DON’T HATE THE GAME

I met David Mugi in 2015 via John Kahenya(the guy responsible for the recent blog facelift). Back then, I was writing for the currently defunct mzalendomedia.com and was scouting for budding writers to bring on board to its team. Our meeting with David was planned but very much laid back as he had sent me a number of his work prior- all of which I found to be quite impressive.

We hit it off quite well when we met, but what impressed me the most is albeit he was  still covered in freshman goo, David was very much self aware of who he was and what he wanted to do.

Another great thing about Davy, before I hand him the mic, is he’s a nonchalant writer. He approaches his craft with a rockstar mentality.  During the short time that I have been his “editor”, David never asks how his pieces perform, he doesn’t care. Once he sends them to me, that’s pretty much it. 

David, the stage is all yours…

Kenyans, and a lot of them rightfully so, still have the notion that video games, scratch that, any game for that matter is for children. Personally, I have had a lot of confrontations with my parents over the nature of this pastime that I chose to engage in ever so often. I cannot count the number of times I have found myself at the end of a chair overlooking the disappointed faces of my folk going through the conventional old age practice of a good lecture. It never stops and probably. So why do they chose to judge us so?

I would like to state that for the record not every gamer is a social reclusive. A lot, okay some, actually have lives. And pertinent social ones at that. They have jobs, have more than a thousand followers on instagram (apparently this means something for some reason), are not all geeks, and yes others even have girlfriends (stop judging the rest of us who do not).

However where my old man gets me with his nugget of wisdom, ever so true, is when he asks if there is any future for gaming in Kenya. In Africa? Maybe. But in Kenya where we are still not responsible enough to handle social network sites amid turbulent election times and have to have our electoral body put in place checks so as to curb the hateful and spiteful things going on in the media, not so much. Our stagnation in gaming stems from the fact that we do not even have our own personal game developers. We all buy influx materials from the West like the over reliant hogs we are. And the games we actually manage to  make tend to be utter balderdash. And those that aren’t completely bad but are kind of okay, get no support.  Bungoma Hangman anyone?

Now, before we go on accusing the developers, we gamers also play a significant role in the continuation of the societal perception that video games cause bad vices, albeit how cliché they may be. I do not want to go into more debates about how science proves that games do not shape our nature negatively but actually help it and I am not bluffing (Google it).

You see to a gamer, and I am speaking for those I have observed, an idea of a good time is locking yourself up in a room, the dingy it is the better, with maybe a can of soda and snacks that are a one way pit stop to diabetes town from Friday evening till Monday morning where only responsibilities will have to make you leave that comfort cocoon. The rest of the time one usually stays shut in, leaving the room occasionally to take a leak and shower, probably. So it does not help when we vehemently deny that games are actually doing us more harm than good and yet we are the poster boys (or girls, no judging) for irresponsible living. Seriously though, how do you explain that clatter and stench emanating from your body when mum asks?

The other issue that makes following video games as an art form hard in our country is cost; games are getting pricier by the day, more so now that we are edging ever so close to the future,  An average video game retails at around ksh 3,000 and this is without even buying the DLC (the extra content game companies force you to buy instead of putting it in the actual game) And that, folks, is way too absurd a price on a pastime you expect Kenyan parents to support. See, the thing is, if games were actually “affordable”, whereby every Tom dick and Harry could afford it, parents would be glad to support it.

Back to my earlier point as I close, games should actually be appreciated and no, I am not talking about phone games you noob, I am talking about the cinematic art form. The same art form that always receives more revenue than Hollywood on an annual basis. The same art form parents complain are for children which is ironic because literal grown men make them and not forgetting the same art form that dares to defy the scope of story telling. I mean, have you ever watched a movie that detailed the life a man and his dog take on the journey of rebuilding their lives in a post-apocalyptic torn waste world that was once the lush abundance of life we called earth and you actually get to determine every single choices they make? I thought so.

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