Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Play Away The Years

I’ve played a lot of video games over the years. We were the only ones I knew who actually had a vigitrex (don’t be alarmed if you don’t even know what that is) which was basically a black box with a screen that had green lines moving. Our teenhood brought with it years of Arcade mania, spending hours and days playing the likes of Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Metal Slug!

Every weekend mom would drive us to Jasmi’s Exhibition Road, which had the best arcades in town. It used to be the only place that had the latest and best Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat arcades (Ah, the beauty of ripping someone's head off, burning them into smithereens or pulling their spine out!). There was this cool dude who no one could beat, anyone who would challenge him couldn’t last more than a couple of minutes. And he never uttered a word. He’d just stand there, staring into the screen, doing what he does best… kicking-ass.

We then somehow convinced our parents to splash out on a Neo-Geo, which was the coolest, most powerful and awesomest console of the early 90s. Bring on the brilliant fighting game Samurai Shodown and the likes of King of Fighters and Fatal Fury. We actually had to drive to Saudi Arabia to get the cartridges – there was only one store we knew of that sold them, and they were expensive at the time. At home, we used to stage “Samurai Shodown tournaments” – my brother always kicked our asses with his Charlotte. Shortly after that, we had another gaming revelation – the Mega Drive! The Mega Drive had the best arcade games on the console, and even though the selection was pretty limited, we needn’t more than SF and MK to enjoy it.

When the first PlayStation came out, the world was never the same again – we would go to Souq Almagasees to get the copies CD’s for dirt-cheap, at first it was BD1 but then it dropped to nothing more than 500 fils! Imagine that. And god, how many times have we bought corrupt copies, go back to the vendor and ask, fruitlessly, for a refund or an exchange. And I know what you’ll say, how on earth can you forget the FAMILY GAME! Are you kidding me? A console with 3000 in-built games!!! Not that you’d ever need any of them, all you would play is Super Mario.

It’s amazing when you think about it, and look how far video games got nowadays with the technologies of the PS3 and Xbox. I have played a ton of games on my PS3 and some of them have been memorable experiences.

My top 10 PS3 video games:

  1. Red Dead Redemption
  2. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
  3. Grand Theft Auto IV
  4. Dead Space
  5. Heavy Rain
  6. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  7. InFamous
  8. Assassin’s Creed II
  9. Resistance: Fall of Man
  10. FIFA 11

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

13 Floors

Once the elevator doors closed

I was in the dark alone

Is that a whisper I hear?

I could’ve sworn it was your voice

Cutting the air that stands between us

I’ve got a blue lights in the palm of my hand

It casts a weak glow around me

But all I see is numbers

Between you and me

Thirteen floors sounds like a long way

To go down in the pitch darkness

One by one, there no light in sight

Maybe you should reach a hand out for me?

I promise I won’t bite

Friday, September 03, 2010

A House Is A Box

We forget that houses have memories too. And once these houses are abandoned, their memories begin to fade.

My parents lived most of their young life in the old part of Manama. But like many of their generation, they opted to move into the city, to find a better home in the new suburban areas of Bahrain.

As years passed, most of Manama’s original inhabitants departed, leaving their homes behind, the homes they grew up in, the homes their parents had lived in, leaving them to their fate. Most of those old homes are demolished to make way for apartment buildings.

My aunt remained in her dilapidated home and every time we’d visit her, she’d complain about the new neighbors whose names are either too foreign or too long for her to remember.

From every angle and corner, a new apartment building leers over her ageing house, bullying it, waiting for it to finally fall and crumble; to be erased along with all of my aunt’s and my family’s memories.

Even to this day when I visit, I still get excited by the prospect of seeing my aunt and her home. As a kid it was almost like an adventure every time we visited, on the usual occasions, because it was different, it seemed like a completely different world compared to where I lived, a house in the suburbs of Isa Town.

When we were little, my aunt would always sneak to the “other room” – which we wouldn’t dare venture into – to fetch us some treats. The house always smelled of aromatic scents and spices.