Of course, there's a black market where you can buy dollars at a rate of about 162 to 1 (that's 162 bolivares for $1 U.S.), but keep in mind that I'm a licensed professional who works at a big international company, and I make only 9,000 bolivares a month -- that's less than $60 in black market currency. That's also around the average price for most big games these days -- if not slightly less.
Oh god, I don't even make one video game a month.
Of course, I would need a console to play that game on, and those run about 80,000 bolivares. That's very nearly the yearly income of a middle-class job like mine. For you Americans, imagine that an Xbox One cost you about $40,000. Also, since the International Monetary Fund says that Venezuela will see an unemployment rate of over 13 percent this year, imagine that the mere prospect of $40,000 is a ridiculous fantasy, like a blue-collar unicorn.
Kraig Scarbinsky/Digital Vision/Getty Images
"I hope you're enjoying your college funds!"
Of course, much like life, gaming finds a way. Since we can't afford new games, we trade with our friends for old ones. There are even some underground stores where you can take your old games and, by paying an extra fee, trade them for other games (Like GameStop, but illegal -- for some fucking reason). So even the trade-in route isn't really an option for new games. Latest-gen consoles cost a lot of money, games cost a lot of money, and online games further charge subscription fees. Even in a best-case scenario, you could probably afford only two out of those three charges. There are a few cyber-cafes for online gaming, but they're mostly underground, seeing as violent video games are illegal and nobody is clamoring to quest for the Hug King in Care Bears Online. If the owners of these establishments got caught letting the public play violent games, they would be facing a minimum of two and a maximum of five years in prison. So these "cafes" are mostly limited to neighborhoods where there is scarce police presence. Those are not great neighborhoods.
That's the name of the cafe and the community.
But hey, good news if your day's to-do list included scoring some blow, stabbing a dude, and leveling up in Destiny -- you really only have to make one stop.
For more insider perspectives, check out 5 Bizarre Realities of Life at the Edge of Gaza and We Found Pirates at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Are you on reddit? Check it: We are too! Click on over to our best of Cracked subreddit.
Show some solidarity with your less-fortunate gamer brothers and sisters: click the Facebook 'share' button below.