Friday, January 29, 2010

My journey - Part 2 - Unexpected turn of events

One day, my dad bought home a handheld console (a game boy clone*) from the nearby town, which mostly played tetris, and some tennis etc. It was awesome. I was so possessive about it that I carried it almost everywhere.

*The only things available in the market in the town side were the clones. No one there knew what or who a Nintendo was! Plus it wasn’t like we could’ve afforded the real one IAC.

Then when we moved to Ahmedabad, in Gujarat, I pretty much had this dead handheld and nothing else… However my social activities and outdoor games improved. I didn’t feel like I was missing much.
Then, post my tenth standard, we had to move again to Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra and making new friends was a pain… Loneliness overcame and then comes my dad to the rescue with a NES clone! Mario, Duck Hunt, Tank and more of the same games in different repeated variations termed as 1000 games in one cartridge!

But, I loved it, it was like a family entertainment. My mom too enjoyed it. Tank Level Editor was great fun! But how long could the clones last! They succumbed to wear and tear, thanks to me though.

And then it was the dawn of the PC era (for me). I really wanted one. Most of my friends in junior college had one. My dad was trying hard to see if the budget fitted. We had loans and other things to deal with. I didn’t pressurize him either. I sorta figured out that the finances weren’t that great. And trust me, most parents in India don’t think part time jobs for their college kids is a good idea. So, that was ruled out!

After few months of saving and after another little loan, my dad did come home one day with a PC for me! Oh boy, tears of happiness ran down my cheeks that day! The love of my life had walked in that day (year 1999-2000)

Until then, my computer access was restricted to my school, dad's office and few friends' places.

My best friend, Abhishek (Abhi) was the one who introduced me totally to the world of videogames. He is the one responsible for where I’m today. He gets the credit to turn a simple village girl into a gamer J

He walked home one day with his Age of Empires II game CD. He taught me how to play and soon enough I got really good at it and addicted too!

Roadrash, NFS, Quake, UT, Warcraft 3 and more followed one after the other.

By then I was into engineering college and another one of my best friends, Rohan (Ro) joined me and Abhi in our gaming endeavors. We ended up heading to a cybercaf√© and played  the AOE II deathmatch! I kicked their ass ofc. :D Persians FTW! 

Even during college festivals, we three were mostly found organizing video game competitions. I was the only regular girl to play games there. I do remember there was one more girl. She was good but she seldom came. I for one never bothered about the number of guys there. I joined Quake LAN matches, kicked some ass, got my ass kicked by some experts too. Helluva fun!

We continued this habit of deathmatch for quite some time. All three of us were in love with AOE! Then one fateful day the owner of the cybercaf√© handed out some free distribution samples of a game called ‘Ragnarok’ the first MMORPG to come to India (officially).

Obviously, it needed internet connection and I didn’t have one. I didn’t mention that before did I? Ya, it’s not that easy. Money matters!

My friend Ro was the first one to check out the game and then he sorta like it. Then Abhi joined him. I couldn’t without the internet. Whenever I went to Abhi ‘s place, I played the game and I enjoyed it. MMO’s are fun for more reasons than one. I desperately wanted an internet connection. So, pestered my dad! Poor thing did get me one. He figured that I don’t ask a lot of things anyways.

And then the crazy MMORPG addiction began, the uncontrollable urge to excel! I was out there to prove god knows what! Hardly anyone thought I was girl, as usual I was being treated as a cross-dresser till Ro & Abhi got protective about me. :P

After a lot of leveling up, one day I met another girl in the game, yes a girl IRL. And soon enough we found that there were some more girls in the game. There was an all girls meet and we all went for it! It was awesome :D

Even when my final semester kicked in, I played the game and made sure I was there for my guild during the WOE (War of Emperium)! My mom was so worried that I was gonna flunk the exams. But hey! I passed my final year with a firstclass in hand and played more.

Now I was one of the job hunters!

to be contd…


You can find the whole series here: My journey

My journey - Part 1 - I was different

I thought my love for gaming began during my junior college days, but today I realize that the seeds were sown much before!

Hailing from an orthodox middle-class Tamil Brahmin family in a small village of Kerala in Indian I never imagined that I would be game designer some day. That was a profession unheard of. It still isn’t that popular in India.

July 18 of 1984 saw Beverly Lynn Burns become the first woman Boeing 747 captain in the world.
(Ya, the fact is ripped off Wikipedia! :P)

She made a difference! When she was celebrating there, in another corner of the world, I was born! :D
(Did that make an impact? No..? *sigh* I thought it sounded so cool!)
(Plz ignore the fact that it was also the day the ‘San Ysidro McDonald's massacre’ took place… Let’s look into the good things here… Maybe my violent streak is because of that…:-S)

Studies came easy to me atleast till college ;). Classical music and dance was spread across my family and as per tradition, I learnt a bit of all! Temples and prayers were like food and water. Girls’ dresses were restricted to uniforms, long skirts-blouses, sarees, half-sarees, churidhars (which too came in later)! 
No kidding. It was a small village with elderly people still binded to old traditions, values and superstitions.

In midst of such an orthodox society, my broad-minded dad gets me a jeans and tee from town side! I was damn excited and I couldn’t wait to wear it! So wearing my new jeans and tee, I stepped out of my home and all the village kids including my friends were surprised rather shocked. It was a rare sight back then. I carried it out with confidence. I felt different, I felt I broke a stupid rule, I loved it!

Then it was time to show it off at school and similar reactions there too! It probably sounds stupid now, but it was a big deal then!

Back in school, computer lab sessions were my favourite. Once taught I could remember the procedure forever. During free periods, I would take few friends and head to the computer lab and start playing games.
Little did I realize that the future was calling out to me! :)

to be contd…


You can find the whole series here: My journey