ENTER AFRICA AT GAMESCOM 2019
GAMES HAVE THE POWER
The continent of creativity: Enter Africa, a network project by the Goethe-Institut in 15 African countries, presented the mega-game Busara for the first time in the Indie Arena Booth at gamescom 2019.
By Tino Hahn
On the last day of gamescom 2019, when it was officially announced that the Indie Arena Booth prevailed over established top dogs like Microsoft, Sony or Electronic Arts in the race for the best stand, they were overjoyed. The months of work by the participants of Enter Africa not only paid off, but revealed the huge potential behind the project.
WISDOM, JUDGEMENT AND COMMON SENSEOne reason for this was the mega-game Busara, a board game developed by 15 teams from 15 African countries, which was one of the most-played games in the entire Indie Arena Booth. “Busara” is Swahili for wisdom, judgement and common sense – the perfect title for a game whose goal is to create the most liveable society possible. This tricky and motivating mission cast a spell over many visitors. Thanks to the easy-to-learn and difficult-to-master rules, experienced gamers quickly realised that the long-term motivation in Busara is very high. You can play the free print & play version here.
DELIVERING NOVEL CONTENTIn front of an almost full backdrop, Bethlehem Anteneh (game thinking lead), Prince Andrew Ardayfio (game designer & creative director), Dagmawi Bedilu (game design lead) and Johannes Ebert (secretary-general of the Goethe-Institut) offered exciting insights into the genesis of the game project. There were many game designers in the audience, whose keen interest in the Gateway to African Creators was reflected in many questions. “Worldwide, there’s a lack of novel content. We’re convinced that Africa can deliver that content. With our project, we network with each other and also connect to the existing global network,” said Dagmawi Bedilu during the gamescom congress.
ELIMINATING PREJUDICE AND CHANGING THE WORLDPerceptions of Africa need to move away from it as the continent of crises and towards the continent of creativity. This was also the unanimous feedback of the many players in the Indie Arena Booth: “Busara and the conversations with the creators made me notice how little I know about the African continent and how many exciting ideas and stories wait there for me. That was my most inspiring experience at gamescom,” says a game design student.
And anyone who looks at the crowds at gamescom can no longer have any doubt that games have the power to change the world and eliminate prejudice. Busara has already succeeded at that – and this mega-game was only the starting signal: Enter Africa is here to stay and become a mediator between the worlds.
Prince Andrew Ardayfio at the interview; the seven video games at the booth, and the first and only visitor to reach the goal of "Voyageurs". | © Enter Africa Enter Africa at the booth with Martin Lorber, Head of PR of Electronic Arts (EA) Germany. | © Stefanie Kastner Final group picture in front of the Cologne Cathedral | © Steven Tu