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Up until this year, I had no intention of expanding my list of games to play. Candy Crush is one of the only games I still play on my phone, and though I’ve tried open-world games like Sky: Children of the Light and Genshin Impact, I’ve dropped them as quickly as it takes them to load up.

Enter: BLACKPINK announcing that they’ll be in the PUBG Mobile (PUBGM) are(n)a performing a virtual concert on July 23.

As a low-key BLINK, I decided maybe this was finally the time for me to experience what it’s like to be a “winner winner chicken dinner”.

Prior to this, I’ve heard from both online and real-life accounts about how toxic first-person shooter (FPS) games can be, so I’ll admit that I was a little afraid and hesitant to join.

But as I chose to move past the fear and tried to have fun, here are four personal assumptions I had about playing PUBG, debunked.

1. It’s more supportive than it is toxic

From what I’ve seen, a handful of players would gather in a circle, stare down at their phones for about 30 minutes, and yell profanities at what I assumed was at each other.

Parachuting into the battlefield myself though, I found out that the four-player team-based game was actually quite supportive and collaborative.

The game reminds me of The Hunger Games, but because PUBG is team-based, it’s in your best interest to keep each other alive in order to survive yourself.

While you can wander off on your own to get supplies and take out enemies, I found it best to stay close to my team. Being a total noob, I had terrible aim, slow reaction times, and lacked knowledge of the game’s overall mechanics. 

What was I to do if I couldn’t fight for myself? Turn to a strategy that’s helped me survive in laser tag during company TABARs: hide, and let my teammates do the pewpews.

Picking up supplies my teammate dropped for me

Whenever I was being shot at, my teammates were quick to swoop in and attack the enemy, even dropping bandages and medicine to speed up my recovery.

Once you un-alive an enemy, there were also preset compliments you could choose from to praise your team for a job well done.

2. It’s only addictive if you let it become addictive

PUBG is like that universal addiction that ties players together, whether they’re a 15-year-old boy or an MNC professional. 

It’s competitive, entertaining, and extremely easy to learn (but difficult to master). Each time “winner winner chicken dinner” popped on my screen, the dopamine spike left me wanting more.

The satisfaction this screen brings

Psychology believes that dopamine makes you feel enjoyment and pleasure, thereby motivating you to seek out certain behaviours, such as food, sex, drugs, or in this case, winning a game.

They say that dopamine causes you to want, desire, seek out, and search, leading to the next game, and the next, and so on.

Not to brag, but thanks to reliable teammates I was randomly put with and my follow-behind-and-hide strategy, my teams have won 5/6 classic games in a row. (We don’t talk about my personal kill score and ratings though.)

This is all hearsay, but it’s worth mentioning that people on forums have suspected that PUBG fills the arena with bots that are horrible shooters too, making it easier for new players to pick up the game and win, therefore encouraging them to play more. Perhaps that was why I kept winning?

In any case, while I didn’t exactly fall into the dopamine loop and get addicted to PUBGM, I can empathise with those that do.

This leads to my next point.

3. It’s not really a time-waster, but more of a good way to kill time

Working hard or hardly working?

30-40 minutes is the average time to complete a single round in classic mode. 

Each time I’d get the dopamine rush from winning, I’d enter another, repeating the same strategy every time—and one hour of my life is gone.

While it hasn’t been a problem for me as I only loaded up PUBGM to kill time, it becomes a problem when responsibilities are neglected. But that’s in extreme cases which I believe doesn’t speak for the majority.

I mostly gamed while waiting for my food and drinks to be served

A big reason I’d limit myself from playing too much was that it drained my phone’s battery quite rapidly (from 80% to 40% in a single classic game). If I didn’t have a charger or power bank on hand, it meant I could end up uncontactable which is frightening when you have responsibilities. 

More interestingly, I found that there’s no exact way to “pause” in these battle royale games. If you’re going to exit, you could close the app, but I was told that was a dick move to make. 

This meant that if I do intend on entering a battle, I should best make sure that I had at least 40 minutes to spare if I didn’t want to be taken out in plain sight.

4. Instead of anxiety, I experienced fun

Genuinely, I didn’t think I’d like PUBGM for all the reasons I’ve listed so far. Boy am I glad to be proven so wrong.

Throughout the week, I was playing the game alone physically and teamed up with strangers (or alleged bots) who happened to be online too. 

I later found out that a friend of mine played it throughout the MCO, and she got pretty good at it, as she claimed, but later took a break from the game.

When she heard I was playing, she redownloaded it and adopted me into a clan, and we teamed up for a game with two other strangers. 

My colleague, Zhareef, who was a regular player, supplied some tips

Just like watching a movie with a friend, gaming with others meant I could discuss, laugh, and share the experience together.

This, I found was more fun than playing alone and might be the reason to keep gaming for a longer term (apart from the different modes and maps to explore).

It’s cliche to say, but I’ve experienced first-hand that the real value of co-op games is likely the friends you meet along the way.

Will I continue to play PUBGM? Probably not consistently, but if anyone wants to adopt (and carry) a noob, I’m still game, so hit me up.

Oh, and of course, I’ll be tuning into the virtual BLACKPINK concert this weekend, and will be recounting my experience in another article, so stay tuned!

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(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)