Gamer Connect is one of the most reputed gaming events in India. Gamers from major cities across India group up for this event every year to have a happy and fun time. This year Gamer Connect Kolkata proved itself indifferent to the other Gamer Connects, but it surely did live up to our expectations. Gamer Connect Kolkata 2019 returned to the major city of Kolkata after 2 years and did a phenomenal job in attracting gamers under one roof across the entire city if not the state of West Bengal and the neighbouring states. The turnout for the 2 days event was a humongous 6500 gamers according to the organizers who worked tirelessly to make the event a massive success in the Kolkata gaming community. There were a lot of crowd attractors in the Kolkata Gamer Connect this year including 240 Hz Gaming setups, Ultra-Wide setups and exclusive MK11, PUBG, Fifa 2019 and CSGO 2 v 2 tournaments. Aside from mentioned ones, this year the Gamer Connect featured a lot of celebrities and personalities from the Indian esports and streaming scene.

The biggest crowd attractor this year turned out to be none other than the captain of Team Brutality Ankit ‘V3nom’ Panth. A massive crowd had gathered to meet the fan favourite V3nom and get a chance to click a selfie with him and get his autograph, but V3nom wasn’t alone he was accompanied by one of his oldest teammate Aakash ‘Rix’ More. Both of the CSGO pros were constantly being hounded by their fans and there was a massive queue of fans just waiting to meet them. I was in the crowd waiting for my chance to meet the fan favourites themselves, and even though I couldn’t get a chance to interview V3nom because of the huge throng he had around him at the event, I was lucky enough to get an interview with Rix who seemed to not to be an important heads in the show despite having a phenomenal track record as a player.

Rix was a jolly guy who instantly agreed to face some of the questions I had prepared for him. I started off with some casual questions and then moved on to the questions critical of the scene:

Spiel Times: What is your favourite CSGO map and why?

A) My favourite map would be de_mirage. It is not like I believe it is the best map in the competitive map pool, but I just prefer it over the others. Personally, I think it is a good map to show some individual skill, land some good shots here and there and overall it seems like a good and balanced map, I am really comfortable with how de_mirage plays out and hence it is my most preferred map in the competitive map pool.

Who do you think is the leading Indian CS player and which team in your opinion is currently the best Indian CS team?

A) I don’t think that any player or team has been consistently topping the charts, there is always scope for some new team or player to show up and dethrone strong teams during major esports events, the scene is constantly changing and there is no stable best player or team right now in my opinion. So, I can’t select anyone in particular on this one, although I think teams like Entity and Signify are really good but even then, they get challenged from time to time.

Who was your inspiration when you started your CS journey?

A) I started my gaming career from a very average Indian family and my journey started in a local gaming café like most of the gamers out there. I wasn’t a follower of the scene back then nor was I well aware of it, so I had no scope of having an idol or someone to look up to, I just played for fun and things kept going as they were, it was much later that I started participating in tournaments and LAN events that I came to know of the Indian and the international Counter-Strike scene.

Why do you think the Indian esports scene is lagging behind compared to the international scene while the SEA scene is doing a great job in catching up to the landmarks set by the international scene? How do you think the Indian scene can aim for improvement?

A) The reason India is lagging behind in esports is primarily due to the lack of work ethics. People aren’t very hardworking nor do they strive for excellence, there is always this constant rivalry between individual players that keep playing out even in team games. The current scene isn’t about being a consistent team-based player but more of a lone wolf who only cares about personal and individual achievements. Most of the current teams lack the necessary teamwork and this attitude of personal achievements keeps dragging the teams down. It is all about money and who belongs to the more well paid and well-sponsored teams when it comes down to the players, this makes it hard for the teams to have consistent line-ups as constant shuffling between players keep happening due to the individuality observed in the current scene, and the team chemistry built up in old squads falls apart. My suggestion for improvement would be that management gets more power over the players and remains well organized to ensure that teams maintain consistent line-ups with good team chemistry and the players have their demands met at any given time.

As recent incidents suggest, the Indian esports scene has become a hotbed for hackers. This has landed the country’s reputation into a rather negative spotlight at an international level. Do you think internal loopholes in the management are creating, or even encouraging this rampant hacking culture?

A) Yes, there have been a lot of reports of hacking at LAN events recently. Acknowledging that, I believe that players manage to hack and get away with it due to the fault of the management and the admins mostly. As I see of it, there isn’t much background checking or monitoring going on at the current events, it is like the management orders the admins to stand behind us and they just follow that by word, the admins aren’t very active as you would expect and with the current condition of management it is obvious that players manage to sneak in hacks during LAN events. Currently, the management is very poor in checking players out before events and needs improvements, as for the admins, they need to be more observant and active at events to sniff out potential hackers before they go blatant and ruin the reputation of our country.

So those were the opinions that Rix shared with me, it was a great experience talking to a personality like him and having a chance to know his opinions on the Indian esports scene. I am really thankful to the Gamer Connect organizers for giving me a chance to have this lovely session with Rix, and I am also thankful to Rix himself for letting me take some of his precious time off at the event for the small interview I had planned for him.

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