This time last Saturday, we came into the hub like we do everyday, to hunch ourselves over our laptops and bury our noses in code, or whatever we were working on.

Then Chuka walked in, PS3 game console in hand. A few minutes later, it was hooked up to the giant smart TV in the hub’s central lounge area, with wireless controllers. A few curious ones wandered over to have a go with Chuka. Then the big bucket of barbecue arrived.

I think it was the barbecue that did the rest of us in.

We spent the rest of the day taking turns to play FIFA soccer and Street Fighter. There was only one console, so the ones who weren’t locked in frantic thumb-mashing frenzy at any point in time became a rapt audience, roaring approval at multiple-hit combos, and egging favourites on with barbecue-fuelled enthusiasm. For something that was relatively unplanned (the barbecue came courtesy of a pre-arranged collabo of a few guys plus Chuka), it turned out to be crazy fun.

As I think on it one week later, I also see how it was awesome from a relationships standpoint. Most people come into the hub and basically mind their own business. 70 percent of their interactions will perhaps not go beyond the obligatory hello or hi. Hello/hi is kind of hard rock for meaningful relationships to take root in.That is not to say that relationships will not develop over time, just that they’ll take longer and be less fortuitous, without deliberate icebreakers.

Like Game Day!

Personally, I found myself connecting with people whom I’d only been civil with previously. It’s hard to stay tight-lipped when there’s a joystick in one hand, and a piece of chicken or a can of beer in the other. Some people must have had more fun in those few hours than they’d had in the past 6 months put together. After that, you just don’t go back to saying hello/hi. Not after you have bonded over 90s 8-bit Super Mario, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter and SEGA soccer game lore.

In fairness, the Co-Creation Hub already does a decent job of socialising its members. Events like the monthly Developers Parapo (“parapo” means “unite”) and others which happen frequently enough. These often end with a brief mixer where people get to chat and network over light snacks. How often will those brief, stiff, professionally oriented interactions engender real friendships, intimate relationships and true synergy?

I don’t know. But I know that it takes approximately 5 seconds to hit it off with a gamer kindred spirit. They might not turn out to be the co-founder you were looking for, but they might be the one to introduce you to them eventually. Or they could connect you to that critical resource. Or solve give you the idea that solves that knotty problem that’s been keeping you up at night for weeks. They could be the missing link.

I thoroughly enjoyed the all day gaming experience with everyone last Saturday, and I’m thinking it wouldn’ t hurt to take things a bit further.Would it be a bad idea to have regular a Game Day event at the CCHub? Take a break from wrestling with SDKs and IDEs? Say like every quarter? There’s talk of Microsoft hooking the Hub up with an Xbox and Kinect. If we had a PlayStation to go with that, we’d be all set. And I hope it wouldn’t be too much for some kind corporates to pick up the tab for the barbecue and drinks. What do you say?

PS: I’m sorry that there are no pictures, at the time I didn’t contemplate the significance of what was happening. I was too busy having a great time myself — I was Chuka’s first victim at soccer. He scored five unreplied goals, all the while assuring me with a grating benevolence that he was going easy on me. This public de-mystification of Lordbanks cannot be forgiven. I do not know how, but I will retaliate someday, somehow. I swear it on the yet-to-be-bought diapers of my unborn gamer offspring.

Bankole Oluwafemi Author

Get the best African tech newsletters in your inbox