Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Arada - The Quest for Omniscience in Ethiopia
In Addis Ababa's location-based game “Arada – The Quest for Omniscience”, the player combines the powers of different characters - while waiting for the minibus.
Waiting for the Minibus – the perfect time for a GameEthiopia’s capital city, is rapidly expanding. With a boasting economic growth of up to 10 percent, the country, and especially the capital, is busy with construction and establishing a modern infrastructure. This development comes yet with the challenge of transportation: The streetscape of Addis Ababa is dotted with blue-and-white minibuses. Travelling in convoy, and at walking pace during rush hour, they are the number one mode of transport in the capital. Hence, for many people, waiting in line for the minibus has become part of their everyday routine. With their location-based game “Arada – The Quest for Omniscience”, the Enter Africa team from Ethiopia fills this gap. The game does not only help pass the time, but also encourages players to interact with others and engage with an important topic in Ethiopia today: Identity.
Addressing Questions of IdentityEthiopia is made up of more than 80 ethnic communities. This diversity can be a big asset, but in recent years, ethnic awareness has risen – sometimes at the cost of emphasizing commonalities and unity. The location-based game addresses this issue: The player is not one character but tries to become omniscient – which can only be achieved by combining the values and powers of different communities and generations – represented by individual characters.
Collecting Spirits and Solving ProblemsPlaying the game involves two phases: First, the player engages with the city and goes to different locations to collect characters – each of which has a different special ability. In a second step, one has to solve tasks in five different substories. For example, there is Debtera, an old wise man, who has the power of summoning but is not good at taking action. So, he needs the assistance of another person to solve the tasks. A special feature of the game is the possibility to trade characters: If you don’t have a certain power, you need to find someone who has already collected it. And that’s where the minibus line comes in: People in line who are playing can choose if they want to work together.
What makes the game special?The game “Arada – the Quest for Omniscience” shows the players that you cannot live separately, but you need all characters to address pressing issues. Through the places one gets to visit and the idea of different strengths and values of each character, the player will learn about cultural history, legends and about the power of unity. The clear message of the game: working together is the only way of becoming omniscient – which is not only relevant for Ethiopia but anywhere in the world.
Yared Endale is a 24-year-old student from Addis Abeba, currently studying construction and technology management. In his leisure time, he is interested in video games, films, photography and video editing as well as exploring new softwares. When playing games, Yared has often asked himself: “What if those games were invented by Africans and showed our cities, people and culture?” He is convinced that young Africans should tell their own stories and show their visions of the continent to the world – his motivation for participating in Enter Africa.
Dagmawi Bedilu is a software engineer, entrepreneur and 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 gursha.org and co-founded the game-thinking company Chewata Awaqi. In 2017, he was a speaker at the Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. Dagmawi is as a Rotaractor, Toastmaster and describes himself as a positive thinker. He is not only part of the Addis Abeba team, but also a game and experience design expert for the entire Enter Africa project.
Team:Abel Adane, Abenezer Masresha, Aman Teklay, Asaye Nigussie Gebretsadik, Awet Hailay, Beamlaku Amare, Binyam Girma, Brook Tewelde, Dagim Abebe Dubale, Dagmawit Endale, Elham Mahmmud Mohammed, Ermias Bunaro, Friehiwot Kindie, Hailemichael Simesh Ayele, Israel Tesfu Yilma, Kidus Yohannes
Kirubel Girma, Mihret Redda, Mohammed Jemal, Nathnael Getachew, Nahom Teklu, Nathnael Moges, Nathnael Sisay, Samuel Minale, Thomas Tesfamichael, Womiso Wodebo, Yared Endale Yirdaw, Yohannes Tarekegn Asmare, Yonathan Seyoum