LAN gaming has city youngsters going crazy and it is more than just a pastime for most, finds out Mangala Ramamoorthy
Technology and communication transcends all boundaries. But for those who still aren't convinced about what all technology can do, just take a peek into the city's gaming scenario and you will realise its effect. Gone are the days when you had to play and win games against the computer or a friend sitting along you. Local Area Network games have made it possible to fight it out with your friends in other parts of the country or even abroad. All you need to ensure is that you are connected to the same server. Some of the most wanted games include Counter-strike, Warcraft, FIFA and Need for Speed. You can find out the fervour these games command by just talking to any regular gamer. "Though we can play with the players abroad , the Indian net speed is no competition to theirs, which means you will lag behind. Hence we prefer playing with player within India," says Srikanth Polisetti, 18, who has been into LAN games for nearly two years. He spends over six to seven hours during holidays and three to four hours on other days playing games at browsing centres. Same is the case with Ravi Teja Nantena, a CBIT student, who is more proficient in Counter-strike. Gamers generally form themselves into clan while playing multi player games. And this also gives them the opportunity to make new friends. "You make a clan with people who share similar wavelength and competence level. Mostly, they live in the same city as well. I am part of a clan named Panic since eight months, which has two people from Bangalore. We keep in touch through phone and decide when to play," explains Ravi. Whoever told you that computer games are meant for pass time, for most gamers it means serious business. World wide there are two most important cyber games competition that take place every year. One is the World Cyber Games (WCG) and another the Electronic Sports World Cup (ESWC), which has come to India for the first time. The national finals were held this year between June 8 and10 in Delhi.The prize money can include a foreign holiday package, cash and interesting gaming accessories. "It is very much possible to make a successful career out of it. In foreign countries like Sweden, you are paid to play. If you are a good player you even get sponsors. It will be sometime before such things happen in our country," points out Ravi, who is heading to Delhi to play in the finals. But pursuing this passion can prove heavy on your pocket. Srikanth confesses to spending between Rs 4,000 - 5,000 every month. But he says he does make up for it most of the times by playing bet matches. Most of the cyber cafes that offer gaming facilities charge higher than the ordinary ones. "The cost is the same as for using internet. But instead of paying every time, it is better to take a package as it is money saving," says Zulfikhar Ali Mirza, who handles technical aspects at a popular cyber café in Khairatabad and is also a gamer. He says that any given times there are at least 20 gamers in his cyber café and majority of them are boys between the age group of 16-23. But before the competitions, many cyber cafes even offer concessions to the gamers, as they need to practice for longer hours.