Video Michezo Nairobi’s gamers and the developers that are promoting local content

This source preferred by Paula Callus

Authors: Callus, P. and Potter, C.

Journal: Critical African Studies

In Kenya, the rise of digital technologies and related new media, and an infrastructure able to support them, has seen the emergence of a growing local video games industry and a new generation of Kenyan video game developers, players and promoters. This article focuses upon the particular design strategies employed by young producers of creative digital content for games and the current networks of practice, play and support unfolding around these new gaming technologies. Interviewees for this paper span industry experts and independent artists operating in and beyond the capital city of Nairobi.

The article will examine

I. Strategies employed by these developers and promoters looking to create and advocate local content, i.e. visual and narrative game environments referencing histories and folklore specific to their cultural context. II. Real or virtual spaces of interaction and networks these games developers, promoters and players operate within - including gaming studios, entertainment parlours, technology hubs, gaming conventions, and online SNS interest groups and video channels - and the ways in which these spaces might support the emergence, development and increased distribution of Kenyan games that incorporate local cultural context and regional folklore.

Utilising anthropology models of ethnographic interviews and visual culture methodologies informed by design research methods and trends analysis, we interrogate to what extent the social context and design strategies of these makers results in an expansion or contestation of existing Western gaming narratives.

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