Globalization's child - Part 1 "Gaming connecting people"

in #life4 years ago (edited)


Photo: Vladan Lausevic

I am now publishing chapters from my upcoming book "Globalization's Child. Being a global citizen through affections and symbols".

Täby 2019-03-28

I am back from my trip to Berlin. For four days, I was participating in events organised by the Unconditional Basic Income Europe network. I feel happy to be able to contribute as a newly elected secretary on a 2-year mandate. There are big needs to reform and liberalise the current control-based and very bureaucratic welfare systems across the European Union. And also, there are positive ideas about how to implement an EU-wide basic income or dividend that could reduce poverty, complete economic integration and connect basic welfare to European citizenship. This was my second time in Berlin, and I have strong affections for the city. It represents several values and features that I like as when it comes to pluralism, openness, and freedom. Stockholm feels much smaller and more boring comparing to Berlin's daily life and rhythm.

During the trip, I visited the Computer Game Museum that is based on Karl Marx alley in the former East Berlin. For me, it was one of the best museums that I have visited during the last year. I must admit that at the same time as I was feeling very enthusiastic and nostalgic by looking on and playing old games and consoles, I also started feeling very old. This summer I am turning 30 and I am at a museum equipped with interactive artefacts that used to be the coolest, awesome high-tech stuff when I was a boy. Lot of mixed emotions. Especially it felt strong to see Play Station One at the museum. I do have PS One at my home which I play from time to time, but it felt different to see it at a museum.


Source: Duck Hunt via DavidPlays

After the war in Bosnia ended in 1995, I started my primary school studies in the autumn of 1996. Already from that period and towards the end 1990's I came in touch with different games and consoles. Among my earliest memories is playing games like Street Fighter on coin based Attari style machines. Usually, I went together with my father and his friends to one bar that had arcade machines, flippers and pool tables. Today it feels strange that I and other children who were between 6-12 years old would hang out with adults who were drinking and often heavily smoking inside.

Another feature of gaming were different consoles such as the Sega Mega drive on which one could play games like Sonic or Super Mario. In Teslic, where I was living at that time, there were initially two places for gaming and one of them was a console-based game saloon in an old garage. Playing games was performed by time payments. As for example, for 1 Deutsche (German) mark one could play for 30 or 45 minutes depending on the game and place. One of my absolute favourites was Duck Hunt, and I will always remember the smiling dog when I would miss to shoot down the ducks. But also, the amazing sound the gun produced during the shooting process.

However, one problem with owning a Sega Mega console or similar at that time was that such consoles often were pirate copies made in China and would break after one or two months. Some kids, usually boys, would get their Sega Mega consoles from relatives as in Germany or Austria while others would buy such consoles at the local, better said “black”, market by buying cheaper pirate copies. It happened to me as well since my console broke down after 1 month. Also, such original consoles had a price that if I remember right (neuron problem) was equal to 1/3 or 1/4 of a monthly wage at that time.

So, what was a special thing with the PS One? Before it came to the town, I used to combine my joy for gaming with the joy to play outside. After all, as a child, I was very impulsive, often aggressive, active, curious and adventurous. Therefore, I was spending much of my time climbing on trees and garages, hiding in basements, playing football and other games while also spending a certain amount of time playing Mah Yong, Chess or Sim City when it was on floppy disk.


*Photo: Chris Hsia via Flickr *

With the PS One becoming introduced and used I felt that things were changing. Suddenly, I could see that more and more kids were either spending times in-game saloons or at home. It became popular to rent as PS One for a whole day or a weekend for those who were not able to afford to buy one. The PS one became as a symbol of our childish imaginations and behaviours. One game that especially gained attraction and affection was "Soccer". Fifa was popular as well and had a better graphic but not as popular as Soccer as regarding Pro-Evolution Soccer.

An “prominent” part of the Soccer gaming culture was betting and competition. Two players would usually play a 20 minute and less often a 40-minute game by choosing two football teams. The player who lost the match would be the one paying either 50 pfennigs or 1 German, later the Bosnian mark. Those were the rules. It was also popular to organise Soccer tournaments where around 30 players or more could compete during a whole day and where the winner would get a money-based prize


Photo: Vladan Lausevic

My early Soccer gaming experience was also about coming in touch with Japan. Since my first experience with the Konami produced soccer game was about the Japanese soccer league. Despite not being able to understand what was being said during the game by commentator simulators, one big difference between soccer and other earlier games as Duck Hunt or Super Mario was that it felt like a never-ending storytelling. One could play individual matches against the console or against another human player. It was also possible to play a whole league, manage a club and continue playing and managing a club "forever" within the game. There was not level 1 to level something until the game ended.

Also, another vital part and “gamechanger” was the memory card so that one could save the gaming process to continue later. Having an own memory card in a pocket on the way to a game saloon felt almost as a status thing. As having the last smartphone or an expensive watch. The memory card made Sony richer and especially a lot of young boys happy around the world.

Gaming is one of the most common ways for people to get connected, as regarding the current e-sport development that is increasing in popularity. During the 1990s and 2000s, probably a very small amount of people believed that gaming would even become recognized as a sport. So keep in mind that when you are gaming, that your product is designed in one place, produced in another one places and enjoyed by you and others across the world at the same time.

P.S: The inspiration for the name of this chapter came from the popular slogan “Nokia – Connecting People” that was largely connected to one of the best-selling mobile phones in world history – Nokia 3310. I used it between 2003-2006.


Photo: Manues Marques via Flickr. Modified by Vladan Lausevic

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