Bring it on!

Bring it on!

Gaming has come a long way since the time youngsters held the plastic controls wired to the TV sets and made the Mario and Prince of Persia move, jump...

Gaming has come a long way since the time youngsters held the plastic controls wired to the TV sets and made the Mario and Prince of Persia move, jump and run along the screens. The side-scrolling games made way for technology that is reinvented every day. Today, you have high-end graphic games like ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ and ‘Spiderman’ that keep youngsters hooked to their screens. Strategy, presence of mind, finger strength (pun intended) are the key to gaming of the day. While gaming competitions are held in high regard, the drawing rooms (or anywhere the mobile phone goes for that matter) are the war zones for the chronic gamers.

It has become a common sight to see youngsters glued to their PS4, Xbox and phones playing the latest. Games have now evolved beyond the 8-bit arcade versions that used to be played in malls. There are also competitions held for the most popular of the games that see avid participation from youngsters. Gaming has transformed into a full-fledged industry and now, finally being recognised as an E-sport across the world and in India as well. And a panel is contemplating to make E-sports a part of Olympics in near future.

Even as professionals are training to play in the bigger leagues, youngsters across the world continue to indulge in their favourite pastime. As they say – To each his own.

Actor Nikhil Siddharth of ‘Happy Days’ fame says that he is an avid gamer since childhood. “I have always been a gamer since my childhood, from the time when we had Nintendo’s and cassettes that I used to play. I always wanted an Xbox and managed to acquire all the versions of it. I was placed eighth in the game ‘Halo’ competitions, which were held across India in the 2000s. And Halo is one of my favourite games to date. Apart from that, I used to play ‘Unreal Tournament’, ‘Quake’, ‘Counter Strike’, Grand Theft Auto’.”

The PUBG Mania:
After the release of ‘Players Unknown Battlegrounds’ aka PUBG, India saw a boom in the number of online gamers. The battle royale captured the attention of every youngster and official PUBG tournaments have also begun, which offer lucrative cash prices for the very skilled and the best.

Nikhil, who has become a busy actor informs us that he no longer gets time these days to indulge in gaming. “Now I do not have the time to sit and play on the Xbox or PS 4 due to my hectic schedule. I think ‘PUBG’ is a game that one can play on the go. So, whenever I have a lunch break or when we do not shoot for a few hours, I use the time to play PUBG. It is a fun game as it a first-person shooter game. I also like ‘FIFA’ that I started to play recently, and my ranking is really high. Now, whenever I get time to play on a console I am playing ‘FIFA 2019’. I used to follow games passionately as it was all about being in the virtual world, but now work always keeps you away from it. When I am really stressed out, these games help me calm down. I am awaiting the new version of ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and also the new ‘GTA’ game.”

Being an avid gamer Nikhil has a message for youngsters. “Being a gamer, I do not while away all time in gaming. I do it during my free time. I see a lot of people of all ages getting addicted to PUBG. I urge them to play the games only when you get free time.”

Priyadarshi Pulikonda, who will be seen in the biopic ‘Mallesham’ says that he started playing video games as part of his research for a role. “I started playing PUBG when I was shooting for ‘NOTA’. The director said that the role I will play in the film is that of an online gamer. I began by checking for the popular games available in the market. As a part of character study, I started playing games and it was during the time that I came across PUBG and started playing it.”

Priyadarshi informs that he is not an avid gamer but plays a couple of games to beat the stress. “I play PUBG now whenever I get time and that is very rare these days. I play the game as it is purely a stress buster. When there is too much stress, I play, but I am not a gamer.”

The Gen Z games:
Besides PUBG, two other names come to mind when talking about GEN Y and Gen Z’s gaming patterns. ‘Fortnite’ and the recently launched ‘Apex Legends’ are both Battle Royale games with each one having its own global fan base. ‘Fortnite’ especially has drawn a lot of eyeballs because of its popularity in the Western market and the addiction it has created amongst their youth, calling for studies to be done on the game and its addictive tendencies.

Another people’s favourite that is slowly drawing attention to itself is ‘Anthem by EA’ and ‘Bio Ware’ launched on February 22. It features an online multiplayer mode and so far, the beta version of the game looks crisp and solid and loot boxes and other features are going to be added soon to the game.

Actress Adah Sharma recalling her childhood says, “There was this game called ‘Counter-Strike’ which I used to play a lot with all my guy friends. I mostly like action and adventure games and I do not know any card games (laughs). Shooting and action games keep my attention piqued and they are very exciting games to play.”

Guess what game Adah plays these days. Well, no points for the guess but yes you guessed it right! She plays PUBG too. “I played PUBG at one of my friend's place and I found the game very interesting. You can have new avatars in the game and it’s like a whole new world. However fun it may be, we should not get addicted to it.”

Adah shares that she is more of an outdoor-games-person. “As I have a lot of guy friends since school and they used to play a lot of online games and video games, so I used to tag along with them and play these games. However, I really prefer doing outdoor adventure. For me it is the company that matters. If I have good company to play with, I don’t mind playing any game. I hope that people play outdoor games as well.”

Actress Priyanka Jawalkar, who was last seen along with Vijay Deverakonda in the film ‘Taxiwala’ says that she used to play video games as a child and now she is rarely interested to play them. “I don’t play video games anymore, however, I used to play these games keenly when I was a kid. I am too occupied with social media and I don’t feel like playing them. I tried playing ‘PUBG’, but it was not that interesting. I used to play ‘Candy Crush’ and I think if something that is easy like ‘Candy Crush’ comes again I will definitely play.”

The gaming market:
The year 2018 was an important year for gamers especially single player (SP) gamers contrary to the industry opinion that SP games had no market. Some of the highest grossing games of 2018 have been single player games like ‘God of War’, Marvel’s ‘Spiderman’, ‘Horizon Zero Dawn’, etc.
‘God of War’ won nearly every major gaming award and ‘Spiderman’ sold the fastest copies Sony has ever seen.

Following the success, more industry players are opening up to the possibility of introducing single player games. Notably, some of the games of 2019 that people are looking forward to are again single player games. ‘Devil May Cry 5’, ‘Days Gone’, ‘Mortal Kombat 11’ are the top AAA titles coming in the next few months that will surely set the gaming community on fire again!

“I cannot wait for the summer. There are so many awesome games dropping. I am particularly waiting for ‘Mortal Kombat 11’ as I am playing that game since 1992 on 16-bit Sega console. It was a revolutionary arcade game back then, and I still get nostalgic thinking about it,” says Altaf Jaffer, a corporate employee.

PS versus Xbox:
Another important aspect that draws the attention of gaming world is cross-platform gaming. Until now game developer platforms had exclusive rights of their set of games. If games like ‘Halo5’ belong to Microsoft, Sony has privilege over the ones like ‘God of War’ and ‘The Last of Us’. However, so far, Microsoft has extended open arms and Sony has been firm on its stance of keeping its tech-proprietary. But the winds of change are blowing, and more and more tidbits are being released, which hint at talks of cross-platform gaming being discussed in the meeting rooms. Hopefully, within a year or two, we shall see an attempt for the various gaming companies to collaborate and finally end the PC/Console war!

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