16 years old, Berhane Wheeler is probably like any other teenager who is into digital games but what makes him stand out from a crowd is that he is into the business of developing them.
Youth Corner met with the young game developer, who is in the tenth grade at Amazing Kids Private School and Academy.
Since his second grade, Wheeler said he always loved creating games out of cardboard boxes.
“It was fun creating these board games and playing them with my family. I started creating digital games in the 3rd grade with an application called Scratch and this app opened up a brand new way for me to create my games and share them online,” he explained to Youth Corner.
Drawing inspiration from his mother, who is also an IT guru, Wheeler says working on new projects is always fun and full of unexpected opportunities.
He has developed games such as ‘The Heroes of Namibia’, which focuses on helping children to learn about Namibian historical figures; ‘The reading adventure’, which helps kids develop an interest in reading, and his recent project ‘The Lab’, an experiment app that helps users understand how chemical reactions take place.
He said: “I have plenty of games and they were initiated as science fair projects. ‘Bouncy hurdles’ is another game I worked on as a personal project, which I then posted on a play store and has since been removed.”
Speaking about his new app, ‘The Lab’, Wheeler said it was one of his greatest achievements, as it was the reason he was able to attend the world’s leading startup and tech event in Finland and pitched to investors overseas.
“This experience taught me a lot about tech in business and what it means to own and manage a business,” he said gladly.
Wheeler’s innovation at that tender age has caught the eyes of many people across the globe and makes him one of the youngest innovators in the country.
“I love the creativity and imagination that goes into creating a game idea. The next step is creating an actual game, which is the best part, as I learn new skills that I haven’t learned from creating previous games,” he further explained, adding he aspires to pursue computer science at tertiary.
If you are wondering what’s in the pipeline for the young innovator, Wheeler is currently working on starting a new YouTube channel, intended to teach people how to create video games.
He encourages his peers to strive for career paths they are passionate about.
Apart from the support of his teachers, his mother Helvi Itenge Wheeler also plays a key role in helping the young boy reach his full potential.
Itenge-Wheeler, an author, and Instructional Technology Designer at the Namibia University of Science and Technology said her son’s love for games made her introduce him to ‘Scratch’, a programming language and online community where you can create your own interactive stories, games and animations, where he created his first computer
“I continue supporting him and my daughter; I always look for activities/opportunities that interest them, such as workshops, presentations – and bought them many books since they were babies,” she concluded.