Genii Games is the parent company behind Àsà, a range of mobile apps aimed to teach kids about African cultural heritage. In an interview with Business Manager Aderoju Adefarakan, we learnt more about Asa and the motivation behind it.
Thank you for taking time out for this interview. Can you tell us a little bit about Àsà? What does it mean and what is the inspiration for this platform?
Asa which (means culture in Yoruba Language) is a brand under Genii Games Limited and we are based in Lagos, Nigeria. Asa is a growing collection of interactive mobile applications for kids, which helps them learn about African culture. Asa apps are geared towards addressing the decline of interest and knowledge of kids in African culture; especially kids who are from African descent.
When you look around; here in Nigeria and in the Diaspora, kids have vague ideas about African culture. Some do not understand it, some find it boring, and some even see it as fetish. At the end of the day, these kids look at African culture from a distance, they do not participate. Therefore, as a team, we devise various interesting media of packaging and delivering African cultural subjects to these kids.
Interesting African culturally related subjects are packaged in attractive media, and developed into apps. We use stimulating features such as: voice-over, colorful graphics, animation, sound and interactive games to teach: African languages, Folktale, Folksongs, etiquette and ethics. Asa apps are available for download across multiple mobile platforms such as iOS, Android and Blackberry. You can find Asa apps here http://www.geniigames.com/apps/
How many members on your team and what role are you responsible for?
Our team spans across an expanding network of resource persons but is coordinated by our core personnel of three (3) people: The Founder: Adebayo Adegbembo, a Creative Director: Segun Samson. I, Aderoju Adefarakan is the Business Manager and I handle Business Communications. We are continuously looking out for more resource people; especially outside Nigeria, people who can help with brand visibility, content development and app promotion.
I love that there are games that are focused on teaching kids basic language skills (i.e. Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba). Can we expect to see other languages added to the site?
One of our major goals is to cover as many African languages as possible, especially languages spoken outside Nigeria. Presently, our newly released folktale titled: Adventures of the Tortoise include stories drawn from Efik, Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo culture. In coming years, there will be Asa apps in Swahili, Wolof, Sesotho, Kiswahili and so many African languages/cultures.
Looking at the Àsà platform, it seems like there is something for everyone. Is there a specific age range that you are catering to?
Asa apps are originally developed for kids within the age range 2-12 but we have discovered that we have a large number of audience in parents and adults.
What has been the overall feedback on Asa? Does it vary according to the audience type?
Feedback has been awesome! We have seen significant interest from the African diaspora audience, specifically in the USA and UK. We get feedback from parents and kids based on the particular app checked out. Feedback include praises and appreciation of these apps; how it has helped users get acquainted with African culture. Feedback on how we can improve; how we can make these apps better. All these feedback help a lot; they are how we measure progress and impact of these apps on people.
What makes Àsà different from other educational game companies?
Genii Games Limited (which Asa is a brand under) is a company with a focus on the preservation and promotion of African culture. Everything that we build; apps, games, videos are all centered on African culture.
Are there any challenges you face as children’s game developers. How do you tackle them?
We tackle challenges as a team, we have people with diverse viable skills on the team and putting them together makes us submerge these challenges.
A lot of your games are free and easily accessible. Why was it important for you to create a free platform for kids? How do you generate income?
Some of our apps are free for downloads while some are paid for. The free ones include: aYoruba, aHausa, The Gluttonous Kid. The paid-for apps include: Yoruba 101, Igbo 101, Oluronbi. Our newly released app; Adventures of the Tortoise, which is a growing collection of African folktales about the Tortoise has the first story as free, while the rest are paid for. When users download the free apps and have checked it out, they go ahead to download the ones that are paid for.
What is the next step? Where can we see Àsà in the next few years?
In the next few years, Asa (Genii Games Limited) will be a one stop community for all things African culture. We hope to cover more cultures, languages in Africa; especially beyond Nigeria. We will also expand beyond apps; we are currently working on other creative media /platforms to publish these interesting cultural themes.