Cuba: Where underground arcades, secret networks and piracy are a way of
A look at how Cubans play, make, critique and find video games
by Brian Crecente@crecenteb May 15, 2017, 9:00am EDT
Like its music, like its art, Cuba is a complex, colorful mash-up of
dichotomous ideas, cultures and emotions.
Nothing better describes the island nation than the image of a doctor
dressed as a revolutionary, a crumbling wall amidst towering, colorful
homes and, most recently, hundreds huddled in darkened WiFi parks, their
faces alight in the glow of cell phones.
Now, despite trade embargoes, despite nearly non-existent internet and
government controlled media and censorship, Cuba surprises once more in
its ability to overcome the seemingly insurmountable by embracing all
aspects of video games.
Secret gaming networks entwine utility lines, broadcast from rooftops
and piggy-back phone cables over highways. Speakeasy arcades can be
found in many Havana neighborhoods, locked away behind closed doors.
Blocked by two governments, U.S. video games — normally priced in the
U.S. at more than a Cuban makes in a month — are as inexpensive as they
are ubiquitous in Cuba’s thriving black market. And the people who play
these games are just as passionate about making them, writing about
them, competing in them. This is a new generation of Cubans; raised on
illicit video gaming, born to love everything those games offer from the
ability to create interactive, moving art, to gaming’s deep social roots
and frenetic sense of play.
Over one week in March, I visited Havana, spending my days meeting with
professors, game makers, journalists and players to try and capture a
sense of what it is to be a Cuban in the age of gaming.
Source: Cuba: Where underground arcades, secret networks and piracy are
a way of life – Polygon –