Meet the 9-year-old Nigerian tech genius who has built over 30 mobile games

While most kids his age are spending all their time playing, 9-year-old Basil Okpara Jr is building games.

9-year-old Nigerian, Basil Okpara, has created over 30 games

He does this from the comfort of his home located in Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial centre, using a free programming application.

This app, called Scratch 2, enables users to create games, animations, and stories online or offline. Basil has used it to build over 30 mobile games.

At the time of a recent feature by CNN, he was building a hide and seek game involving a bat that has been programmed to hide until the player can find it.

From a playful 4-year-old to becoming a skilled programer at 9

Basil’s love for games started when he was only four years, according to 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.

His interest in games changed to just playing them to wanting to build them at age 7 after his father scolded for playing too much.

Okpara Sr said; “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. Out of annoyance, I said to him, ‘you are always playing games, can’t you think about building your own games so others can play yours too?’ I was angry when I said it, and I did not know he took it seriously.”

From that day, Basil started to care about wanting to learn how to make his own games. His interest prompted his parents to buy him a laptop. They later registered him at a five-day boot camp organised by Codefest International for children aged 5 to 15 back in March 2019.

The camp, which offers access to virtual reality, computer programming tools, robotics tools and Internet of Things (IoT) tools, helped him learn the basics of building games.

Basil Jr told CNN, “I learned how to build games at a boot camp. Now, I build to keep me busy when I am bored.”

The titles of his games are based on what they are about. They are still in their raw form, can currently only be accessed on computers with Scratch 2 but one of them will soon be available to the public.

According to his father, the game titled “Frog attack,” will be on the Google play store sometime in August. Basil, who hopes to be a scientist when he grows up, joins a growing number of African children doing exceptional things with technology

These innovative youngsters include two Nigerian 12-year-olds who recently built robots that help with housework and Acrobot, a Ghanaian all-girls high school team who won the 2019 Robofest competition by programming robots to stack boxes in May.

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