Leti Games: African Superheroes, Digital Innovation for a Global Audience

Leti Games: African Superheroes, Digital Innovation for a Global Audience

Eyram Tawia and his friend Wesley Krinya decided in 2009 they would bring together their passion for innovation, creativity, and change to found Leti Games — a company devoted to creating enjoyable digital games and mobile content with a distinctive African flavor.

“Games bridge the gap between creative arts and science,” Tawia said. “And it is upon this vision that Leti Games was created, to bridge the gap and employ people from all these sections to work together to create compelling, fun, interactive mobile games. And through that, we want to create the next African superheroes.”

Tawia added his company is positioning itself to bring a uniquely African perspective to digital games, drawing from stories and legends from hundreds of tribes — from the Zulu of South Africa to the Massai of East Africa to the Ashanti of West Africa. In addition, Leti Games is sharply focused on the mobile market, due to the fact that there are more people currently using data-enabled phones than computers.

Tawia, who studied at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology and at the Meltwater Foundation, both in Ghana, recently won a British Council Young Creative Entrepreneurs Media Award for his work in game development and the ability to implement games in many programming languages. He said Africa has so much history that can be taught to an audience eager to learn about them through playing the games.

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“We want to connect to our own heroes,” he said. “We want Ananse to battle crime in Somalia. We want Yaa Asantewa to fight crime in South Africa. We want to tell these stories in interactive ways, so that people can learn about the history of African heroes. This can grow as big as Batman and as big as Superman. This is the vision of Leti Games.”

The company’s website boasts its games support most mobile devices and platforms with programming ability, including Java, Symbian, iPhone, and BlackBerry. They can also be made playable via Short Message Service and Wireless Application Protocol, it says, if deployed through a carrier network. In addition, Leti Games has designed and built a platform upon which all its applications run, which supports real-time and turn-based multiplayer games, content delivery and alerts, instant messaging, an app center, a mobile shopping cart with easy payment options and social gaming.

“Internet is huge in Africa now,” Tawia said. “Leti Games wants to serve Africa and the world with our compelling, interactive African content.”

Tawia added his company has, through an internship program, trained 25 interns in less than two years in game development.

“Through this, they understand abstract terms in mathematics and in physics,” he said. “And artists are also able to do animations and illustrations. Not only have we started a company in Africa, we are starting a whole new industry in Africa.”