In recent years there have been some advances with this, although African players still await the day a title becomes to gaming what Black Panther was to movies.
Here are some of the games that have bucked the trend and featured African settings, characters or themes.
Africa’s Legends and Aurion: The Legacy of the Kori-Odan
The indie gaming scene in many African countries is booming, and so it only makes sense to start out by looking at two homegrown games: Africa’s Legends, which is a tile based puzzle game steeped in myth and legend, and Aurion, that was billed as the first RPG game ever to have been developed in Cameroon.
Aurion is available to play on Steam and is interesting due to the way the whole project was funded; fans on Kickstarter fell in love with the idea of the game and then crowdfunded the project. This may hint at how African indie games of the future will be funded and developed until the big developers come onboard.
Both of these games also started life as comics, mimicking the crossover between comics, gaming and film that franchises such as DC have made.
Caption: African homegrown video games are beginning to break out onto the international scene
Games Set in Egypt Bridge the Divide Between East and West
Not all games based on the African continent are about flying bullets and raging battles, with many being about having fun and immersing yourself in the sights and sounds of Africa’s varying countries. One example of this is one of the online slot games called Pharaoh’s Loot, which takes players to the heart of Egypt.
Another game that follows a similar theme, albeit through a different type of game, is Builders of Egypt which can be found on gaming platform Steam; this game allows players to construct vast ancient Egyptian cities. There is also the added bonus of a soundtrack that will have you strutting around like Cleopatra for days.
Caption: Egypt’s pyramids are an obvious setting for any type of game
Major Gaming Titles Pay Fleeting Visits to the Continent
Of course, the most common way that African nations are put on the gaming map is by huge pre-existing games from Asia, the US and Europe building levels around a certain African destination or setting.
Just some of the titles to do this in recent years have included the wacky SSX World Tour snowboarding game, which rather fancifully allowed players to slip and slide in and around the famous Kilimanjaro mountain in Tanzania. Another was the Colin McRae DiRT 3 game, which allowed players to tear around Kenya in a lightning fast rally car.
Africans Tired of War Games Being Set in Their Countries
As many of you have been reading through this piece, you may have noticed that many games have been omitted, such as the likes of Delta Force, Tom Clancy and the like.
This is mainly due to what many African gamers see as a gratuitous glorification of the violence that takes place on their continent, with many games wrongly depicting peaceful African countries as war ravaged and bullet ridden.
What is so refreshing about the games that are coming out of the African nations themselves is that their themes have more to do with peace and great story telling than just being simple shoot-em ups. Perhaps western games developers could take note.
Mobile Games Are the Future of African Gaming
So, now we know which are the games you can get your hands on to get a taste of Africa, but where will the next generation of Africa-based games come from and what will they look like?
The answer to this question can be found in market trends, with mobile gaming in the country taking off and due to be worth $642 million by 2021. With this in mind, expect to see more and more Africa-inspired mobile games appearing on app stores and streaming platforms.