It's a me, barrio!
Welcome to Kambyero. We like video games.
We are a new platform, discussing a new platform. Video games as art. We’re not there yet, but we see glimmers of brilliance here and there, suffering the teething pains of its predecessors. The novel. The film. The television show. The comic book.
In the forty-odd years of their existence, video games have developed extensively as a medium, from the calculated competition of Pong to a spirited youth on the journey of a lifetime in Pokémon. While there’s no “Citizen Kane of gaming” yet— and, as we’ll contend in our columns, perhaps there shouldn’t be— gaming has evolved in the past decades as a viable form of storytelling. Last year was particularly memorable— 2012 was one of the greatest years for the hobby, pushing the possibilities inherent in interactive media, both in the mainstream and the independent spaces.
Over the next year and beyond, we will provide commentary, essays, reviews of video games and what they mean for Filipinos. We’ll be discussing personal histories, making observations on gaming culture in our country, and speaking with local games developers, seeing the mark we’re making on the industry at large.
Gaming in the Philippines is a strange beast. Homebound types possess the kit— but typically not, ahem, the games themselves. Those who dwell in the internet shops own neither, but cultivate their personas online and in actual, tangible, clans. Some firmly stay on the straight and narrow, supporting the companies they love. Others still strike a fine balance, purchasing when they can and sampling at their leisure.
Another mode, typically only prevalent in Asian countries, is present here as well: video games as a conduit to strengthen personal ties. Cooperation centered on the television, LAN parties, meetups for Mario Kart or Monster Hunter. Our relative proximity to our family and our peers enables gaming together in person, unfettered by anonymity or the use of headsets. Of course, this underlying technology may also be used fully, connecting Filipino players to their counterparts thousands of miles away.
Different players, same medium. As a form that celebrates variety— in style, in plot, in agency— video games have the potential for infinite narratives. The inherent interactivity in play allows anyone to tell their own stories. While video games as art is part of ongoing discourse in other parts of the world, little of this thought is present locally— or for that matter, coverage of video games in general. We hope to change that. This is our attempt to make something new.
We like video games. Welcome to Kambyero.