4:00 pm - Saturday September 19, 2657

9-year-old Nigerian Genius, BASIL OKAPARA JR build over 30 mobile games with no computer training * Passion for games began at age four * Ready to place game titled “Frog attack,” on the Google play store shortly * “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”-Father,of boy, Okpara Sr *BY KEMI OLADELE/TECH REPORTER, LAGOS


9-year-old Nigerian Genius, BASIL OKAPARA JR build over 30 mobile games with no computer training

* Passion for games began at age four

* Ready to place game titled “Frog attack,” on the Google play store shortly

* “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”-Father,of boy, Okpara Sr

*BY KEMI OLADELE/TECH REPORTER, LAGOS

HE IS A NIGERIAN TECH GENIUS. At the age of nine years when many of his mates are lying idle at home on weekends watching television, Basil Okpara Jr has consistently been building games. While most kids his age are spending all their time playing, this boy kept perfecting his skills to learn the art of technology. Today, he has built over 30 mobile 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. Recently, he was building a hide and seek game involving a bat that has been programmed to hide until the player can find it.

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,” reportedly said the father.

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

In Basil Jr word: “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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