Game on: Jeddah’s geeks roll up for 50-player ‘battle royale’

The tournament is shown to the crowd of people attending the game with 50 seats to accommodate the players. (Supplied photo)
Updated 19 June 2019

Game on: Jeddah’s geeks roll up for 50-player ‘battle royale’

  • I feel like this is a very good way to celebrate geekism, says organizer Abdulla Hazmi
  • More female gamers are joining in and winning in the tournaments

JEDDAH: It is time for all geeks and gamers to leave their rooms for a venue with much bigger screens at the PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds) tournament at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah.

The tournament, which started on June 15, is perfect for gamers. It is shown to the crowd attending the event with 50 seats to accommodate the players.

Ahad Uz Zaman, 20, won the PUBG match held between 50 people. He told Arab News: “I am still a student and I spend most of my time playing PUBG. My mom scolds me a lot, asking me why I play this game all the time so I am glad I could put my PUBG skills to some use and make her happy.”

This tournament was not just for PUBG players — there was something for all gamers. Tournaments were held for competitive video games such as Tekken, Super Smash bros and Fifa. Mohammed Al-Jefri, who won the title for the world champion of Tekken 7 in 2018, was on hand to organize Tekken tournaments. “I have been playing Tekken since I was 12-13 years old. Never did I think I will be able to use my talent in playing Tekken to become a champion but I took the chance when it came to me.”



• PUBG is an abbreviation of PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds.

• All the PUBG matches will select players who will compete in the semifinals and finals of the tournament.

Jeddah-based YouTuber, Salman Imdad Kalyanvi, was found vlogging the event to immortalize it on YouTube. 

He told Arab News: “This is my first time attending Jeddah Season, and I can say that there is a tremendous change in comparison to the previous events that were being held in Jeddah. I am very excited to see more events and have fun this season.”

Abdulla Hazmi, a crowd organizer, told Arab News: “This event is going very smoothly and it makes me very happy — I feel like this is a very good way to celebrate the geekism in Jeddah. All the popular games are here and you can find cosplayers and fans very happy here. I am not even a gamer myself but I feel good vibes all around.”

More female gamers are joining in and winning in the tournaments, said participant Lujain Mohammed, 29. “I have been playing PUBG for a year now, it is my first time participating in a competition,” she said. “My video game addiction started from when I was a kid. That’s the thing about video games; once you get addicted there is no way out, even if you are a grown up.”

Some gamers couldn’t participate in the tournament but were still passionate about PUBG. Fahd Mohammad, 30, told Arab News: “PUBG is so popular because it’s very addictive, not monotonous. Every match is unique and PUBG keeps adding different modes to keep the game interesting. I like it because you are always playing with different players from all over the world, which helps you connect, and because it is a fun way to spend time with your friends while being distracted from the daily routine life.” Amani Al-Ghoraibi, 26, who is also a big fan of PUBG, said: “I think it’s popular because it’s a fun game that people can play anytime, anywhere and you can play with your friends or even on your own. It reminds us of the popular RPG or shooter genre that PlayStation or Xbox players usually play. I like feeling the thrill and fun of the gameplay itself. Playing with other people from around the world is also a very unique experience and makes me feel like I’m part of a community.”

When Al-Ghoraibi heard about the tournament being held she said: “I think it’s a wonderful idea! There are a lot of PUBG enthusiasts who would absolutely love to get together and share this gaming experience.”

Her brother, Rayyan Al-Ghoraibi, 19, said; “PUBG is popular mainly because it is free but also because it makes you meet up with new people and cooperate with them to win. I think it’s amazing that they are holding things like the tournaments because it shows that they care about gamers.” 

Young artists take center stage in Saudi exhibition

It is the 6th edition of Athr Gallery’s ‘In The Midst Of It All.’ (Supplied)
Updated 2 min 19 sec ago

Young artists take center stage in Saudi exhibition

  • Highlights from Athr Gallery’s ‘In The Midst Of It All,’ the sixth edition of its exhibition dedicated to showcasing young talent in the Kingdom


‘Emotional Metamorphosis’

Aisha Islam

This year’s Young Saudi Artist showcase at Athr Gallery — which runs until December 31 — features 22 artists based in the Kingdom (selected from over 200 applicants) tackling the theme of social change in the country and Saudi identity. Curator Zahra Dar Bundakji says the gallery called on artists to answer the question: “Who are you, in the midst of it all?”

Al-Dahran-based artist Aisha Islam explored connections between identity and wellbeing in her work — a series of x-rays belonging to her late mother onto which Islam has ‘painted’ patterns in henna. “My mother loved henna, it was very ceremonial for her and made her really happy,” Islam told Arab News at the exhibition launch. “Working on this series was my mourning process — accepting the loss and turning something sad into something happier.”

‘The Capable Machine’

Rajaa Al-Hajj

Al-Hajj is a Sanaa-born sculptor and painter whose work, according to the exhibition brochure, “explores art movements such as surrealism and cubism” and “observes striking resemblances between biology and machinery” while “giving body and form to the intangible elements of existence.”

The striking ceramic sculpture she created for “In The Midst Of It All” is an attempt by the artist to examine the impact that “artificial constructs” including borders and power can have on regular people’s ability to proceed with their daily lives. “She redefines authority as merely a position,” the brochure says. “One that can be changed at any given time.”

‘Architecture Light’ series

Feras Nour

The Jeddah-born photographer was an architecture student and that passion has become his main source of inspiration for his work, and the lens through which he scrutinizes social and cultural issues. “Many of his works started to explore subjects of culturalism, displacement and identity,” the brochure states.

The photographs selected for “In The Midst Of It All,” including this one — “Emergence” — focus on the presence of light and how it can alter people’s environment and perception. “Light is able to transform and awaken a building, an object or a material … and bring it to life by giving emotional depth and character regardless of the intensity of the light source,” the artist’s statement says. “It is an ever-changing and moving presence, a reflection of us.”

‘Nobody Asked For Your Opinion’

Hana Kanee

Kanee is a painter and mixed-media artist born in Jeddah whose landscapes and portraits focus on everyday life in the Kingdom, often depicting the clash between modernization and heritage. “Capturing conflict is a recurrent subject for Kanee, be it through depictions of traditional landscapes in Abha or the changes in the region’s urbanization, the relationships between millennials and the generations preceding them, or the struggle to find balance of identity,” the exhibition brochure says.

The three paintings shown here depict “eye rolls and cringes” and are a commentary on “our being receptors of information, and the lack of control over it by way of various intruding forms of media.”

‘Chanting’ (Performance and video installation)

Ftoon Al-Thaedi

Al-Thaedi, a Riyadh-born “cultural mediator and multidisciplinary artist” contributed a video installation and performance piece to the exhibition. “Chanting” aims to “bridge cultural and generational gaps and shift views, as well as break stereotypes about Saudi youth.”

In her performance, the artist created various forms of henna — leaves, bright-green powder, and the brown or black pastes — and smeared them over herself, using natural material “to create layers of (a) new and redefined identity that sits in between the past and the present.”

‘From Within’

Nasser Al-Shemimry

Al-Shemimry is a Jeddah-based sound artist also known as Desertfish. “He creates lush, sonic, and immersive soundscapes” and “focuses on topics such as the realm of human awareness of time, and aims to create a dialogue about the self in relation to the space it occupies.”

For “In The Midst Of It All,” Al-Shemimry created an audio-visual installation that uses infrared sensors to track viewers’ motion so that when they enter the room, a projection is cast on the wall. The work “highlights our spatial awareness,” according to the exhibition brochure.

‘Fake Persian Carpet’

Ibrahim Romman

The Jeddah-born artist and graphic designer relies heavily on research for his artworks, often using found material to create them. “He explores Arab cultural identity” and “questions the influences between East and West.”

In “Fake Persian Carpet,” Romman used imagery from the daily life of his grandmother, replacing her imported carpets with “a bespoke carpet of his own making.” The work was influenced by Romman’s studies on “Arab aesthetics and impressions of opulence, success and ‘culture,’” with particular focus on “notions of Westernized beauty and style standards, as appropriated by Arabs through travel and as diasporas.”

While all the elements in the work are taken from his grandmother’s life and home in Saudi Arabia — patterns from her furniture, the tiles that create the border — all the objects in her home, the artist realizes, are imported. “Which begs the question: What is Saudi aesthetic identity, and where does it come from?”