so soft for semblance, the first nintendo game by african developer

September 10, 2018

words by: Bere Wangge

While none of us here at Globetrotter is an avid gamer, we have a squishy spot for this one.

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As of July 2018, Semblance has officially made history by becoming the first African-developed game to arrive on Nintendo. Semblance is created by Nyamakop, an independent studio based in Braamfontein, South Africa. Founded by Ben Myres and Cukia “Sugar” Kimani, the company is composed of a team of staff that come from not only South Africa, but also Kenya and Zimbabwe.  

Myres, a designer, and Kimani, a programmer, started Semblance as their final year university project in 2015 before deciding to make the game into a full release. The pair had to travel a lot of places to show off the game, but it was a meeting with a Nintendo representative at Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2017 in San Fransisco that finally got them where they are today. 

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To HyperallergicMyres talks about the importance of breaking out in the gaming industry as an African developer. “It’s incredibly important for Africans to see themselves in games, and for Africans to be making games, too,” he says. “It’s not even just for Africa looking in, but also there are things the rest of the world can learn from Africa.” 

In Semblance, players control the movements of Squish, a purple blob whose world is infected by creatures made of hard material. Squish fights them by redesigning the topography and collect orbs that would "bring the soft world back to life."

Semblance is already available for Nintendo Switch as well as PC and Mac.