Ever wondered what Guitar Hero would look like with 16-bit graphics? Want to play a downgraded Mortal Kombat on the original Nintendo Entertainment System? What if you could play Sonic on the Super Nintendo and rescue Mario instead of Peach? In Brazil, these things are possible.
Brazil’s video game market is strange. A military dictatorship ruled the country from 1964 to 1985 and enforced strict protectionist economic laws. During the period, Brasília eschewed imports and attempted to manufacture everything it could within its country’s borders. That led to an odd hodgepodge of cloned systems, strange cartridges, and pirated games that are still with the country today.
Drew Scanlon of Clothmap recently traveled to Brazil where he explored the strange gray markets that make up the country’s video game culture. He sees a combo Mortal Kombat/ Street Fighter II cartridge made to run on an NES, strange consoles of questionable legality, and learns what happens when the local games store learn the cops are coming to raid the place.
Clothmap is a YoutTube documentary series that explores the people and cultures of a country through its games. He’s traveled the Chernobyl exclusion zone, wandered the halls of a nuclear missile silo, and spent time in Ukraine in search of the world’s gaming culture. His recent video about Brazil’s gray gaming markets is just the first part of a series about the South American country.