BENGALURU: I had a basic model Nokia phone and was very intrigued by the snake game. That was my introduction to gaming, following which I cultivated an interest towards video game sets with transistor chips having games such as Mario Kart and Contra,” says Akaash Ravichandran, who began gaming at the age of 10.
Drawing inspiration from his peers, Akaash soon expanded his gaming horizon to computer games. “When I got my first PC, I didn’t get games like Grand Theft Auto (GTA) and Need For Speed (NFS) like other gamers. I played simple games in Champak CD’s, which included 2D car racing games. Winning those games gave me good vibes and I loved looking at the word ‘WINNER’ flash on my screen. This made me realise how awesome it is to win something, even if it is a kids’ game,” he says.
It wasn’t long before Akaash began getting an interest in more competitive games. He chose mobile gaming despite being offered computer games and an Xbox. He began to sort his games into two categories — one consisting highly competitive games to experience the satisfaction of winning and the other to just pass time during the day. “I love playing games such as Players Unknown Battle Grounds (PUBG), Mini Militia, PEZ, FIFA for timepass. When I am feeling competitive, I turn to games like Call of Duty, Far Cry and rival games,” he says.
Akaash’s gaming schedule isn’t fixed. The 20-year-old plays anywhere between a few hours a day and all day long. When asked the longest time he spent gaming, Akaash gleefully says, “I once spent an entire day playing GTA. I think GTA is an evergreen game that all 90s kids can relate to. I wanted to finish all the missions on the same day, as I couldn’t sleep without achieving it.
I remember getting a good yelling from my parents for it and I promised them I wouldn’t repeat it in the future. But of course, I have done it again a lot of times. On the other hand, they know I keep my gaming obsession under control and support my habits. They are fine as long as I don’t prioritise gaming over a college project or exam.”
While he doesn’t believe that one can escape reality, Akaash agrees that gaming can create new realities for gamers. “Gamers have a separate definition for reality. They don’t perceive regular things as others do. We are used to the fantasy atmosphere. Especially since I love arcade and simulation genres, I am all about the exotic lands and non-existent creatures. I can never get bored of it,” he says.
Ask him about his future plans in gaming, and Akaash says, “I am not a hardcore gamer who puts gaming before everything else. Home gaming is indeed solace for a passionate gamer and I prefer to play alone than with other gamers. I don’t think gaming will be anything more than a stress buster and hobby for me, although I know I would not know what to do during my free hours during the day.”