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Our local gaming champ

Since 2005, F1 management has been organizing the WCG Bangladesh Championship, consequently creating the opportunity for Bangladeshi gamers to compete in probably the most prestigious international gaming competition in the world. Contests are held for games of the FIFA soccer and the Need For Speed soccer series and the champion of the two games get to participate in the grand final of WCG. With this year's WCG Bangladeshi Championship approaching fast, we decided to interview last year's FIFA 2006 champion Ishan Azim, who was one of the two flag bearers of Bangladesh in the WCG grand final 2006, which took place in Monza, Italy.

RS: Hi! Thanks a lot for your time. So first things first, how was Italy last year?

Ishan: It was fine, we had a great time, gaming and socializing with all the other gamers around the world. All of us, the FIFA gamers hung out together and shared ideas, tips. Everyone was very friendly and helpful.

RS: How did you fare against the international players?

Ishan: Well, the guy who became the overall champion was in my group, so you can say that I had a pretty tough group. I had my first match against him, since it was my first time I was a bit overconfident, which probably proved to be my downfall. Then I started very well in the second match, was leading up to a certain point, but eventually my opponent showed his experience and got the better of me. And in the last match I got a walkover.

RS: So…How good were these players? I mean how much better than us are they?

Ishan: A lot. To be honest they are in a totally different league. Even the Indian gamer who came out third in the online tournament couldn't advance to the second round. But it is understandable, because we play out of fun, but most of the players in that tournament were professional gamers, they take part in many competitions around the year and earn enough money to just concentrate on gaming. We on the other hand have other things to do, so we obviously can't be as devoted to a game.

RS: How are they so good? Do they have inhuman hand-eye coordination or something?

Ishan: Yes, they do, but more importantly they find some flaws or glitches in the game, maybe not so much as flaws but more like formulas, and if someone does everything according to that formula it's impossible for the opposition to stop him from scoring. For example in the last year's game if you timed your movements perfectly you could easily get into a good position and then put a perfect cross in the box to score. If pulled off properly this formula worked every time regardless of how well your opposition defended or what his formation was. All the gamers used this, there was absolutely no diversity or creativity in their attacks, so in the end the chances of winning a match came down to how well and fast someone could execute this move. Consequently all the matches were high scoring, since regardless of how good you play it was impossible to keep a clean sheet.

RS: Tell us about your experience of the last year's WCG Bangladesh Championship.

Ishan: It was kind of weird for me; I never expected to become the champion. But I just kept winning and what do you know, all of a sudden I was in the final. There was an element of luck involved, off course I worked really hard and played really well but you always need some luck. Plus the final match was on my birthday; needless to say it was the lucky charm for me. I had already invited all my friends to my house for my birthday party, because I was sure that I wasn't going to make it to the final.

RS: I've heard that you didn't have your computer during that time, so how did you practice?

Ishan: Actually, my PC got busted 2 months before the tournament. So I basically played in the gaming cafes and in my friend's house.

RS: For the third year in a row WCG is being organized in Bangladesh, what do you think about this attempt?

Ishan: It's definitely an encouraging thing for all of us gamers. Every year the number of participants and hardcore gamers is increased. However if we are to compete in the international arena we need more tournaments all around the year, instead of just the qualifier, to provide the gamers with more opportunities to compete against each other.

RS: Do you think you can retain your title this year?

Ishan: As I said before, more gamers are taking part every year and the competition is getting even more intense. So you can't say anything for sure, but I have worked harder this year and unlike last year have got some proper practice. Let's just see what happens.

RS: Thanks a lot for your time. Best of luck in the upcoming tournament.

Ishan: It was my pleasure.

By Sadman Alvi

TunesBD celebrates homecoming at D'Pavement

With their 3rd Anniversary just around the corner, TunesBD took this opportunity to celebrate their forum, their success, the music that kept it talking and the members that kept it running with some style. Booking up D'Pavement, a recently-opened lounge near Dhanmondi, TunesBD invited everyone who made it happen on July 19th to make the event another memorable one.

TunesBD (TBD) started in July 2004 as an online site with a forum to promote local underground music. With more members, more bands and more things happening, it has kept everyone updated with new releases, upcoming performances and a buzzing community of young musicians. The event was well-deserved, complemented by good music, good food and some friends rolling with laughter over good memories on the comfortable cushions.

The unplugged gig celebrating TunesBD Homecoming featured Powersurge and Eclipse (the DRockstars' bands), Sweaty Bagels, Exiles from Noakhali, Alternation and Ostitto featuring Carnival. Covering a range of numbers from Green Day to Metallica and many more, and a glint of their originals; the bands kept the crowd in light spirit throughout the show. While they chanted along Sweaty Bagel's cover of 'Warning', Powersurge powered it up with 'Nothing Else Matters'. With no technical problems that may have caused the vocals to come out as a squeak, the gig was a rightful tribute to TunesBD grand arrangements.

TunesBD would like to take this event as an unforgettable farewell to one of their closest friends and a loyal supporter in TBD's cause. Avik is leaving for college in USA and they all wanted him to leave knowing how much his friends care of him. Fahmin, Kamran and the members of the forum wishes Avik all the best for his studies in USA and hopes he enjoyed their 'little' party.

The blackforest cake at the end was the 'cherry on the top' for this event. Photographs, home videos, plucking guitar strings and giggling over D'Pavement served lemonades; TunesBD Homecoming has been quite a success. With her mouth full of creamy chocolate from the very delicious cake, this reporter wishes TBD more buzz in the future, and hopefully, more such celebrations!

By Sabhanaz Rashid Diya

Harry Potter and the last tome

At Words N Pages

Imagine a group of people of different ages waiting in front of a bookstore in the pouring rain, precious minutes before 7am. The bookstore? Words'n'Pages. The wait? For the release of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- the last in the seven book series.

A 7am release- a tall order, especially because the previous day was a Friday, a weekend all over Bangladesh, including the Benapole border. But Ziaul Haque Khaled, Head of operations for Words 'n' Pages confessed that even he too was surprised by the enthusiasm of the customs officers at Benapole, who were more than helpful in assisting him with acquiring the consignment of books.

Words'n'Pages' enthusiasm for the seventh Harry Potter book is not new. In fact their endeavours started weeks ago when they started running Harry Potter quizzes in Rising Stars. Then, in the true sense of a grandiose farewell, they started the festivities on July 18 that culminated on July 20 with various themed activities.

Crowd fever ran high on the rainy morning of the 21st as people ogled at the gleaming stacks while impatience grew high. Ten seconds to 7am, the staff counted down and finally opened their doors. And as the crowd rushed in to grab their copies, some confessed to being ecstatic while others couldn't help feeling depressed.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was finally out. And Words'n'Pages made an excellent effort to ensure that Potter fans weren't disappointed.

By Tahiat-e-Mahboob

At Etc

July 21, 2007 heralded the bittersweet conclusion of one of the most prolific and beloved coming-of-age epochs of our time. With the release of the seventh Harry Potter volume, a certain chapter of many people's hearts and lives has finally ended.

“We brought over 800 copies for the ETC group of bookstores for the release of Harry Potter. Out of that amount, we had about 250 books for the Dhanmondi [Road # 27] branch”, explained Syed Ghulam Moinuddin, Media Co-ordinator of ETC Books.

The release event at the aforementioned location started at 9:00AM with various children's activities planned to unfold until 12:30PM. Because of the limited stock of books, all 250 were sold out within one-and-a-half hours.

Each copy of Deathly Hallows was being bundled with the hardcover version of precursor novel, The Half-Blood Prince, at a discounted price. After the buzzing release was over and the lines dissipated, ETC invited all toddlers and young children to take part in fun and games including musical statues, a fancy dress competition and a screening of the second Harry Potter film - the Chamber of Secrets. This was organised by the Kids Club wing of ETC - a small creative society for young children fostering leisure activities such as reading, writing and other inventive avenues of interest. Mr Moinuddin informed us that Kids Club, established sometime in 2006, boasted around 5000 members countrywide.

Apparently, a member of the MuggleNet fansite was there covering the event armed with a camcorder, a larger boom mike and an interesting t-shirt that AK couldn't help but read out aloud... every time he saw the lad.

While the event itself was rather routine with the odd sparks of fervour, the management was of poor standard. The counter itself was understaffed and considering the importance of this particular book release, the event overall was quite understated.

By Le Chupacabra & Ahsan Ksajid

Emirates: making kids feel at home

Emirates Airline has always been a top-notch carrier. From their carefully designed planes, to their menu, to their entertainment- everything is well planned and they pay careful attention to detail. Hence it is no surprise that they have introduced new products for children in various age groups to make the flights more enjoyable for these youngsters.

To launch this new line, on July 21, 2007 Emirates invited the press, various youngsters' publications and children to see and try out these new products. The event was hosted in collaboration with Ice Today who ran a quiz competition for Emirates. Children from schools all over town mailed in their answers and those who won were honoured with prizes at this press meet. The first-prize winner received a round trip with a parent to Dubai with two nights' stay. Five other runners-up were given special gift hampers while every child who attended the event was given a goody bag.

Between magic shows and photo sessions, Emirates Airline officials described the various products that include a children's magazine, Dr. Seuss mini storybooks, an assortment of bags, some stuffed toys, mini snack packs, colouring pencils, and various other engaging products.

While being the quickest way to travel, flying is quite a physically and mentally taxing mode of travel. Where adults are often bored or tire out, it is only natural that children will feel these same things tenfold. Thus it is imperative to keep them engaged, especially on the long-haul flights. Emirates Airline's efforts in making sure that their young travellers enjoy their flight truly marks their high standards.

By Tahiat-e-Mahboob
Photo: Tahiat-e-Mahboob


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