South African Video Gamers ; How Load Shedding Affects Their Gaming

To many South Africans, following the web page is a critical aspect of their lifestyle as interactive video gamers. The website provides load shedding schedules, which are valuable because it tells at exactly what time and in what area power interruptions are scheduled to take place. The seriousness of how SA’s load shedding affects a video gamer’s life can best be depicted in a locally developed video game that goes by the9 title “Power Play.”

How Load Shedding Affects the Lives of SA Video Gamers

Unfortunately, load shedding in South Africa is a norm. Moreover, it always transpires for several hours during the night when the demand for electricity is said to be more than the generating capacity of power plants. Although playing in the dark is manageable until the battery charge of a laptop or power supply runs out. Anticipating a looming power shutdown can be downright stressful and frustrating — especially if one is on the verge of completing a game level, or in the midst of fighting the stage “Boss”.

While having a load shedding schedule can help ease a stressful gaming condition, interactive video gaming has random outcomes. Mapping out plans does not improve the gaming experience or reduce the stressful condition of a gaming environment.

Actually the situation could worsen this year (2023) since Eskom, the government-owned power plant that produces electricity across the entire country, warns of longer load shedding duration. Citing lack of diesel to use as a buffer, Eskom says that power interruption can last for as long as 16 hours a day.

Venting Gaming Frustrations Against Eskom via “Power Play”

“Power Play” is an action video  game designed by Eric Garner, a Lead Game Designer at Vetkoek Studios. It’s actually a winning entry for a local game development competition and with a core focus on the impact of load shedding on South African video gamers.

The gaming challenge is all about making one’s way in the darkness and across city ruins, to get to the top of the tallest building in the city. Gamers’ lives are supplemented by collecting batteries won as rewards while on the way to the Eskom building. The main objective is to confront the rich and seemingly untouchable executives using the disconcerting and obscene middle finger sign.

According to Power Play designer Eric Garner:

We perceive our work as game designers, as art and art is a medium for self-expression,… part of our development process is to put our gaming frustrations into a work of art by taking inspiration from our environment.

In Power Play, the ultimate goal is to flip off Eskom executives with the ubiquitous middle-finger obscene

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