Friday, July 30, 2004


It was a summer of 1992. And for the first time, I was witnessing moving figures on TV actually responding the tune of fingers of the users.

The system was called "Media-GameBoy" and the game was called "CONTRA". Little did I know that I was just uncovering the tip of an iceberg. A whole entertainment industry which makes billions of dollars even with all the piracy around.

The experience was amazing. The whole game plot with umpteen levels and secret passages; it was a delight for the dream-mongerer. CONTRA was given company by MARIO. Another highly popular game. And I was just discovering what a phenomenon it was.

The commando painted himself black and stepped into the unknown worlds of villians and alien creatures. Each world conquered with war cries and foot thumping. The sheer gesture of triumph on getting past an obstacle which was previously undodgeable was a statement of heroism. There came along admirers who would watch me play those levels again and agin to get that extra "oomph" when the player on screen would dodge bullets and spread his own blitzkreig into the nether world.

With advances in technology and the systems becoming popular even in small towns, there was a barrage of games which had to be mastered. After all it was a question of prestige!!! Games like - "Adventure Island", "Motocross", "Ninja Turtles, "F1", "Road Racer", "Load Runner", "Tennis"... and not to forget the all time favorites "PacMan" and "Galaxian".

The commando was fighting his way into the enemy territory. And then, he was introduced to a more lethal weapon. It had by tradition 104 keys and a pet to accompany it called by the name of - "Mouse". And the commando used his new weaponry to fight another round of battles, break yet another secret and kill yet another super-villain.

This new round included games like "DOOM", "WOLF-3D", "DUKE NUKEM", "Prince of Persia", "RoadRash", "Air Xonix", "PinBall" and "Word Twister"!!! But the baap(s) of them all would turn out to be the trio of "Age of Empires, "Quake" and "Unreal Tournament".

Age of Empires holds a high esteem in my life. Simply because it has been responsible of many sleepless nights which I spent thinking how a "palladin" can cut through a horde of "eagle warriors". There have been nights when Unreal Tournament was loaded on the PC with the monitor shut and no game being played; just to hear rhe repeated music of the background action-packed score.

Gaming has been a cult and rage. Wonder when I would lay hands on a X-Box or Sony Playstation and upgrade my arsenal. And then someday, which is not vey far, a kid would be wearing a VR (Virtual Reality) pod and having the "in-game" experience. It would start a new passion of the man and the machine.

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