The Awakening of a “Serious” Gamer
|A Playstation 2 Controller|
Captured by Avnish Bansal
"5-1". It made fun of me, straight to my face. Nobody would do that and even if they did, it was certainly not like me to get offended. But it was offensive this time. It was strange; some temporary, unreal numbers with an alphanumeric character in between were enough to offend me while real comments, real words were not. And here I grew up believing that words hurt more than anything in the world.
I haven’t explained what 5-1 is, have I? Pardon me for that. Well, the football lovers among you must have seen it. It’s the score of a football match. Most or perhaps even all of you will think that it was the final of a major tournament and the team I was supporting suffered a humiliating 1-5 defeat which offended me, made me sad, dejected and nonplussed. That’s not what happened, though.
You are right in that a football match was involved, only it wasn’t real. I was playing. With my pal. On a Playstation. And it was me who just got handed the 1-5 defeat wrapped in maniacal laughter. As he scored each goal, he gave out a laugh that made me want to throw the controller at his rabbit’s teeth and kick him incessantly. But I didn’t do that. I kept on collecting all that humiliation and made a big ball of it inside me. I will exact vengeance upon you someday, you… I thought. And when I do, I will serve it to you with that very ball of humiliation that you have given to me today. We’ll see how you feel, then.
I was able to even things out a bit in the next match. Even in that match he scored a goal in the 7th minute, but eventually I managed to end it in a 2-2 draw. I still wasn’t satisfied. A draw? Seriously? I need a WIN!! He was still laughing when we were packing the console and the wires inside his Playstation box. He laughed the whole way when I dropped him home.
“Are you alright, boy?” my dad asked me as I was lying on the sofa, my eyes directed at the television screen but my thoughts elsewhere.
“I asked for the bottle of water thrice but it seemed like you were in another world!” he said.
“I’m sorry,” I said and handed the bottle to him while he eyed me suspiciously. He was right. I was in another world where I had a Playstation controller in my hand and we were playing FIFA 14 again. A whole match, with every tiny detail, every pass, every tackle, every shoot and every save, was going on inside my head and I was figuring out possible maneuvers to breach my pal’s defense and kick the ball into the net more than he could.
He had defeated me before and I had defeated him too, but no defeat could be pricklier than this and no victory more rewarding than the one I would get in my revenge match.
When I went to bed, the match inside my head was still going on. I had managed to breach my pal’s defenses once or twice but he was breaching mine with far more ease and comfort. That made me jealous.
I must have devised a fruit-bearing strategy in my dreams like those early scientists but I didn’t remember. All I knew was this: the guy who woke up the next morning was someone who would be angered beyond placation at the sight of his opponent scoring a goal, who would give the match his all without pulling back when he was on the verge of defeat, who would harbor an animosity beyond reconciliation when he suffered defeat and someone who would see those hands that handed him defeat not as the ones belonging to a casual, fellow gamer but as a formidable foe who had to be vanquished at any cost.
It certainly wasn’t me.