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Breaking Barriers: Inside the Making of Eritrea’s First PC Video Game, ‘18 Minutes’

By :- Luwam Kahsay H.

A team of trailblazing Eritreans has recently launched our country’s first PC video game, “18 Minutes.” The product of four and a half years of dedicated effort and collaborative work, this game was developed by Moneyvalut Games in association with Laquev Media. The game aims to recreate and spotlight the heroic exploits of EPLF’s Commandos in 1984, with the player’s objectives mirroring their historical achievements. We had the privilege to speak with some of the team members to delve into the game’s aims, objectives, and overall mission.

  • Let’s start with an introduction, shall we?

Yonatan: My name is Yonatan Girmay, a Computer Science graduate currently employed in the IT sector. My contribution to the video game project was developing an official website that would serve as the game’s launch pad to the global community and provide information about the game.

Aman: I’m Aman Hibtizgi. I joined the team during the project’s final stages. In video game production, there are many important aspects to consider, such as intellectual property rights and consumer protection. My role was to provide legal advice. However, my contribution pales in comparison to the others.

  • Could you elaborate on the project’s aims?

Aman: Video games offer an engaging and immersive way to tell a story. They allow the player to live the narrative by recreating historical events and missions. In our case, we want the player to feel part of history, to become a commando of 1984. We aimed to inspire young Eritreans to be as heroic as their forefathers and to provide a platform for them to experience their heroic feats. Secondly, we wanted to share Eritrean history more widely. Our history has not gained mainstream attention because we have not leveraged the tools available to us. By creating a video game, we can tell our story more easily and with greater reach.

  • Why did you choose video games as the medium?

Yonatan: Today’s generation tends to favor video games over books or documentaries. Therefore, many countries are leveraging this preference to share impactful messages with younger generations. We wanted to share our epic history in a way that resonates with young people.

Aman: “18 Minutes” is not just a representation of Eritrean history; it is the first Eritrean PC video game. Video games are powerful because they are interactive. They allow players to connect with characters in a way that other media forms do not. Plus, when a player takes on a mission, it becomes personal, fostering a sense of ownership and engagement.

  • Do you have any advice for others pursuing similar projects?

Aman: Creating a project like this is a monumental task. Talent alone isn’t enough; you also need resources and support, especially in the tech field. Therefore, we need to create platforms where talents can come together to transform dreams into reality.

Yonatan: Our work is far from over. We have a pipeline full of projects, including software and animation projects. We can only achieve so much by relying on the generosity and commitment of our team. We hope for continued support, funding, and constructive engagement to make these projects a reality and realize their full potential.

  • Any final thoughts?

Aman: There’s a saying in Eritrea: if you can’t do anything for them, you have to thank them. I want to extend my deepest gratitude to all team members. Their dedication, commitment, and sacrifices are immeasurable. Thanks to them, this project became a reality. Special thanks go to Eng. Amanuel Alem and others like Amanule Alem, Yacob Habte, Negash Mussie, Bahran Bereket, Nahom Knfe, and Filimon Tsegay, whose input was critical in crossing the finish line.

  • Thank you for your time, gentlemen.

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