Broth­ers seek fund­ing to com­plete Ja­maican video game

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Khanique McDaniel/ Gleaner Writer khanique.mcdaniel @glean­erjm.com

ARLINTON IS a 13-year-old boy who lost his par­ents in a car ac­ci­dent and now lives with his grand­mother, Cherry. He per­forms jobs around his Port­land com­mu­nity to help sup­port his house­hold and keep the en­vi­ron­ment clean while stay­ing out of the clutches of Ge­orge Camp­bell, an 18-year old gang­ster try­ing to lure youth into a life of crime.

This is the premise be­hind what broth­ers Akeem and Tyreik Pen­ni­cooke hope to be­come a hit Ja­maican video game, Street Boy.

Akeem, the older Pen­ni­cooke, took a trip to Ja­maica in 2016, when he met brother Tyreik for the first time since he mi­grated at the age of nine. Dur­ing his visit, it was a trip to Long Bay, Port­land, and a con­ver­sa­tion with a young lad at the villa where they stayed that led Akeem to mar­vel at the beauty of the is­land and what spurred the idea for the sin­gle­player ad­ven­ture game.

“This was my first time in Port­land, and it was so beau­ti­ful,” he said, adding that he in­cor­po­rated some of the nat­u­ral sights into the game. “I im­ple­mented some of the things I saw, like the beach was full of moss and trash, so a huge part of the game is the en­vi­ron­ment. The boy will be able to clean the beaches and things like that.”

Now four years on, the broth­ers have in­vested their time, tal­ent, and fi­nances into de­vel­op­ing what they hope will be a sym­bol of pride and in­spi­ra­tion for young Ja­maicans who want to pur­sue a ca­reer in the multi­bil­lion-dol­lar gam­ing in­dus­try.

“If you keep them (youth) busy and ed­u­cated, then the vi­o­lence stays down. We want the game to teach them that there are other ways to ex­press your­self and earn an in­come,” Akeem said.

ONE-OF-A-KIND J’CAN EX­PE­RI­ENCE

With the bor­ders slowly re­open­ing, Akeem plans to leave South Korea, where he has resided for the last year, soon, and head back to Ja­maica, where he and Tyreik will ramp up de­vel­op­ment on Street Boy, but a great amount of their suc­cess de­pends on fund­ing, some­thing Akeem was un­able to se­cure two years ago.

“I reached out to Wisynco,

Se­prod, and a par­lia­men­tar­ian. I got no re­sponse,” he said of fundrais­ing ef­forts.

But it’s not only spon­sors who will be able to proudly place their prod­ucts in this one-of-akind Ja­maican ex­pe­ri­ence, but users will, over time, be able to roam fa­mous Ja­maican streets and hill­sides, the broth­ers said, as they con­tinue to add uniquely Ja­maican gam­ing as­sets.

Their favourite as­set and proudest mo­ment was get­ting Arlinton to ride around the Port­land coun­try­side on a hand­cart.

“How many video games out there al­low you to drive around on a hand­cart?” asked Tyreik.

With ways to go be­fore com­ple­tion, the broth­ers are work­ing on get­ting a demo ready for re­lease in the next three to six months in hopes of get­ting the game ready for PC and Mac users.

“We’re known for mu­sic and sports, but I wanted to do some­thing that’s not tra­di­tional, to share our cul­ture in an­other medium. It’s not about the money,” Akeem said. “Most im­por­tant is cre­at­ing a small piece of his­tory for Ja­maica.”

PHO­TOS CON­TRIB­UTED

Akeem Pen­ni­cooke

Tyreik Pen­ni­cooke

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