Omar Uraimov’s Love Letter to Central Asia Makes You the Hero of Kyrgyzstan

Photo of Omar Uraimov and the Legend of Manas
Omar Uraimov created a video game called Manas, based on the Kyrgyzstan legend, The Epic of Manas, the country’s most treasured cultural artifact. (Photo / Gloria Jin)

In tribute to his homeland, graduating computer science student unveils first video game set in Kyrgyzstan at USC Games Expo

Once upon a time, in a faraway land in the great Kyrgyz mountains, there was a boy named Omar Uraimov.

He was born in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, a country in Central Asia, where his family had lived for generations. But at the age of 5, Omar and his parents moved to the bustling city of Houston, Texas, to pursue the great American dream.

Gone were the rugged “celestial mountains,” vast plains, and pristine lakes of his homeland, replaced by high-rise buildings, highways, and sprawling suburbs. He was proud of his heritage, but as he grew older, he started to feel like he was losing touch with his roots. He saw little representation of his culture in his new home. He longed to share his stories, but he didn’t know how to do it.

Fast-forward 15 years, and Uraimov found the answer: a video game based on the Kyrgyzstan legend, the Epic of Manas, the country’s most treasured cultural artifact. The immersive game, which takes players on a journey through Kyrgyz culture through the eyes of its hero, Manas, will be one of 10 specially selected Advanced Games Projects presented at the USC Games Expo on May 10.

Read more about Omar’s story