The games we play

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By Tinky Ningombam

About 20 years back, we used to boast about how many marbles we collected or how many dresses our dolls had or if we were able to change bicycle tires. Our childhood has been rustic, minimalistic and more social literally. Now ask a young kid about “Khulluk-okpi” and they will probably judge you crazy, someone playing with a bunch of stones collected from “yenakha-lukha”.  How many kids still play old indigenous games?  Our childhood, at least mine were filled with memories of group games with friends who would automatically gather at a designated time at a common meeting spot. How wonderful the games used to be. Games like cheitek kotpi, uu-laobi, rangita, chagai-chongbi , marbol kaapi, spite dampa, swa, churup-uppu/ meikhet-uppu sanabi, marum konbi , amangbi, kekru lotpi…

Fast forward to 2013, we judge a boy’s coolness by the amount of PS3 or Xbox games they have in their computer and how many game apps they can play on their android phones, a girl’s by how many Barbie dolls they have or how many houses they have in cityville. Kids nowadays boast about how they were WIA (wounded in action) as Black Ops in COD (Call of Duty). They no longer build tree-houses or set up camps at your courtyards, instead they host TDM (Team Death Match). We used to buy a packet of paper cards to play solitaire, now you buy a computer to play cards.

Catch them young and get them hooked for life seems to be the motto. We have come a long way from playing Mario Brothers and Tetris on Nintendo Home Consoles and China-made gameboys. Today,  we have games on all our desktops/laptops/ipads/droids and everyone seems to be addicted to one game or the other, be it Poker, Farmville, Temple Run or Candy Crush. I am not going to be the usual cynic and tell this situation off this time, more so because now, I am unfortunately addicted to games too; and more currently to mobile games. Every night after work, I am either trying to jump loops, kill zombies or crush candies. My new android phone has been the source of many sleep-deprived nights since long.

With cheap smartphones and game-boy flavored phones, we have reached a point where games are in abundance and they drive us up to addiction. There are games for everything.  From personal games to massively multiplayer online games…be it  in sports, action, combat, strategy, puzzles… what not.

I once asked a friend of mine if he could play snooker, he replied that he was very good at it. One fine day, we found ourselves at a pool table, recalling my previous conversation, I invited him over, only to be declined and to find out that he was only good on a PC but had never played in physical life. And this is not a one-off instance, we find everyone good at something or the other. There are kids who are excellent in FIFA online who have never run on a football ground and people who have high score on mobile stick cricket, who have never held a physical bat. We are changing the nature of games as we speak.

It is recorded that worldwide about 900 apps, mostly game apps are being downloaded every second. Everything in access is bad but not all online games are harmful. Because of the current trend of people getting hooked to games, responsible brands have started creating games that teaches people good, like social responsibility.  There are games that also help in de-stressing in between jobs. I also believe that group sports games also psychologically induce people to trust fellow gamers and trust them to watch their back. But ask me if it is the best option for a growing kid or a teenager for that matter to sit in front of an Xbox or just strained their hands, limbs and brain on a mobile game day in and day out? Logically not the best idea. Physical activity is something that is required for a healthy human; to compromise it with entertainment is just being plain dumb. So dear readers, fellow game-addicts, get out of your rooms often, smell the fresh air outside… enjoy your earthly existence with different life- experiences while it lasts.

(I like video games, but they are very violent. I want to create a video game in which you have to help all the characters who have died in the other games. `Hey, man, what are you playing?` `Super Busy Hospital. Could you leave me alone? I`m performing surgery! This guy got shot in the head, like, 27 times!`  – Demetri Martin )

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