There was a time when desktop computers adorned houses and broadband internet connections went mainstream. I dub this as the golden age of gaming.
Sadly, this golden age of ‘gaming’ was not synonymous with the golden age of ‘games’. But somehow our minds transform the pixelated images and eerie synthesised music into something greater than it was. Priya Vedavalli fondly recollects, “Looking at it objectively, Claw was a game where the aim was to hunt for treasure. But I remember it as a journey where Claw destroys evil and restores goodness alongside finding the incidental precious gem”. Asked if they remember using computers in the noughties, began a long conversation with occasional shouts of ‘Mario’, ‘Prince of Persia’ and ‘xyzzyspoon’.
I fashioned a correlation between books and old video games - since they aren’t close to life visually, they leave much to the imagination. Zombies were seen as zombies, even if they were actually a blob of moving pixels, and the game itself had a limited range of colours. “I could be a chef, or Popeye and everything else at once” says Aishani, explaining that the games represented infinity in imagination.
‘100 games’ CD sets were an assortment with endless combinations of puzzles, racing and shooting. Pinball, Solitaire and the infamous minesweeper — whose rules are known to none (FYI: The number on the tile indicates the number of mines in the tiles surrounding it) are symbolic of the revolutionary Windows XP days. Internet cafes were a watering hole for playing on ‘Disney.in’ and ‘Zapak’.
Games in other platforms boomed as well, GameBoy saw the birth of Pokemon: with the story of a young trainer travelling with their monster companions. Along the way, the protagonist finds a thread of evil and infiltrates the battalion with time and experience.
Though it is great to reminisce, the need for improving the games was realised, and as Anand says “It’s the same match on which we keep increasing the difficulty; we start wanting more when we know we can get more.”
(The writer is an economics graduate who spends her leisure time preparing for the zombie apocalypse)