June 13, 2004

The Golden Age of Game

There's something vaguely satisfying about being at the start of a revolution. its brilliant to look at all the poor suckers tryng desperately to catch up and getting very excited about some concept which you've gone way past, man. Like, far out.
Oh, yeah, im satisfied. I'm seeing a revolution happening right in front of me. It's happening at the bookstores, in Pallika Bazaar and Richie Street, on the desktops of people between 6 and 26. The new age of interactive entertainment. Say goodbye to tv, chuck the feelms, the Golden Age of Game is coming.
Its impossible to ignore, the new age of interactive entertainment. Admittedly, games can't claim to compete actively with tv or the flicks yet, but a number of factors are going to make all of that go away.
1. computers are getting cheaper and cheaper every 6 months.
2. More and more people are becoming computer literate, or realise the pressing need to be so.
3. Games are becoming more and more realistic every day.
4. The themes games deal with are becoming much more relateable to the average ajay.

Most people would outright deny this ridiculous contention, citing the absolute lack of people who really play games. Not so true any more.Even now, hundreds of thousands of people interact with each other, build strong alliances, develop intense hatreds, fall in love and exploit each other on MMORGs(Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games) such as World of Warcraft, or Ultima Online. Even more just go online or hit the LAN for the express purpose of machine gunning, flaming or cunningly left flanking their good friends on multilayer enabled games like Counterstrike or Starcraft. For people who dont think lots of blood is their thing, any amount of good old fashioned legalised psychological violence is possible while playing the Sims, where ironically, you escape from reality by simulating it.

Another concept that is getting blown out of the water is that games are for kids and nerds, and not for "normal people". Give that one a rest, please. The number of people obsessed with the NFS franchise, or cricket 200andsomethingortheother puts that one to rest immediately. Besides, the one about games being for kids... Well, has anyone seen the covers for games like any of the Resident Evil series or even Deus Ex? They're marked M, for sale to Adults only. And its not the gore that puts these labels on the games. Software and hardware today is competent enough to allow games to deal with issues as complex as any "soap opera conundrum". In Deus Ex 2, you are faced with complex political choices, like the one between security and material wealth and inner happiness and spiritual satisfaction.(You may also have to help a gay cultural affairs minister to hook up with a guy he' been keeping an eye on).

Affordability used to be a major factor with games priced at ridiculous rates like Rs. 1600 (about $40 in 1996) per game and people in most 3rd world countries, capable of affording a cheap movie at Rs. 1o per tape or Rs. 30 per vcd (for rent) would never imagine getting a game at these prices. (Hey, I once bought Dangerous Dave for Rs. 200). Today, thanks to our fine eyepatched buddies, the software "pirates" everyone in a majoor city has access to a game at the rate of about Rs. 100 per game. And comps arent so bad anymore either. You can buy one thats rudimentarily game enabled for about Rs. 20,000.

If you still dont buy all my word of mouth bullshit, just perfom following simple exercise: Head to the nearest rel;iance webworld, or satyam gamezone or whatever: there are multiplayer tournaments happening in India for games like counterstrike and quake III arena. A bit outdated admittedly, but still, happening. Its gonna take some time before the revolution shows us people playing starcraft for millions of dollars like in Korea, but that day isnt too far off. So, addicted gamers of the subcontinent, unite, our day will come, and when it does, I know whose back is gonna be up against the wall first...