Read Editorial with D2G – Ep 482

The Indian Express

A different game

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Meanings are given in BOLD

PUBG was no Super Mario Bros. The mobile game was never going to define an entire generation like the Nintendo classic did when it beguiled ( help (time) pass pleasantly ) Indian millennials. What it was, however, was a great equaliser ( a thing which has an equalizing effect ). It helped the uninitiated ( without special knowledge or experience ) wrest ( take (something, especially power or control) after considerable effort or difficulty ) the “gamer” tag from the PC aristocrats with configurations that could make NASA supercomputers sweat, and equally elite console gamers who don’t mind shelling out thousands for new PlayStation and Xbox titles.

PUBG was available for free; anybody with cheap data, spare hours and a willing spirit was a gamer, and the console was already in their pockets. On Wednesday, this burgeoning ( begin to grow or increase rapidly; flourish ) community lost the only game in town. On the internet, news of the ban on the multiplayer battle royale shooter was soon followed by lists of alternatives for gamers to migrate to.

But there’s a reason these knock-offs, which had been mushrooming ( rapidly growing, expanding, or developing ) for a while, still hadn’t made a noticeable dent in the bubble around PUBG. The headstart, coupled with the financial and technical might backing ( help or support )  the product, made PUBG the cornerstone of the fledgeling ( a person or organization that is immature, inexperienced, or underdeveloped )  esports/streaming community in India. To expect them to move on smoothly to another game would be to expect cricket lovers to fall for baseball. Sure, you’re swinging a bat at a ball, but it’s hardly the same thing.

The call to arms, currently, is for indigenous games. A perfect example is Ludo, which has been making waves in its virtual iteration ( a new version of a piece of computer hardware or software) . But it’s tough to imagine the PUBG crowd making the switch. The dice ( take risks with; run the risk of ) gods can smile on you while you clean house on the Ludo board, but it wouldn’t come close to the rush of executing a perfect ambush ( a surprise attack by people lying in wait in a concealed position ) or surviving shootouts against strangers.

With walls closing in due to lockdown-induced ennui ( a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement ), PUBG was an escape. An immersive simulation, a power fantasy, and a conference call rolled into one. It jumped higher than those endearing, moustachioed ( typically a long or elaborate one) , pixelated ( display an image of (someone or something) on television as a small number of large pixels, typically in order to disguise someone’s identity ) Italian plumbers ever did.

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