Vroom or dribble, game on

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 8.11.13

BL Park was abuzz with claps, cheers and commentary on Kali puja morning and one standing there with eyes shut would have believed oneself to have been at a football stadium. And that wouldn’t have been far off the mark either.

The BL Block Committee, Youth Wing, had organised a video game tournament for residents and the two bouts being played were over Fifa 2012 and Need for Speed (NFS) Most Wanted. Two computers and big-screen TVs had been installed on the stage, one each for the two games, and the stage was brimming with players and supporters. The football game got 32 contenders and the racing game got 46.

“I practised Fifa for three days before a previous video game contest,” said Arya Kapoor of Class VI. Rohan Bakshi of Class XI said he gets ample NFS practise round the year and did not require extra preparation for this contest.

Two players were at a time playing the football game with the winner qualifying for the next level. The racing game had to be played solo and the racer with the shortest lap time would win. The tournament went on for six-and-a-half hours, with some players skipping lunch in order to play on.

The youngest ones on stage were in pre-school, here to watch dadas play. “I like playing games on my parents’ mobile phones,” said Ketan Biswas, a six-year-old participant. Seasoned players like MSc student Indranil Bagchi tried their hand too. “It’s nostalgic for me to play NFS today. I used to play this all night till a few years ago. Now Facebook eats into my spare time,” he confessed.

For some, the contest was a licence to do what they love. “I love playing video games but my parents would rather I study. Today they have given me a free rein as I said I’m here for Kali puja-related programmes,” smiled Rudradeep De, Class X. No girls had enrolled.

The NFS game was finally won by Joy Bakshi, a Class XI student and the Fifa game by Shameek Dey Sannamath, an engineering student who was also the convenor of the event. “This is the second year we held this contest and it has been extremely popular. Next year we aim to get more than 100 participants,” said Shameek, who had won it last year too.

The block organises on-field soccer matches once a year but the response to the virtual game is much higher. “Since this is what the youth loves, this is what we give them. We would hold debates and extempores previously but they drew few participants,” added Sudipta Roy, cultural convenor of Spectrum, the cultural wing of the block’s puja.