There are not many video games set in Africa, but last month saw the release of ‘Democracy 3: Africa’, a strategy game where the player will be the leader of an African country.
‘Democracy’ is a series of turn-based strategy games where the goal is to stay in power and run the nation successfully. Democracy 3: Africa’ is the newest edition in Democracy series developed by Positech Games. The game has 10 African countries to choose from. Given all political, economical and social aspects, African countries provide very intriguing scenarios for a game like this. Certainly, this game is very unique compared to previous ‘Democracy’ games, where the player leads mostly stable western countries.
Democracy 3:Africa is currently available for Windows and Mac platforms. Like previous ‘Democracy’ series games, ‘Democracy 3: Africa’ has received mixed reviews. I haven’t played the game (yet), and so cannot establish my view how good the game is.
While it should be laudable that someone releases an Africa-themed game, it is easy to predict that the game will receive its share of criticism. Some will point out that the game has been made by western developers, or that the game is “anti-African”, as it highlights the numerous problems our beloved continent suffers from.
On the other hand, there are only few local game developers, who would make locally flavored games. If the gaming industry in Africa is still in its infancy, so is the consumer side. Computers for home use are not common in Africa, neither are gaming consoles.
Instead, nowadays most middle class Africans own smartphones. So the future of African gaming is in mobile. This can be seen as a good or bad thing. We rarely see “serious” games on mobile platforms, but entering mobile game industry is easier and provides better opportunities for profitable business.
But back to the issue of Africa-themed video games. While there are many games at least partially set in Africa, few of them are distinctly African, save some wildlife-themed games, or ones set in ancient Egypt.
There would be opportunities for great video games. Just to name few, possible themes include civil wars, colonization of Africa, independence struggle, Ebola epidemic or matatu industry. Finally, how about my favourite idea, Grand Theft Auto set in Johannesburg?
Reviews of Democracy 3: Africa
How to buy the game