Categories
Video Games

Do you remember GameWorks?

GameWorks was an arcade that opened up in Marina Mall back in 2003. It was later renamed to GameWizz and eventually closed down in 2013. While going through one of my boxes the other day I found an old GameWorks recharge card and that triggered some nostalgia which got me looking for photos of the place.

For some reason, I couldn’t find any pictures of the place online. I guess because it was a period of time before camera phones or Instagram were a thing so not a lot of people took photos of the space and shared them online.

I went through my personal archive of photos and found a few, nothing too great and a few that was super low res since they were taken by a Sony Clie PDA, but they’re better than nothing. If you have any photos let me know. Here is a link to all the photos I found.

Categories
Video Games

Free Roaming VR with Zero Latency

Last week Apple unveiled their VisionPro VR headset and a couple of days later I ended up experiencing free roam VR and so now I’m really excited about the future.

If you don’t know what free roam VR is, it’s virtual reality in a large room in which you can walk around and navigate freely in. Unlike conventional VR, you’re not just wearing a VR headset and sitting in a chair or standing in one spot, instead you’re walking or running around a room in both the real world and in VR. As a Star Trek fan, the best way to describe it is like being on the holodeck.

I was never able to experience VR properly before due to the fact it would cause me motion sickness. So, when an old friend got in touch with me and invited me to try his new free roam VR business, I was hesitant to go. But he promised me I wouldn’t get motion sickness and he turned out to be right. Zero Latency is an entertainment franchise specializing in multiplayer VR gaming. It’s a cordless experience where you put on the headset and carry a weapon without having to be connected to anything in the room. The room itself is fairly large at 12x12m and the games you get to play take advantage of this.

We played two games, the first was a zombie shooter that took place inside an arena. I’ve been playing video games since the early 80s and from the thousands of games I’ve played they never felt like this. I felt like I was inside the game. Being able to run around to the other side of the room to help my friend shoot up some zombies, and then run back to the other side of the arena to ward off an attack was so much fun, I wasn’t just controlling a character inside a video game, I was that character.

The second game we played was Far Cry VR, one of my favorite video game franchises. This game was a completely different in style since it mostly took place in the jungle and in a larger world. The games mechanics helped enhance that open area feeling because for the first level of the game took place in a small 5x5m area where we were taking cover while shooting the enemies. Once we finished from there the game would make us walk to another area which was say 10x10m. When done we would then walk to another area and that kept happening every level so the game felt really large and so did the real world space.

I had a blast and time just flew by. I thought the first game was 5 minutes long and the second 15, in reality it turned out we played the first game for 15mins and the second for 30. That’s how much fun and immersive the experience. I actually kept thinking about the whole experience for days later. There was a part of Far Cry where I walked to an edge of a cliff and saw a beautiful view and it got me thinking about the potential of the Apple VisionPro once it comes out. It’s very exciting time to be alive.

Zero Latency is located at the new Al Andalus complex in Hawally. Prices start from KD6 and each game can handle up to 8 people. For more information and to book here is the link. They’re also on Instagram @zerolatencyvrkw

Categories
50s to 90s Toys Video Games

Retro City Arcades is Back

Retro City, the arcade place that opened back in 2020 inside Boulevard Mall relocated a couple of months ago to a new location. They’re still inside Boulevard Mall but they’ve moved to a larger space on the top floor instead. They’re across from Fantasy World, on the opposite end of the mall from Sultan Center.

Retro City also carries some toys and figurines from old-school cartoons like Grendizer, Masters of the Universe and Thundercats. If you’re into retro gaming and cartoons, their Instagram is @retrocitykw

Categories
Sports Video Games

The Fifa Winter Games by X-Kuwait

Back in 2017, I posted about the eSports scene in Kuwait and since then it kinda took a dip in terms of activities at one point but it looks to be gaining momentum again. Al-Bayan Bilingual School (BBS) now even has an eSports Club which is pretty cool but probably the biggest thing happening right now is VO’s X-Kuwait Esports division.

X-Kuwait is trying to develop athletes as well as set up sporting competitions like The Fifa Winter Games which is going to be held at the end of this month. The 1st place winner will get a 5,000KD cash prize, while 2nd place 3,000KD and 3rd place 1,500KD. Registration to the competition was meant to close yesterday but they’ve extended it by a day. If you want to try your chance at winning 5,000KD, it’s 10KD to register for the tournament and you need to do so today. Here is the registration link.

Also make sure you follow X-Kuwait on instagram to stay posted on other competitions that come up@xkuwait.esports

Categories
50s to 90s Video Games

Video Game Ads from the 1980s in Kuwait

I’ve been collecting old video game ads from the 80s and uploading them to my Flickr account. I’ve got over 20 ads so far in the album including ads for the Intellivision, Coleco, Amiga, and Atari consoles. I also found some newspaper clippings of old video game tournaments which I thought was cool.

The big players in the video game business back then based on the ads were Alamiah, Alghanim (Xcite), and surprisingly, Marafie. Check out all the ads I’ve found so far here.

Categories
50s to 90s Geek Video Games

AL RUSHAID (RTC) Computer Shop

A reader shared some photos of an old Sinclair game he still had which he purchased from a computer store in Kuwait back in the early 80s. The store was called AL RUSHAID and the tape had the following info on it:

AL RUSHAID Trading & Contracting Co. (RTC)
P.O. Box 25443, Safat-Kuwait
Tel: 412404, Telex: 23721 KT

He also had this info to share (I’ve edited it slightly):

While I do remember the computer store at the Salhia complex and it was my favourite shop for a while (and my description on your website remains the way I remember it), I am not sure the branded cassette I’ve shared is from the store at Salhiha. There was another nearby computer store that I used to visit as well which also used to sell ZX Spectrums and games. I couldn’t tell you the street name, but I think it was on the main shopping street, somewhere between The Grand Stores, Salhia Complex, and Al Muthanna Complex. Definitely, it was not near Al-Sharq Tower because that was far away from the shopping area.

Another thing you probably know is when Al-the Khalejia department stores first opened, they used to have a small section that sold computers like the ZX Spectrum, they had some original games on sale. I think the computer section didn’t last long and it disappeared sometime later.

Later around 1985 I used to get games for my computer by visiting the Hilton Hotel, there was an international magazine shop inside the hotel that used to sell computer magazines from the UK, there were several ones for the ZX Spectrum (and the Commodore 64). Many of these magazines came with a free demo cassette with free games and previews of upcoming games.

best regards
Sufian

PS. My parents were expats in Kuwait, and I lived there until I was 18, then left abroad to the US to study, and then moved to Belgium as my mom is from Belgium. I still have lots of my school books from Kuwait in Arabic, and other things that I grabbed with me when I left Kuwait in 1988.

Since the game was branded RTC I thought it might be the same RTC as the electronics shop in Hawally since according to their about us page they’ve been around since 1983. But after talking to RTC Electronics I was told pre-1990 they were called Babel so they’re not the same place. If anyone remembers where Al Rushaid was or have any info on it, let me know!

Categories
50s to 90s Video Games

Does anyone remember the computer store in Salhiya?

Last week I found the old ad above from 1984 for a video game store that was located in Sharq Tower in Kuwait City. I actually visited that store back then specifically to check out the Intellivision gaming console advertised in the ad but ended up getting the ColecoVision instead.

But this reminded me of a computer store that was located in Salhiya back in the 80s on M2 opposite the Korean restaurant that used to be there. I don’t remember the name of the store I just remember they sold computers and they always had Dig Dug playing in the display as well as having computer chess boards.

If anyone remembers it or knew who the owner was please let me know!

Update: Found the Coleco ad below in a 1983 newspaper. I guess now I know where I bought it from!

Categories
Video Games

Still Looking for a PS5 or Xbox Series X?

With curfew starting at 5PM, videogames are a great way to pass time which is why it’s created an even bigger shortage on new generation consoles than there was before the curfew was announced.

Pre-curfew, the PlayStation 5 was already impossible to find, even with the inflated grey market prices. The Xbox Series X on the other hand was fairly available but because of the curfew, whatever Xbox was in stock also got snapped up.

One cool way to find out when the PS5 or Xbox Series X is back in stock is by following the twitter account @Ryukersblog. Ryukers has been tracking the availability of both consoles and tweeting whenever they get back in stock somewhere. So if you’re hoping to pick up a new generation console, keep checking @Ryukersblog for updates.

Categories
Video Games

Retro Games Store

There are a bunch of local sites that focus on video games but Retro Games is the only one I’m aware of that focuses on old consoles and everything related to them. The store has categories for old gaming systems like the MSX, Sega Saturn, PS1, all the way up to the last-gen consoles. They sell things like an HDMI cable adapter for your PS1 to get it working with new TVs and the consoles themselves although they don’t sell any games.

So if you’re feeling nostalgic and looking to get an original SNES, they’d be the place I’d check out before heading to Rihab Complex or ordering online. They also sell various emulation consoles like the LDK which I’ve previously reviewed. If you’re into old games check them out at retrogameskw.com

Categories
Information Video Games

Xbox Series X – Everything You Need to Know About the Middle East Edition

The all-new Xbox Series X officially launches today but I was lucky enough to get mine yesterday so I could play around with it and have a post ready for today. I purchased mine from Geekay on September 22nd when they launched the Xbox pre-orders. I was hoping to get a hold of a unit before the launch date by a few days but the Geekay shipment of Xbox’s only cleared customs yesterday afternoon and so only got to pick up mine after that.

Not sure about other local sellers but Geekay will be either delivering all the pre-orders today. They also contacted their customers and arranged a pickup timeslot for today if they didn’t want to wait for delivery. My brother for example is gonna have to wake up early today to pick up his Xbox at 9AM, so it was a lot of fun sending him photos yesterday of my Xbox.

There are a lot of unboxing videos and reviews on YouTube by much better gamers than me, but in this post I’ll go over some of the things regarding our Middle East edition.

  • Firstly, the Middle East version of the box is bilingual. The front side is the same as the US version but the rear of the box and all the fine print are in both Arabic and English

  • Once you open the box there isn’t a manual, but the getting started guide is bilingual

  • The power plug is the UK Type G plug

  • The console works with 220v so no need for a transformer

  • There is no power brick, just a regular cable from the Xbox to the wall plug (this is the best thing ever)

  • I have a US Xbox account and it works perfectly fine with the Middle East edition Xbox (well kinda)

  • I ran into a minor issue buying games from the Xbox store and I think it’s because I have a US Xbox account but a Kuwait-based Microsoft account? I pay the monthly Microsoft Office subscription fee using a Kuwait address but I have my location on my Xbox account set to US so maybe there is some sort of conflict

  • Because of the issue I had of purchasing games directly from inside the Xbox store I ended up using Amazon to buy the digital copy of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. I used a Florida address so I didn’t pay any tax and got the game for the listed price of $59.99 and then installed it on my Xbox using the code Amazon sent me

  • On starting the console there was a 775MB update I had to install. This was downloaded and installed by the time I was done setting up the Xbox

  • On my Zain 5G, Valhalla took around 2 hours to download. It’s a 47GB file and was downloading on average at speeds of 45Mbps with the occasional jump to around 65Mbps and drop to 35Mbps. The game was ready to start halfway through the download but because I installed it before the launch date I couldn’t play it

  • I only installed two games on my Xbox for now, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Killer Instinct. Quick resume worked perfectly when flip-flopping between the two games

  • The packaging and overall design of the Series X is minimal and smart, I personally love it. I think the new PS5 is ugly (sorry Sony fanboys) while this is a lot less flashy and it fit into my TV cabinet perfectly

  • The controller feels great, there is a new texture on the backside which gives it a much better grip when held

  • The official price of the Xbox Series X in Kuwait is KD167 while the smaller Series S costs KD104

If anyone has any questions, let me know and I’ll try to answer it in the comments.

Categories
Video Games

Want a PlayStation 5 before the release date?

A local instagram account has one PlayStation 5 that they’re selling which would be delivered to the buyer between November 1st and 5th. That’s around 2 weeks before the official regional launch and a week before the US launch. But, they’re also selling it to the highest buyer in an auction with the starting bid at KD220. Nobody should be paying anything higher than KD167 really since that’s the cost locally but, in case you’ve got extra money to throw away and don’t want to wait for the official date, head over to @nintendoq8 to name your price.

Anyone know if the console will even work before the launch date?

Categories
Video Games

PlayStation 5 Pre-Orders are Back!

If you missed out on pre-ordering the PlayStation 5, Xcite now has them back in stock (as of this post at 8:30AM). Only the KD166.900 optical drive version is available, the digital version is sold out. If you want to order one, here is the Link

Update: It sold out by 9:06AM.

Thanks Alloy202

Categories
Video Games

Pre-order the New Xbox Now!

My brother just told me Geekay at The Avenues have started accepting pre-orders on the Xbox Series S and X. I was planning to pre-order mine from Walmart.com since I had success the last time when I pre-ordered my Nintendo Switch from them but I just ended up pre-ordering from Geekay.

They have the launch date set at November 10th similar to the worldwide launch and their price is a very reasonable. The Series X costs KD167 while the Series S costs KD104, both similar to the retail prices in the States. They have a super limited quantity of both available online so if you want one hurry up. Here is the link.

Update: Right after posting this the series X got sold out online. According to their instagram they still have a few units available for pre-orders in-store. The Series S is still available online.

Update2: Xcite have also started preorders. Link

Categories
Video Games

Official PlayStation 5 Prices in Kuwait

According to the official Sony PlayStation Twitter page for the Middle East region, the new PS5 is launching this coming November 19th and will cost the following:

PlayStation 5 – KD166.9
PlayStation 5 Digital Edition: KD133.9

I’m currently undecided if I’m getting the PS5 or Xbox Series X, but as of right now I think I’m leaning towards the Xbox. But, at KD134, the PS5 digital edition is pretty tempting to get as well.

via Reddit

Categories
Video Games

Kuwait in Microsoft Flight Simulator

Last week the new Microsoft Flight Simulator got released and with it the realistic rendering of every city around the world. The game developers used various techniques to build a 3D world including using 3D data from maps as well as using AI to convert 2D satellite maps to 3D world. It’s actually a very interesting process by itself which you could read a bit more about here.

Anyway, the video above is a Kuwait flyover if you’re curious to see how Kuwait looks like in the game. Some buildings like Hamra Tower and Souq Sharq seem to be there but some popular landmarks like the Avenues, Kuwait Towers and the National Assembly are missing. JACC is even still an empty sand plot in the game. Check it out the video above and some in-game screenshots here.

Thanks James and _madlib_