The Bamako Game Jam, 19-22 December 2022

The twenty villagers participating in the Djonya Kêlè Ja Toulon project met from 19 to 22 December in Bamako for the final workshop, a Game Jam organised in partnership with Jiwe Studios (Kenya). Jiwe accompanied them to deepen their knowledge of video games in order to design a game about descent-based slavery. Various workshops and group discussions took place over the four days.

On the first day, the participants were welcomed by Dr. Marie Rodet and trainers Max and Charles (Jiwe Studios). Jiwe Studios presented their activities: they promote the development of video games in Africa and publish them on their online platform. Participants then worked in groups on games from their platform and reflected on their features and strengths.

The second day was devoted to thinking about ‘serious games’, which allow players to learn through game experience and develop skills. Participants discussed the benefits of video games in terms of social and cultural development, as an effective way of introducing new concepts and encouraging active learning among players. Serious games can take many forms, such as artistic, political, educational or cultural games. The participants worked in teams to find serious games on the net, play them and report on them. Each group then presented the games they found. To close the day, participants did an exercise on creating a game, where they determined the theme, location, people involved, platform, motivations for their game.

On Wednesday, this work continued, with four challenging tasks. The focus was on creating the game world: the purpose and story of the game had to be determined, as well as the culture, governance and economy in the internal game world. The participants then focused on the rules, identifying which actions were allowed (e.g. jumping, running) and which were not (e.g. stealing). Finally, there was a presentation on the evolution of the concept of the games.

The last day started with different group exercises, where they described their character’s actions in different levels, including challenges, level names and rewards earned. The Jiwe trainers interviewed the villagers about their experience, extracts of which you can see here.

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