Lual Mayen, a refugee from war-torn South Sudan in Africa is now the CEO for his own game development company called Junub Games in Washington DC, being an inspiration to many.
This 24-year-old’s entry into the gaming world begun after he gained recognition from the first game he created dubbed ‘Salaam’. This game was designed while he was still in the refugee camp and wanted this to be as a source of entertainment for his friends at the camp. This game came in the eyes of international gaming communities.
He was invited to speak about the game and interact with other people from the industry in other parts of Africa. Later he was granted G Visa and was invited to serve as a consultant for the World Bank.
‘Salaam’ means peace in Arabic. He has now created a new version of this game where the character needs to survive existing in a war-torn nation and transition his way through peace. The character needs to survive by finding water, energy points and food while saving himself from bombs.
The game has microtransactions in the form of food and water that the player will need to purchase if he isn’t able to collect sufficient amounts. The money generated will help save life of an actual refugee through Junub’s partnerships with numerous NGOs.
In this year’s Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco, he shared a touching story of how he got his first laptop. He shared his desire to buy a laptop that he saw at the registration station of a refugee camp with his mother. However, they barely had any money to eat food, let alone buy a $300 laptop. However, his mother saved money by sewing people’s clothes. When she finally gave it to him in 2013, he couldn’t believe it and burst into tears.
As refugee camps didn’t have any electricity, he used to walk three hours just to charge his laptop. Through his friends, he learnt how to learn game development, graphic designing with the help of tutorial videos on flash drives. He also taught himself to speak English.
While he is working on a final version of Salaam, (with the help of various sponsors including NBA player Luol Deng of the Minnesota Timberwolves) he is now working on bringing himself and his family to Canada after he was granted Canadian citizenship this year.