Stem Stumper Spotlight 4

by Kwasi Mensah

April 1st, 2011

Stem Stumper Spotlight Series

This marks the last entry in the Stem Stumper Spotlight Series. If you haven’t had a chance yet you should check out the other posts:

Dawn-Marie Dunn, Audio Guru
Jennifer Kanis, Artiste Extraordinare
Eric Sutman, The Puzzlemaster

Kwasi Mensah, Wearer of Many Hats

Programmer, Designer, PR and Project Manager are some of the many hats I’ve had to wear for this project. It’s been harrowing yet fun to work on Stem Stumper from concept to final product and I thank the team for putting up with the growing pains! You can find me on twitter @insomniac2846 .

Photo of Kwasi Mensah

Photo of Kwasi Mensah

Born and raised in The Bronx, NY, Kwasi Mensah has been programming for as long as he can remember. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon’s School Computer Science, he immediately set off into the fast-paced and exciting world of the game industry. While at Demiurge Studios, Kwasi worked on projects as varied as Green Day: Rock Band, Borderlands and the iPhone game WordFu. Using the Ananse stories of his Ghanaian background, Kwasi is looking to make games that represent the varied people and cultures of the world we live in.

1) What’s your favorite game that you think no one’s every heard of?

For some reason I keep getting drawn to games that no one else, even other gamers, really know about:) Legend of Legaia, a PS1 JRPG, has really gone underrated because it was lost under the shadow of Final Fantasy VII. It’s battle system is a lot deeper, having you punch in combos and being strategic about chaining them together. Plus, casting magic involved capturing enemies after you’ve beaten them and then summoning them for an effect ala Final Fantasy VIII without the draw system.  Its story isn’t melodramatic but it has its share of twist and turns. It also does a good job of giving the main characters and their rivals/allies a ton of layers and motivation. I’m a big JRPG fan but started wavering in college since its hard for me to devote 50 hours to a single game anymore.

Legend of Legaia screen shot

Legend of Legaia screen shot

2) What’s your favorite thing to do outside of game development?

I love performing music. I minored in Jazz Singing while at Carnegie Mellon. If you search deep enough in Google you’ll find some old Youtube videos of me performing original songs.  I used to play gigs in Boston and I’m hoping to find time to squeeze some back in once Stem Stumper’s out the door.

3) One interesting fact that you want the Stem Stumper fanbase to know.

I alluded to this in Eric’s profile but several of the stages in Stem Stumper are modeled after adinkra. Adinkra are West African symbols that each have a meaning/mythology behind them. You can read more about adinkra at www.adinkra.org.

Comparing Ananse Symbol to Original Adinkra

Comparing Ananse Symbol to Original Adinkra

The symbol on Ananse’s back in our logo is loosely based off of the adinkra “Funtunfunefu-Denkyemfunefu”. It tells the story of two crocodiles who share the same stomach. When one eats its good for both of them. We’re using it to represent “unity in diversity”.

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