There are certain games that evoke deep feelings of nostalgia. Kenyan made game – Kade: Ule Mtoi Mrui brings out anyone’s inner child. KADE Ule Mtoi Mrui is a fun, 2D adventure game that recalls the joy of youth.

Based in a village in rural Kenya, the game follows the story of  a young, mischievous boy named Kade. One day he spots a brand new bicycle for sale at the local shop that he just has to have, but his mother will not give him the money to buy it. Instead she instructs him to do some work around the neighborhood to make the money to buy the bicycle. Kade, being the willful child that he is, has a better idea of how to make some quick cash. And so, with slingshot in hand, he sneaks onto Mr Njuguna’s farm, and his adventure begins. 

It takes place in the beautiful setting of rural Kenya, the game reminded me of the hours I would spend on nintendo playing super mario. The game is designed by Urban Design Kings a kenyan art studio of passionate designers who are motivated to use their artistry to represent Kenya’s rich history and culture.  If you haven’t already please download the game on the android play store. 

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What was the process of creating the game?

The game was actually a test, we had another game in mind called Tumbiliblues and we decided to do a test to see if we could make that kind of game, and that test game turned out to be Kade ule mtoi. We loved it so much that we decided to make Kade instead of Tumbiliblues.

What has your experience being designers and artist in Kenya?

In terms of being a designer/artist in Kenya, I would say it is good, even great, if you work at an agency but if you decide to get off the beaten path and explore new styles and content it is a bit of an uphill battle in terms of making a living off it.

Our decision to base our art (games, illustration and comics) on Africa and its culture has been challenging. When we release some of our products like the Vibonzo (means cartoons in Swahili) comic book we received a lot of criticism because It had a woman with a gun on the cover and another story was in sheng (Swahili slang) and these were big issues especially among adults who then go home and consume Nigerian pidgin English shows at 6p.m. and then western action shows at 8p.m. with their children. It seems a bit hypocritical to us.

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Getting investors from the private and public sector has been a challenge. We have to freelance in order to fund our projects. It is difficult to market our products although we receive positive reviews.

Kenyans are extremely critical of things created locally, we as creators are competing for attention with global brands that have been able to explore and polish themselves. We find that many Kenyan artists believe it is easier to mimic the west than to struggle trying to create something ‘new’ hoping people will like it.

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