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There are Comic Cons – the boiling pot of geeks of all kinds, there’s Indian Gaming Expo – the haven for geeks of a specific kind, then there’s DreamHack, held this year at NSIC Exhibition ground, Okhla, New Delhi, which is like the frontier for all those hardcore Esports players out there to show off their skills on the national stage. So when the dates for DreamHack were announced, I had to prep myself up in a jiffy to cover it since I had planned to do so while cosplaying, which was like the second arsenal of attraction of the event. How was the event if you ask, well, let’s find out!

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament (CS:GO)

The center of attraction in this year’s event was the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Invitational Tournament which had a pool prize of 39 lacs INR. Six international and national teams will flew down to New Delhi to participate in the tournament. The contenders included South Africa’s Goliath Gaming, UAE’s YALLA Esports – one of the oldest Esports organisations, PRO100, Thailand’s Lucid Dream, India’s Orgless5 and the Ukrainian giant – the HellRaisers. The variety of sounds could be heard in the arena – a battle of sweat, reloading of guns, angry shouting and jeering, military commands being issued, announcer’s excitement and what not! All these under one roof…or tent. Any CS:GO fnatic (pun intended) who missed the event will now be in for a deep regret.


Rocket League: Mountain Dew edition

There was a Mountain Dew edition ‘gaming’ truck retrofitted with monitors, CPUs and controllers where players were hooked to Rocket League matches. Trigger-happy fingers jabbing down on those buttons and joysticks to kick the ball just after a boost, the stress and excitement was visible across their faces. Sad, the audience interested in Rocket League matches was… not good.

Bring Your Own Computer and Bring Your Own Device (BYOC & BYOD)

This year DreamHack Delhi featured not only a BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) but also a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device),
where people brought their own mobile phones and consoles to play on for three days. Connected to the LAN, it was a showdown of battle-hardened squads and solos in Call of Duty- Mobile and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds – Mobile, two of the massively popular mobile shooters in India. This was perhaps the place suitable for the general audience as nowadays you’ll barely find anyone unaware of COD-M or PUBG-M.

In fact PUBG-M had its own PAN fest, a three-day tournament with 64 players/16 teams per match. This goes without saying that people were waiting in long queues for their turn, armed with vigor and cans of RedBull waiting to ‘HALO’ jump into Erangel and Shahok.

But alas, games like Rainbow Six: Siege and League of Legends didn’t garner as much attention as they were thought to bring and hence canceled for the time being. Guess, the general Indian populace is more interested in free stuff (nothing unexpected, really). There was also WCC Rivals, the real-time cricket multiplayer on android but the participation was even more meager despite the game being free on Google Playstore. Everyone just wanted rootin’, tootin’, shootin’ and lootin’.

Retro Arcades and games of yore

There were arcade machines running Street Fighter 2 (I was able to recognize Guile thanks to the influence Jojo’s Bizzare Adventures had on early Japanese games), 2-player Tetris and our good-ole ContraGlad this time they weren’t coin-operated and free-for-all! As for games of yore, there was Chess, Ludo and Carom and yes, they also had prize money. I can say the participation here was good though not great.


Case Modding

A panel was there inviting case-modders to show off their artistic and engineering finesse. Audiences were given a heart-shaped stamp which they stuck to the mods they loved. Sadly only a handful of people had participated in case modding. My personal favorite was the guitar mod (how do they make it like this again?).

KO: Fight Night

Following last year’s format, the KO: Fight Night this year had Street Fighter 5, Tekken 7 and Super Smash Bros (and this is where the character I cosplayed comes in, Joker from Persona 5). I was legit surprised at the influx of people participating in these events; the quick pacing of those fights was way too overwhelming! Glad to see people were even interested in Super Smash Bros apart from Tekken and Street Fighter who are like the megaliths of beat’em up games.


Participants from all over the country gathered on stage to show off their cosplays ranging from Ling Xiaoyu (Tekken), NCR Ranger (Fallout: New Vegasto Kakashi (Naruto) and even PUBG, and boy, was it glorious! Costumes stitched from commonly available fabric, pieces of props made from common materials like foam and painted to look as realistic as possible, the immense work that went into making these made the competition as tough as possible. The cosplay event was judged by the gorgeous trio Cora Berry, Alycesca and Yamaki who flew down all the way from different countries for DreamHack. Awesome people, great fun!


All in all it was a complete bash for all the competitive spirits out there. With that sprinkle some comedy by India’s top standup comedians and interactions with Tanmay Bhatt and Ranvijay Singha of Roadies and Splitsvilla fame. I also got to interact with gaming influencers like  Naman ‘MortaL’ Mathur – India’s most popular PUBG player and Ankit ‘V3nom’ Panth – India’s most popular CS:GO player. All in all this was a great experience on an otherwise boring weekend.

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