Hey guys, plsburydoughboy here, real name Ryan Parreno. I thought it’d be good to share some of my thoughts and experiences regarding retrogaming being from the Philippines. This is not going to be a complete overview by any means, but it should give you some insight to what it’s like to retrogame in a third world country .
To be honest, I’m not sure how games were distributed in the Philippines twenty or thirty years ago, but around the time video games were becoming a thing around the world, we were going through a period of major political and social upheaval. Particularly, we had a dictatorship under Ferdinand Marcos, who was president since 1965. In November 19, 1981, Marcos bans video games, which at this time were arcade machines like Asteroids and Space Invaders, calling them‘devilish contraptions that wreak havoc on the morals and disciplines of our youth’. The Philippine Video Machine Operators Association actually appealed to Marcos to lift the ban, apparently to no avail.
Marcos went on to place our country under martial law between the years 1972-1981 and was eventually overthrown in 1986 following the People Power Revolution. He was replaced by one of the major proponents of People Power, Corazon ‘Cory Aquino’, and under her administration we initiated the long, painful road of restoring democracy.
As you can tell as well, the years 1986-1992 (the duration of Cory Aquino’s tenure) were important years for videogaming as well, being the transition period between the 3rd and 4th generation of consoles. Suffice to say, it’s no surprise most Filipino kids didn’t know about Metroid when it first came out in the Famicom/NES.
Enough history and politics here, which I hope I’ve interested you enough to read up on your own. As a kid of the 80s, I can still remember playing 3rd generation consoles like the Famicom and even the Atari 2600, but it seems we couldn’t get these in stores. Instead, many kids got their systems imported by family abroad. Pinoys are well traveled in both Japan and the U.S., so we got about equal treading when it came to the NES, and it’s Japanese equivalent, the Famicom.
As the years went by, gaming here became more characterized by heavy piracy. We got our Famiclones early, many of them sold at stores and passed off as the genuine thing. This continues to this day, with bundles of hacked PS3s, Xboxes and Wiis being more popular than the genuine article.
Retrogaming seems to have come in vogue for us at the dawn of the internet era and the first appearance of emulators online. Those who couldn’t afford consoles marveled at being able to play video games at home for free, albeit old games. NeoRage was of particular interest to us because we still had a lot of Neo Geo machines around arcades. This, Kaillera and others were popularly used to play fighting games, which we Pinoys have always been fond of.
So, retrogaming now. Since we never were an official market, we didn’t have the glut of videogames that countries that were official markets have. There aren’t enough old videogames around to make a retro gaming scene here. I’m hardpressed to find retro gaming enthusiasts myself, although of course my personal friends are.
When I first found this site, I marveled at two shows in particular: the Game Chasers and Pat’s Flea Market Madness. I am genuinely jealous of all you guys, being able to go to nearby towns to look for video games. We just don’t have that culture here. Still, I eventually decided I would try to replicate that collecting experience you guys have as much as I can.
For my next user submission, I’ll be sharing my experiences finding a store that sells old gaming things for the first time. And, I’ll show you what it’s like to be in a seedy, thrid world, low income mall, video game arcade. Which I know sounds terrible, but this time I’ll have pictures! See you then.
-Image thanks to Austin Maeckert. Thanks man! Wanted this entry to have at least one picture, this is perfect.