The new Gaming Trailer in Qurum is a perfect way to hone your skills as a gamer and blow off some steam over the weekend, says Alvin Thomas.
The adrenalin is running high: it’s the chief trainer of the Gaming Trailer (also one of Oman’s finest gamers), Qusai Amour al Noumani, versus me, a pesky journalist from Y.
We’re taking each other on a three-lap race of Forza 6 around the treacherous Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari racetrack; better known as Imola, where my favourite F1 driver Ayrton Senna met his untimely death.
This was going to be more than just a race for me. It was maybe even a dream come true. Of course, this would be on an Xbox One and not in a real racecar.
To take on the daunting task of beating Qusai, I called upon the services of the mighty Nissan GTR, nicknamed the “Godzilla”, for its high-speed cornering prowess and 565 horsepower powertrain. It’s also one of the fastest accelerating cars in the world.
I thought I was going to ace this.
However, Qusai was already expecting me to play smart, and opted for a custom-built 1980 Renault 5 Turbo, a “mental ride” tuned to pump out a whooping 1,200 horsepower.
Nevertheless, I was quite confident about the race.
We even attracted a small crowd, which had gathered to witness the action from the monitors that grace the Gaming Trailer from the outside.
In any case, the stakes had been raised, and the countdown began.
Three… two… one… go!
In less than three seconds I had hit 100kph. However, Qusai and his Renault were flying, literally! His car was lifting its front wheels off the ground due to its rear-wheel power.
He had already taken a thumping 10 seconds lead on me but I knew that I could lure him back in the corners with my car.
By now, Qusai had slowed down for the first corner, “Variante Tamburello”, a cinquaine (a series of slow S-shaped corners).
I knew my only shot at taking pole position was if I drifted myself into the corner, a trick that worked well.
As I had hoped, I soon took the lead, and stayed there, as Qusai and his Renault limped forward trying to find his footing in the corners.
To avoid embarrassment, Qusai’s fellow trainers quickly began offering him tips on how to tackle the corners more efficiently.
He quickly began catching up but to no avail. I was getting better and better in the corners, drifting the supercar into the chicanes, and only touching the sand traps for a few seconds, if anything.
The laps quickly rolled by and I was soon crowned the champion, with average lap times of 2 minutes and 4 seconds – a mere six seconds under the worldwide leader.
Qusai still hadn’t finished his final lap so I quickly asked Randall Bernard, the vice president of Business Circle Integrated Solutions, to give me a quick tour of his trailer.
“The Gaming Trailer made its first appearance at the COMEX tech show,” says Randall.
Since then, the trailer has been camped at Marah Land in Qurum. The Gaming Trailer can accommodate up to 36 gamers at a time and has a total of seven screens and 15 gaming consoles such as PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Wii.
“This is also one of the first ever gaming trailers in the region,” he points out. “We’re currently in talks to grace the Khareef Festival in Salalah, as well as the Dubai Summer Surprises in the UAE.
“However, nothing is confirmed yet.”
He was quite chuffed with the response his trailer had been receiving at Marah Land.
By now, Qusai was done with the race and was waiting for me with a new challenge.
He invited me to take him on a spot of FIFA 15 on one of the many PlayStation 4s.
I obliged, and once again took on the controller for a duel.
I could see the determination in Qusai’s eyes, as he chose to play with Champions League winners, Real Madrid.
I opted for FC Bayern Munich and we were good to go.
It didn’t take me long to realise that the young Omani was a pro at FIFA 15.
He kept possession of the ball for a nice chunk of the first half before Gareth Bale made a one-on-one sprint for the goal, taking him one-up in 45 minutes.
The second half was quite a spectacle, though, as I too had got into the flow of things. I was now tackling Qusai more efficiently, and also was keeping possession of the ball more than before.
However, if getting past his defence was a daunting task, trying to get past Real Madrid’s goalkeeper Keylor Navas seemed impossible.
That, along with Qusai’s swift response quickly put him at an advantage, as seen with his second goal in the 79th minute.
It was Ronaldo this time.
Needless to say, he maintained his two-goal lead throughout the rest of the 11 minutes, and an additional three minutes of stoppage time, to claim victory.
Qusai was smug over his victory but I was quite disappointed with my performance.
But, I have to confess, this was the most fun I’d had in more than six months. I was able to take on one of the best in the business and even beat him at one of the games.
The Gaming Trailer is a perfect way to blow off some of the weekday steam. I’ll be visiting Marah Land more often to take on some of the local talent, as well as the gaming coaches.
And, Qusai, I’ll be coming for you again!
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