Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 6, Issue 11, Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Special Feature

The lost arcades

The '80s and '90s saw a new trend that introduced and evolved the gaming culture in Bangladesh as we know it. It was the advent of arcade games in the cities that gave birth to numerous hardcore gamers, developing a new kind of passion, and a business that thrived for two decades or so. No matter how big a fan of Dreamcast, Xbox, Playstation or Wii one is, (s)he cannot deny the influence, contribution and the role of arcade games as the predecessors of modern gaming. It is because of these arcade games that the whole idea of handheld consoles came to be. The '80s and '90s created an urge within every gamer to possess a console of their own so they could play their favourite games anytime, anywhere. Most are redemption games, merchandisers (such as Claw Crane), video games or pinball in the form of coin-operated entertainment machines, typically installed in places like amusement parks, restaurants, shopping malls and gaming arcades.

After its introduction in 1988 by Dolphin Video Games, there was at least one video arcade at every neighbourhood all over Dhaka. During a time when SEGA and Atari were the only forms of video game consoles that were available to the privileged, games like Mostofa (Cadillacs and Dinosaurs), Samurai Showdown, Street Fighter, The King of Fighters, Mortal Kombat and Aero Fighters (Sonic Wings), were popular names among the general gamers. Arcade games not only helped a large number of people earn a living back then, but also influenced the urban pop culture.

As personal computers were quite a rarity during the '80s and early '90s, young people would frequent these gaming arcades and unleash the gamers within. But as computers began to settle within the reach of the middle class, PC games started getting more and more popular as they had better provisions for graphic upgrading, supported a larger variety of games, and one could easily play them within the comfort of their own homes. Soon, arcade games began losing their grip within the market. Lack of satisfactory profit compelled the arcade owners to turn sluggish in terms of maintenance and they stopped bringing new gaming machines. The arcade games that were introduced some 25 years back stood there in ruins, begging to be replaced.

This led to the widespread demolition of these gaming arcades throughout Dhaka, marking the beginning of a new decade of high-tech gaming consoles and computer games. When Hasib Reza, a new entrant in a multi-national company was asked about his experience of arcade gaming, he said, “Back then our parents did not have the financial capability to buy us a computer or TV supported video game consoles. So we used to save up our pocket money and visit these gaming arcades once in a while. It was a thrilling experience.”

Though almost extinct, we do get to see these arcade games today in places like Sports Zone, Toggy World, Wonderland and Shishu Mela. Arcade games are still in rage in the western world as they attract a certain group of gamers. With proper maintenance and upgraded machines, this culture can once again be popular in urban Bangladesh.

By Afrida Mahbub
Photo: Zahedul I Khan



Accessories are expressions of your spirit. They are the touchstones for memory; the objects that make a room come to life. Functional accessories like pillows, bed linen and bed covers have a special impact on a bedroom. Bold accessories such as large pieces of art, add drama. Personal accessories like photos of family members, events, or images taken while travelling add to a real and tangible gallery of memories.

In terms of interiors, the walls of our homes could be the best canvas. A home or an office without art seems largely incomplete. Good art comes from the minds and hearts of good artists and it enriches the lives of those who buy or display it.

This week's feature concentrates on frames of paintings and photographs and how they can be placed on walls to add to the aesthetics of a room. The concept of wall painting is not a new one; thousands of years ago, people made paintings on the walls of their caves. Today the concept of displaying art is deemed to have the greatest effect in uncluttered surroundings. A large modern painting has more impact if left alone on a wall, for instance. Small or medium sized artworks or drawings are more impressive when placed together on a wall.

An arrangement of art is, in one form, artwork in itself. We can opt for geometrical arrangements such as circular, triangular, rectangular and square for art displays. Even if you a stay within the frame work of a rectangle, pictures and objects in various as sizes will keep them from looking too rigid. It is important to aim to strike a balance in the visual weight of the arrangement. In this regard, grids aid in creating orderly rows and unifying the pieces.

There are various types of frames; from simple wooden frames to highly decorative ornamental ones. Ornamental frames were popular in the Victorian era while simple wooden frames are popular in modern homes, as are eco-friendly frames such as bamboo and cane frames. In recent years, frames made of fabrics such as batik, motka and silk have also been introduced into local markets. Aside these the classics of silver and gold plated frames, stainless-steel or metallic frames are also commonly available.

If you are displaying drawings or photography, make sure that the frame is large enough to accommodate it. The frame should be one to three inches larger in dimension than the picture. When choosing the frame matting, try to pick up accent colours from your décor. If you feel your accents don't work with the art, look at your room's main hues. If all else fails, pick a neutral colour then you let the work itself serve as a main colour.

A family living room is always a good place to display family photographs. Old college photos or photos of previous generations add an element of drama on a wall in their black and white hues.

However, paintings and photographs are not the only things that can be framed. Children's art work and award certificates can also be ideal decorative pieces if framed properly.

We can use symmetrical or asymmetrical balance for photography or painting arrangements. Generally console tables are placed in foyers or corridors. The center pieces above the tables are sometimes the guide lines for painting arrangements. The stairwell may be transformed into a gallery of memorable moments.

Frames play a silent but significant role in terms of décor. Generally, more attention is given to the larger elements in a room such as furniture and we tend to ignore home décor accessories and soft furnishing without appreciating that they are effective at creating visual interest and dramatic effects.

Interior Consultant
E-mail: journeyman.interiors@gmail.com
Photo Credit: Tamim Sujat

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Be nice. To yourself.

Don't be a drill sergeant to yourself. Aim to meet or even exceed expectations, but don't try to achieve perfection. The pursuit of perfection often leads to a quicker pursuit of shooting stress levels. Figure out whether perfection is worth it sometimes. Does the bottom of the car need to be scrubbed clean every wash? Does the computer desktop wallpaper have to be colour-coded to your cubicle colour? Wherever possible, delegate routine tasks, even if you think you can do them better than someone else. Unless of course, there is no one working under you to delegate. In that case get a pet turtle to blame things on.



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