In June 2015, Andrew Kaggia made history by creating Kenya’s first 3D video game titled Nairobi X. The game is a first-person shooter that features a character called Otero who is part of a recon squad and is on assignment to save the city from alien invasion. This game upon launch became an instant hit in Kenya and beyond with a lot of buzz, in newspapers, TV and other platforms.
In 2021, Andrew made the Business Daily Africa Top 40 under 40 list. This is an annual selection of the most influential and progressive personalities who have left a mark in corporate Kenya and in business. His successful game was among the things they looked at but that was not all.
The 33- year old self-taught animator was part of a popular Kenyan satire TV show as a part of the visual effects (VFX) team at the age of 21. He would then go a step further to produce Wageuzi: Battle 2012 a 3D animation that put 2012 presidential aspirants against each other in the form of “transformers.” This garnered him international attention with his work getting featured on CNN and Aljazeera. He also runs a YouTube channel called Heroes Smashers which has gone viral managing to rack up to 400 million views and almost 1 million subscribers with about 1000 new subscribers daily.
On a recent social media post, Andrew Kaggia said the following, “I’ll be releasing the official trailer for my African superhero feature film in a couple of days.” He added that in his film he combines elements of sci-fi with African mythology and science vs magic. He mentioned that using Unreal Engine to create the film was quite the challenge but the result was worth it.
When asked how he joined The 3D animation and game development industry in a podcast interview by Rhoda Kingori he said, “ When I was young I was an artist I loved to draw on paper. I had all these ideas in my head and I felt very frustrated because I didn’t know how to express them on paper. I could only draw still images but I had all these things in my head that I now know were 3D images. I could see them I could see all the angles but I could not express that on paper. For the longest time that frustrated me and then there was a certain Disney cartoon, I would watch on TV I don’t remember what it was but I remember after watching it that was the first trigger for me that whatever this is I knew that it was what I wanted to do when I grew up. I did not know that it was called animation, I knew it was a cartoon. I did not know what the process of making it was but I was like wow! Whatever that is I want that! That was in the early 90’s”
The second experience that helped Andrew reinforce his decision of pursuing animation as a career was when he watched the first Jurassic Park movie in 1993 on videotape. He recounts how he remembers his older brother telling him to leave the room because the movie is not for children. So he was hiding behind a sofa the whole time he watched the film. He was fascinated by how real the dinosaurs looked and how people were running and interacting with them eventually he could not contain himself and out of being wowed by what he was seeing he shouted and his brother saw that he was there. Then they started a conversation about the dinosaurs and his older brother tried to explain to him that they were not real but his young mind could not understand. He remembers saying to himself that it did not make sense but whatever that was he wanted to know more about it so he started looking for things that would lead him in that direction. At the time he could not search on the internet so he was on the lookout for documentaries and content that had 3D animations.
In 1999 he speaks of a video game called Tekken that he saw a child playing somewhere. At that time paying to play on a Playstation cost around 2 dollars an hour. Since it was quite expensive he watched other children play and this experience is what wrapped it up for him. He was completely sold on his decision to pursue 3D animation and game development.