Video games take inspiration from all parts of life. Depending on the genre of the game, developers may borrow from ancient history, modern advancements, or even geographic settings. The combinations are too great to count—and the continent of Africa has a seemingly endless reel of stimulating places, traditions, and lifestyles.
The most recognizable of these are jungle themes and settings. For example, online slots offer players dozens of genres to choose from. Along with mythology and ancient cultures, common themes related to Africa include jungle and savannah backgrounds with animal symbols and audio clips. NetEnt, for example, has a whole series of Silverback-themed slots.
Another common callback to Africa in gaming is ancient history. The continent has been home to some of our world’s most developed cultures, which have influenced life around the globe. Ancient Egyptians made advances in medicine and astrology, while leaders like Mansa Musa in Timbuktu built wealthy empires and fostered centers of culture and knowledge.
These periods and leaders are regularly covered in historical adventure video games, including the Assassin’s Creed series (covered below). Think you know the top video games set in Africa? Check out the list below to see if you’ve got them all.
Assassin’s Creed: Origins
The concept of the Assassin’s Creed franchise is simple: an order of assassins seeks to maintain order and peace while working in the shadows. The series, from Ubisoft, has explored some of the most varied times and places in the world—the Ptolemaic period in Egypt included.
2017’s Assassin’s Creed: Origins sees players become Bayek, who wants to reunite with his family on the Nile after many years apart. Along the way, gamers will be treated to historically accurate depictions of architecture, social organization, and, of course, life and culture in the ancient world.
This action-adventure series closely mirrors Assassin’s Creed in terms of taking gamers around the globe. In the fourth installation, players will be taken to the coasts of Madagascar as they hunt down a lost treasure in a place called King’s Bay. Though the sequence in Madagascar is limited, developers went above and beyond to recreate life on the island. Specifically, there are depictions of the many plants and animals unique and indigenous to Madagascar—lemurs included.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
If you enjoy retellings of Wolverine, one of the most infamous superhuman X-Men characters, then you’ll enjoy this game. The project covers the life and origins of Wolverine, named Logan. The first scenes in the video game are set in Angola as a series of mutant-led attacks begin to spread panic.
Gamers will first need to navigate the jungle and then into temples in order to stop Stryker, the game’s villain. Coming full circle, gamers who near the end of Origins will see a return to Angola—this time, under Logan’s own terms.
Street Fighter III
One of the most famous video game series of all time created an ode to Africa upon its release back in 1997. Japan’s Capcom studio released its Street Fighter III: New Generation with Kenya in mind. The game has only eleven characters, one of whom is Elena, a Kenyan princess who isn’t afraid to throw down in the ring.
Elena uses a fighting style similar to the Brazilian art of capoeira. Her best moves involve the feet and legs, which are even incorporated into striking moves. Elena’s unique techniques and backstory helped her become one of the game’s most beloved players.
Fast & Furious Crossroads
As a recent 2020 release, Fast & Furious Crossroads was designed to give both gamers and fans something to talk about. Though the title has since received lukewarm reviews, the character depictions have seen a positive reception, along with the game’s extensive track choices—Morocco included.
Along with locations like New Orleans, USA and Barcelona, Spain, players must also navigate through Moroccan streets if they want to complete their mission. Players can choose a single-player mode or invite their friends to race through locations inspired by Rabat and Fez with them.