A GameBoy Remembers

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If I have been remiss in blogging for a few days, it is because I have recently become the proud owner of an XboX 360 Elite system (a Pujo gift for someone I love the most: myself) ! And unless the dreaded ring of death casts its malevolent shadow over my unit (Microsoft seems to have a severe quality problem with the Xbox 360s), kindly excuse me as I marvel at the jaw dropping textures, lighting effects and overall bleeding-edge graphics that seem to burst out through my beloved 46 inch HDTV.

My love affair with computer games started in the early 90s when I would go to my dad’s office to use his PC to play arcade-style DOS games like Parachute, Space Invaders, Dig Dug and the snazziest and jazziest of them all: “Where in the World is Carmen SanDiego?” with its 16-color world and its “Peenk Peenk” sound. Then in my first year of college, at a friend’s house I played for the first time a game called Wolf3D (shortened for Wolfenstein 3D), often considered to be the first 3-D first-person perspective shooter. After an hour of running through narrow alleys and dispatching Nazi enemies with violent flair, I felt sick to the pit of my stomach with “motion-sickness” , almost on the verge of throwing up. But then losing one’s virginity is never a painless experience. I was well and properly hooked.

Then came Id software’s Doom . With its simple “Shoot it if it moves” premise, it set the bar for gameplay for many years to come and though it shows its age now, its ending (for the shareware version) has still to be surpassed for its abrupt creepiness. There was the wannabe Quake, the Doom sequels, the Quake sequels, the graphically stunning Quake wannabe called Unreal, the knock-offs like Blood and Heretic —- I played them all. Or to be more precise: their shareware versions collected carefully from the CDs that came on the back of DataQuest/PCQuest.

Of course playing shareware sucked big-time and as the games ended with a screen telling you to buy the “full version” I was left feeling like Ashwathama after drinking the “rice water” as a substitute for milk.This feeling of dissatisfaction fired me up to study harder (yes I know—the irony) so that I would have enough money to actually fill up that last “Buy full version” screen.

Or maybe it wasn’t much of an irony. Because games formed a vital part of our Computer Science curriculum at Jadavpur University. No I do not mean game programming or computer graphics with its boring “circle drawing method” and “anti-aliasing”. I mean going to Numerical Analysis lab during second year and playing “Prince of Persia“, “Aladdin” and “Need For Speed” instead of writing a program that implements Gauss Siedel iterative method for equation solving. Lest people misunderstand and think we were no-good hobos using government subsidized labs to engage in frivolity, I should add that people took their games really seriously—I recall a physical fight in our lab when someone intentionally unplugged the PC of someone who was on lap 4 of a 5-lap race and was winning. And the story goes that once during a numerical analysis viva voce, the instructor was faced with a student who had no idea of what was being asked or any recollection of what he did for a full semester in the lab. In exasperation, she asked: “Okay forget it. Tell me what happens at the end of “Prince of Persia”. Don’t tell me you did not even finish that.”

He had. And why not? After all we were in an university deemed a “center of excellence”.

As for me, I never went close to the end of Prince of Persia—somehow always kept falling down the infernal crevices and dying. Not that I tried too hard cause my favorite in the college years was 3D Realm’s Duke Nukem 3D(followed closely by its knockoff Shadow Warrior) —with guns, evil aliens, urban decay, bigger guns, wisecracks, small touches like being able to pee in the cubicles and press the flush and of course the voluptuous strippers who turned into demons after you had said “Shake it baby” about a hundred times. It was a pity that they never came out with Duke Nukem Forever which became so hyped as the “paradigm shift” in gaming as early as 1997 that the game is, in 2007, still under development. Kind of like Ajit Agarkar still waiting to realize his true potential.

There was also another game I enjoyed those days that belonged to a genre which never really took of. Namely naughty and raunchy humor as implemented in the infamous Leisure Suite Larry series where slimeball Larry tried to ensnare women through conversation and mini-games. The conversations were pathetically scripted, the mini-games embarrassing but the women characters were beautifully drawn—it was good to see that some people had gotten the circle-drawing algorithms just right. Not all games I liked however: there was Myst which was so darn tough with its puzzle solving that I felt it was better use of my time just doing the problems at the back of Hopcraft Ullman.

Oh wait. How could I forget to mention the sports games — EA Sports FIFA and that horrendous lump of code, with more bugs than in a basement of a two hundred year old abandoned building, officially passing by the name of EA Sports Cricket —which was even then visually and sound-wise (with Richie Benaud’s monotone and the total lack of sync between what is being said and what’s going on in the game) the most pathetically implemented game around. In 2007, it still is. Unfortunately EA Sports Cricket is also very addictive (just like its poorer cousin “Stick Cricket”) and it is the only place left in the universe where one can still score 18 ball centuries with Sachin Tendulkar. Which is why I still play it on my laptop till my fingers shake from the trauma of belting Brett Lee and my legs cramp up from running the virtual twos.

In 1999, I set sail from India in a British Airways flight and in 2000 after I passed the nerve-shattering PhD qualifiers and graduated from a teaching assistant to a research assistant (a princely raise of 400 USD a month), I purchased the thing I wanted ever since I touched down on foreign shores: my very own Dell gaming machine which had, oh sweet Jesus, a 23 inch monster monitor—a behemoth that reflected my own rapidly increasing weight and girth. As time went by, my cupboard became home to full version games: Half Life, Unreal Tournament, Deus Ex, Hitman, James Bond.

This was, needless to say, accompanied by a corresponding decline in research productivity.

By this time, many of you must be thinking I am a kick ass gamer. Nothing can be further from the truth—I suck, having reflexes like those of a drunken gorilla. Which is why I never play online (I am guaranteed an ass-whopping from a seven year old), play at the lower difficulty levels so that I can get through maximum game in minimum time and frequently use “cheat codes” when the going gets tough (For those uninitiated few, putting in cheat codes makes you “God like”—kind of like President Musharaff in Pakistani polls).

However my lack of skill never dampens my enthusiasm. In 2003, just a year before my graduation, after dithering between whether to go for a PS2 or Xbox, I threw in my weight (most considerable) behind Xbox—principally because I hate and still do hate Sony as a company because I feel their products (including their TVs) are overpriced and overhyped. I bought a “special edition Halo” Xbox which came pre-packaged with this game I had not heard of before: Halo Combat Evolved.

What can I say ! I was blown away by Halo and the Xbox. Halo redefined the first-person shooter genre that had fallen into a rut since Half Life was released (it is frequently cited as THE killer game that “made”Xbox) and along with it, the Xbox with its haptic feedback controllers (the controllers which you use to play the game shake and vibrate with the intensity of the firing weapon) redefined the gaming experience for me in a way my first brush with Wolf 3D did. A series of Xbox titles followed: some good, some bad (I count the wildly popular Grand Theft Auto series among the bad), some too difficult with Halo 2 again standing out as a cut above its competition.

And then I got a job and moved to Maryland.

Which is where I encountered the game which I consider to be the very best among those I have played. It combined action, adventure, character development and a open-ended storyline that was not just simply a prop to hang different action pieces. Yes I am talking about the brilliant “Knights of the Old Republic” and its lesser sequel (but still amazing) “Knights of the Old Republic II: the Sith Lords” : two games that so sucked me into their world that I found myself playing on the weekends for close to 14 hours at a stretch stopping only for bio-breaks exploring the non-linear story and the beautifully etched “worlds”.

Yes good games get inside your head. After a few days of playing “Hitman Contracts“, a game that requires you to scan maps of installations like buildings and factories and plan a stealthy assassination, I found myself at my company’s Christmas party in an old colonial mansion subconsciously trying to “plan” how a stealthy attack could take place here. Till I realized: “Oh right there is noone to kill here.”

And so now, after much dilly-dally concerning balancing my married life and gaming life, I have bought an Xbox 360, Microsoft’s next generation Xbox console. (yes it is obvious which side of the argument won). PS3 was out of consideration for reasons mentioned before, Wii is cute and all but no serious gamer would be caught dead using it —more suited for digital “party games” than a walk on the wild side. Which doesn’t mean I wont buy it later on (cause I do think it is innovative) but Xbox 360 gets first crack at my wallet.

I often wonder why I am, even at 31, so fascinated by gaming. Is it the love of a visual spectacle (Doom 3 released 2004, in my humble opinion, is a work of art)? Is it the joy of escaping into alternate worlds where you can do things you always wanted to (like blasting zombies with a chain gun or collecting cursed souls using an enchanted artifact or swinging a double-headed lightsaber as hordes of Sith attack you from all sides) but cannot?

Or is it simply a not-so-silent stance against growing up and taking responsibility for the real things in life?

Or perhaps it is just a way of not losing a sense of wonderment—of being able to shout out with hair on end, as a ghoulish figure attacks from the shadows using terrifyingly realistic AI or as the physics engine unleashes a response to an action that you never thought someone had accounted for:

“Wow ! That was freakin awesome!”

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58 thoughts on “A GameBoy Remembers

  1. GB, how do you manage your time between a day job, creating posts, reading comments, issuing yellow & red cards to commentators (whenever they cross the line…), responding to every comment (every comment worth responding to, that is…), reading TOI (this one takes the cake), listening to Bhojpuri music, watching cricket (these days it’s a full time job), family life (would like to hear your wife’s version of it, though) and now gaming? Dude, did you manage to get more time of space-time continuum by compressing space πŸ™‚

  2. “I am guaranteed an ass-whopping from a seven year old” Hello boss somehow kids always play better than adults.

    How come u missed fight games like mortal kombat?
    No mention about mario. Darn!!!

  3. I used to be a gaming freak while I was at School and played all those Super Mario’s, Contra’s, Tetris, Tank, Pinball, Street Fighter, Mortal Combat stuff (I even had a color screen gameboy from Nintendo) but I never found the same kind of fun with computers (i guess mainly due to the cost of buying a console). Your post has motivated me to go back to gaming and experience Xbox (I’ve never laid my hands on Xbox/PS2 or any of the gaming consoles). I feel like I am from stone age 😦

  4. Hey, no mention of that original game of games, PACMAN! You know what, I feel like such a godknowswhat, as I have still kept all the DOS games somewhere on my pc, just for old times sake. Paratrup, Pacman, Bow and Arrow etc…

    And yes, the XBox is certainly there too, thoiugh funnily enough, I have gone the other way with it, hardly using it at all.

  5. Hmm… I was hoping the post would have atleast a mention of Microsoft’s “age of empires” which was my favourite. A game especially made for perfectly lazy guys.

    Anyways it was a real nice post. Being a small time gamer myself, I can relate to the plot in a big way.

  6. I feel you GB πŸ™‚ By the time I could indulge in the ‘forbidden pleasures’ of the virtual world, I was married. My wife humored me for sometime. My specialty – NFS. Right from NFS to NFS Carbon, I’ve played it all… I confess to The Almighty – I’m hooked on to them. The missus then started drawing parallels between my driving in the ‘real world’ and in the game. And before I knew it, my game was up!

    The only times I’ve cheated on my wife (If you don’t count the clandestine trips to have that sinful sheermal and kheema) were when I used to go to a game parlour and race online. It didn’t bother me then (hell, don’t bother me even now!) that the 10-14 year olds were my competotors! I used to feel proud when they used to chicken out of races with ‘TheWalker’ πŸ™‚

    Times changed and I had to stay away from my wife. To help me keep my chastity (and sanity) she gifted me a PlayStation!!! Needless to say, we’re a happy family now.

  7. I am not much of a gamer really, but this line caught my attention:

    “…principally because I hate and still do hate Sony as a company because I feel their products (including their TVs) are overpriced and overhyped.”

    Couldn’t the same thing be said about Microsoft?

  8. >>>> principally because I hate and still do hate Sony as a company because I feel their products (including their TVs) are overpriced and overhyped.

    Hi GreatBong,

    Every company, with a variety of products, has some products which it is good at, and some where it is not.
    Eg. Samsung sucks at TVs but its good at refrigerators and washing machines.

    Similarly I feel Sony is actually good at TVs and Walkmans, and suck bigtime at home theater systems, Hi-Fi audio systems, and laptops. Sony CRT TVs have three picture tubes, one for each colour , instead of using filters. This gives them a better picture quality.

    Even for mobile phones, some models of Sony Ericsson are excellent, and while others suck (The ones that suck mostly have a joystick. Avoid SE phones with joysticks, its a pain to use and tends to get damaged). I still stick to nokia because it is sturdier.

    As for the games, I am looking forward to Medal of Honor Airborne. For XBox, Halo 3 has got some very good reviews…. the storyline is good too, if you have played the previous versions. I remember feeling nauseated and dizzy after I played Quake 3 for an hour.. for the first time. That would be the first FPS I played.

    (Commenting after a long long time…. maybe after a year or so)

  9. Games to play before you Die !

    1 God of War & God of War II (these two are alone worth buying a PS2)

    2 Resident Evil 4 – The best game I have ever played in my life. It cannot get better than this !

    3 Prince of Persia – The Two Thrones – Will take you back to those good old save the princess days !

    4 Gears of War – Graphics, Sound, Texture, Story and Kick Ass Action all the way (oh and just for the records, “Best Game of the Year 2006”)

  10. Ah,

    the pleasures of gaming – i remember many a night spent in the IIMC comp centre turning assorted friends into chicken and being turned into chicken by assorted friends playing the then uber cool Heretic.. soon to be replaced by Quake, kicking zombie heads in Blood (which btw i could never play without Mushy mode on). Duke Nukem remains a personal favourite, still pull it out after a bad day at work and shoot a few bad ones to release the tension. Tried half life and figured out that i needed way too much time to be able to do a decent job with it – i prefer the old point ’em and shoot ’em ones, keeps it simple.

    Have you tried the colonisation like Civ and Age of Empires.. used to love Civ – did a few nightouts with Civ and then with AoE – Microsoft does have a good side to it, you know.. Kewl, so much.. let me go let off some steam with a few shots at some shithead πŸ˜€ πŸ˜›

  11. Dad’s office PC after school – check.
    Parachute – check (Mine was called Paratroopers)
    Dig Dug – Check (mine, Digger)
    Space Invaders, check. (mine, Galaxian. won a mug at a school fete playing it.)
    Wolf 3d – check. Motion sickness, likewise check.
    Prince of Persia in the school lab – check
    Larry – check, played on first home PC after 11 pm with one trepidation-laden eye on door for parents
    Doom, quake, unreal, Duke – check, in the corner PC in the college lab, games maniacally traded between friends along with cheats

    I think every gamer in India has this common history…

    did you by any chance leave out Mortal Kombat with 2 people sharing a keyboard and screaming abuse at each other?
    I think we have parallel lives… which means I need to buy an Xbox right now. Thanks for the validation!

  12. I have a very similar history to yours except for two major games that i must’ve spent months on: Mario and Aladdin. Mario because there was no way to escape playing that and Aladdin because it was the game that came pre installed with my PC.

    I also remember our computer classes, we were required to learn stuff like paint and access and there was not even one person interested in it. We managed to install games on each and every computer in our class through some really shady techniques. Somebody used to deliberately botch up some simple task, the teacher would go to his desk to explain how much of an idiot he was and at that moment the person sitting behind the teacher would insert the cd and start the installation. The other person would distract the teacher until required.

    Was this absurd plan required? Not really. There were loads of times when we could have done this without much fuss, but the thrill of doing that behind the teacher’s back was too good to miss.

    P.S. Get BioShock. You will love it.

  13. Didn’t you play the later versions of PoP ? The Sands of Time, Warrior Within, and Two Thrones.

    How about God of War.

    Your post takes me back. Damn! Now I gotta unpack my PS2 again.

    -Rahul

  14. Surprising that you havent tried AoE, AoM, Caesar type games! You could love it, given your age and competency in shooting/bike riding/jumping the hurdles games. πŸ˜€
    Having said that, there is no game like the one that I have conceptualized. The day I release it, everything else will become boring and I will be a billionaire overnight!

  15. Wow! I am amazed how similar my experience was to yours from 1990. We enjoyed almost the same games during that and so this post was very nostalgic for me. My love affair started in mid-late 80s though with Atari and then Nintendo knock-offs.

    I must add that those who have not played “Where in the world is Carmen SanDiego?” have missed something by not seeing those tiny footprints.

    Also, I remember the stupid trivia questions Leisure Suit Larry required to unlock it. That was a very difficult task for me at that time as there was no google. I had a matrix of questions and answers that did not work. Good Ol’ days!

    Surprisingly, I played Hitman contracts as well and even finished the game. The game was immensely enjoyable for me and I loved the soundtrack. What I found interesting was the religious themes in the game. The game starts and ends at a Church, has Hindu and Buddhist temples and takes you to middle east and to atheist Russia (my favourite mission was the sniper one). Do you feel that since followers of all other religions were at the the receiving end it had some sort of subliminal message? I may have imagined it πŸ™‚

    Anyway, I love Halo2 online and feel so bad that I cannot buy Halo3 (no xbox360 and a year old child at home means the decision to buy a “violent” game and a system will not go down very well. I did buy a Wii on the launch day though). Yesterday, I got matched with the same guy in three consecutive games in Halo2 (snipers again) and then I realized that end is near. Very soon I will have to wait for a long time to begin a Halo2 game a la TopSpin (another favorite).

    If you also like to play online, drop me a mail with your gamertag. I have been looking to play Halo with another desi mouthing off desi trash-talk. It has remained a dream for 3 long years…

  16. (For those uninitiated few, putting in cheat codes makes you β€œGod like”—kind of like President Musharaff in Pakistani polls). πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
    DNKORNHOLIO!!!! ARNAB.

    but you failed to mention ‘the matrix’ of Gaming-World “MAX PAYNE” 😦

  17. You save so me from much embarrassment and self pity. And yes, Max Payne i consider to be the only game which deserves a movie to be based on it, unlike cheesy corny Doom.

  18. Nowhere near a hardcore gamer like you – never owned a console, haven’t played a proper game since Diablo II a few years ago, and that I did not finish more than a third of the way (to be fair, it is a LOOOONG series).

    Yet, I grew up with Prince of Persia, Test Drive (“You drive like an old woman”) and Carmen. I’ve also played Nibbles (today’s bachchalog know it as “Snake” on the Nokia phones) on a vintage 386 at my uncle’s. I’ve pitted two computers against each other at chess, by loading the same program on each in dad’s office and mimicking the moves made by one as the opponent’s moves on the other…

    After that was Wolf 3D at a friend’s. Then Allan Border’s Cricket (Jesus, the theme tune started playing in my head the moment I thought of it… SOMEONE GET IT OUT!) and my school team often “defeated” the Aussies, the Indians, the Pakistanis… Doom followed, so did Half-Life and for a little while, Quake.

    But anyone who knows me knows I’m mad about flying thingies. I spent a good part of my first and second year of engineering playing flight sims, notably Jane’s/Electronic Arts’ Fighters Anthology. On the internet, that too – while the rest of the world played with DSL networks, I was with MTNL’s old dial-up making the entire battlefield lag at my rate πŸ˜€ Then the HDD crashed, and we installed Win2K on the new PC – which did not support the game. And my grades improved.

    Some day, I will have enough money and a job that doesn’t take my whole time to buy and play a console. Even today, Diablo still survives on my PC… if the day has been really hard, I’m in that world, swiping at zombies with a big, two-handed sword.

  19. I still love to play EA’s Cricket 2007. But for me the 2004 version was the best of all. The gameplay and graphics and shots palyed.

    But on my PS2 i love to play The Gauntlet.

    But still go with cricket most of the times… My fav player in that is saurav Ganguly who can hit every ball for a six. Do try that you will love it..

    You brought back a lot of memories…
    I loved Heretic too..

    Thanks,
    Tarzan

  20. Your childlike pleasure is evident from your writing. This is such a guy thing, amazing that you keep pursuing even though you suck at it. This is something about men I will never understand, as a matter of fact I wonder what is it about men I understand!

  21. @ Aditi: Amen gal, well said πŸ™‚

    @ GB: “a behemoth that reflected my own rapidly increasing weight and girth”…LOLLL @ that πŸ™‚

  22. you reminded me my college days dude…Me and my friend haluka(god knows who gave him the name sounds like a zombie from a house of death like game) spent nights competing on who finishes max payne first…

    welcome to the world of gamers…Do try medal of honor, NFS god of war and ofcourse GTA …

  23. Hi Greatbong,
    I have to say, Wii allows you to do considerably more than play party games. Check out the Zelda series or Red Steel on Wii … mind-blowing to say the least. Plus, there’s the factor of new versions coming tailor made for the Wii.

  24. GB, how could you not include Mario, Contra and Road fighter in your list of games. I used to go to video game parlors with my hard earned gift money to spend some time saving the princess, killing aliens and racing cars/bikes, while sitting on the cold floor, my eyes fixed on the 21″ TV connected to the huge Nintendo. I still have these games on my notebook and i never get enough of them.

    Due to the simple reasons that PS2 was introduced in India before the Xbox and comes cheaper than it, i bought a PS2 an year and a half back. I haven’t regretted my decision since then. No Rings of death, no overheating and no software glitches. The easy hack available in gray markets that allowed me to play pirated discs and the sheer abundance of the latest titles at the neighborhood stationary stores for as low as Rs. 30 makes it a better console than Xbox 360, atleast in India.
    Although I do agree that when it comes to HDMI output, PS3 is overpriced compared to Xbox 360 Elite. But again, the acceptance of blu-ray discs would tip the scale in favor of PS3 sooner or later.

  25. I’m surpised no one here was a fan of Lara Croft. Definitely my favourite, she looked a little desi and had other fine features resembling the pride of indian womanhood (except the guns and the hotpants)and seemed a virtual embodiment of those fearsome female intellectuals one runs into every now and then (eg in some protest march, generally in Calcutta). The locations were very good,too, ranging from the local like Ganges, Himalayas, Angkor Wat etc to Louvre, Pyramids, Vatican, they were good ‘stories’ for the casual player.

  26. @ Satori : (Lara Croft) seemed a virtual embodiment of those fearsome female intellectuals one runs into every now and then (eg in some protest march, generally in Calcutta).

    Which protest marches have you attended in Calcutta? The ones I was misfortunate enough to be caught in never had any female even “vaguely” resembling Angeline Jolie, or her digital avatar.

    There was one though. By a girl’s school near Hatibagaan (I think it was Bethune). I actually stopped in genuine interest & followed them for a while. A long while.

    I desperately tried finding out more about their particulars (I mean their protest) and even volunteered to join in. In the soft winter sun, there I was, walking on Bidhan Sarani, admiring their dripping beauty (sorry .. intellect) and graceful poise (especially when they raised their supple arms above their heads to emit a musical “Cholbe naa, cholbe naa”). Ahahaha, just like gopis. Aar aami hocchi Keshta.

    They were about 15-16 years old, & was 12-13. Inspite of my genuine intellectual curiosity, funnily enough, none of them agreed to stop to chat with me & explain their gripe. They rewarded my sincerely curious ogles (ooops looks) with a sharp “chalaaki hocche? Bari jaao”.

    One of them resembled Suchitra, and her harsh words melted my adolescent heart like warm syrup. Anyway, my cousin dada (who lives nearby) spied me & yanked me away unceremoniosuly . I heard the feminine giggles behind me … 14 years later, I’m still plotting an evil enough way to make the wretched relative suffer.

    The other protesting females (sic) are invariably of the Taraka Chandika variety. Immense Putanas of sharp sun-burnt hue, 5’8″ tall, with arms to make Rambo dribble in envy, and a deep and sonorous bellow guaranteed to cure constipation.

    Satori, please, please tell me which protests to grace in future.

  27. @Hara Hara Bom Bom

    “Satori, please, please tell me which protests to grace in future”

    Okay, for a start, anything involving Jadavpur University humanities students, especially the vixens studying English Lit. Also, anything involving human rights, artists/musicians, International Women’s Day stuff, any charities, all of them will have a few Lara Crofts. About a year ago there was even one protesting a woman’s right to wear whatever she wants to wear, I missed that one, I doubt if anyone actually dressed up as Lara(with the handguns and the hotpants).

    The boring ones are the political ones. Instead of your ‘cholbe naa cholbe naa’, they’ll be singing ‘hoche naa hobe naa’, or something, whichever way you look at it these are fairly dull events.
    I think you’ve been going to the wrong ones.

  28. @ Rishi
    Thanks for the Pujo wishes. Heartiest Mahalaya greetings to you too.

    @ Rishi & Hujur
    Tomraa tomaader e-maile contact korte bolechile. Kori ni bole khunno hoyo naa. Ekhon ektu byasto aachi, aar emniteo, pray tirish (du bochor por) boyesh holo, ekhon ami Hindu-kendtrik kaaje aager moton oto sokriyo noi.

    @ Satori
    Now you tell me this !! Eeeesh. I missed the one about a year ago of women’s right to wear whatever she wants. What ever they want to wear (or even not at all) is fine with me (as long as they’re not 5’8″ tall and built like a sun-burnt Tiger tank waddling in to hapless foes and belching missiles)!!

    I wish you imparted these gems of wisdom 12 years ago when I could have made good use of this. My life is wasted.

    Now it’s too late. I can only admire the texture, I can no longer eat the fruit. 😦 😦

  29. @ Har Har Bom Bom

    Thanks for the reply.
    Kono oshubidhe neyi. Aamio tirish range e and so is Hujur ..ei kaaj to amader life-long korte hobe…khub kom lok aache jara issue taar gurutto aar criticality ta bojhe. Tar moddhe-o aaro kom lok aache jaraa actually kichu korbar khomota ebong icche raakhe. A lot of energy is scattered and unfocussed at this moment.

    Inside theke, ebong across platform kaaj koraar por, hoyto tumi eta bhalo korei dekhecho, je, it leaves very few people with the motivation, knowledge, courage and vision to be at the tip of the spear.

    Tomaar janashuno jodi keu thake je-ei bepaar a co-ordinated initiative er- moddhe involve hote chaye, tahole janio.

    Location, interest, knowledge level oto ta matter korena.

    Amar kaache bibhinno rokum er lokeder jonno bibhinno rokumer project aache.
    Sudhu initiative o determination ola manush dorkaar.

    Apologise to the group for being rude by writing in Bengali….but this was a purely one-on-one communication. Will not do this again.

  30. Fifa 99 with Fatboy Slim soundtrack was an all time favorite with me!

    Cricket 97 Ashes tour edition – buggy, but the only cricket game with an ‘enjoyable’ 2 player game!

    Pure Nostalgia! πŸ™‚

  31. Dear greatbong,

    This is from a Roadrash player who is yet to race to his first victory.

    Having done Comp. Sci from a college which is a photocopy of jadavpur but situated in kerala (The commies here come dressed in a ‘mundu’), all I could say is that you seem like all the four close friends I ever had.

    Nothing like an F1 race or a shootout or a stupid EA sports game which could get out all the concentration, gumption, spirit out of my guys.

    And I was someone who thought computers were for reading and porn only.

    Anyway, real fun reading your post.

    Unsolicited advice :- I like your non sarcastic posts much better. Stick to them.

    Jay

  32. GB, I am glad that you have namechecked some of the games that my company makes (Hitman, Deus Ex). Still, I will join Satori in asking you to play the new Lara Croft titles. We are very proud of what we have achieved (shameless plug here).

    On a different note, I wish more Indians were working in game development studios. I barely meet any desi developers, even in the middle of the Silicon Valley 😦 Similarly, in the outsourcing field, which is still very nascent in games, China & Russia are way beyond India in skill, quality & experience. Very different from the application software or hardware design space.

    Back in the 80s when I was a kid, we never had access to any video games (ludo, snakes & ladders, chinese checkers were all us low techies could access). I barely knew anyone in India who played video games when I was at JNU or XLRI, though I would have imagined JNU to be a popular location for games where you can destroy large chunks of imperialist countries πŸ™‚ Today, when I interview desi kids at US college campuses for jobs, I find their knowledge & experience of games very limited. It is hard to catch up with peers who have been ‘playing games since their dads bought them an SNES when they were 6’.

  33. Wow! Blood and Heretic!
    You really seem to be there and done it. I have rarely come across guys who have played these two games. They are the guilty pleasure of every gamer from the mid 90’s influenced by the spillover effect of the Terminator movies.

    I suggest you try out the new Prince of Persia trilogy. It would blow you over.

  34. I can just about play er–, Free Cell.

    Am I allowed to comment on this thread?

    Why are most games violent?

    I would enjoy a game that allowed me to build a planet — like Shartifartiblast of Douglas Adams.

  35. @swati

    Please do watch videos of “Little Big Planet” game that will be on PS3.

    Some level creation videos on youtube were pretty good.

    And most games are not violent. Is that the reason you mentioned freecell but not minesweeper? πŸ™‚

  36. Interesting……. but the post took me back to a game slighly older than freecell and the likes.. – street cricket .

    All the fights we used to have, the “runner umpire” and so on… and guess wot… i was reading this recent book “Joker in the Pack” , on life at IIMs and the middle class aspirations, and it had a similar nostalgic thread to it … extremely funny.. just like ur posts…. wud b great to read ur thoughts on street cricket .. if u have a prev post lemme know

  37. Whatever your reasons are for playing video games at the ripe old age of 31(!), do u know that of all the video games being sold in USA, 25% of it comes from the age group over 50? So it seems you have a long to go!!

  38. @Nikhil
    thanks for the info.
    But,
    1. Can’t afford a PlayStation.
    2. Too busy having a hectic family life, so even youtube is quite unfeasible, timewise.

    I don’t like destructive games. I even hated dismantling lego models.

  39. @swati
    glad to know that there are ppl like me even now!!!! i also dont like gruesome games. I even hate bonsai – i find them to be dreadful as the growth is “made’ stunted.

  40. Now that you have a 360, help yourself and get Gears Of War.

    You will be blown away by everything, the graphics, immersing gameplay, humor, tense crouched hopping for that perfect aim, kill/switch mechanism i.e. cover and shoot, and the best sniper experience seen in a game of this scale.

    There are few games that are worth playing on HDTV for their superlative graphics. This one is among them. Not to mention the intensity and satisfaction you will get everytime you reach a checkpoint.

    Extremely addictive and mesmerizing game.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gears_of_War

  41. Wow! It was a great read. I can relate many of urs recollections with my own experience. I have at many times resolved to study harder so that i can afford to buy games when i grow up.

    One thing, I am quite surprised to see u r an avid gamer like this. I had the idea that by playing too much games one sucks in studies whereas u have a brilliant academic record… u graduated wid CSE from JU! and thereafeter PG in US.

    Finally, please do consider playing Max Payne and Max Payne 2 – in that order. You won’t regret playing, total movie-like gaming xp. Max Payne was the hot favorite game in 2001. I’m nt sure if it has an xbox version.

  42. Dont tellme a 1st person shooter enthusiast like u has never played Max Payne mannnn you have to have to otherwise u will have missed the mother of all 1st person shooters dude

  43. This column brought tears of nostalgia to my eyes
    …but then there were unexplored worlds ahead and Id just picked up my ultrasonic gut-blaster

    Btw, you need to elaborate sometime about balancing the gaming and marriage thing.

  44. Just read the blog for the 4th time … being a avid gamer myself and also a student of JU Comp Sc .. can relate to you more than anything. Thhe memories of games in the practical labs .. is enthralling. And your perfect reasoning of why people like us, past our quarter life is still at awe at a visually stunning game .. is perfect. Keep posting blogs like this.

  45. Great article greatbong, you touched a raw nerve there (no puns intended). Made me reminisce about my good old sinclair zx spectrum days and then my gradual elevation to the bleeding edge graphics of a PC-XT with 640K of memory and a whopping 20MB of storage for my bootlegged copies of accolade test drive and “where in the world is carmen sandiego” all in their 16 color CGA glory. Rode the evolution curve of the x86 family, and probably have played all the games you mention in this article.

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