Kyrgyzstan native Omar Uraimov, a recent graduate of the Faculty of Computer Science, showcased his video game, Manas, at the University of Southern California (USC) Games Expo 2023 event. Manas was one of ten best graduation projects selected by competition and developed on the USC campus under the supervision of professors, including industry professionals. Uraimov served as the ideological inspirer and creative director of the graduation project.
The immersive video game is based on the Kyrgyzstan legend, the Epic of Manas, the country’s most treasured cultural artifact. The game takes players on a journey through Kyrgyz culture through the eyes of its hero, Manas. Uraimov was first captivated by the Epic of Manas while researching his heritage in middle school.
Uraimov’s motivation for creating the video game was to share his culture with the world and explore his own heritage. He said, “It seemed like a perfect opportunity to both explore my own heritage and introduce it to so many people who probably have never heard of Kyrgyzstan.”
Uraimov’s childhood experience of feeling disconnected from his roots due to a lack of representation of Kyrgyz and Central Asian culture in media motivated him to create something that highlighted his culture. The game’s premise is centered around 40 tribes of the Kyrgyz people who are divided and scattered across Central Asia and driven out of their homeland by an enemy faction.
Manas received recognition as one of the top ten best graduation projects from the Advanced Games Program at USC. Uraimov was lauded for his work on the game and his dedication to sharing his culture with the world.