Fun-packed Jeddah Gamers Con a big draw

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Gamers Con offers visitors the opportunity to play exclusive games before they come on to the games market, such as man of Medan and Jump Force. (AN photos by Huda Bashatah)
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E-gaming giants are showcasing their latest products. (AN photos by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 15 September 2018
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Fun-packed Jeddah Gamers Con a big draw

  • The event includes challenges between two groups of the best gamers in Saudi Arabia
  • This Gamers Con is expected to attract many visitors from across Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The second Gamers Con, which opened its doors in Jeddah on Sep. 13, is one of the largest e-gaming events in the country. Held at Baghdadiya, on Andalus Road, it features a number of entertainment events, including video games, animations cosplay, board games and video games challenges.
Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and Xbox all showcase their latest games at the event, which attracts children, teens and adults.
Figures artists and drawing enthusiasts have also been attending to exchange experiences and present their products and work.
Gamers Con offers visitors the opportunity to play exclusive games, such as Man of Medan and Jump Force, before they become available on the market.
Bandai Namco, one of the companies that pays a great deal of attention to supporting Arab players, offers several games in Arabic. At Gamers Con the news broke that for the first time Jump Force will be available in Arabic, which will include a textual translation of the lists and texts of the game. Bandai Namco said that this decision was a thanks to Middle Eastern players who are particularly big fans.
Jump Force includes popular anime and manga characters such as Naruto, Bleach, Dragon Ball, One Piece and Hunter X Hunter with stunning graphics, and will be released in 2019 for PS4, Xbox One and Steam.
One of the youngest gamers, Faisal Alghamdi, who is 10 years old, told Arab News: “I am here today to discover what exclusive video games are upcoming and I am really excited about the new Spider-Man game.”
The three-day event included a performance by the Japanese video-game music composer Manami Matsumae on Friday.
Tariq Al Arabi Tarqan, the famous Arabic composer, songwriter and singer of 1980s and 1990s cartoon theme songs, will appear with his son, who also has a very big following, performing a list of their popular songs. The three composers posed for pictures with fans. Tarqan, who had a friendly chat with fans on stage, said: “I did not expect that almost 27 years later I would meet my little fans from the 1990s, all grown up and still remembering their favorite cartoons.”
Manami Matsumae previously worked for Capcom in the 1980s, writing music for games such as Dynasty Wars, Mercs, Magic Sword, and the original Mega Man.
Manami Matsumae told Arab News: “We have been planning to visit Saudi Arabia for a while and I was so excited about coming here. When I arrived and saw this great exhibition I was so surprised and happy to see that many of the booths seemed to be inspired by, and related to, Japan and Japanese culture.”
She added: “I am so excited to perform for the Saudi audience.” She revealed that she would perform songs from the Mega Man series.
The event includes challenges between two groups of the best gamers in the Kingdom.
One visitor appeared dressed as Deadpool (Wade Winston Wilson), a fictional character in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Mohamed Al-Shamali said that he and his friend Firas Kashgary, who is always keen to appear as the Deadpool character at any Comic Con or Gamers Con event in Jeddah, were the team behind House Zofi. This podcast, which discusses fantasy and science fiction, has been going for four years, and is available on SoundCloud and iTunes. Shamali said that they were going to do a special episode for the Gamers Con.
Shamali added that Firas “tries to perfect the character (of Spider-Man). He said they were very excited about the community of people there sharing their passion about games and cosplay. He said that it was really great to gather people who have similar interests and hobbies under one roof.
Haneen Hakami, one of the head organizers at Gamers Con 2018, told Arab News: “We are pleased to be organizing Gamers Con for the second time in a row along with Khayal company. We will also be organizing Sharqiya city Gamers Con, details of which will be announced soon.”
Hakami added: “Tickets were sold out before the event began today. As you can see, people are keen to get exclusive animation figures and pop figures as you cannot find them all in one place except in such events.”
One of the participants was Farah Arif, who works for the company that produced the first Saudi manga in the world, Kanz Al-Hattab (Woodcutter’s Treasure), in collaboration with the Japanese production company toy animation studio.
Arif said: “We pay huge attention to fostering Saudi talents, from artists to games developers and mangaka. We are here today to present our projects to visitors and we are currently working on a new Saudi manga series and movie to be launched soon.”
She said: “We are also presenting the work of our Saudi students in Japan. We had this competition on Twitter for artists and game developers, and the winners were rewarded with the chance to join a program organized by Square Enix and SNK. They were trained in how to create animation, how to draw, how to program games and how to design characters. The program lasted for 10 weeks.”
This Gamers Con is expected to attract many visitors from across Saudi Arabia, as an increase in entertainment is one of the objectives of the Saudi Economic Plan under Vision 2030.
The price of tickets for this year’s Gamers Con ranges from SR95 ($25) to SR280.


We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States help build stronger ties. (AN photo)
Updated 19 September 2018
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We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

  • We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States: US Public Affairs Counselor in KSA

RIYADH: Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States “help build stronger ties between the two countries and bring them closer together,” according to Brian Shott, the new US Public Affairs Counselor in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at a reception to welcome him at the US embassy in Riyadh on September 18, he said: “One of the main things we do is we try to share aspects of the United States and of American culture, but we also learn from Saudis and Saudi culture.” 

In her opening speech, the embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Martina Strong also highlighted the enduring relationship between the two countries, saying: “Tonight is a celebration, a celebration of a friendship that has extended over many, many decades.”

Shott, who previously served in Morocco, Cairo and Baghdad, will be in Saudi Arabia for the next two years, during which he will promote educational and cultural exchanges.

“There are some real opportunities here and we have been fortunate enough to be able take advantage of partnerships with Saudi organizations and Saudi agencies, whether it is the General Authority for Culture or the Ministry of Education,” he said.

“We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States.”

Meanwhile, the reception also served as a farewell to Robin Yeager, the cultural attache in Riyadh. She said that it had been a “very dynamic time to be in Saudi Arabia. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be here at a time when I get to know first-hand the future that Saudis are trying to build.”

The night that women were were given the right to drive, she said she went out and saw the “thrill on their faces.” To assist with empowerment and other progressive policies, embassy staff work on social issues and provide leadership training for women’s groups, she said.

“It is beautiful because they take something that an American expert talks to them about and they turn it into the Saudi way to approach it,” she added. “It’s not that we are changing things; it’s that we are giving them tools, so they can build what they want to build.”