When it comes to the gaming industry, Black people are severely underrepresented within companies. According to the 2017 International Game Developers Association Satisfaction Survey, only one percent of professionals within the industry identify as Black.
This lack of representation often leaves some titles with frustrating content. From games that either replicate stereotypes or just pretend Black people don’t exist, it’s an understandably frustrating experience. However, there are developers outside of the major companies that everybody knows.
Black developers have been around since video games’ beginnings, and they’re not going anywhere. To celebrate their work, we’ve compiled a list of ten gaming apps by Black developers that you should all check out.
1. Hair Nah
After getting tired of people putting their hands in her hair, Momo Pixel decided to create Hair Nah. This video game has you play as a Black woman traveling between three destinations — Osaka, Havana, and Santa Monica Pier.
Throughout the game, players have to try preventing white hands from swooping in to touch your character’s hair. This is an issue that Black women talk about a lot, so the game ended up going viral. You can check out a video of Black women playing it below!
2. Sasha Says
Brought to you by Atlanta-based duo Adrian McDaniel and Tremayne Toorie, Sasha Says combines “Simon Says” and “Bop-It” to create a gaming experience that’s perfect for kids.
“We felt like it was very important for Black youth to be able to see a Black mascot, especially a Black female mascot, in games,” McDaniel told The Washington Informer. “That isn’t something you get to see very often and we also thought it was important to inspire Black youth to maybe get into development.”
Developers Terry Karungi, Daniel Okalany, Jasper Onono, and Guy Acellam all worked together to bring Matatu, a two-player Ugandan card game, to your phone.
The app was immensely popular in Uganda. Back in 2013, the Daily Monitor reported that it had been in the top three most played games in Google Play in Uganda.
4. Treachery In Beatdown City
If you’re a fan of fighting games and bringing a little bit of comedy into the experience, you’re going to love Treachery In Beatdown City.
Developed by independent games and culture studio, Nuchallenger, the game’s plot centers around saving President Blake Orama from the Ninja Dragon Terrorists he’s been kidnapped by.
The game isn’t out yet, but its release date is set for sometime before the end of the year. Until then, you can watch a trailer below.
5. B’Bop and Friends
Created by Grefonda Hardy and her daughter Noelle Hardy, B’Bop and Friends is an educational video game that helps children with their reading and writing skills.
The game features two male and two female characters whom all have their own storylines. Each character has their own room where they can participate in games and activities that enhance players’ reading skills. B’Bop and Friends also has multiplayer games including tennis and basketball.
Brothers Khalil and Ahmed Abdullah founded independent game studio Decoy Games. Together, they’ve released Swimsanity! — a multiplayer underwater shooter game.
The game will be available on Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, and Xbox One sometime this summer.
Experience an action-packed co-op and versus underwater shooter in Swimsanity! Whether you're teaming up with friends to swim in Adventure mode, or clashing in competitive matches, dive into Swimsanity! on #NintendoSwitch this summer. #Nindies pic.twitter.com/qpfPlxFg2t
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) March 20, 2019
What originally started in 2014 as an independent project turned into something much bigger. With Catt Small’s SweetXHeart (pronounced sweetheart), players are challenged to get through the week as Kara, a 19-year-old from the Bronx.
Small describes SweetXHeart as a “slice-of-life-game about microaggressions, race, and gender.”
With Jesse Williams’ BLeBRiTY, players are tested on their knowledge of Black culture in a charade inspired game. The game boasts over 25 genres, including “HBCUs,” “Momma Phrases,” and more.
“We decided to stop waiting and start building. By creating the experiences we like, we’ve tapped into our own cultural zeitgeist, which is so often the source material for pop culture at large,” Williams said, according to Vibe. “BLeBRiTY is an uproariously funny, creative event where everyone can play, learn and laugh their a**es off! We don’t wait to be included anymore, we build and include ourselves.”
9. Black Inventors Match Game
Kids follow best friends, Myles and Ayesha, to learn who invented the patents for items like doorknobs, traffic lights, and more. Kids also have their memories tested with a matching game.
10. For The Culture
Developed by Ark Creative Company — this app aims to celebrate Black culture by putting a modern spin on charades. For The Culture has over 20 categories, including Celebrities, Historical Figures, and more.
Watch a trailer for the app below!