Mikael Arustamyan is a teenager on a mission: becoming a mobile game programmer. Such is not at all impossible in today’s world, but challenging, if you are from Mkhitarashen, a village of 100 people in western Nagorno Karabakh. The dream came within reach in 2015 when TUMO, the free-of-charge Yerevan-based Centre for Creative Technologies, opened a branch in Stepanakert, Nagorno Karabakh’s main city. Since then Mikael dutifully travels once in a week to attend classes.
“I started to attend the classes because I wanted to learn robotics. Later I moved on to studying programming and went deeper into this sphere, especially in mobile programming,” explains an enthusiastic 15 year-old who, alongside a team of three, developed Save The Bomb, a mobile game where players have to safely remove bombs and overcome challenges to move onto the next level. The game, available on GooglePlay online, draws from everyday, as mines dating back the conflict with Azerbaijan of the early 1990s still dot the region’s hills.