Some Filipinos found a post of defeated vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. about video games “ironic” as they recalled how his father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, had banned video games before.
The younger Marcos talked about mobile gaming on his vlog in connection with the recently-proposed esports college curriculum and attempted to play Mobile Legends, a popular multiplayer mobile game.
“Who can still remember Space Invaders and the days when games were played in arcades? In just one lifetime, gaming technology has advanced so rapidly—now it’s literally at the tip of our fingers!” the former senator wrote on the video post’s caption.
“With the recent proposal to make E-Sports a bachelor’s course in college, it seems gaming is solidifying its place in society’s future,” Marcos added.
The Lyceum of the Philippines University, together with gaming agency Tier One Entertainment, previously drafted a curriculum for esports as a baccalaureate degree.
The program is designed to produce graduates who will work on the back-end operations of the industry, unlike previous misconceptions that it would turn the youth into professional computer game players.
Marcos shared the link of his video about mobile gaming on his Twitter page, which eventually earned criticisms from some Filipinos who recalled how his father had banned video games, as well as pinball and slot machines, post-Martial Law period.
A Twitter user shared screengrabs of archived news articles that reported about the ban following the complaints of parent and teacher groups, including the Chamber of Filipino Retailers, the Village Ladies Brigate and the Association of Filipino Women, who claimed the games caused “havoc” on the youth’s morality.
The online user also added hashtags commonly associated with outcries against Martial Law such as “NeverAgain” and “NeverForget.”
The post was shared just in time for the 34th anniversary of the People Power Revolution which toppled the 20-year Marcos regime.
— Un philippin (@randomsalt) February 25, 2020
He also specifically linked an archived news article of The Telegraph published on Nov. 21, 1981 with the title “Marcos bans video games.”
“The Philippines pulled the plug on Friday on Space Invaders, Asteroids and thousands of other video games to stop the ‘devilish contraptions’ from corrupting the morals of the youth,” an excerpt from the article reads.
Marcos had ordered all of the coin-operated games to be “dismantled, destroyed, or surrendered to the military” 15 days after he implemented the presidential decree that declared them illegal.
Last year, a study done by the Oxford Internet Institute and the University of Oxford revealed that there was no concrete proof video games could actually cause violent behavior among the youth.