Online games take a reality check

In the news Grand Auto theft is passé. It’s current news that’s making gamers go ga ga, writes Ruchira Hoon.

india Updated: Jun 05, 2010 23:33 IST
Ruchira Hoon
Ruchira Hoon
Hindustan Times

Sach mein Kasab ko toh public ke hawale hee de dena chahiye (Kasab should be handed over to the public to make a decision) says aarti1234. Jai hind, says jp_cnet. This isn’t a patriotic conversation between two people on instant messenger; these are the comments that the Hang Kasab game has generated over the past few weeks.

Launched on May 7, this game now gets over one-lakh hits a day, according to its creator Maruthi Shankar, MD 7seas Technologies Ltd. Plus, he says, it’s based on a real incident and is a great outlet for people to express their opinions.

Based on real-life situations, online games like these are becoming popular with the youth. Whether it’s a game to ensure that the Delhi metro is ready in time for the Commonwealth Games, or a game that makes you the real hero of 26/11, the verdict is simple — it’s the topicality of these games that are making them so popular. Also the reason why games like Head-butt Zidane and Throw a shoe at Bush had become overnight successes.

Human resources professional Kaushik Saha, who has played the Delhi Games 2010 several times over the last two months, believes games that are made from anecdotes of the common man are certainly more fun. “Since they are relevant to the current day-to-day life, it’s fun to see the result,” says this 24-year-old, who spends at least half an hour building roads and constructing bridges on this game. “And they are great place to vent your anger. I mean, if you’re angry with the construction enroute home, you can see what happens if the railway tracks collapse, at least virtually.”

So why do current affairs make great games? For starters, it’s because people, especially the youth, seem to be responding better to these games.

According to Alok Kejriwal, CEO of games2win, a popular gaming site, news is generally consumed in a passive format but, like he says, “These games are great awareness creating tools, especially since the concept writers often put a story and a message while creating it, which people can relate to,” he says. “Gaming is a language that the youth listen to and therefore communicating through games definitely gets the message across.”

Of course, because of their popularity games get ‘viralled’ very easily. That is, those who like these games often link it to their statuses on Facebook and Gtalk, making the game very popular within a few hours of its launch.

The catch, however, is that games based on reality often have a very short-shelf-life varying between a few weeks to a few hours. “It all depends on how long the situation stays in the news. After that it’s hard trade-off for the gaming industry, but the laughs and the hits make up for it,” says Kejriwal.

First Published: Jun 05, 2010 23:31 IST