#AFRICATECH: DA’KARAPID, THE MOBILE VIDEO GAME THAT FEELS SENEGAL
After Cross Dakar City (developed by the Senegalese gamer-entrepreneur Khadim Ousseynou Beye) and its dazzling success, Da’karapid is the second Senegalese mobile video game to be talked about in several months, around the same symbolism, extremely strong in Senegal : fast coaches and their particular imagination, combining folk colors, run-down mini buses and of course speed. It is also a means of promoting Senegalese urban culture. Revelation of the Orange hackaton organized in Dakar in May 2015, a competition which he will also win in front of 9 other projects, the mobile game Da’karapid has since made its way into the circle of African but also international gamers. Meet Laurel Gbenafa and Julien Herbin, the two designers of the Da’karapid mobile video game.
HELLO 🙂 THEN WHO ARE YOU?
Laurel Gbenafa and I are the developers of the racing game Da’karapid for mobile platforms. Laurel is a student at NIIT, a graduate school in computer science located in Dakar, and I have been working in the video game world for 8 years now.
WHY CREATE THIS VIDEO GAME? WHAT WAS THE FIRST CLICK?
Each of us had decided to participate in the Hackathon SISIT 2015 organized by Orange Senegal in Dakar, in collaboration with the CTIC and Microsoft. I introduced myself with the idea of positioning myself as a mentor, to support groups that would like to develop games. Laurel was accompanied by a friend, who helped us during the competition but did not wish to follow up.
The idea of Da’karapid was proposed by Laurel, when project leaders took the microphone to present their concept. As he was the only one who wanted to develop a game, I naturally went to meet him to offer my help.
This is where it all started, there were 3 of us, we had 3 days to complete a playable version of a “runner game” featuring a legendary Senegalese fast car. We only had our keyboards, our favorite software and lots of ideas!
We won the Games category contest, we were exhausted, but we have fond memories of it. Laurel and I decided to continue developing the game, with of course the desire to make it available to everyone!
DO YOU USE THE SYMBOLIC, VERY STRONG IN SENEGALIAN AND WEST AFRICAN CULTURE, “QUICK CARS”? WHY ?
By staging the fast bus, one of the icons of Senegal, we offer one of the rare video-game experiences with an African theme. Certainly, the video game market in Africa will explode in the coming years, and we are already ready!
But our audience is not limited to residents of the African continent, the game is also very downloaded in France, the USA and even in China!
With Da’karapid, we believe we have already delivered a quality gaming experience, and we intend to expand the content and offer new gaming possibilities, in order to keep our players engaged.
DO YOU HAVE AN ECONOMIC MODEL?
The game is completely free and will remain so, it is our wish that it be accessible to all those who are lucky to be equipped with a smartphone or a tablet. We mainly rely on non-intrusive advertising systems, it is important for us to respect the space of the players. Each player has the choice whether or not to view an ad in order to obtain a bonus in the game. We have also set up billboards at the roadside, and we are currently looking for a partner (s) wishing to advertise directly in the game.
DO YOU HAVE A FULL STRUCTURE?
We have not yet created a structure, we are editing the game in our own name for the moment, and we will see if it is appropriate to create a startup based on the success encountered. What are your needs in terms of funding or support? A message to send to the #TECHAfrica community?
Although we remain open to any discussion, we are not looking for immediate funding or support. We know where we are going, and we don’t want to be influenced by money-driven decisions. We believe that it is by taking player feedback into account and continuing to develop a quality game, as we like it, that we will succeed.
We invite members of the #TECHAfrica community to download the game, and do not hesitate to send us their feedback on our Facebook page.
Windows Phone: http://bit.ly/1QLclD0