People play video games all over the world. Games are becoming, in many ways, a form of universal language. Although the manner and places in which people play vary wildly, especially in the resource-poor nations of West Africa.
Nick Hagen is a U.S.-based photojournalist. This series of images is from a recent visit to West Africa, where he sought out places where people play video games. The results paint a striking portrait of familiarity in an utterly unfamiliar place.
"When photographing gamers, I test to see how close I can get to them with my camera and photograph them when I feel like they've completely lost themselves in what they're playing. It seems almost like their self is somewhere between their body and the TV. When this occurs I can stick my lens literal inches from their faces and they barely notice.
"When I pitched a Nigerian contact the idea of finding a semi-pro gaming team to follow, he explained that those don't actually exist in Nigeria because of the poor internet infrastructure. All internet comes from 4G routers on overly stressed networks, meaning that the internet is extremely unreliable and that online gaming doesn't happen here in any meaningful way. Typically online first-person shooters are where teams like I was looking for spring up, so I was barking up the wrong tree.
"Because of the lack of online gaming, local gaming is stronger. This is why all of the tournaments I've been to or heard of have been either one-on-one soccer or fighting games."
Click on each image below to read the captions.
As one approached the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center on the weekend of Feb. 18 to 21, individuals on the sidewalks became more and more unorthodox.
Joggers along the National Harbor slowly became cosplayers.
Heavy down jackets in the cold winter weather slowly but surely turn to scantily clad versions of video game characters.
The fourteenth annual Music and Gaming Festival (MAGFest) brought together more than 20 thousand attendees to dress up, watch concerts and play every kind of video or table top game you could possibly imagine.
The event also boasted many celebrity appearances, with the Angry Video Game Nerd, Portal voice actor Ellen McLain and internet comedy band Ninja Sex Party.
Featured Photo Credit: Ninja Sex Party singer Danny Sexbang performs comedy music in the style of 80s synth rock to a crowd over nearly 5000 at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center at the National Harbor on Feb. 19, 2016. (Jack Angelo/Bloc Reporter)
Jack Angelo is a senior broadcast journalism major and can be reached at JackMAngelo@gmail.com.