Ohio(z)Okhai Elakhe looked at the on goings at this year’s Lagos Comic Con's FEJA event at SilverBird Gallery from a sport entertainment side.
Illustration and Photography by Ohio (z) Okhai
Sure you can!!!! Am sure that's highly motivating thing to hear in a clime where all are struggling to generate income legally. Well, since we are talking about mobile, computer, video, arcade electronic games, it's actually is its homonym Shao Kahn, a character from one of the popular electronic games played globally.
'Sure-you-can' wise, that's what many Nigerian youths came to display at this year’s (Lagos) Comic Con/9ja Game Evo organized FEJA (Festival De l'Electronique et du Jeu Video d'Abidjan) qualification, but the battle among the competitors was so intense that it was ‘shaokahn’, with goals, knockouts, humorous trash talks or yabs like 'stay there, I go beat you sotey, warner bros go come use you do film' and bragging rights to represent Nigeria at FEJA this year that was achieved. (As at the publishing of this article the main event had just being concluded in Abidjan).
FEJA is an electronic etc game event held annually at Abidjan, Cote’d Voire. It began in 2017 and this is the third edition. Different countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Cameroun, Egypt, Mali, Benin Republic, and Angola hold their qualifiers. In Nigeria, it's the first time FEJA will be staged and the first time the gaming aspect of (Lagos) Comic Con would be staged separately from the same venue since inception in 2013 and since 2016 since it became Lagos Comic Con. Another first is not 'Along Came a Spider'; which is a 2001 $195.2 million box office of a $60 million budget suspense thriller James Pattersons film acted by Morgan Freeman but along came Omen by HP and HiOS android operating system for Tecno who acted the script by event sponsors. Omen sponsored and brought an experience center for people to test their PC. HiOS provided phones for mobile gaming and also sponsored.
N100, 000 was 'split between' two PUBG players- Julian Okeke aka Bionicman 52 and Precious Otis aka Otis 101
As 115 online viewers watched the stream live, 145 participants outsmarted, drilled etc using play devices like Electronic Art's (EA) FIFA 19, Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) 19 by Konami, Tekken 7 by Namco among others. For the purpose of its growing community, 9ja Game Evo added Player Unknown Battle Ground (PUBG), console and mobile versions, to the tournament though it is not featured at FEJA.
Winners Toye Arogunmati aka The Arogs (FIFA 19), Trust Ehiguese aka Kami Zlatan (Pro Evolution Soccer 19) etc, showed why they would be representing Nigeria soon. For the driven pass (R1/RB + Pass), driven lob (R1/RB + Lobbed Pass), standard long ball or maybe even a swanky threaded through ball (R1/RB + Through Ball) swiftly opens up the pitch. Keep an eye on your radar for those off-screen Paul Scholes wonderballs! It’s, it’s it’s, it’s a Gooooooooooal, is usually the result for the player with the quickest' draw of a gun'. Eye to pad to screen and finger coordination was so complex, so robotic, so A. I, I had to consult eurogamer.net to catch up. Life is getting crippy. 'I still be small pikin', I ask myself?
But to think that a once thought to be "e re' fuawan omorde" (childs play in Yoruba) will be earning some youths respect, paying their bills, taking them to many places is not something I nor Lagos Comic Con C.E.O Ayodele Elegba phantomed when we were roommates at Yaba Tech nor Adenipebi Kunmi; CEO 9ja Game Evo a friend back when we were mere students at Kogi State University. Since the tournament is a qualifier for FEJA, appearance/participation prize money will be at the finale in Abidjan. However thanks to Omen, HP headsets were given out to all 1st place positions in all the games.
Additionally, HiOS and FiCool, put out cash prizes for the Unknown Battle Ground (PUBG) mobile games which were included in the tournament for awareness and community building. Hence that was the only game where cash prizes were given.
I was not supported as a youth playing video games; most times my dad would get angry.
N100, 000 was 'split between' two PUBG players- Julian Okeke aka Bionicman 52 and Precious Otis aka Otis 101.
N50, 000 each for both- that kind of pay is what many seek as seed pay for a small start up business venture. The winners are all educated, with over 90% of them having completed or about to complete their tertiary education. Some have businesses of their own. Some have a main job working for a company, while a fraction of them are full time professional gamers.
Back when I was in secondary school, my father won't hear of it that I spent time playing video games, since it was his belief (and am sure many parents back then), that it was for riffraff’s and dullards. I usually would keep an eye open to know if he was close to getting home while playing against my friends on his Tv whenever they brought their games over to my place. (It's understandable why many parents felt that way as it was difficult for them growing up and they didn't want that happening to their kids among other sensible reasons).
STAY THERE, I GO BEAT YOU SOTEY, WARNER BROS GO COME USE YOU DO FILM
My emphasis shifted back to basketball but the likes of Kunmi stayed on. Yikes, a missed business opportunity for me. Kunmi informs 'I was not supported as a youth playing video games; most times my dad would get angry. (After graduating) in 2006, I started my gaming company which my dad reluctantly supported because of my inlaws, (but) failed because i had no funds to back up'.
He further adds 'I rebooted in 2012, six years later and it was a success as I partnered with an animation company called Sporedust which brought in a technical team'. Ayo equally tells about his childhood. While he mayn't have played video games then according to him, his parents weren't adverse to it if he did play. He did get a lot of support on his love for comics. That is rearing its head in providing jobs today.
How did video games get to this point where it pays bills? A memory throws me back like done in EA FIFA 20 game to the early 80s where I eyed my neighbor's Atari game- thank God I didn't steal it. So games were already penetrating, though few. Globally, Techcrunch, EA Sports NBA Live19 throwbacks me via an alley hoops for a slam dunk when it says 'since its commercial birth in the 1950s as a technological oddity at a science fair, gaming has blossomed into one of the most profitable entertainment industries in the world'.
I rebooted in 2012, six years later and it was a success as I partnered with an animation company
‘The mobile technology boom in recent years has revolutionized the industry and opened the doors...'.
Coming back home, the question is what has fueled it penetration? Wikipedia informs that 'due to the growing penetration of smart phones across Nigeria and mobile broadband access that is cheaper and faster than it has been a few years earlier, developers have the opportunity to spread mobile games easily'. Nigeria has the world's fastest growing mobile internet usage behind China and India. Also the emergence of viewing centers has helped grow it to where it is now. Just take a tour of the many inner city Tv viewing centers where football matches can be watched.
Then the grand one, the high level of unemployment. According tradingeconomics.com, as at 2018, youth unemployment stood at 36.56%, living wage stood at a mere at N43, 200. Many youths just need something to preoccupy their minds instead of involving self in the 'sharprapra' business of yahoo-yahoo (internet fraud) or 419 (advanced free fraud). The potential of this aspect of the entertainment industry to building Nigeria's economy can't be overlooked. Kunmi informed that Lagos Comic Con and the gaming aspect draws an average traffic of 3, 000 interested ones. 'The population of Nigeria is young, with more than 60% of the population being under 25 years old' says Wikipedia. That translats to about 130 miillon according to worldmetric.info. With the organizers penetrating South Africa, one can easily see why H.P has invested its Omen Computers, HiOS its android operating system and have said they would be gunning for a long term partnership.
Right now, the best game to play is video runs gaming my editor with legal yahoo yahoo into ensuring more indepth coverage on the various players, competitions, events, industry business activities & opportunities are worked on, putting in mind the animation film and comic to film industry. 'Sure I can' do that. Shao Kahn!!!
Ohio (z) Okhai Elakhe is a communication expert, with interests in sports, brand architecture, research, technology, entertainment and the arts. Find him via the brand name At Ohiookhai on (fb; instagram; twitter, gmail blog).