Wouldn’t it be great if you could buy some Nintendo Switch games that are made in Africa, by African game development studios! Do African countries have game development studios? Yes, of course! The industry is still young and underfunded but it is growing! In this post, I wanted to spotlight Nintendo games that are made in Africa, and most importantly owned by Africans. This automatically excludes the games Morocco made (Ubisoft made N64 game ports in the North African nation) the IP for those games was not Moroccan owned. If this article was about Android games, I would have a longer list of African-owned IPs and studios. A much longer list. Unfortunately, I decided to shine a light on a lesser explored, yet brilliant platform.
Even though the following game is NOT available on the Nintendo Switch, I think showing it now could help us envision “What is possible”. Unlike most “African” content that you will find in mainstream media, this game not only looks African… but it’s also African-owned and African-made. Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan is an action role-playing video game developed by the Cameroonian developer Kiro’o Games. It is available on Steam.
And now for the Nintendo Switch games
The following Nintendo-Switch-game was developed by Nyamakop. When you buy this game, you are not only buying a game that was made by an African game development studio, but it is entirely owned by them. Their creation, their universe, their sales, and profits. It is important to note that the game has no “African specific” traits to it and in an interview with Jessica Conditt (for engadget.com) the African developers had this to say about the game’s aesthetics: “It’s our first game, and we’d love to make more African-based content, but we really wanna know how to sell something accessible to the West first…”
Myres’ answer in that interview makes strategic-sense because given that the West consumes more video games than Africa, you have to be careful about how your first game gets received. A growing number of indie studios keep going bankrupt after they make a game that fails to sell. The threat of bankruptcy and or closure is more real when you gamble with your first game. African game development studios need a sizeable cushion in the bank before they can give the West (and the world) something that is drastically different. So, bravo Nyamakop, on your strategy… bravo! I hope it won’t be too long before you start making some visually African-looking hits.
Our second and sadly final entry on this list is yet another South African game called: Broforce. Like Semblance, the game is available to you on Nintendo Switch and other platforms too. The most hilarious thing about Broforce (apart from the amazing strategic pig) is that it looks soooooo American. I’m talking flag, guns, and all. I found all this hilarious because this African dev team was spot-on with everything. Big guns, big explosions, and even throwing in Old Glory. The studio behind this entry is called Free Lives! Every Broforce sale goes into making Free Lives (An African studio) stronger and more capable to do bigger games. Mainstream media is choke-full of African productions and African things, that are not really made or owned by Africans. This time the tables have turned as Africans went and made an “American game” that is not made or owned by America. Score one for Free Lives!
I know that some of you might have been hoping for more games, me too. If I find more games, I shall do another post. The good news is: as we buy Free Lives’ and Nyamakop’s games we are empowering them to take bigger risks and create more games! These studios have been tried and tested, and if their games continue to sell they will most certainly make more African-owned Nintendo Switch games.
Promising African studios to watch
- Kiro’o Games (Cameroon)
- Nyamakop (South Africa)
- Free Lives (South Africa)
- Celestial Games (South Africa)
- Leti Arts (Ghana)
- Kuluya (Nigeria)
- Magic Carpet Studios (Nigeria)
- Totally2d (Zimbabwe)
- Dreambox (Zimbabwe)