9-year-old Nigerian Tech Genius Making Bold Strides to Becoming a Future Coding Star
With Africa experiencing increased investment from tech giants like Google and Microsoft, its teeming youths which constitute the largest youth population in the world are surely making bold innovational strides, working to becoming future coding Stars.
One of such youth is 9-year-old Nigerian Basil Okpara, who has graduated from a game playing expert into a game builder, building a hide and seek game, using a free programming application called Scratch 2.
Prompted by the interest he showed in learning how to make his games, his parents bought him a laptop and registered him to learn the first steps of building games.
Scratch 2 allows users to create games, animations, and stories online or offline. So far, Basil has used it to generate more than 30 mobile games.
The game Basil has built involves a bat he has programmed to hide. The fun in the game is that the player gets a point every time he catches the bat when it emerges from its hiding place.
“I learned how to build games at a boot camp. Now, I build to keep me busy when I am bored,” Basil told CNN.
In March, his father signed him up for a five-day boot camp for children aged 5 to 15.
The camp, organized by Codefest International, was put in place to give children like Basil access to emerging technologies like robotics and virtual reality.
Growing up, Basil used to play a lot of mobile games says his father, Basil Okpara Sr.
“I bought him a tablet when he was 4 years old because I saw that he was always grabbing phones to play games with. He played Candy Crush and Temple Run a lot,” the father told CNN.
But Basil’s interest in creating his games grew at age 7 after he got scolded for spending all of his time playing.
“There was this day he was on the tablet, as usual, he was so carried away with the game he was playing that I got upset with him,” his father said.
“Out of annoyance, I said to him, ‘you are always playing games, can’t you think about building your games so others can play yours too?’. I was angry when I said it, and I did not know he took it seriously,” he added.
Since then, Basil actively showed interest in learning how to make his games, prompting his parents to buy him a laptop and register him to learn the first steps of building games.
Basil, who wants to be a scientist in the future, titles his games based on what they are about.
The games are still in their raw form and can currently only be accessed on computers that have Scratch 2 installed.
But according to his father one of them, titled Frog attack, will be available to the public on Google play store sometime in August.