In 2018, Natasha Chiwara, slightly frustrated with the task of looking for the kind of game she wanted to play, began her journey in game development. She decided to develop one herself, the kind that she wanted. At that time she was just 18 years old, studying for her A’levels at Masuka Christian High School. But to build that game, she needed to learn how to code, enter YouTube university (as people like to call it). Using YouTube tutorials, pdfs, and various websites, Natasha taught herself how to code, and developed FaceFury.
Now meet FaceFury, the game
FaceFury is ‘a warrior emoji adventure game’ as described by the developer herself. She published the game on Google PlayStore, and it has over 100 downloads so far. She created it for all ages from kids all the way up to the elderly. A 3-matching and adventure game, FaceFury can be described as a 2-in-1 game in pedestrian terms. The game has multiple levels, with different themes for each adventure a player could take. Like any responsible developer, Natasha updates her game, fixing it for bugs, adding new features and levels. Game development, after all, requires continuous involvement.
Natasha’s future plans
FaceFury is only her first game and Natasha has bigger plans and more work in the pipeline. She hopes to one day develop multiplayer games, as well as games in different sectors, such as educational games. She also plans to explore app development in general, FaceFury merely allowed her to dip her toe in the waters. Now 21 years old, her university plans have been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Natasha hopes to pursue studies that focus on software development or programming. In the meantime, she works at ZBC as a presenter on YGT (Young, Gifted & Talented).
Past achievements and community engagement
This self-taught game developer continuously puts the effort towards actively participating in the gaming community. In 2020, she was one of the 8 winners in the Afro-game Immersion Competition at FEJA 4, arguably one of the biggest games events in Africa, organised by Paradise Games. She also took part in the Jibambe de Tech Festival in 2020 for African Game developers. Prior to this interview, she has already been profiled by Prosearium.net, an initiative aiming to document 1000 African women contributing to the gaming industry.
A better future for the gaming industry
Natasha hopes for a better future for the entire gaming industry in Zimbabwe, expressing her desire to see more institutions teaching game development and animations. As it stands, many who are interested have to go abroad if they are interested in that or choose a different path.
Yvonne Feresu is a blogger, scriptwriter, fitness lover and general lover of life. She’s continuously fascinated by human behaviour, an interest sparked by her degree in Psychology, as well as tech, entrepreneurship and innovation.