Reigning Mumbai champions Madhav Kotak and Sooraj Mehta at last year's tournament
Reigning Mumbai champions Madhav Kotak and Sooraj Mehta at last year's tournament

Come June, FIFA gamers across the city will battle it out for supremacy at 'The Gaming Monk FIFA Championship' (GFC), which will be taking place on the June 13 and 14, at Raasta in Khar.

Last year, the event had around 200 participants from Mumbai, following which the two winners from the city went to New Delhi to battle it out against gamers from Bangalore, Calcutta, and Delhi. This year, however, the race to the title ends at the city level itself, unlike last year, when it culminated in a nationwide competition. The event also has cash prizes worth Rs 30,000 in the offing. The competition will also be held in other cities across the country, but the dates for those events are yet to be announced.

Bigger, better gamers
Speaking about the origins of Gaming Monk, founder Ashwin Haryani said, "We started off as an e-commerce company in November 2014, but soon found ourselves out of the game, due to companies like Amazon and Flipkart; that's when we knew that we had to do something more," said Ashwin Haryani. "By the first half of 2015, we had started organizing console-gaming tournaments in Delhi and Bangalore, as PC gaming wasn't really in our skill set. We had around 180-200 participants from Mumbai last year." Haryani said they are expecting the footfall to be much higher for next month's tournament, "We have a bigger and better database of gamers now."

Reigning champs return
Last year, the Mumbai leg of the tournament was won by best friends Madhav Kotak (20), and Sooraj Mehta (21), who were also among the youngest participants at the tournament.

"Last year, everyone knew that the tournament was in a six-city format across India, which is why everyone wanted to represent their cities and make it to the finals," said Mehta. "That will change this year, since the format is quite different. Also, the game play in FIFA '17 is drastically different compared to the previous editions of the game. Whoever masters the technical aspect of '17, will have an upper hand over other gamers," Madhav told mid-day.

His friend, gaming partner, and occasional archrival Kotak, who qualified third on an All-India basis last year said that he would be taking part in the doubles tournament as well, "FIFA is considered as a sport — it has game spirit, sportsmanship, and the vital need to keep your composure while playing it."

Tactical gameplay only
Gamers are required to use the 'Tactical' game play rather than the conventional 'Legacy', defending for both halves of the game, each of which will last for four minutes. The finals will be 5 and a half minutes long. The cost of registration is Rs 400 for single player, while registration for the co-op mode (2VS2) is priced at Rs 900.

A player can pause the game to change strategy and substitute players only twice per game and only when it has been stopped (i.e.: offside, touchline, fouls etc). Additionally, players can pause the game each time a player is sent off, or is injured to change him and his strategy.