With Diwali just in the past, and the inconvenient prospect of the end semester examinations sending chills down students’ spines there is hardly any time left for people to sit down and relax. November is a tough time for KGPians. Amidst all this madness of slogging for tests, struggling to keep up with deadlines and working for hours at length for Illumination, there is always some sort of recreation that students resort to. For many it comes in the form of gaming. But for many gaming is more than just a stress release. It’s something that their lives revolve around, something that has given them innumerable moments of joy and despair, something that they relate happy times with. Gaming is a religion of sorts in Kharagpur, with Counter Strike, COD, Age of Empires and FIFA its various cults.
There are many reasons as to why gaming is so popular on campus. The easy access to LAN connectivity and high end games just a download away being one of them. With every virtual nook and corner of our campus being connected by this entity, its fibers spreading far and wide, from the untouchable turf beneath KGP to the thin LAN wires connected to our laptops, DC is sure as hell the most celebrated existence in all of KGP. And some of these celebrators are the ever-growing, keyboard crunching, headphone wearing populace called gamers. With download speeds that can put the Ferrari out of business, rendering lagging almost obsolete and the only restriction being the limitations of one’s laptop, DC sharing has promoted gaming to a very large extent in our campus and has truly made it a gaming haven. The most common of the games played here are RPG or Role Playing Games, where we are put into the shoes of the fictional character that steers the game and experience the story through his/her eyes. But topping the list are the ever mood-improving multiplayer games. The sheer pleasure of scoring the most number of kills within our friend circle is probably more satisfying than scoring a full in the mid-semesters.
Counter Strike is by far the most popular game on campus. This first person shooter is the epitome of the cliché ”Easy to pick up for a beginner, difficult to master”. It is one the oldest FPS games. Smooth game-play, familiar maps, relatively less emphasis on graphics and subsequently universal access is one of the many reasons for its popularity. The in-game audio chat also is a huge plus and has given players some of the most entertaining moments of their gaming careers. CS boasts a vastly organized underground gaming circuit. The Kharagpur Cyber League or KCL is a group of around thirty elite CS gamers who would kill you with a headshot before you are done selecting your weapon. These people take more pride in making it into KCL than they do about getting an Inter IIT medal. There have even been instances of people trying to get their stay at KGP extended just for the CS gaming environment over here.
Pro tip: Try not to get knifed. It is the highest form of insult.
Next in line is Call of Duty. CoD Modern Warfare 2 is very popular in campus for its beautiful graphics, appropriate (?) sound effects. It grasps one’s mental attention and one should be in a constant state of awareness while immersed in it. There is also a lot of praise for the sound effects with CoD brilliantly capturing the difference between the sounds of a sniper shot with and without silencer and the accurate depiction of the location of the shooter. It’s although relatively unknown in the competitive gaming circuit because of its high end graphics which can cause lagging at times.
A game completely different in genre from the shooting games yet immensely popular for personal game play and competitive gaming is FIFA. The popular edition in Kharagpur is FIFA 14 although some rich brats have upgraded to FIFA 15. For anyone who follows football or has a liking for the beautiful game, FIFA is bliss. It is easy to pick up, extremely difficult to master and highly addicting. The FIFA franchise has come a long way in more than twenty years of continuous evolution and the physics of the latest editions are simply brilliant. You can spend long hours playing manager mode by yourself or by organizing a FIFA party and battling it out for bragging rights. There is an entire bro-code for FIFA etiquette (for more about the bro code, click here). At times the game can be extremely frustrating when the ball just won’t cross the line and you might want to get insurance for your controllers because they do get smashed. Exploring different teams and trying out various formations and tactics are that things that will put you in line to become a distinguished gamer. There will be noobs who play only with Real Madrid and there will be pros who know that pace is paramount in FIFA and choose Dortmund instead. It’s all about experience and practice when it comes to FIFA. It’s certainly not Mathematics-I which you can master overnight.
Apart from these, strategy games such as Age of Empires also have quite an engrossing setup and you will find people pulling off all nighters playing this civilization game. It is a game which requires extreme presence of mind and the ability to strategize and plan. There is a whole lot of stuff all going on at the same time in this game which can be a bit disconcerting. One of our writers tried it out last year and found the concept of managing industrial ports and individual goats and yaks all at the same time quite a challenging one to pick up. He was dazed for a day after playing it for half an hour. It’s safe to say that AOE is an acquired taste. It’s a game that we have all played personally as kids but it has now made a comeback as a multiplayer game. It’s almost exclusively played as a competitive game in Kharagpur.
The organized competition setup on campus is pretty much in its incubation stage at the moment. FIFA and Counter Strike competition are held during Bitwise which is Code Club’s annual fest. Last year, there were cash prizes involved, with up to two thousand rupees being awarded to the FIFA winner. A number of students take up the initiative and organize institute level competitions regularly. A startup of sorts called “WASD” organized FIFA, Counter Strike and Age of Empires tournaments this October. It saw a lot of participation from students and quite an intense competition. Apart from these hall level competitions take place regularly in various halls of residences. Certainly, there are quite a few avenues for you to showcase your gaming talents here at Kharagpur.
Now for all those cynics and haters, games are not just a source of entertainment, fun, awesomeness, competitiveness…. and much more, they also serve as waypoints for development. Games, according to a research, improve your connection to the brain, improve the cognitive function of the brain and can also increase the grey matter. It can improve mental strength. And trust me when I say it can improve your reflexes to such an extent that you can breeze through the trials for an Inter-IIT hockey goalkeeper. Also for all those lazy people out there, you can take this as an incentive for completing your daily tasks.
But on a serious note, games have their pointy side pointed away from our view, and those unaware can get easily deviated until it’s too late to avoid getting stabbed. They have their equal share of cons. Constant gaming puts tremendous strain on our eyes and can lead to lot of headaches. And it can turn the sincerest of students nocturnal, leading to less sleep and consequently less attendance and the ever-growing problem of de-registration, not forgetting the falling trend of CG’s.
A good and simple strategy to follow, which is indeed followed by some of the CG conscious gamers, is to restrict yourself to the timing you allot for gaming. Before that, you have to allot a specific period of time for gaming according to your choice, in case you want to. Another way is to leave your room without your laptop and go to your non-gamer friend’s room for studying, or you also catch your studious gamer friend and study along with him. This is indeed very difficult, but hard choices are to be made every-time if you want to go to the next level.
Games do develop a winning attitude in us and arm us with a competitive spirit, but this can quickly escalate to extreme addiction. The line here is very thin, and we need to keep a check on where we stand everyday to gain more out of gaming.