Game City

In an effort to curb the problem of video game addiction, the Chinese government passed a law in 2000 that banned the production and sale of game consoles, in addition to all gaming accessories. It wasn’t until 2013 that the ban was lifted. In these 13 years, Microsoft came out with XBOX, Nintendo came out with Wii, and the Sony Playstation 2 evolved into its 4th generation. During this period of rapid development in the gaming industry of home consoles, Chinese players could only really buy pirated games and equipment through rather unconventional channels. During this time, the traditional arcade has managed to survive in China.


为了防止青少年过渡沉迷于游戏,中国政府于2000年颁发了一项规定,禁止了国内的家用电子游戏设备以及零附件的生产和销售。直至2013年,这项禁令才被解除。这十三年间,微软出了XBOX,任天堂出了Wii,索尼的PlayStation也从2代进化到4代。在这恰是家用游戏机以及相关游戏极速发展的时期,中国玩家只能通过非常规渠道购买水货,以及盗版游戏来享受这一项娱乐。另一方面,传统街机厅也暂时得以幸存。

The Beijing-based Portuguese photographer Ana Pinto, who is also an avid video game enthusiast, has been documenting arcades in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and other Chinese cities, and the people that she encountered in them, for about two years now. Ana started this project partly out of curiosity and surprise that so many arcades still existed in China, but also partly out of her own nostalgia for such places. Many of the subjects that Ana would encounter seemed “completely absorbed in this world of colorful artificiality and constant stimulation of flashing screens, having become detached and oblivious of everything else around them.”


现居北京的葡萄牙摄影师Ana Pinto,作为一个电子游戏爱好者,一方面出于对中国传统街机厅这种现状的惊讶和好奇,一方面也出于怀旧情绪,她从两年前开始举起相机,在北京、上海、广州等城市的街机厅里边游戏,边记录下她看到的人群。正如所有沉浸在游戏中的玩家一样,Ana所观察的这群人也是心无旁骛,“看起来完全被眼前那个五彩斑斓的虚拟世界,以及闪亮屏幕带来的持续性刺激完全吸进去了。”

Usually when taking these photos, Ana tries to avoid disrupting or distracting her subjects, but on the occasions when she was noticed, it produced some interesting reactions. “All I can say is that the ones that did acknowledge my presence and intention would smile, giggle, or proudly try to show off their dancing skills,” Ana admits, “I definitely felt that the dancers – more than anybody else – loved being photographed. They felt special.”


在这些照片的拍摄过程中,尽管摄影师尽力避免干扰被摄对象,但是整个观察者效应还是引发了诸多有意思的互动。那些注意到Ana的存在和意图的人,“他们会微笑、偷笑,或者自豪地炫耀他们的舞技。”她说。“比起其他人,我绝对认为那些跳舞的人更喜欢被拍摄。他们觉得自己很特别。”

At first, Ana was surprised that arcades were still popular here, but after realizing that until very recently home consoles were banned, it made a lot of sense. She was also especially impressed with the popularity of dancing games like Dance Dance Revolution, and how some people would play the game as a way to keep fit, sometimes even showing up at the arcade in their gym clothes. “I also became acquainted with the Chinese fishing game, which is used for gambling,” Ana tells us, “and actually, some arcades in China only serve as a front for such illegal practices, and I ended up running into some of them.”


相比她去过的其他地方,这里的街机厅除了因为曾经的禁令而意外地生意兴旺着外,玩家们对跳舞机的偏爱也让Ana印象极为深刻。她注意到很多人将其当作健身的方式,甚至直接穿着健身服装前来。此外,她还告诉我们:“我对中国那种用来赌博的钓鱼机有所熟悉。事实上,中国的有些街机厅挂羊头卖狗肉,借以掩盖其非法的营业。而我恰巧碰上过几家。”

Now with the increasing popularity of home consoles and smart phones, China’s arcade market will inevitably face some decline. But as a consumer, Ana believes that the arcade experience is irreplaceable and unique. When thinking about its future, she ponders, “as long as there are nostalgic enthusiasts, who knows? The U.S. has been experiencing a minor arcade resurgence. It is like with Polaroids and vinyl records. People love revivals.”


在家用游戏机和掌上智能终端大行其道的全球大势之下,中国的街机厅市场自然也不可避免地走向衰落。但是,在Ana这样的消费者心里,街机厅的体验具有其不可取代的独特性。关于街机厅的将来,她说,“只要还有一批复古的热衷者,谁知道会怎样呢。美国经历了一波小小的街机厅复兴,就像宝丽来和黑胶唱片。人就是喜欢旧物复兴。”

These photos, in addition to capturing the nostalgia associated with the video games from our childhood, also draw attention to the great and significant cultural relevance of video games. Her series of candid portraits Game City examines our sometimes conflicting relationship with technology, reiterating our relentless engagement with screens, which she doesn’t “necessarily perceive as a negative thing – but as an interesting and inevitable force that will shape things to come.”


而在这个系列的图像中,除了追忆我们童年时期屏幕上的娱乐体验,Ana更强调的是电子游戏的文化相关性。这个叫做《Game City》的偷拍肖像系列,不可避免地审视着我们和科技的关系,重申我们和电子屏幕之间无尽的牵连。而这种牵连,“我个人并不认为这些行为是消极的,而是将它看作一个不可避免的有趣驱动力,这种驱动力也决定了其他由此而发的事物形态。”

Websiteanabelapinto.com

 

Contributor: Banny Wang


网站anabelapinto.com

 

供稿人: Banny Wang