Y Magazine

Game Spot

A bowling centre is the perfect place post-National Day for some downtime, and can deliver some kudos with the kids, finds Alvin Thomas.

It’s Saturday and one of my closest friends (for the sake of this article, let’s just call him Zombie) has just landed in Oman after a year’s absence from the Sultanate. Spending most of his time studying at a coaching centre in India, he’s here for a month of relaxation from the burden of books and test papers.

And as a good friend (not so much by calling him a zombie, but good nonetheless), I decide to take him someplace nice to hang out.

But the aftermath of the 46th National Day celebrations means the whole country is in a state of rest. After all, you really need a time-out after all the fun and frolics from November 18. But this leaves me in limbo and I’m stuck between taking him to Oman Avenues Mall for a spot of lunch, and then for a bit of mooching about around the mall.

Reaching the mall, we take the lift. However, an error in selecting the floor number lands us on the third floor of the mall. And just as we exit the lift, I hear people cheering and the unmistakeable sound of bowling balls crashing into bowling pins. “Strike,” roars the crowd from inside the arena.

Now curious about what’s going on, Zombie and I head into the arena, which is called the Pinz Bowling Centre. However, looking around the well-sized gaming zone, I notice that there’s more than just a bowling arena.

Since we are both terrible at bowling, we quickly opt for an hour-long session of gaming on one of the many PlayStation consoles on offer.

There are some really comfortable couches, generously sized LCD television sets and a great set of games to choose from, too. We initially opted to play the all-new Fifa 17 game, which sees us lose track of time. By now, we also draw quite a few spectators who are rooting for their favourite teams. And soon, what started as a friendly game soon becomes a fight for pride.

Thankfully, however, Zombie is an awful gamer, and I take him out on all of the four matches we play, and by quite a margin. There are also ten to 15 young boys and girls standing by our couches and cheering for me (or the team I chose) as we clock out our full hour.

By now, a couple of youngsters (probably in their early teens) come to me asking for tips on how to take out an opponent with such precision and consistency. My eyes light up as I feel like a rock star amid all these youngsters. However, Zombie, being the party pooper he is, tells them that it was the first time he has ever played the game, instantly bursting my bubble of fame.

Nevertheless, since he’s here for a few weeks, I’ll make sure to get him back for that. Meanwhile, he vows to come back to the centre and practise Fifa 17 while I’m at work, to take me out in a future session of gaming at the arena. But will I be coming back to play here? Oh, yeah! It’s a perfect spot for gaming, and is probably the only real gaming centre for the young at heart within the Azaiba area. Maybe next time I’ll even try my hand at bowling, and probably humiliate Zombie at that. After all, that’s what are friends for, right?