Chezo Serious Gaming: Adala Studio Update


Adala is one of the three teams that got a cash award and mentorship from experts. Below is an update on their journey through the collaboration phase.

Tell us about the Game

DownStream is a board game that encourages and educates users on water conservation, usage, and infrastructure challenges in the water ecosystem. Players are a water drop (Mr. H2) in a Kenyan pipe and face various challenges to get to their family. The challenges include illegal tapping, contamination, and vandalism.

How did you decide to come up with DownStream?

We all have a passion for telling African stories. Two years before the Chezo Gaming hackathon, we started meeting to develop a digital game. We wanted a story based game. By the time the hackathon took place, we were approaching the production of the digital game and had developed a similar board game, which actually became the inspiration for the DownStream board design.

Tell us more about the progress you have made since the competition

After the hackathon, we realized that our design had various challenges and we felt that we could improve the gameplay by tweaking some elements. So we came up with three other design options, asked our audience what they thought about it, and with the help from our mentors, we were able to settle on an improved version. We plan to test this version with our focus groups, to find out its strengths and weaknesses. We will do this until our audience is happy. Our aim is to make the game as fun and educational as possible to our primary audience who are children. We have also done research using focus groups and questionnaires with our key stakeholders; parents, teachers, and children. It has been very insightful as we have learned their insights on water and gaming.
We also took part in an online course on Serious Games which was facilitated by the professors from the University of Rotterdam.

How would you define ultimate success for your startup? Do you feel like you are succeeding so far?

We feel that we have made progress since the hackathon. Ultimate success would be DownStream being endorsed as a teaching aid for Science in the 8.4.4 / primary school and IGCSE levels. This would make DownStream a household name in the school system

What are some of the challenges you face(d) with your startup

Sourcing for materials. Most of the board game manufacturers are abroad, and getting quotations has also been a bit of a challenge largely because of the number of items used to ensure the game mechanics work.
Developing a business plan. Since the team is made up of two creatives and a developer, the business side is what is lacking. Seeking direction on this was quite demanding on our end. Since the gaming market is still young in the country, expertise in this area is rare, to say the least.

What should we expect from your company in 2017

Expect DownStream, the board game, in your homes as well as interesting marketing campaigns.
Adala Studios is also in the process of developing another digital game that will be released in 2018 as soon as Downstream is established as a self-sustaining brand. Look out for details on press and posters. Meanwhile Downstream is the game to watch out for in 2017.

Rozemarijn ter Horst's picture

Dear Luchiri, thank you very much for sharing this interview. It provides great insight in the development of the gaming hub, but also the process of a start-up such as DownStream. Seems like a fun game. Wishing them the best of luck in getting their game played all over Kenya.

If you can share some pictures, that would be great. It gives us a nice idea of what you are doing or who you are working with, in addition to this great interview.