My First Game


This week was particularly interesting. I found the words to complete the About section of this blog. I know people don’t usually read the About section of a blog but do check it out! The Samsung Mobile Ideation Challenge is around the corner and with all the buzz, I feel I should lend my voice to the debate. The first time I developed a game was for the Samsung Application Developer Challenge.

I remember it like yesterday. It was in September of 2010 that I saw the flyers for the Samsung Application Developer Challenge. Having finished at the University of Lagos in 2009 I was sort of drifting. The cash prize for the competition was fixed at N1,000,000 with prizes promised for category winners. When I saw the flyer, it was September 27th. I was working on 3 final year projects for some students. Seeing the opportunity before me, I rounded up their projects by October 4th.

Me at the Samsung Application Developers Challenge

The decision on the entry was made in that week. I decided on a game because I knew that was where I had the best chance of winning. I decided to build my native game ISE which is similar to BANTUMI and AYO. I headed home that weekend to see my parents because I hadn’t played the game since I was a child. My Dad taught me how to play the game again.

Around that time a friend of mine in the University of Lagos was working on AYO in a language I hated then C#. Using his board class as a template, I built the board class in Java. I remember feeling like a bad guy because I had to build my own custom data structure: a Circular Linked List.

The competition was due to close on October 30th but an extension period of one week was given. In the end, I submitted ISE for the competition. By November 6th, submission of entries ended. After the applications where screened and cut to 18 finalists, like this time too voting was how the winners were chosen.

Samsung Application Developer Contest Extension

Christmas came early that day for me that year because on November 25 winners were announced at the final touchdown held at Sheraton Hotel. Even though I came second in my category Games: Casual/Puzzles, I got my tithe on the star prize. The star prize for the competition was won by the Fanconnect Online team developers of Afrinolly

Fansconnect Online Team

Members of the Fansconnect Online Team

That for me was when I knew that I should actively look at Gaming. I had hacked my first game in 6 weeks. It wasn’t easy but it was worth it! One lesson I gained from the competition was the need for me to seek competitions where merit is used to declare winners not quota.

Concerning the competition organised by Samsung. What is my recommendation? I recommend that people submitting ideas take a long look at their lives and ask themselves what they want most. This question is important because participation in this competition will help Samsung achieve their own goals so what are yours?

For me participation in the competition in 2010 was the first step of getting what I wanted: a way out of Nigeria! The trail is like this: Samsung Application Developer Contest -> Tech in Education -> British Council Game Developer Contest -> Catalyst for Change Game Guide.

So did I make it? Yes I did! I write this blog from Ghana! For 3 years I wanted only one thing and I finally got it! I promised I will not hold back on this 8th post so I won’t. Meeting the guys from Co-Creation Hub was a good thing for me. I wish I had met them in 2009. By the time I met them in 2011 my mind was made up.

Trust me on this you don’t become a Software Architect without the ability to decide and commit yourself to your decisions. That said for me the 9 months I spent at Co-Creation Hub were some of the best in my life. They were also the last in my country Nigeria. When the 9 months were up like a baby in its mother’s womb, I had to see the world.

Co-Creation Hub was setup to keep guys like me in Nigeria. I remember some slight brushes with the management of the Hub during my stay in Nigeria. Now that I am in Ghana, I realize that because on a subconscious level our goal clashed, there could be no true harmony. Did I meet potential investors? Yes. I remember the April of this year at Mobile West Africa when I made a presentation for a game, I met a potential investor. The money was on the table. All I had to do was say yes. But I walked away empty-handed. I walked because the investor could not define my life. Only I could. I needed to be free! So I walked away from everything and everyone empty-handed. I learnt a long time ago that the only thing that could be used against me was my desire to survive. But I had lived through a lot in my life. I knew I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees.

That’s all for this week. The next post will be on September 1st. I will close this post with an image on my desktop that I kept as a wallpaper when I was in Nigeria. It is a clip from the story Eulogy for Lisa which was an entry in the L.Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest enough said!

Eulogy for LISA