game. You get to play as a parody of popular action heroes taking down terrorists. An entry from Wikipedia best describes the game.
The player-character is a bro, a hypermasculine action hero-style commando, who fights terrorists and rescues his bro teammates and prisoners of war from captivity. The game’s destructible environments wear away with the player’s gunfire. The levels end when the player defeats a devil boss, hoists an American flag, and leaves via helicopter while the scenery explodes.
The Broforce initially includes several characters, and the player earns more as they rescue a certain number of prisoners of war. These Broforce characters, under direction of “Nelson Brodela”, are parodies of fictional action heroes, including John Rambo, Die Hard’s John McClane, Chuck Norris, Mr. T, Alien’s Ellen Ripley, and Terminator’s T-800; they are often named by adding the word “bro” to the original name in some manner (e.g., Rambro, the Brominator).
The player does not have control on which Broforce character they will start the level with, and each time that character dies or a prisoner of war is rescued, they will be switched to a different Broforce character. Each character has unique attacks and moves based on the fictional hero; for example, Ripley’s character has a flamethrower special ability, while the Indiana Jones-based character primarily uses a whip.
The game was developed by Free Lives and published by Devolver Digital. Development began in April 2012 as a game jam entry and continued with developer and popular support, existing as an Early Access game. The game was released on 15 October 2015 for Microsoft Windows and OS X, and Linux port followed two days later. A PlayStation 4 version was released on 1 March 2016. A Nintendo Switch port was released on 6 September 2018.
Buy and download the game for an unbelievable $3.74 (75% discount of the usual $14.99) on Steam. Alternatively, download the brototype for Windows, free of charge.
Check out this live action adaptation of Broforce by Forgehouse Films below.