First of all, I would like to clarify some things about this theme and about myself: I live in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and only recently I have acquired my first current gen console, a Playstation 3, which by the way I don't own any game yet. Also, about this theme, I have no intention to speak in the name of no one other than myself and the subject I'll share here, about being a gamer in Rio, is shared through my perspective only. Please don't take it too seriously.
I started to write this article long before this month theme for the Monthly Musing series be announced, as a matter of fact I wanted to write about this since I entered Destructoid, about how it's ( to me ) to be a gamer in Rio de Janeiro. But because this's a theme so important to me, I delayed to write it and took my time thinking about what I would write, to avoid a bad approach on a theme that I may not understand very well.
Even though I'm sure that I still lack any deep understanding about this subject ( that's the reason for the bold text at the beginning ), I felt compelled to finally write about it after reading some of this month's theme Cblogs, cause it was during this reading that I realized what's MY area of expertise! Gaming in Rio de Janeiro.
But what's so special and unique about being a gamer in Rio? I mean, being a gamer it's already something special and depending from where you live, your gaming experience can be even more unique. If you're a US gamer you'll have to deal with a new Madden every year, in Europe there's the cool covers, in Australia the censorship, in Japan all that weird stuff, and in Brazil, well...you're fucked.
Being a gamer in Rio it's in my opinion, way harder than doing crazy combos in fighting games, delivering streaks in shooters, finishing Braid or any puzzle game in a speedrun, or doing a proper attack in any given RTS. Why? Well, to do all those cool things in games you first must be able to actually PLAY those games.
Let me tell you something simple about economy before we continue, I promise that it won't take long and everything it's crucial to you undertand the big picture;
In Brazil the currency is the Real (R$), and 1 USD = R$1,85 approximally. Everything ok so far? let's move on...So, if 1 USD is more or less equal to R$ 1,85, then a console priced at $299 ( the PS3 Slim for example ) would be approximally priced at R$554 in Brazil, right? Well, no...a console priced at $299 will end up priced at ludicrous R$ 1.399, and things don't get much different for the Wii or Xbox360 too.
The Xbox360, it's distributed here officially by Microsoft in two bundled packs, the Arcade at R$1.249 or the Elite at R$1.999, and the Nintendo Wii goes at R$ 999 in most of the cases. Let's also not forget about the games, where a title priced at $60 can easily end up being priced here at R$ 200 or more.
I may get my ass kicked in any fighting game, suck at shooters, a slug at puzzle games and probably the worst RTS player that ever existed, but I'm freaking good at finding ways to play the games I want.
If you don't want to pay those insane prices for playing video games or simply don't have the time for it, like me, you're probably going to need the same expertises that I have. It's nothing new for anyone, I bet many gamers outside of Brazil do the same things, but here it's more like a need than an alternative.
So without further ado, here's my expertise, the brazilian way of being a gamer, or in my case, the Carioca way of being a gamer.
Almost a smuggler.
Even though I never had the chance to travel outside the country, I have some friends that do it sometimes. When they do, I always ask then if they can buy some games and bring then for me, sometimes even consoles. My current Playstation 3 for example, it was brought from outside by one of those friends, since there's a tax free limit of 500 USD for electronics.
At the time of writing, one of my closest friends it's travelling outside the country in vacation. When I knew she was going, I quickly entered in contact with her and asked if she could bring me two games. Now there's a copy of Grand Theft Auto IV and Bioshock, bought at fair price, coming for me! There's also the sister of one of my friends that's currently doing a college study in the US, she'll only come back in May, but that's ok, there'll be some games coming back with her too, for both me and my friend.
This same friend, whose sister will bring the games for us, currently own a Nintendo Wii and a Playstation 3 Slim, none of which were bought in Brazil, including all the games that came along with it.
If you want to pay a fair price for video games you'll need to get in touch with your friends that can somehow bring something when they go outside the country. But talking about of getting in touch...
No, seriously! Imagine that! If such a thing like a gamHAHAHAHA, sorry, a gaaame commuuunity existed so probably those "gaaameeeers" would maybe borrow or trade games, or even...AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA OR EVENAHAHAHAHAHAH, SORRY, SORRY!!! BUT THIS ONE YOU NEED TO HEAR!!!
IMAGINE THAT IF PEOPLE ACTUALLY TRADED PRE-OWNED GAMES FOR MONEY!!! AHAHAHAHA FOR MONEY!!! HAHAHAHA OR EVEN BETTER!!! IF PEOPLE RENTED GAMES !!! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH...ahaha...AHAHAH..AHAHAHAahahah... sorry, sorry... I know, I know, we all can dream, but you don't need to be silly, don't you? haha... selling pre owned games, hahaha...yeah, like if someone would make money out of that...hahaha!
Enough of the "Sterling's way of saying things", I think you already understanded what I meant by meeting other gamers. Everyone knows that there's other ways to play video games other than actually buying then...actually, talking about "alternative ways" to play video games other than paying for then...
Even though I've just presented you ways for playing the latest games, that don't include spending a freaking lot of money, piracy it's and will always be the most popular way of doing so, and in spite of the fact that piracy it's a bad thing for the industry, probably more than the pre-owned game market, no one care about that. People want to play games and people will always want to pay less than they should.
The consoles that sell better in here are the ones that can be hacked. Ask anyone which's the most popular console in Brazil and they'll tell you, it's the Playstation 2, and before it, the original Playstation. Why? Cause they can be easily hacked.
Among the current gen consoles, the Xbox360 and the Nintendo Wii are currently the most popular in here, for the same reasons! And I'm not even talking about the handhelds.
Pedro Franco wrote in an article for The Escapist, about piracy in games and other midias in Brazil, that the "Brazilian society has seen piracy not just as commonplace, but as the default way of buying a game", and you know what? It's true.
The video game industry it's an expensive midia, one that almost forces the average player to choose something like piracy. If you can manage to buy a console you soon will be facing the next gen, which means the console you currently own eventualy won't be able to run the games for this next gen. If you want to play the next gen games you'll have to buy another console, that may or may not include retro compatibility for the games of the last gen. Not to mention the exclusive games for each platform.
With the insane prices that brazilian gamers face and the natural low product life cycle, how can I blame the gamer that suport that kind of thing?
There's anything especial on the things I do, but when it come to games, there's anything I'm better than actually finding my way to play them. I may not suport piracy but gaming in Rio has a lot to do with it. The smuggler thing it's the one I prefeer most, since renting games for me it's kind of hollow. I like to own the games I play, have a library of them, like everyone else, but sometimes it's necessary.
Again, don't take the things I said too seriously, I'm just a gamer not an in-depth writer or analyst.
Well, that's it, thanks for reading ( sorry for the grammar issues ) and have a nice play.