The gaming industry is constantly stretching the limits of storytelling and immersive experiences, and African culture offers a rich and varied setting for these stories. Incorporating African themes and mythology into video games accords players a distinct and engrossing gaming experience, but they can also gain insight into the rich history and culture of the continent.
In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the incorporation of African themes in the gaming industry. This is partly due to the growing global recognition of African cultures and their contributions to art, music, and literature.
Some ways in which African themes have been featured in the gaming industry include:
- Games inspired by African folklore and mythology: Several games have been developed that draw inspiration from African folklore and mythology. Examples include: “Aboki Run” which is based on “Throne of God,” in which powerful African deities go head to head in different game scenarios.
- Games set in African locations: Another way in which African themes have been incorporated into the gaming industry is by setting games in African locations. Examples include the game “Kade Ule Mtoi Mrui,” set in rural Kenya, and “Niger Delta Commando,” which is set in a fictional state in southern Nigeria.
- Games developed by African game developers: There has been a growing number of African game developers in recent years, and they have been creating games that draw inspiration from their own cultures and experiences. Examples include: “Whot King” and “Africa’s Legends” all of which were developed by Nigerian game developers and draw inspiration from various African storytelling traditions.
Understanding the impact of African themes on the Gaming industry
African themes have been increasingly incorporated into the gaming industry in recent years, from characters and settings to storylines and gameplay mechanics. This trend reflects not only the growing popularity of African cultures and aesthetics in the global entertainment industry but also the recognition of the diversity and richness of African experiences and narratives.
Some of the impacts of African themes in the gaming industry include:
Representation and inclusivity
Showcasing African characters, cultures, and histories; games with African themes provide representation and visibility to a group that has often been underrepresented or stereotyped in mainstream media. This can help players from African backgrounds to feel more seen and heard, and also educate players from other backgrounds about the diversity and complexity of African societies.
Cultural Exchange and learning
Games with African themes can also serve as a platform for cultural exchange and learning, as players can discover and appreciate different perspectives and traditions. This can help to challenge stereotypes and biases and promote empathy and understanding while fostering a more inclusive and diverse gaming community.
The inclusion of African themes in the gaming industry can also have positive economic impacts, by creating job opportunities and promoting local talent and entrepreneurship. As the gaming industry continues to grow in Africa and other emerging markets, it can also contribute to the development of digital infrastructure and skills, as well as attract investment and tourism. Speaking with the BBC, Hugo Obi, the Founder of Maliyo Games sees the production of Africa-themed content as a “huge opportunity for businesses and he also believes that African gaming will be worth billions of dollars in a few years.”
Games that incorporate African themes can help to educate players about African history, culture, and traditions. This can help stimulate awareness and understanding of African cultures and promote cultural exchange. For Lekoma, “Games can also help change class experiences in a way that uses fun to drive learning to help unlock what students are truly capable of doing and achieving.”
Incorporating African themes in gaming can encourage innovation and creativity in the gaming industry. Countless African cultures have a rich history of storytelling and artistic expression, which can provide new inspiration for game developers.
African themes in gaming help to increase the global appeal of African cultures and promote tourism. This can help to boost the economies of African countries and promote cross-cultural exchange.
Gaming can help to build communities and bring people together. Games that incorporate African themes can help to create a sense of community among players who share an interest in African cultures and history.
The impact of African themes in the gaming industry is multifaceted and complex, but it reflects a growing recognition of the value and diversity of African cultures and experiences in the global entertainment market.