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I did not take pictures. Almost intentionally. It was pure fun. I did not spend as much time as the others, but I enjoyed the evening. I would love to say “Twas the perfect way to end Labor Day” but…with my fly, you know what I think of Labor Day.
I was in school stalking a girl checking my Facebook feed when Mo sent me an SMS:
“We’re at Dream Lounge. Pass by”.
Twenty minutes later, I am at the venue- music, lights and the clinging smoke caress my influenza nose.
It was the perfect techie getaway. Three tables, dudes, ladies, drinks, noise and smoke.
Present at the table were Otto Akama, Community Manager at ACTIVspaces Buea, Mohammed ‘Mo’ Felata (Founder at IMXsystems), Ngah Kenneth of LCMtours with his sister Clotilde ( a Fashion Design enthusiast) , Bermond Yange and Collins Epey both of Colorfluid, Eddie, my main man Albert ‘Al’ Banda (Note: He is from A Tribe of Lions), Achombom of Unique Printers, Mr. Rodrigue (we spoke a little about this new banking software he specializes in), and Duplex .
Yes. That is his name. And, you want to remember it.
There were other persons (ladies) at the table when I came in. I was too shy to greet everyone did not want to interrupt conversations. So, I took my seat around the 11 or so man table and started chatting away with Al. It has been a while since we did.
A couple of weeks ago, I had seen this Facebook page he had invited me to like. I didn’t pay much attention to it. But, listening to Al describe his new merge of Chess Art and Technology can only be described as infectious. He learned a new programming knowledge a few months ago just to achieve this. The concept is simple:
“Is a programmer just a programmer or could he/she be an artist…and could this art be visualized?”-Albert Banda
Al’s programme produces art from the movements of chess pieces on a chess board. According to Al, the game of chess has beauty and his job is to express it. You can check the Facebook page here for yourself.
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Transforming Chess into an Art form[/caption]
Because I came a little late, many of the guys had already…well…started getting drunk drinking. Bermond and Otto were chatting about why the Newera Publishers’ comic would or would not pickup in the African community.
If you have been following the Cameroonian tech scene, a lot has been happening. I actually believe less than 40 percent of startups (or projects) revolving around technology are reported. Dzekashu Macviban is doing a wonderful job of bridging that gap. Read his recent article on Ntef Alain’s Gifted Mom .
Al also mentioned a budding video game which would soon hit the streets from the astute programmer Raymond ‘Blanco’ Mbah. Together with Bermond, Blanco has released a few Android games. I’ll admit I was pretty bored with them. I am not a Temple Run fan. Then again, it’s not as though I have a credit card to buy games…so…what choice do I really have?
According to Al, Blanco’s current project could change the face of the African gaming scene. If and only if he (Blanco) made a few tweaks.
The exasperation in Al’s voice when I asked whether he had implemented the tweaks killed my dream of writing on the next ‘thing’. Blanco, apparently, won’t implement the suggestions. But, who knows the future?
I sure don’t.
I first came across the game and its creators during the 2013 BarCamp with took place here in Buea at the Catholic University Institute of Buea. My first impression (which still stands as at now) is that the game is not (as Seth Godin would put it) ‘sticky’. I don’t see myself playing it. It is too… ‘clean’? To me, it lacks the essential ‘Africanness’ which could imbue the product with ‘stickablity’ among Africans.
Al, Bermond, Otto and I agree that the guys from Newera Publishers (promoters of a new form of online story telling though comics) need to rethink their content and capitalize on ‘Africanness’.
We have a huge legacy for crying out loud!! I’ll admit I am a fan of Mangas (*One Piece Rooooocks!) and video games (I have this new strange addiction to Plants VS Zombies. It used to be the Call of Duty Modern Warfare series. Dunno what happened.
Anyway, here is the bottom line from the Blanco/Aurion/Newera discussion:
Africa needs storytellers who tell African stories using (rich) African content with a propensity towards Africanness.
Now, this is where I got my kick from this tech hangout. Otto turned pointed towards me to the quiet young man at my lefthand side:
“That is the richest man on the table”.
He might have been a little tipsy but his statement definitely stirred my attention. I am superficial. I didn’t measure the young man with regular eye glasses, cream shirt and the bottle of Guinness Smooth in front of him as much. What I would later come to find out is that Otto was not far from the truth.