I am back from my Berlin trip. For four days I was participating on events organized 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 liberalize the current control based and very bureaucratic welfare systems across the EU and to implement an EU-level basic income or dividend that can reduce poverty, complete market liberalizations and provide basic welfare.
This was my second time in Berlin and I have strong affections for the city. It represents several values and features that I like: pluralism, openness, freedom and inclusion. Stockholm region feels much smaller 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. It was one of the best museums that I have visited during the last year.
I have to admit that at the same time as I was feeling very enthusiastic and nostalgic by looking on and playing old games I also started to feel very old. This summer I am turning 30 and I am at the museum equipped with interactive artifacts that used to be the most high-tech and hype stuff when I was a boy. It was a feeling of mixed emotions. Especially I felt strong about seeing Play Station One at the museum. I do have PS One at my home but it felt differently to see it at a museum.
After the war in Bosnia ended in 1995 I started my primary school studies in the autumn of 1996 in Teslic. Already from that period and forward during the 1990’s I came in touch with different kinds of games and consoles. Among my earliest memories is playing games as Street Fighter on coin-based arcade machines. At that time, since I was living in the “Serb part” of Bosnia it was possible to use both Yugoslav dinar coins for payments but also German marks/pfennings. Usually I went together with my father and his friends to one bar that had arcade machines, flippers and pool tables.
Another feature of gaming were different consoles such as the Sega Mega drive on which one could play games as Sonic or Super Mario. In Teslic where there were initially two places for gaming and one of them was a console based game saloon in a old garage. Playing games was performed by time based payments. For example, for 1 German mark one could play for 30 or 45 minutes. One of my absolute favorites was Duck Hunt and I will always remember the smiling dog when I would miss to shoot down the ducks. But also that sound that gun was producing during the shooting process.
However, one problem with owing a Sega Mega consoles or similar at that time was that such consoles often were pirate copies made in China and would broke after one or two months. Some kids, usually boys, would get their Sega Mega consoles from relatives as in Germany or Austria while other would buy such consoles on the local market which more or less was based on pirate copies. This happen to me as well since my console broke down after 1 month. Also, such consoles had a price that if I remember right was equal to 1/3 or 1/4 of a monthly wage for most of the working individuals.
Now 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 and searching 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.
When PS One came to the town as a child I felt that things were changing. Suddenly, 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 behaviors. One game that especially gained attraction and affection was “Soccer”. Fifa was popular as well, especially for its graphics, but not as popular as Pro-Evolution Soccer.
An important part of the Soccer gaming culture was betting and competition. Two players would play a 20 minute or a 40 minute game. The player who lost the match, or even two matches, would be the one paying either 50 pfennings or 1 German mark. Those were the rules. It was also popular to organize Soccer tournaments where more than 30 or 40 players could compete during a whole day and where the winner would get a money based price.
My first Soccer gaming was also about coming in touch with Japan. The game was from there and also the Konami based soccer game was about the Japanese soccer league. Despite of 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 as 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 “for ever” within the game. There was not level 1 to level something were the game ended.
Also another vital part was the memory card so that one actually could save a game in order to continue later. Having a own memory card in a pocket on the gay to a game saloon felt as a status thing.
Gaming is one of the way of how people get connected, as regarding the current e-sport behaviors as part of the global ideas and activities. Keep in mind that when you are holding a console and gaming that your product is designed in one place, produced in other places and enjoyed by you and others across the world at the same time. It is an example of human interconnection taking place in a borders-less meaning.