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PUBG! A video game everyone is talking about. Even our “Maulvisahibaan” could not refrain themselves from describing this game as chaotic and unruly. Not only that, the common public opinion is blaming this game along with the video app of “TIKKTokk” for the disappointing academic results of the youth. One of the institutions even demeaned the 100 million players of PUBG by calling them drug addicts, without having any substantial data to back its claim. Even the Deputy Mayor of Srinagar met the Governor of J&K to push for the ban on playing PUBG in cyber cafes across the city, and they succeeded.

But what is PUBG?

It is basically an online video game developed by South Korea based PUBG corporation for desktops. The Chinese company Tencent Games developed a mobile version of it and Microsoft developed an Xbox version. The game was released officially in December 2017 and it spread like a forest fire. It is a player-versus-player shooting game in which a hundred players are dropped on a virtual island where they can play in three modes—Single, Duo or in a Group of four—and they have to fight and kill others for their survival in the Battle Royale just like WWE’s Royal Rumble and the last player/group of players standing becomes victorious. The winners receive some virtual coins with a statement “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner”.

With superb graphics and the best RPG, PUBG has become one of the best games you can get from play store or IOS. However, it is not the first game of its kind as it was preceded by games like Minecraft, ARMA2 etc. PUBG has a large number of advantages like it sharpens your senses, helps you to gain greater focus and, like other games, it helps in improving one’s multitasking capability.

Being a game where you are playing with real people, it ought to develop a player’s coordination, problem-solving skills and brain speed because they never know where the enemy will pounce upon them. I have a gut feeling that this game could also help one to learn survival skills in the toughest situations. It has also the potential to increase a player’s social skills using VOIP voice chat where they can talk to fellow teammates as well as opponents while playing.  Last but not the least, this game could help people earn a few bucks if they are good enough at it—by live streaming, the game or screen recording and uploading it on video sharing sites like YouTube one can earn some money.

The disadvantages of this game cannot be noticed in days but after consistently playing it for months. Due to the violence involved in the game, it creates many health problems and mental disorders. PUBG is actually a sixteen plus game, but after some research, I found that it is mostly played by children below the age of sixteen years. The game is so addictive that even after hours of playing, one doesn’t usually get bored. This results in a lack of movement and increases the probability of becoming fat and obese.

The game tends to increase the blood pressure of the player upon reaching the climax when there are only a dozen players left and the circle has shrunk to about the fourth of its size. It could have an adverse impact on the psychology of its players which needs to be scientifically researched. A recent tragedy in Jammu where a young gym trainer lost his mental balance because he had been playing this game for days is a case in point. A person may get too used to the virtual world of the game and experience difficulties in adjusting to the real world.

One more thing that this game does is that it increases the selfishness and ruthlessness of the player, who is required to kill the opponents at any cost because it is paramount to his or her survival in the game.

I should have concluded but a thought struck me: if not PUBG, TikkTokk, etc like games, then what shall we do in our leisure time? They say all work and no Play makes Jack a dull boy. As the Governor of J&K said, and I agree: children have nothing to do after six.

My father is a bank employee and because he has been posted outside the state for most of my childhood, I have had to migrate along with him for studies. I have noticed that the children and teens of the other states have avenues and opportunities to pass time in a positive way. They have cinemas, amusement parks, water parks, zoos, 7D cartoon cinemas, arts and science museums, exotic restaurants, resorts, shopping malls, playgrounds, and public parks beside wonderful natural landmarks. These luxuries have never been available to us. Rather than coming up with alternatives to games like PUBG, every institution is busy in a blame game. I request all of our elders to come together and motivate children to play different outdoor games rather than blame us for every wrong happening in Kashmir.

It really hurts. Thanks.