New Telegraph

1851 Agidingbi Game app: Documenting, promoting history, culture

1851 Agidingbi Game, Nigeria’s first indigenous variant of the chess game based on historical events in Lagos is set to be launched. The app is named after the year 1851 because of its historical milestone – the year Lagos was invaded by the infamous HMS Bloodhound from England. It is a contemporary-styled medium of exporting Lagos to the rest of the world via the digital landscape. Created by Oludamola O. Adebowale, a researcher, cultural advocate, and senior curator at the Nigerian Brazilian Public History Project, the app is a fully immersive and expressive chess-style game, created to teach aspects of Lagos history while improving the IQ, mental awareness, risk analysis, leadership skills and more. It comes in a single and multi-player mode and it is also available as a board game.

“Just as the traditional features of the chess board, the game has the checkered board design with the six pieces such as Erelu- Kuti of Lagos as the Queen Mother, Oba of Lagos as The King, Adamu Eyo as The Rook, Omo Ogun Eko as The Pawn, Eletu- Odibo as The Bishop and Abagbon as The Knight,” said Adebowale, who is also the Creative Director at Wildeye Creative Solutions LTD. “While using the 1851 Agidingbi game, users can play on either sides that is as the Eko Defenders or the British Invaders. Before venturing into playing the game, the gamers need to understand the simple story of the Lagos invasion segmented as the feud, the envy, the greed and the invasion.

The feud started as a battle between Oba Kosoko and his uncle, Oba Akitoye.” According to him, plans are in top gear for the launch of the game board in December to commemorate the 170th year anniversary of the British invasion of Lagos. Adebowale also revealed how this project was transported from just a dream to a reality: “The 1851 Agidingbi game is a very personal project. It is not just with the game but with the narrative around it.

The history of Lagos as regards that British invasion has never been explored before. ‘‘Agidingbi actually started like an experiment from an exhibition that I had in 2017 at the Lagos Book and Art Festival. I did something around Lagos history and we had over 20 art illustrations that were displayed. The game board that gave birth to this app was actually on display. ‘‘I saw the way people interacted with it and it was beautiful.

At that moment, I saw an opportunity and I saw a product. I have worked towards it. People won’t invest in an idea unless if it is a product,” he revealed. The lockdown at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic created some free time for Adebowale to work on the app which he described as his “pandemic experiment.’’

He said: “I worked on the design as well as the legal component of the project. In years to come, I will be doing quite a number of projects where I will be infusing history culture and technology to form an educational or innovative tool to boost the economy, socio-cultural part of our lives and to promote and preserve history. “The game app will be available for download after the October 16 launch at Red Door Gallery, Lagos.”

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