‘Punks Not Dead’ reads the T-shirt of 15-year-old schoolboy Himanshu. Final-year engineering student Jaskirat has ‘you dare challenge me” inscribed on his. Himanshu and Jaskirat in their jeans and deadly tees are gaming-enthusiasts, and a part of the two-day LAN party on at Chanakyapuri.
Completely different from a college bash with booze and chips, BYOC (Bring you own computer) LAN parties are essentially computers that are networked together for guys like Himanshu and Jaskirat to compete at multiplayer computer games.
The BYOC party in Chanakyapuri — the first of the 2009 season — is a 48-hour marathon session of gaming tournaments. And for gamers who can tell Counter Strike from Crysis Warhead Instant Action or DoTa from Unreal Tournament, it is not too late to join the action. In a packed auditorium, boys of all ages, some more grown up than others, are busy securing goals and killing their virtual counterparts. However, girls are conspicuous by their absence at the do.
And the participants are not just from Delhi. Nor are they only college boys. A 40-year-old ad executive from Noida, a gaming freak, is expected to turn up this morning. Chacha-bhatija duos have come from Bikaner. Cousins from Chandigarh and chums from IIT Rourkee have set up base here for two days. Not the least is a team of five that is expected to turn up by train from Mumbai.
Judging by the packed venue, big-league sponsors like NVIDIA, Cooler Master and MSI, and with prize money varying from Rs 5,000 to Rs 15,000, geeks are having a field day.
Himanshu says his parents are “cool” with him staying up for two nights gaming non-stop. “They’re used to it,” he grins. “This is my ninth LAN party after all.” Himanshu’s computer is modified to accommodate 6 gigs (GB) of RAM. His fellow participants too have lugged with them PCs and laptops fitted with Alienware and other high-end gaming accessories.
For people who aren’t quite clued into the gaming dimension, the screen names are bound to stir as much as curiosity as the phenomenon of marathon gaming. So while a regular bloke may be called Himanshu Saini in his everyday existence, here at a gaming convention, he is Asli Papa. Others are more bewildering. Kryptonite Hitman’s real name is Shahbaz Sekhon. While Abhishek Gupta to his gamer friends is ‘Tu To Gaya Beta Ab’.