Dr Mariusz Krasniewski of the Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Culture, Polish Academy of Sciences, has urged the Nigerian Government to establish grants to support the introduction of Nigerian oral literature into the world of digital media.
Krasniewski, who made the call at the annual conference of the Nigerian Folklore Society (NFS) on Tuesday in Abuja, defined oral literature as verbal messages that are reported statements from one generation to another.
The conference theme is: “Resilience and Dynamism in Folklore in the 21st century”.
Krasniewski spoke on “Folktale in the World of Digital Media’’.
According to him, such fund or grant will give a platform not only for the scholars but also for the creators of cartoons and comic books to promote and commemorate the rich heritage of folklore in the country.
“Such fund will give the voice to younger generation of artists and culture-makers, and inspire them to explore the fascinating world of the folkloric tradition.
“However, we sincerely believe that limiting such proposal only to animation/cartoon limits the possibilities of promotion of the Nigerian folklore through modern media products.
“We hereby advocate inclusion of the video game industry as the area with huge adaptive features and promotional potential.
“Video game is a medium that is able to capture the spirit of storytelling and can be successfully used for the promotion of folklore both on domestic and international level,’’ he said.
The don emphasised that if video game is properly made, it could become more faithful to the initial performance that the movie, cartoon and comic book, and show different angles of the storytelling than the compilation of stories.
Krasniewski, analysing the value of video game industry, described it as a well-established market with huge economic values.
He quoted Newzoo, one of the world’s leading video game analysts, as saying that global game industry in 2017 reached market values of 116 billion dollars.
According to him, it has surpassed movie and music industry put together.
He said: “Last year brought constant and significant growth of 11 per cent of reaching a new high value of 135 billion dollars.
“At the same time, the revenue itself grew by 18 per cent compared to 2017.
“This brings 43.8 billion profits to game developers and distributors according to Entertainment Software Association.
“Majority of this revenue obviously came from the developed markets of U.S, Asia and Western Europe, but market potential of African countries is indispensable.’’
Describing the growth of the local industry in Sub-Saharan African countries as remarkable, he however noted that the industry is harmed by lack of funding which resulted in limited specialist based required for development of the media products.
According to him, video game is a medium that is able to capture the spirit of storytelling and can be successfully used for the popularisation of folklore and cultural tradition.
He identified the Nigerian Folklore Society participation in the development process of African oral heritage into the media environment through the system of stipendiary support as a way forward in ensuring the faithfulness of adaptation of the traditional stories.
“Such efforts will also give the young and inspiring platform to polish their skills in the game development while at the same time will promote oral literature and folklore among other generations,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people which encompasses the traditions common to that culture.
It includes tales, chants, legends, proverbs, oral poetry and myths.