So I saw many good people posting articles like this, so I thought I'd join the bandwagon just to place a foot print in this industry as I long wanted to, even with my high levels of procrastination, and inactivity in Bit Mob and 1up. So who is this Arabic guy that started following all of you on twitter, steam, PSN and the like? Where did he come from? Why is he posting region-related gaming articles in sites that are remote to his home country?

My name is Mohammad AlHuraiz, also known as Asatiir (pronounced ausa-teyr, Arabic for "legends") and Karth on the internet. I've been into video games since I was a child (Super Thunder Blade being my first arcade experience and NES being my first game console, with a little hands on Game & Watch – Climber), stopped for a while during the beginning of my early college years since I started to lean more towards my interest in music. Near the end of my college study years I somehow stumbled upon 1up's podcasts, it was around the time apple started to introduce podcasting on iTunes. I liked what I've seen from the 1up show, it actually got me back into my gaming craze, in fact it inspired me to make my own podcast.

My podcast was a big idea at one point (with a different name, I was gonna go for Start-Select but then we all know how over used that name is), it was going to be more than just a podcast, I was thinking more of a magazine, something at that scale, but many things came in the way, the friends I grouped up went their own way (with one decided to do something similar, grouped up the same people, but the project never seen the light of day). so I decided to take a crack at it on my own, of course this part of the world isn't very familiar to the world of podcasting, only a few actually are into it, much less even make any here in the United Arab Emirates.

And thus, Lochal Archade was born, I was thinking of going the usual route of video games and review the latest games and news, but though I'd take a different approach after getting inspired by the Squadron of Shame and cover the games that I actually do play, games that tend to be under appreciated by the mainstream crowd, I'm not going completely SoS as I my podcasts are more general most of the time, the podcast grown into also video with the Late Night Archade show which I was planning on making it more 1up Show but it ended up being more like Broken Pixels. Late Night Archade Show however is much more experimental to me than my audio podcast, I try to throw in new ideas every now then.

But enough about my podcasts, let's talk games, to talk briefly of my gaming childhood, games always came in the way as dad was curious about them and bought them as a gift to me to kill his curiousity, little did he know that it would be an activity that I grew up with, and any kid of that generation, his biggest hero is Mario and the star man music was as majestic as a heavy metal guitar solo to his ears. At one certain point we had an MSX, those computers were quite popular back in the day, especially when we had arabic support for it, we didn't have that much games on it, but I do remember my cousins having a an extensive library of games for the MSX.

Right now I don't remember much of the games we owned on it, especially now that we don't exactly remember where we left it, our cousins however still have the system and some of the games, I spent most of my childhood not playing, but watching my cousins play as they went far in Penguin Adventure 2, Super Mario Bros (on NES), Knightmare, and several other games. I guess I was a bit of backseat gamer at an early age, mind you I did play some games back in the day, the first few Mega Man games (1 and 3 to be specific, me and my cousins skipped 2 because we couldn't find it, well I did but that's kind of a long story and it didn't work with my NES) kinda fed into my child brain to be making games (that never happened).

Years have past, with a home computer comes PC gaming, I dove into many point and click adventures, Sam & Max, Sherlock Holmes: Consultive Detective, Indiana Jones & the fate of antlantis (borrowed from my english teacher), Adventures of Willy Beamish and the like. A big part my of childhood gaming (and especially on PC), there was certain part of me that was scared of playing games in general, a lot of PC games back in the day were pretty dark and gritty (no wonder why I complain about games nowadays being too brown and fecal-looking), but then I found that fluorescent green monster from street fighter (blanka) to be creepy. Thinking about it now, we stopped playing console games at a good share of the childhood because we were so into PC games, Dad played a ton of Wolfenstein, Doom and Prince of Persia aswell. with PCs we also got into the emulation scene (thanks to our cousins again), so there really wasn't any point to switch on our SNES and megadrive (AKA Genesis in the states), we even played Final Fantasy VII on the PC.

Speaking of Final Fantasy VII, RPGs played a big role in our gaming back in the day, mind you Final Fantasy VII wasn't our first RPG. If I look back, I think my first RPG was Dusk of the Gods, an old Norse-themed diablo like game on the PC and Shadowlands, among a few others I don't remember. Most notable was Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana, those were the games that got me into role playing games. At the time I thought Final Fantasy VII was great, but then I kind of realized that RPGs were going FFVII's direction, which kind of turned me off of RPGs to the point I hated Final Fantasy VII for what it did, and what it had become. say what you want to say, I think Final Fantasy VII is the most overrated game of all time, let alone the most overrated RPG of all time, let alone the most overrated Final Fantasy game of all time, and so on.

I wasn't big on Final Fantasy now to mention it, I liked IV, loved V, loved VI, enjoyed IX and adored XII for what I played from it (which I will continue on someday), but none of them I actually finished… okay I did finish Crisis Core (yeah that's not a mainline FF game, but enjoyed it the gameplay more than I did the horrible story). I guess something didn't exactly click with me and Final Fantasy, maybe how industrial and emo it became, or the growing hatred I have for Square-Enix abusing that series, I mean it's either Final Fantasy, a Final Fantasy spinoff, Kingdom hearts or a game that has something to do with " cherished memories", and no I'm not talking about remakes, I'm talking about how the protagonist cherishes their memories.

Let's not forget one of my all time favorite game series which was the Legend of Zelda, mind you I never played the first 2 before Link's Awakening and Link to The Past, for the longest time Link to the Past was my all time favorite games of the series, Ocarina of Time didn't the title, neither did Majora's mask but was very close (I was one of the few who loved Majora's Mask more than Ocarina of Time), I found Wind Waker to be a disappointment (yes I said it, don't get me wrong, I loved the art style and thought the game was great until the first 3 dungeons were over, after that I hated the mundane sailing and the mini-dungeons were two steps below boring). I count Wind Waker my least favorite, the worst zelda I ever played was Phantom Hourglass, and I thought that game was atrocious. Only after Twilight Princess, I have loved another zelda game more than Link to the Past, many would disagree with me but I personally loved Twilight Princess that much.

My view of Roleplaying games, however did change once I started playing Etrian Odyssey on the Nintendo DS, I felt like all my cherished nostalgia towards SNES games felt like discovering that you have been adopted after a long and beautiful childhood, it actually made me wonder why I didn't grow up on games like Wizardry or Ultima. Okay maybe that's a little far off, but what about Shining in the Darkness or the first Persona? I mean, those were dungeon crawlers. Of course I had to thank my RPG elitist younger brother who's been play these games far longer than I did (ironically), if it wasn't for him (and a friend), I wouldn't have played Etrian Odyssey. This game had changed my views about a ton of things with RPGs, why don't they have manually drawn maps? why don't they have a certain degrees of unnerving fear? I honestly never felt so afraid in a game before (beats Resident Evil back in the day, back when we didn't find it so cheesy and laughably badly written), a few times it scared the sleepiness from my eyes.

So what am I doing posting, game articles related to my region? Well, I don't travel much, never been to a big gaming event like E3, PAX, Leipzig or TGS (not gonna count the new ones that popped here in recent years), so most of my journalism energy revolves aroune where I live, it's simple as that, sure I have friends from abroad and access to the internet to know what's going on in the game industry where it actually happens, but there's nothing wrong showing a little bit of presence, I mean hey, gaming is a activity enjoyed worldwide, nothing wrong with representing your gaming colors.

So I won't make this longer than it already is, but I'll just make a few other bullet points to speak about who I really am in less overwhelming detail:

  • I'm left handed, but use the mouse with my right hand and don't use the controller upside down (no thanks, secret of mana)
  • I have become a hater of fan service, some fan service is good, but when it's used too much to market game and milk the franchises money making tits, that's where the line is drawn (I'm looking at you, Final Fantasy XIII with much hatred, no I don't want Final Fantasy XIII spinoffs for 10 years, I want new games that don't have "final fantasy" scribbled on it with crayons)
  • I don't play online games much due to latency problems that I face a lot.
  • I do enjoy FPSes but then my favorites are Doom, Wolfenstein, System Shock and Bioshock, everything else falls under okay or meh
  • I thought the last Bionic Commando was brilliant, despite the near to nothing storyline.
  • I'm a sucker for new game mechanics, but hate regenerating health with a passion
  • Did not enjoy MGS4 *hides behind a rock*
  • I love Chiptunes, especially SID (Commodore C64), Gameboy and FM (PC98, Megadrive/Genesis, some of the old DOS games that supported soundblaster)
  • I have a bad habit of keeping things that don't work or don't need.

I guess that's enough, I spoke more than I should, even when I feel I didn't thoroughly explained everything, but you can follow me  on many places:

  • Twitter: asatiir, lochalarchade, lochalarchadebt
  • Steam: Asatiir
  • PSN: Asatiir
  • XBL: karthasatiir (I'm not there right now after the RROD but feel free to add whenever I feel like getting a new 360)
  • Lochal Archade