The uniquely Indian PC Gaming Experience

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Video Script (minus the ad-libbed parts)

Hello and welcome back to Shriviews. A lot of you noticed the issue with my last video, with the audio and video being out of sync- that was definitely not supposed to happen, it wasn’t some artistic flair that I added to make things cinematic. 

Now, technical difficulties are a common part of video production, especially for me – I don’t have any fancy equipment and I’m just making these videos as a hobby- I have no formal training in videography. This time though, neither the software nor my computer wanted to cooperate with me. The software was choppy and kept freezing on me despite trying all the tricks the different forums suggested online. Not to mention the fact that my computer- one that I built 4 years ago (even blogged about it on my website shriviews.com), really starts hitting the limits of its capabilities when I try to use it for video editing. 

My first PC looked something like this beige box. It even had a TV Capture Card. Remember those? Good times.

I’ve been using the PC that I built for gaming and for work (things like spreadsheets and whatnot) for these past few years without any issues, and I had never set out to build a video editing workstation in the first place so I am not at all surprised that it struggles with that workload, but I’m not frustrated by the apparent obsolescence of my computer on the horizon- in fact, it’s the exact opposite. It has helped me rediscover a feeling I hadn’t had in a long time- the feeling that’s known to many kids in middle-class families who grew up playing computer games in India. The joy you get from getting something to work on a hopelessly feeble PC. 

I say that this is a shared experience with some confidence because I knew a lot of kids in the same boat as me when I was in school- we were all trying to get our hands on the latest games, only to settle for bargain bin titles that were years or even decades old most of the time. Even when we did get our hands on the latest and greatest, there was the question of how we would even get these games to run on the computers we had at home. You see, gaming in general was and still is, a luxurious and expensive hobby to pursue in India– enthusiast-level hardware is super expensive, and what’s considered even consumer-level stuff in the western world can get super pricy. 

Akshay Kumar was in an ad for the xbox 360 back in the day.

I remember begging my parents for an Xbox 360 when it released and I saw ads plastered all across the neighborhood mall. I remember going to gaming centered cyber cafes and gawking at the PCs with one gigabyte of RAM flat-screen monitors. The one I had at home was a Pentium 4 System with 256 Megs of RAM, positively ancient in comparison. I remember the horror in my mother’s eyes when she took me to one of those and saw a couple of zombified looking guys staring intently at their computer screens playing Counter-Strike 1.6 in a seedy, dimly lit room with the occasional expletive being hurled at no one in particular. 

But even if the hardware and the games were more affordable, I have a feeling that most kids would still be bereft of videogame induced joy, because even if you can afford video games, your parents still have to let you play them in the first place. I don’t know about parents these days, but my parents definitely thought video games were unproductive, a waste of time, and in the case of my mom, tantamount to gambling (I think she made that connection from the aforementioned seedy gaming den). 

I remember doing a lot of the stuff mentioned in this video to get GTA 4 to work.

Despite all these obstacles and limitations, we still found ways to find games and make them work on our computers, whether it be by cranking the settings down to their lowest levels or even sometimes messing around in config files. The end result was usually a blurry, pixelated mess with missing textures and all sorts of weird glitches. I vividly remember going through all those things to get GTA 4 to run at 24 frames per second. I even played through the game with that experience- twice! In the end, the experience of playing the game wasn’t limited to the game itself, but the experience of buying the game, getting it to install, trying to get it to work, trying to get it to run at a framerate that wasn’t a complete slideshow, talking about games with your friends and nerding out about them, really wringing out every last drop of enjoyment out of each and every game that we had. I might even argue that the fact that videogames were so looked down upon added to the enjoyment- we fancied ourselves to be rebels engaging in some underground activity, in an age where gaming was starting to grow out of being an underground subculture, a time where it didn’t have the widespread mainstream appeal it has now. 

These days, gaming is pretty commonplace- the smartphone has taken over as the device of choice for a lot of people. In my case, I was able to build my own PC after years of dreaming about it. Seriously though, I was lucky to have a computer parts store where I lived, where I got to see shelves full of parts and components and just pick stuff out-  something couldn’t even fathom as a kid. In a way though, building a gaming PC and getting all my games as digital downloads took away the challenge of getting a game to work and the weird sense of joy and accomplishment that came with it. This is why, when I started encountering the choppy and unresponsive software, and I could hear my computer’s cries for help as it struggled to render 1080p video, I was transported back through all of these memories- memories of a uniquely Indian PC Experience. 

That’s the end of this video- let me know what you thought about my PC Gaming memories, chime in with your experiences in the comments. Thanks for watching, and remember- 

There is no I in “team”- but there is an I, in “profit”. 

I’ll see you next time. 

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