The two-week-long Africacomicade gamathon program officially came to an end, with the announcement of winners from its 48 hours game jam on Monday, 7th September 2020. Africacomicade is an initiative to create a platform that empowers African creatives by connecting them together cross country to promote collaboration, showcasing their skills and jobs to the world and linking them up with opportunities home and abroad.
The gamathon, focused on the African gaming industry and brought together a wide variety of stakeholders in the game development industry. According to the organizers, this was necessary because the African gaming industry, currently worth about $790M is not really spoken of despite the strong creativity therein, and this industry has players from all stakes of arts and tech, including programmers, content creators, artists, animators, sound engineers and more.
The Gamathon kicked off on the 24th of August and featured talk sessions and webinars from top stakeholders in the global gaming industry. Participants had the opportunity to learn and interact with people like Peter Vesterbacka of Rovio Games (Makers of Angry Birds), Mason Liebermen of Tencent, Natasha Skult of IGDA , Eyram Tawai of Leti Arts, Rene Schulte of Valorem, Isabelle Avers, Prof. Matta Haggis-Burridge of BUas, and many more, discussing the future of Africa’s creative industry, futuristic tech like extended reality, spatial computing and more.
There were also panel sessions around hushed topics like Making legal decisions as a creative and gender inclusion in the creative space which featured leads like Sylvia Gathoni (Kenyan Esport Athlete ) Stephen Passenbacher ( South African Law Consultant), Chima Ngerem (Vicarious Visions), Sithe Ncube (Prosearium), Allie Tsahey (Baddies in Tech), Joy Ajayi (Women in Games, Nigeria), Wendi Ndaki (Creative artist at Enter Africa & Ludique Works) and Mouhamed Gaye (Sengames). The webinars also included training from Buildbox, a growing no-code game development engine, and allowed participants to interact with corporate stakeholders like game publishers; Humble games, Ludique works, Carry1st and Aha games. Trailers of some games made by African game studios were aired through the event and there was a live stream of the playtest of Aurion by Kiro games studios
After these pool of activities came the 48-hour game jam where jammers were asked to collaborate and build games around the theme “ Avoid the spread”.
To add a little spark to it, Jammers were to compete for prizes worth more than $7000 under 6 categories; “Most creative game, Most Challenging Game, Most visually Appealing game, Best theme fit game, Most diverse team and Woman-in-gaming”, where $6000 cash prize was primely sponsored by Humble Games with supporting prizes in gift items and scholarships from Bluecrest University, Buildbox, Carry1st, Women in Games, Shawn Price and NubianVR. A total of 22 entries were submitted to the itch.io jam site and grading was done based on votes by selected judges and ratings on itch.io . The ratings from itch.io made only 20% of the score, in order to allow those without social media clout, have a winning chance whilst the remaining 80% came from the judges. The winners were then announced by Monday, 7th September evening, though we must say, every participant is a winner, because every game built was awesome and a true testimony to the creativity in Africa.
In total, 15 of the 22 games built came out with prizes from each category with Cannon Rush winning up to a $1000 for coming out top in multiple categories. Other winners include Corruption in the dark, Corona Hunt, V19, Farm Watch, Shooting Cell, ATS, A safe protest, Avoid the spread, Exposed, Viral Blood, COVID Run, Death Mist, Frenzy 19, Viro Dash. Honourable games built at the Jam include Contagion with explored the use of awesome low poly 3D graphics art, COVID blaster, Phage, Aisan, Viral match, Stop the spread and Yazg. Try out the games here and view the winners for each category here
True to its mission, Africacomicade gamathon is a success because of the support and collaboration received from corporate organizations and individuals across the world, like Ambitious Africa, Humble games, DealroomEvents, Enter Africa, Bluecrest University, Carry1st, Women in Games, SkidoTools, NubianVR, Navi E-sports, Doughman foods, Ibracilinks, to mention a few. We deeply urge for more collaboration amongst creators and creatives, as there is only one Africa and this is the only way we can move our industries forward.
Africacomicade Gamathon would return next year, with more opportunities and activities for African creatives. Until then, We are actively seeking out opportunities and partnerships that are beneficial to African creatives. Currently, we are working with Humble Games to help African Game developers access the Black game developer Fund up to $15,000 and invite all game devs to prepare for the Finland Games Career Day in October. More details in our discord channel and social media accounts.
We envisage a world where African creatives have access to global opportunities and their works are celebrated.
Games built at the game Jam:
Talk sessions and Webinars: