3D Movie and Video Game Rooms Going Underground / Julio Cesar Alvarez
Posted on November 5, 2013
Havana, November 2013 – Movie and game rooms created by the private
sector to stave off boredom is a sample of what can be achieved in a
short time with the decentralization of the economy. The government’s
recent ban on these recreational activities, shows who is holding back
What is Cinema: Art? Cultural colonization? Brainwashing? Entertainment?
Most viewers say, when asked, they are looking to be entertained, have
fun, let out a few choice words when technology and ingenuity show them
something surprising. At least, for many, this is the sine qua non
ingredient of “the stupendous reality called cinema,” to quote Ortega y
On the other hand there are the the ideal comfort conditions to enjoy a
movie. Most respondents mentioned an air conditioned room, comfortable
chairs or armchairs, being about to snack or nibble on something while
watching the movie. Some want to enjoy a drink at this moment.
These two conditions, a good time and comfort, are met in the private 3D
moving rooms serving the public, although they don’t have a license to
practice the activity.
Although Fernando Rojas, the Deputy Minister of Culture said on 27
October that they did not intend to prohibit this type of activity, but
to regulate it, the fact is that the Cuban 3D movie room owners woke on
2 November to find their exhibitions prohibited.
“The exhibition of films, which includes 3D rooms and computer games,
have never been authorized and this type of self-employment activity
will cease immediately,” read the information note published by the
official organ of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party on
Saturday, 2 November.
The owners of such rooms, such as Ronny in Vibora, hoped that the
government would grant licenses to legalize them, even if they were
supervised by the municipal Ministry of Culture. “I’ve invested
thousands of dollars in the business. What am I supposed to do with all
this equipment. How can I recover my investment?”
The House of Culture of the 10 de Octobre municipality, had among its
plans to contract this type of service as activities for children. But
with the new ban no one dares to talk to them about it.
“It wasn’t a bad idea. The kids love the 3D cartoons, the glasses amuse
them, and they see their favorite characters in this dimension. If we
managed to get some of these 3D owners to set up this kind of exchange,
we can bring 3D to more kids who have few chances to go to a private
function,” said a cultural promoter from the House of Culture, who
preferred to remain anonymous.
The video game business
Less widespread than 3D movies, but gaining customers in parts of the
city, is the video game business. The El Maravilla Technopremier, a
complex technology for the self-employes, on 10 de Octubre avenue,
between San Francisco and Concepcion, offers a variety of IT services,
such as software installation, hardware repairs, printing and scanning,
computer classes, and a modern video arcade that runs 24 hours, allowed
us to take photographs, but declined to give statements.
At a price of 20 pesos in national currency per hour, the room has
networked computers to play games like Call of Duty, Word of Warcraft,
FIFA, and others. It also has Xbox 360 with Kinect (Body Motion
Detector) with more than 30 games in this class. Quite a deluxe set
compared to what they can offer with the old software and computers at
the Youth Computer Clubs.
With the new ban, the kids who currently attend these places, which are
more than a few, will have one less place to play the video games they
like. They will have to line up again at some Youth Computer Club to
access games authorized by the”cultural politics of the government,”
such as Gesta Final, a Cuban videogame that recreates the period
1956-1959, when the rebels led by Fidel fought in the hills of the
“At the rate we are going we will have to go underground to see movies
or play the games that we like,” said Juan Carlos, a 16-year-old fan of
For ordinary Cubans, the decision to ban the 3D movies and video game
rooms means fewer entertainment options for a people tired of seeing
what they force to watch you to see in the cinemas, falling apart from
time and ineptitude.
But for the soldiers of the Cuban Ministry of Culture, a
Goebbels-inspired institution responsible for ensuring the “purity and
quality” of what is displayed or played with the greatest concern being
“the final triumph of a mass preference for Hollywood movies that
enthrone banality and trashy entertainment.”
Julio Cesar Alvarez
Cubanet, 4 November 2013
Source: “3D Movie and Video Game Rooms Going Underground / Julio Cesar
Alvarez | Translating Cuba” –