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I am now publishing chapters from my upcoming book “Globalization’s Child. Being a global citizen through affections and symbols”.

“Gaming – connecting people”

Täby 2019-03-28

I am back from my trip to Berlin. For four days, I was participating in events organised by the Unconditional Basic Income Europe network. I feel happy to be able to contribute as a newly elected secretary on a 2-year mandate. There are big needs to reform and liberalise the current control-based and very bureaucratic welfare systems across the European Union. And also, there are positive ideas about how to implement an EU-wide basic income or dividend that could reduce poverty, complete economic integration and connect basic welfare to European citizenship. This was my second time in Berlin, and I have strong affections for the city. It represents several values and features that I like as when it comes to pluralism, openness, and freedom. Stockholm feels much smaller and more boring comparing to Berlin’s daily life and rhythm.

During the trip, I visited the Computer Game Museum that is based on Karl Marx alley in the former East Berlin. For me, it was one of the best museums that I have visited during the last year. I must admit that at the same time as I was feeling very enthusiastic and nostalgic by looking on and playing old games and consoles, I also started feeling very old. This summer I am turning 30 and I am at a museum equipped with interactive artefacts that used to be the coolest, awesome high-tech stuff when I was a boy. Lot of mixed emotions. Especially it felt strong to see Play Station One at the museum. I do have PS One at my home which I play from time to time, but it felt different to see it at a museum.

Source: Duck Hunt via DavidPlays

After the war in Bosnia ended in 1995, I started my primary school studies in the autumn of 1996. Already from that period and towards the end 1990’s I came in touch with different games and consoles. Among my earliest memories is playing games like Street Fighter on coin based Attari style machines. Usually, I went together with my father and his friends to one bar that had arcade machines, flippers and pool tables. Today it feels strange that I and other children who were between 6-12 years old would hang out with adults who were drinking and often heavily smoking inside.

Another feature of gaming were different consoles such as the Sega Mega drive on which one could play games like Sonic or Super Mario. In Teslic, where I was living at that time, there were initially two places for gaming and one of them was a console-based game saloon in an old garage. Playing games was performed by time payments. As for example, for 1 Deutsche (German) mark one could play for 30 or 45 minutes depending on the game and place. One of my absolute favourites was Duck Hunt, and I will always remember the smiling dog when I would miss to shoot down the ducks. But also, the amazing sound the gun produced during the shooting process.

However, one problem with owning a Sega Mega console or similar at that time was that such consoles often were pirate copies made in China and would break after one or two months. Some kids, usually boys, would get their Sega Mega consoles from relatives as in Germany or Austria while others would buy such consoles at the local, better said “black”, market by buying cheaper pirate copies. It happened to me as well since my console broke down after 1 month. Also, such original consoles had a price that if I remember right (neuron problem) was equal to 1/3 or 1/4 of a monthly wage at that time.

So, what was a special thing with the PS One? Before it came to the town, I used to combine my joy for gaming with the joy to play outside. After all, as a child, I was very impulsive, often aggressive, active, curious and adventurous. Therefore, I was spending much of my time climbing on trees and garages, hiding in basements, playing football and other games while also spending a certain amount of time playing Mah Yong, Chess or Sim City when it was on floppy disk.

Photo: Chris Hsia via Flickr

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