Hello, dear readers!
It´s been almost a month since I last wrote about The Gamer Inside. Although you might suspect that after the hard preparations for GAMEFEST 11 The Gamer Inside team has been on holiday, we are here again to tell you: You are wrong! We have been very busy in October. But we love to be busy, mainly because of two new developments that are shaping our many microinterviews which were recorded during the mega-event in IFEMA. Lunatic Visual Studio has been editing and Cristina Pérez adding subtitles that have made possible to open a mini-series called “Your first memory” where you, the fans, are the main characters.
“Your first memory” will have 30 intense, brilliant, emotional testimonies… well, to be honest, there will be 30 first special memories made with charismatic people. Memories made with colorful people, and they will be shown in our Youtube channel, “The Gamerinside Tube”.
And after GAMEFEST11, what happened?
Firstly, I slept as much as I could… you can imagine that after the intense rhythm of work, four days and working 9-10 hours per day, I felt completely exhausted… even though a burden of one’s own choice is not felt… I was between RetroMadrid FEST and The Gamer Inside, and the time flies when you’re in good company with great professionals, friends, and the positive feelings of visitors who attended the event.
Once I recovered my energy, I stood up and I took my suitcase, the notebook, the camera, and the tripod and headed to Brazil. I was going to a country that captured my attention last summer and deserved two additional weeks for me to get to know it better. This time, Sao Paulo was my final destination. Good friends and future interviews with really interesting personages of the Brazilian video game world were waiting for me.
Brazil is a country with big social contrasts; this is the first thing you notice when you are in those lands. In fact, there is nothing like walking through Avenida Paulista and taking a bus to leave behind the skyscrapers, and only a few kilometers from there, real poverty and insecurity… a feeling of leaving a first world country much like Spain with a deep recession, and suddenly finding yourself in an emerging nation, where a savage and disproportionate capitalism is the rule, it´s very shocking. You receive a dose of reality very quickly to see that bubble in which a lot of Spaniards live, and sometimes we can´t appreciate the rights we take for granted. We have a quality healthcare system, education, and even politics… in comparison with other countries as Brazil, where practically almost everything “good” is private. A nation with two important opportunities to improve, the Olympic Games, and the World Cup. We´ll see what happens, at least Brazil has two options, we have just one…
In terms of its political sphere, the country has a lot of room to improve. But there is another sphere where you couldn’t ask for more, and it´s the passion of its gamers. One of the main reasons I had to return to this huge country of Central America was to have a vast community of players, reaching over 40 million using a diverse set of platforms. The gamer culture is very important in Brazil, with video gaming taking hold in a very intense way since the late seventies with the Telejogo and later with the well-known Atari 2600. Afterwards, the country was “invaded” by NES´s clones, some by way of Paraguay and others made in Manaos (inside the country), by the company of Gradiente. Nintendo would have conquered the market, were it not for the fact that a company called Tectoy got the SEGA license to produce its famous Master System, and its following descendants.
Currently, Tectoy is the most veteran company in the world with the license to sell products of SEGA (since 1987). Nowadays it sells a large number of Master System and Mega drive consoles in Brazil. This is due to different factors. On the one hand, this company has developed an ability to adapt to the Brazilian children’s market, as well as leverage the competitive prices of its products. Ah, in Brazil the video games´ prices are a dilemma… In Brazil there are very high taxes to protect the national products from, among others, foreign electronics imports and this causes the price of any current video game´s hardware or software to be three times higher than in Europe… As evidence, an image of a shopping mall where an “unlocked” PS2 with memory card costs 205 euros…
This sad situation for local players of original games has brought a high rate of piracy. In some markets of Sao Paulo it´s very hard to find an original game, because they’re hard to find, and pirated versions are difficult to distinguish from the originals! It was amazing to me to see the huge quantity of faked video games of SNES, Mega drive, and GBA.
But it’s not all bad news in the Brazillian video game market. Microsoft has opened its only XBOX 360 factory located outside China (I hope this doesn´t happen at the expense of overexploitation of Brazilian workers, as you can imagine that happens in the Asian country). After this movement, the Brazilian people have witnessed the fall in XBOX´s prices by 40%. Curiously enough, it´s highly suspicious that the prices of SONY and PSP platforms are also being cut, although these products come from other countries… could it be that not all that surcharge is due to taxes?
These are a few things that I learned from the interviews of different players, researchers, artists, and businessmen, approximately thirty people all told. Among them, the President of Tectoy, Stefano Arnhold, the president of the Brazilian association ACIGAMES, Moacyr Alves Jr. and the first PhD doctor in video games in the country (although now there are more), Roger Tavares.
Shortly I will tell you more about this unique and interesting emerging country, this Brazil with a fascinating culture and lively players. And, no doubt, I hope to announce to you juicy news about the evolution of this exciting project, that is, The Gamer Inside.
[Translated by Inma González Escolar]
[Reviewed by Al Goss]