The onset of the summer holidays in the Sultanate has seen many children flock to Funtazmo, muscat’s newest gaming arcade. Alvin Thomas tries it out.
So the Eid holidays had just kicked off, and I was searching for some fun and inexpensive ways (you know, with the economic instability and everything) to kick back and spend some quality time with my family.
I had been on the lookout for something interesting for my seven-year-old sister, Amulya, and me for quite some time now but to no avail. That’s when I remembered: our editor, Felicity, had suggested I try the new Funtazmo at Oman Avenues Mall in Baushar.
So the little one and I decided to give it a go.
I didn’t set my hopes too high as Funtazmo had only begun operations a few weeks earlier. But I have to say that I, for one, have a special love for arcades.
To get to Funtazmo, you’ll have to take the escalator to the second level of the mall. On reaching the floor, you’re treated to a large lobby that opens up to a viewing gallery and Funtazmo. It’s funny that I had never spotted it before, even on my most recent visit to try out the mall’s walking track for another story (Issue 427). It didn’t take too long to realise that the arcade was a hit with the youngsters.
Walking up to the entrance revealed an electric atmosphere, with scores of children screaming as they took their rides. A number of children were also taking selfies with their families.
It took me back to my early days when I used to hit the arcades at the malls in Dubai with my cousins.
I could see that my sister was very excited, so I headed to the counter to buy the Funtazmo token card, which you then top up with money to use on the games and rides (I put on RO5 to get a bonus RO1). We then went into the large arena.
I noticed that Funtazmo had everything, from tiny motorised rides for young toddlers, mild gliding coasters for adolescents and extreme arcade sports-like bumper cars and air-hockey for peeps like me.
My sister quickly decided that she wanted to try out the Glide-O-Bike, a ride that’s clearly for adolescents, but I had to oblige.
Back in the days, we’d just call it a rotating arm, but hey, why not?
She quickly strapped herself into the seat – shaped like a bike – and set off on the ride.
Meanwhile, I headed to the bumper cars for some action of my own.
However, I was a bit put off by the other drivers. Adults has taken the wheels of the cars, with their young toddlers riding shotgun, and were driving very carefully.
I didn’t try to make a single contact in case I injured the kids. It took the fun out of what bumper cars are all about.
If this were a Royal Oman Police driving test, I would’ve passed with flying colours.
By now, my sister was done with her Glide-O-Bike and was taking on my dad at a spot of air hockey, so I headed to the Wheel of Fortune, spinning wheel.
Not only did I not win anything, but also lost RO1.5 in the process. That saddened me.
So the only salvation would be if I went for a ride in a Ferrari, which was possible. It’s the arcades, remember?
I quickly fetched my sister and headed to the Sega car-racing simulator, which was shaped like a Ferrari.
The simulator had good graphics and I was amazed by the fine collection of Italian cars from Maranello, Italy.
Without further ado, I chose the Ferrari Enzo, a 660 horsepower hypercar, famed for its exquisite design and superior handling capabilities. I knew I was going to ace this game. My sister decided that I choose the time attack so that I could put my “so-called skills”
to the test. The game began, but I quickly found myself struggling to keep up with my opponents and the 30-second time lapse between checkpoints.
The entire seat was hydraulic, so it moved according to the gradients on the roads, while the steering was strong on haptic feedback.
But the game was only intended to test your drifting and traffic skills, two things I’m absolutely useless at.
By the second lap, I had a handle on things and set out to catch the leader.
Sadly, by the fourth lap I had run out of time.
I couldn’t take on the leader.
The security guard who was watching me race told me that not many had achieved what I did. So I swallowed my pride and decided to call it quits as a racing driver.
By now, it was well past 11pm, so we headed to the food court for a hasty dinner before heading home. Overall, I had a marvellous experience as it successfully took me back to my early days at the arcade. Oh, and my little sister also had fun.