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Mumbai underworld goes online

tech-reviews Updated: Aug 04, 2010 14:43 IST
Sneha Mahale
Sneha Mahale
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Anyone can now become a gunda. Virtually at least. Ibibo.com has launched a social networking game called Mumbai Underworld. The game allows players to embrace their darker side and become a bhai who builds a criminal empire by buying properties and making money from it to buy higher-level properties. Mumbai Underworld is currently the most popular game on Ibibo.

“The underworld holds a strange fascination for Mumbaikars and we felt that this type of role-playing would interest a wide audience,” says Rahul Razdan, vice president, head of communications and gaming at Ibibo. He adds that the game has nothing to do with the recently released underworld flick, Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai.

The game follows a simple structure. Set in Mumbai, a player starts off as a small-time gangster and opens a dance bar. To sustain the bar, he hires dancers, bouncers, waiters and other part-timers. The money earned from the dance bar is used to fund other illegal projects and climb up the ladder. As the profits grow, the bhai graduates to opening smuggling ports, stealing cars and opening casinos. One also has to regularly loot friends and fellow gamers to increase profits. But the police don’t monitor activities.

“We are not taking a moral stand, so cannot comment on what is right or wrong. Research shows that violent games on consoles impact people psychologically. The same is not trueof role-playing,” says Razdan. He adds that most players are able to differentiate between real and reel life and are able to understand that they are not real-life gangsters: “We have added the looting from friends part to increase social interactivity and keep things light.”

Some gamers aren’t amused. Ajay Jha, a gamer, says, “This is an interesting concept but can have a detrimental effect on pre-teens and teenagers.” Tanmay Shah, banker and father to a 13-year-old boy, says, “I wouldn’t want my son to play it. I don’t want him to think that the underworld is cool or learn about smuggling and dance bars.”

What we like
Easy-to-follow narrative
Social interaction

What we don’t
The game runs for a duration of 12 hours and the minimum income can be collected only after 30 minutes
Average graphics
No age limit