African Warriors: The Game We Need and Deserve But Won’t Ever See

[Art by Kevin Roberts]

There’s a video game series folks may or may not be too familiar with called Dynasty Warriors. It tells the tale of the Shu, Wu, and Wei kingdom from the book The Romance Of The Three Kingdoms. We follow each member of the dynasty as they help their king accomplish their goals, and each soldier has their own story and weapon in order to keep things fun. This is a great mash up game that has continued into numerous series, adding more and more characters. Dynasty Warriors is such a cult classic that it even had a spin off with Samurai Warriors highlighting Japanese heroes such as Sanada Yikumura and legendary ninja Hattori Hanzo. The dope part about these series are that you are learning history as well as the mythology of these other cultures.

Huang Zhong One Of The Five Tiger Generals Under Liu Bei
Huang Zhong One Of The Five Tiger Generals Under Liu Bei

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I honestly love this franchise and, back in the early stages after the Samurai Warriors spin-off back in high school, used to talk with my best friend about how incredible it would be if the gamers were to do a series in the same light but taking place across the scale of Africa and its vast nations. We knew there was only one name that would suit as the title… African Warriors. Years later after booking a flight to visit South Africa (shout out to LDRs) I got to learn about the multiple tribes and cultures that are apart of the history of land. Now, while our Editor-in-Chief Will appreciates the technological marvel of guns (especially via video games), I’m more partial to classic weapons (swords, bow & arrow, etc) and I visited the South African Museum in hopes of finding out more about the history of the tribes, the types of weapons they fought with, battles they took part in, and other things of that nature.

I was told (to my disappointment) the museum mostly highlights the history of South Africa post-colonization. However, I was optimistic that perhaps there had to be some history dedicated to the people of the land prior. Bruh, I got up in there and saw weapons from all over the world (Italy, France, Germany) while one of the most famous tribes in South Africa known as the Zulu had about one to three displays in the museum. I’m looking around like wait… this is it though?

The museum doesn’t highlight the history of the people of the land pre-colonization… like at all. This made me think back to the African Warriors game that I used to hope would be made. I wanted it to debut now more than ever. I’d have gotten more from the game about the history of the tribes and people of South Africa than the museum. I had the entire game mapped out as I stared out the window into the void of somber disappointment. Of course you could start with the Zulu and play as one of their most well-known kings, Shaka. The Zulu fought with the spear (the hunting spear had a barb wire-like addition to the tip) and a shield made of animal hide, but that wasn’t all of their arsenal. There was also the Knobkierie, which was used for clubbing animals during the hunt, and the Iklwa (stabbing spear) that Shaka invented to allow the user better maneuverability in close-quarters combat as opposed to the throwing spear. This straight up revolutionized the warfare game. This is also a dude whose buffalo formation attack strategy was utilized by Napoleon (wonder why that ain’t in history’s cliff notes).

Shaka

We could see the kings that came prior up until Shaka’s rule and the his unification of the Zulu nations. The story doesn’t have to end with him — there could be a story line depicting the Xhosa that broke apart from the Zulu kingdom to form their own (they share a friendly rivalry presently). Another story line could be that of Queen Modjadji (The Rain Queen) as a friend had mentioned to me. “This is a queen of the only matriarchy in South Africa. She is able to control the weather and there isn’t anyone that wanted her wrath.” If she sounds familiar then you would be thinking about Storm who has been remixed with extremely atypical white hair and blue eyes back here in the states.

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The game would highlight not only the actual queens, kings, and soldiers of African countries, but their myths, folklore, and actual battles as well. I think this would be the game where we see the tribes fighting against colonial powers to a different degree. One battle site that is the most famous is The Battle Isandlwana where Zulu army actually defeated the British. The Brits had guns, however ammo runs out and this was a battle where they learned their hand-to-hand game was straight up trash. There’s another site in West Africa (Ghana) where the Ashanti tribe fought off the Brits as they tried to claim the Ashanti’s royal and divine throne, The Golden Stool. The Ashanti held them off numerous times in what become known as The War of The Golden Stool.

There’s a myriad of tribes, nations, history, folklore and myths that would be documented in such a game. Sad as it is that certain museums don’t document the actual history of the people whose land was occupied, there are still books that do. My father taught me the majority of the history I know from these battles, while that friend informed me of her Zulu history first hand. I think if someone were to develop African Warriors, it would be the shit that cats would make a cult classic game, the best part being that it’s literally a hands-on educational experience.

I’m just trying to put the idea out into the world, man.

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  • Omar Holmon is a content editor that is here to make .gifs, obscure references, and find the correlation between everything Black and Nerdy.

  • Show Comments

  • Leonce

    Agreed on all counts. There are SO many stories across the African continent that are ignored to this day. I used to love playing games like Civilizations and Age of Empires, and this Game of War deal that Kate Upton’s boobs are selling looks like fun, but I keep asking myself “We *still* ain’t got no Black people represented? In 2015?” I would love to see a game detailing warriors of the African continent.

  • Donnie Tobasco

    Make it.

  • LadyDragon345

    I love this idea. It is time for this game to come out. Are you going to do a start up fund for it?

  • virbz

    Find a developer and get a Kickstarter campaign behind it. I’ll send a donation to help it along just like I did for Koji Igarashi’s “Bloodstained” and Micah Betts’ “Combat Core.” Fantastic concepts deserve to be given form.

  • Nkyinkyin

    Kickstarter

  • Derrick

    I would buy this game. I would even play it online.

    I for one would be curious to see how the game would portray colonization (or the attempts at colonization.) This is one of the reasons why I cant wait to the Black Panther movie. One wonders colonization of African nations will be glossed over or even ignored altogether.

  • Saraquill

    This game must also include Nzinga Mbande and the Dahomey Amazons.

  • AnonymousDWFan

    This is a pretty cool idea and I’m saying this as a Chinese person living in the Indo/African sphere. However, you got to understand that a game like this wouldn’t sell well in Japan due to general racism, and it’s a real shame. Koei has touched upon Chinese history, Japanese history, European history through their games because the stories they adapt are already well known. This is already a problem when people outside of Africa think colonization is the only piece of history that Africa has to offer. I personally don’t know anything about pre colonial African history myself, but I do have a vague idea about what it’s like and it does sound like an awesome setting for a Warriors game, especially with all the voodoo magic stuff that could be converted into musous for the game.

    By the way, the Romance of three Kingdoms book is actually fictional. What it basically did was take Records of the Three Kingdoms, an actual historical source from way before which merely stated the events about the three Kingdoms period in China (Like Shu attacks Wei, Cao Cao retaliates etc) and tried to connect the events through drama. It turns history into a novel.

    The funniest part about this whole thing is that there are so many things in Romance of the Three Kingdoms that people literally believe to be true today, like Guan Yu’s depiction with a red face and that he uses a special weapon he created himself during battle (which was a purely fictional invention, of course he used a sword just like everyone else, and he wasn’t that great of a warrior either) or how Shu are supposed to be the good guys (when in reality Liu Bei wasn’t a benevolent guy at all) and Wei the bad guys (When Cao Cao was actually a brilliant and fair ruler himself)

    • Instro

      Dope incite! I wouldn’t worry about the popularity outside of Africa and people’s of African descent. If the game play is on level with Dynasty Warriors, the stories are compelling enough and the graphics are dope, the game will sell it self and touch who it’s supposed to. I believe the only real issue here is that no real money has been put into research and development of an African franchise and it won’t happen unless Africans and their diaspora descendants make it happen ourselves, sparing no cost or talent!

      • Mwalimu Manqoba

        Agreed!

  • Shatu Nhlapo

    Hi All, Please note that the exact same idea/game is under development and is launching later this year.

  • The Black Jane

    Yo, I would definitely crowdfund for this…like take my measly $3. I’m all in!

  • Mwalimu Manqoba

    I’d pay stupid amounts of cash for this! A must have!! I’m going to follow this extremely closely!!

    • Mwalimu Manqoba

      Also if there is any other news please email me @childofkipura@gmail.com

  • William

    I’m white, and of COURSE I would play this game because it sounds awesome. It’s true. Africa has a wealth of legendary heroes to pull from. Dynasty Warriors: Zulu Edition. I might have to actually buy a game system!

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