My Jakarta: Eric Setiawan, Timezone Manager
Mark Vincent Sindhunata
Arcade games have come a long way since classics like Pong and Space Invaders could be played with a joystick and a few colored buttons for a Rp 100 coin in the 1970s. Nowadays, the machines are more likely to include an assault rifle, dance floor or steering wheel. For the past two decades, Timezone has been a big part of the arcade game scene in Jakarta.
Working at one outlet is Eric Setiawan, the 29-year-old manager of Timezone in Taman Anggrek. He tells My Jakarta that one of the most important things a Timezone employee must know is how the play the games.
Did you play arcade games in your childhood?
Yes, definitely. I loved playing games when I was a kid. I remember clearly the first home game console I ever played was Atari. I also played arcade games at gaming centers that have since closed down. I think this childhood hobby of mine heavily influenced my decision to work here. I just love video games.
Can your family play here free of charge?
We once had a policy that allowed that. I remember taking my cousin here to play as much as he wanted free of charge, and other employees brought their family members too. But then the management decided to amend the policy. Fortunately, the employees didn’t make such a big deal out of the regulation. We are professionals, after all.
What about the employees? Are they all good gamers?
Well, it would be too bothersome to ask them about the games that they’re good at in their job application, but I can guarantee you that all of our employees can play and operate any and all the games in Timezone. For beginners, we always give them a tutorial on how to play the games. We usually do this when we don’t have too many customers. So they may not be game masters, but if you have trouble playing a certain game, do not hesitate to ask any of our crew members.
Why did you decide to work here?
Previously, I was employed at Dunkin’ Donuts. I worked there right after I graduated from high school. A couple of years later, in 2004, I applied to work at Timezone and it turned out I got accepted. I started my career from the very bottom, like these regular crew members you now see around us. Over the years, I maintained good work standards and received several promotions until I finally become a manager here in 2007. At the same time, I started studying at Bina Sarana Informatika in Salemba, Central Jakarta.
Does working in a games center remind you of your childhood?
Yes, seeing all the kids cheering when they score or win a game, and seeing them sulking when they get a ‘game over’ makes me smile and remind of my younger days, albeit with a much simpler version of arcade games we used to operate by sliding in cepek Rp 100 coins for a single game.
What’s the most number of credits a single customer has purchased in a day?
I don’t know exactly, but once someone purchased more than 10 million credits, when we had the 99 percent bonus credit.
On busy days, have you ever had to ‘babysit’ a kid left playing in Timezone by his or her parents while they go shopping?
We, the employees, are not prepared or trained to act as babysitters, so we don’t have the responsibility of watching the kids all the time. We can help the parents to watch their kids for a while, for example, when they have to go to the toilet. So we hope all the parents remember this and do not leave their kids playing here alone; they should at least be accompanied by a babysitter.
What’s the most popular game at Timezone Taman Anggrek?
Well, this directly relates to the previous question, because the most popular game here is Gachu Guts. It’s a card collecting game for kids. You’ll be surprised at their level of interest, which is why many parents leave their kids here while they go shopping.
Eric Setiawan was talking to Mark Vincent Sindhunata.