[-empyre-] Plague, Inc.

Kasyoka Mwanzia kasmwanzia at gmail.com
Fri Mar 27 01:55:12 AEDT 2020

A huge thanks to Alenda for the invitation - I am honoured to be
talking with and alongside scholars whose work I admire and reference
as I start out on my own journey of game studies.

When Alenda contacted me, I had planned to focus on and champion our
local (Kenyan) player culture. Partly nurtured by factors like the
ability to access to gaming infrastructure - consoles, electricity,
broadband, disposable funds - the gaming culture here is centred
around gaming cafes in neighbourhoods and in the city centre. It’s
always delightful to observe enthusiastic groups clustered around a
screen - 1v1, couch co ops, and the like - sometimes occasionally
evolving into mini tournaments of sorts. While the millennial scoff at
warnings to avoid gathering in groups is being witnessed here as well
- some gaming cafes in Nairobi still open for business as usual much
to my consternation - I am certain that this will change drastically
in days to come and we will see a huge local slump in PC and console
gaming rather than the surge being witnessed in places like the U.S.

As a result there’s subsequently been lot of chat about what to play
on mobile devices and like Tara and Lindsay, I immediately thought of
Plague Inc and shared it with my gaming circles. I interact with game
developers whom I encourage (insist/implore/beg) to do critical
readings of their intended games - as well as the games they play - to
consciously try and understand the rhetoric intended or otherwise.
Just a few days ago one of them opined after playing Plague Inc that
fantasy mirrors reality. The message is hitting home. A lesson I wish
had been learned under different circumstances.

People have spoken about how we cannot and should not go back to
normal and business as usual. It will be interesting to see the manner
in which our local game consumption and young industry adapts and
creates new habits, practices and cultures in the times ahead.

Take care everyone.

Kasyoka Mwanzia
(Upcoming) PhD Student | Cultural Anthropology

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