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#AfricanGames – Could there be such a thing?

I came across a report on the Nollywood Movie Industry being worth an estimated around 5.3 Billion Dollars which is decent compared to the Hollywood Movie Industry which worth an estimated 36.4 Billion Dollars. Now a lot of people have asked the question how come? How come an industry that started in the 1960s compete with an industry that started half a century before? This is a topic that will be exploring in this article. Can we create and compete in the sector we are latecomers to? If so how can we do this?

Before addressing these issues, let’s do an experiment. Imagine you are watching a movie, and this particular movie is a four-hour tragic movie with long choreographed musical/dance scenes, over exaggerated action scenes and most of the actors are wearing colorful clothes and lots of jewelry. Can you guess what type of movie it could be? I’m sure you guessed an Indian movie even though I didn’t mention any things that directly refers to India. This is what we call a theme and all the great industries seem to have a distinct theme that makes their products distinct from the other; I want you to notice that I said distinct and not better. The same applies to the gaming scene, if the game has lots of strategies usually it is a euro game, if it has a distinct visual representation (with characters having huge eyes) this is most probably an Asian game, if it’s a shoot em up kind of game, American would be the favorite (no pun intended). So each standalone industry seems to have it own flavor which makes it distinct and selectable from other games. So the first thing any newcomer has to do when entering an already populated industry is to come up with a common agreed upon flavor if we want to make an industry. A theme doesn’t always have to be about the visual and sound though these would be the best way to depict it. But we can also represent intangible resources like distinct gameplay feature, rule, and application of the game (for Asians games are usually cultural, social platforms whereas for Americans they’re short simulations of the American dream)… themes can be built on content, narration, gameplay, mechanics…

Another is integration and having a regional supply chain where people produces, promotes and consumes their own products. In order to do so we need to create an internal network where people can connect, meet and collaborate. Also we need products, actual games; many of them so that consumers have options and also this will be a good way of communicate themes with audiences.

Dagmawi Bedilu

Dagmawi Bedilu is an aspiring Entrepreneur, Software Engineer, Game Designer and a Game-Thinking Activist with an appetite for both, Science and Arts. He has worked as a Senior Software Architect for Ethiopia’s biggest IT Company, designing and developing Location-Based Systems. As an entrepreneur, he has founded the social enterprise and co-founded the game-thinking company Chewata Awaqi. In 2017 and in 2019 , he was a speaker at the Gamescom in Cologne and A Maze in Berlin, Germany. He is now a Project Coordinator and Game Thinking Lead for the ambitions Afro-futuristic project, EnterAfrica, where 15 Teams from 15 African Countries with 15 Visions come together to reimagine their Cities’ future through 15 Games, thus planting the seed for the start of an African Creative Gaming Industry. Dagmawi has one vision “Selling Joy in Jars”. He describes himself the real jack of all trades, an observer and traveler of time. A true believer of Love, Light, Luck, Life and… Laughter :)

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