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A videogame is being used to humanize Dakar City’s child beggars

If ever a title exemplified the ability games have to comment on important issues, it’s Senegal’s Cross Dakar City. Essentially an updated version of Frogger in the vein of Crossy Road, its goal is simple: you are a young boy named Mamadou trying to cross the various streets, railroads, and rivers of Senegal’s capital city, Dakar, without running into any obstacles along the way. Unfortunately, traffic is indifferent to you, and you’ll have to dodge any number of vehicles, trains, and even bombs just to get home. This is because, as Mamadou, you are a talibé, or child beggar, and…

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Beautiful African fantasy RPG Aurion comes out April 14th

In 2011, Elder Scrolls took players to the overtly Scandinavian nation of Skyrim. This week, Fire Emblem Fates will welcome Western players to the heavily Japanese Hoshido. And now we know that, on April 14th, 2016, Africa will finally get it’s due when Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan opens up its Cameroon-inspired planet of Auriona. Aurion aims to do for Cameroon what Never Alone (2014) did for Alaska’s native Iñupiat people. It’s to be the first installment in its local developers’ planned Kiro’o Tales, which hopes to advocate for African culture through games, comics, and cartoons. Last September, Aurion earned $50,000 in a…

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How a smartphone game is helping to fight against malaria in Kenya

There are games that purport to have life-and-death stakes, and then there are games that are actual lifesavers. Mosquito Hood falls into the latter category. The game, which was first released by Kenya’s Momentum Core in 2013, challenged players to swat pesky mosquitos in progressively more difficult challenges. “Malaria is transmitted among humans by female mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles,” the CDC explains. Temperature and humidity are crucial factors in the development of the parasite, which helps to explain why outbreaks are clustered in certain localities, including Kenya, where the BBC reports that the government pledged to “to donate one…

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Finally, African fantasy is getting its own gorgeous RPG

If you were to rifle through the annals of videogame history you’d never guess that Africa is the second largest continent on the planet. There’s a distinct lack of African stories, characters, and art represented in the medium. Which is a shame when you consider how rich Africa is with history, language, people, traditions, myths, architecture, and so on.   The reason for Africa’s absence is obvious: there aren’t many Africans making videogames infused with their culture and stories that reach a global audience. What we’re familiar with, instead, is reappropriation by blockbuster titles that only use the ambiguous setting of…

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This is the Battle Against Ebola Simulator 2014

Seattle-based med-tech startup Shift Labs held a hackathon last month where a mix of 40 game designers and clinicians collaborated on a simulation that replicates an ebola treatment center in Liberia. The WHO-endorsed simulation could be used to prepare health workers for the rigorous procedural stressors they would face in West Africa, where every action has to be appropriately measured to avoid infection, right down to removing a hazard suit’s gloves (Of which there are two layered sets that both need to be cleaned and purified in chlorine.) The simulation is less geared toward mental and emotional preparedness, which it…