Hello there guys, I’m just a normal internet guy who you would never meet in real life and would probably forget about after reading this article (Considering that you do read it.)
I have been reading Kotaku for quite some time now. I rely on it since it is very gamer based that other sites that use “professionals” to review and give insight to my games, In here I actually see how the gaming population react as a whole. And today I would like to share to you my experience as a lifelong gamer.
I am the same as all of you, probably with a little bit difference here and there but at the core I can say that we are the same; I love games. I've been gaming even before I learned how to read, I knew who Pikachu was before I knew my kindergarten teacher, I have always loved my father’s mustache since it looks like Mario’s, I have stabbed a lot of people with a stick pretending to be Link, I even cut all of Mom’s plants and attempted to smash a flower pot (which earned me a ton of spanking rather than rupees) I can even say that I can write and read English this well even though I am an Asian (A Filipino) because of all the wall of texts that was forced into my little brain when I was 5 playing Final Fantasies.
I am a Gamer, and a Filipino.
That is the core focus of my article; how exactly is gaming here in a 3rd world country?
To give you a brief overview; Philippines is a 3rd world country, and gaming is a hobby that a few “lucky” people has access to. Majority of my countrymen would rather spend money on their daily needs than games. One 3DS cart at the moment is already a budget for a week or even a month for some of the unfortunate living in here. Because of this setting, even those who somehow manage to have a decent status in life stays away from games. We don’t have much trains for public transport services (we do have train transport but it is centered only around ONE city, our capital Manila) and instead relies on “jeepneys” (modified jeeps for public use) and tricycles for public transport. Traffic is terrible, the government is made up of people with the same surnames and some local actors and actresses, and the state of education would cost a whole new article to talk about.
But that is not what I am here about, I am here as a gamer not as a Filipino.
So what makes gaming different here than where you are?
We don't like trains.
Lately, gaming is slowly making its own name here in our country (with DoTA, League of Legends, and some entrepreneurs that actually focuses on gaming, we don’t have Gamestops but thankfully we have establishments that works the same). “Gaming” boomed when tablets came here in our country and took us by storm. I myself am no fan of Androids or Tablets or Iphones. But I do give it my thanks for “introducing” somehow a game platform that most people can get into.
But back in the days of the SNES/Gameboy, gaming is so scarce that almost no one avails for it. Sure there’s like a console for every neighborhood but still the scale is like 1 console per 50 houses. In those days only those who have some spare cash (which is very rare) can actually avail a console or a handheld. I had a Gameboy back then and meeting another kid with a gameboy feels like finding a long lost buried treasure in the seas of the Pacific.
Then the next generations came (Ps2/GC/XboX/GBA) Gaming did evolve quite decently but not because the country itself improved, this was because of a new “technology” called “Piracy”. Most of the gaming scene back in those days is Manila (the country’s capital) centered. And it revolves around “piracy”. And that is the reason why most of Filipinos bought a ps1, ps2, psp and ps3 (since they are more hack-able than other consoles). We even have stores that sell “download” and “pirated” games and services like jail-breaking units. I admit back in the days I did not pay that much attention to it. But lately as I grow up I start to notice the drawbacks of such “gaming” environment.
We don’t have policies for games here in our country; they don’t even regulate how our ISPs handle our internet. I can even say that in those days if you want to start a business that the government would not look at, go for pirating games. Our government does not give a shit about these things. (Well it’s not like they give a shit about anything anyways.) Not that I can blame them, because as I have said; Gaming is something deemed as irrelevant in our country’s context during these times
A gamer's heaven... in the seas of the Caribbean
Most of those who buy these games do not value the art that they are playing at all. Since it is “cheap” and can easily be “replaced”. This produced a state of mind that says “gaming is not an art.” Or “gaming is not important” a state of mind which also explains why Filipinos have a “different” attitude when you meet them online.
Not that I can blame them though, the free stuff is there and no one would care if you see your games as art or hobby back then. A man works for 8 hours a day and now somehow he can avail a decent relaxation with the few spare cash he can get. Saying that he doesn't deserve to play games will leave a bad taste in my mouth. Sure it’s ugly if you take the developer’s view. But still, if you can live in my perspective and see the picture of this environment as a whole you will learn… or rather… be forced by the norms to swallow it since there is nothing you can do.
It was the same scenario even up tile the early days of the current gen, Ps3 jailbreaking is everywhere and ps3 downloads would become a very good business.
And then the IPhones/Androids/Tablets came.
I do not know how they did it, but somehow gaming has steered towards the decent path when they came. Ps3s can no longer be jailbreak-ed or rather, no one wants to do it anymore, there are now gaming stores that centers around clean legit gaming. Probably it’s because the word “gaming” had a different annotation now. It now means a hobby not a waste of time (thanks to temple run, league of legends and candy crush) and somehow that helped to make the Filipino gaming society value gaming a lot more.
These candy crushers or temple runners may be different from what “gamers” are supposed to be in the eyes of us “veterans”, but I got to hand it to them; they changed the image of gaming without themselves knowing it. And I wholeheartedly give them my thanks.
Maja Salvador, A local actress, admits she plays Candy Crush on Mobile
The 3DS is hoarding a lot of money, many are expecting Pokemon X and Y, we have clubs and groups now that centers on gaming, a lot of us already calls Link as Link and not Zelda, We know who Yoshi, Wario and Luigi is and I can actually streetpass some people now and see their houses at animal crossing. There are also a lot of legit GW2 and Diablo 3 players who actually bought these games, and not just that. Even F2P MMOs are flourishing. And with the current additions of the Last Of Us, Bioshock Infinite and Far Cry 3 racking up a lot sales. Everything looks a bit brighter now
There are actually A LOT MORE people now who fight piracy and support legit gaming. And piracy is slowly disappearing little by little, not because the government acted on it but because we as Gamers all over the world pushed this great hobby towards its limits. Sure there are minor issues like DRMs and micro transactions but if we look at the big picture; everything is moving forward even us in the 3rd world country in terms of gaming.
And it’s not just us that can see it, even big behemoths like Nintendo, Sony and someday even Microsoft, can actually see it.
And this is where I would plead for your help, you people who live in first world countries, the people who are standing at a place where their voices can actually be heard, the gamers who most of the companies will look at when they make their games. Please, Keep on voicing out everything for our sake, for the sake of those that cannot be heard. Keep on pushing this hobby for us, keep playing, keep buying, keep supporting. You don’t realize but you are actually helping us gamers from 3rd world countries without knowing it. Your reviews, your reactions, your comments, your rage, your memes, your bashing, and the way you buy games, the way you play games. IT HELPS US IN THE LONG RUN. So please just please. Keep on loving this great hobby.
And someday, maybe someday, we from the Philippines and other gamers in the similar situation will fix our own shit and stand with you, to conquer the worlds beyond, TOGETHER.
I will have to end it here for now; I still have my town to attend to in Animal Crossing and more dragons to kill in Skyrim. And I still have to drop by Lonlon Ranch in my rerun of OoT3D.
That’s all guys and thank you for your time. Keep playing.