Video Games in Cuba: Games

lh_videogames_in_cuba_game_stackIn December 2014, Barack Obama and Raul Castro gave simultaneous speeches to their countries announcing that the United States of America and Cuba would, after decades, finally be normalizing relations. We jumped at the chance to see how video games exist, if at all, in the island nation that’s been, at least legally, so cut off from American cultural influence. We bring you LoreSabueso.

After wrapping up last week’s Piracy focus we had to reconvene on the rest of the column. What should follow up an article on the illegal ways the citizens of Cuba obtain their entertainment. The discussion was rather short. It went something like this:

“Why do you pirate?” writer one posited. “To get the items I can’t find or afford” the second responds. “Okay, well, what is that stuff?”

Personally, pirating was an odd experience for me. It was a combination of collecting and wanting the multitude of experiences that a realistic budget wouldn’t allow. The way I play games, you know, aiming to actually beat them, constantly fought this. If I hadn’t paid for a bit of entertainment I didn’t feel the need to beat it. This simply wasn’t the case for the gaming community we found in Habana. They largely pirate as part of the community.

It doesn’t matter what game, genre or number sequel they had plopped onto their hard drive during their time with the courier’s wares. Call of Duty Black Ops, World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, Fallout 4, Project CARS, they’re all fair game. Someone they knew would want whatever they found, so hoarding ISOs was incredibly commonplace. No matter how difficult it may be to actually play the darn thing. The AAA basis of the list isn’t by accident. Due to the way they obtain the wares the choices are rarely outside those with massive marketing budgets. This stayed true even on the (modded and unmodded) handheld and home consoles.

Even though they’re huge fans of co-op and couch games, Cubans hadn’t heard of many indie gems, such as Castle Crashers, 20XX, Torchlight II or Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. It’s unlikely they will any time soon. On any platform. Unless they fire their international suppliers (who are likely a family members).

Perhaps they’re taking resumes?