Listed as one of the biggest gaming/comic conventions in the region, along with ComicCon Dubai and Kuwait, 968Gamez prides itself as an event that is completely by and for the youth of Oman. A brainchild of Social Mania along with its partner Axis Events and other supporting organizations,the convention gave the youth of Oman an unforgettable experience as they came together in costume, played games both new and retro and had the first-hand chance to meet some of their childhood heroes.
The event runs for three days starting on March 8 and ending on a Saturday, March 10. It took over the Royal Opera House Muscat’s Opera Galeria first floor parking.
Mustafa Al Ajmi of Social Mania shared that, “The youth were first to support us through their motivation. They motivated us because they wanted a platform like this as the international ones were beyond the reach of most. Their keenness pushed us to go beyond our own expectations and make this event as big as we could.”
On three days that it was on, attendees got to experience variety of activities including cosplay, video games, celebrity panels, workshops, photography, anime and manga artwork and game development. It was also a chance for local and regional SMEs to display and sell their products especially business related to technology, artwork and other merchandise that catch the attention and interest of the youth
Along with the gamers and the cartoons came cosplayers and costumes!
While the common notion is that cosplaying is not popular in the country, the event proved it wrong.
Kids and adults alike spent time, money and effort into creating costumes that were impeccable and accurate in every possible way. Over 30 cosplayers turned up at the event.
Visitors got to interact with Darth Vader, characters from games like Final Fantasy and Assassins Creed, Marvel and DC superheroes like Ironman and Batman, even Men in Black. Some dressed up as characters from retro films like Pennywise from IT and others dressed up as their favourite characters from anime and mangas.
Also present at the event as Hulkbuster, Ironman’s famous suit, was Rashid Al Khoory. Rashid is the founder of “cosplay generations” and an event organiser most known for as the cosplaying Iron Man’s Hulkbuster — a 3-meter-tall animatronic Iron Man suit, which became a crowd favourite at the event.
Hosting panels and interacting with the crowds’ included celebrities like Tariq Al Arabi Tourqan, the main song producer Classic cartoons like Mowgli, Captain Tsubasa, for “Space Toon” kids channel and Mohammed Al Arabi Tourqan, the lead singer for most Arabic cartoons on “Space Toon” kids channel. They sang old classics from these cartoons and gave the crowd a chance to sing along and enjoy these iconic songs from their childhood.
On his Instagram, Tariq Al Arabi Tourqan posted an artwork that was gifted to him and quoted, “A gift from the choreographer and artist from the Sultanate of Oman. Thank you for this wonderful painting. All the love and appreciation for you and our people in the Sultanate of Oman.”
The celebrity guests that attended the event were taken aback by the immense support and excitement of the crowd in Oman, one of them said, “Since this was the first time for this event, we expected something small. But from what We saw and experienced, we have never seen a crowd this happy, hyper and excited in the whole region!”
Mai Abumughli, a visitor at the event, cosplayed as Mikasa, a character from the 2009 Japanese manga series called Attack on Titan. She said, “968Gamez was so much better than I expected it would be and the best part of the event were the celebrity guests that attended the event. They invited celebrities that were the core of the 90’s children’s channel called spacetoons and what made it truly special was the singing and music that they performed. It was a throwback to when we were young and would watch these cartoons and sing along to the jingles.”
Peoples played old school games like streetfighter, a game popularised in the early 90s was one of the first of its kind. Young and old gathered around these dated consoles, excited to play games that were a part of their childhood.
Whilst some enjoyed playing retro games from their youth, other competed in the different gaming championships that saw individuals and teams go head to head in different games like Overwatch, League of Legends, Rocket League and FIFA18.
The event drew crowds both old and young from all over the country and region and for those present at the venue, the cheers, and songs of the crowds could be heard from miles away, showcasing the success of this unique event.
Mustafa Al Ajmi, one of the main people behind this event and a part of Social Mania shared his excitement about the success of 968Gamez. He said, “The event was really great! Our expectations were high but it crossed all of that. The guests and visitors from around the country and region made sure that this event turned out to be extremely successful!”
He added, “We would like to thank our sponsors, without whom this event would not have been possible as well as all the visitors that came to the event and made it truly spectacular!”
986Gamez was made possible with the support of their Strategic Partners: Opera Galleria & Riyada, Gold Sponsor Bank Dhofar other sponsors including Hi FM & Hala FM, Chiko, Burgaroo & Oman Events, the event will be presented by Omantel.
Al Ajmi shared, “This is just the start. My team and I are already working on more events and we will make sure to go beyond the expectations of the people. We are proud of the success of the event and we will not slow down and make sure to make the people and youth of Oman proud yet again!”
To check out videos and photos from the event, follow @968Gamez and keep an eye out for updates about upcoming competitions and events.