Planet of fun

THE SCENE was set, as Magic Planet’s top 39 gamers entered the arena to battle it out for the spectacular prizes to be won, that practically left audiences salivating.


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Published: Sun 10 Aug 2008, 10:28 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:50 PM

In a surprising turn, a pregnant couple walked away with two big wins that Wednesday night. The Magic Planet World Championships (MPWC), 2008 hosts, Russ Hamilton and Terry Torok, maintained an electric atmosphere throughout the event, generating an almost-tangible excitement amongst competitors and spectators.

Aware of Magic Planet’s reputation for competitive, yet family-entertainmentbased games, nearly 6000 people, from 49 countries, participated in the initial rounds of the three most popular games. Sega Rally 3, the latest and ultimate in simulated car-racing games, has remarkably realistic tracks and impressive graphics.

The three finalists, narrowed down from the initial twelve, were subjected to a new course, and were pitted against each other, instead of the computer. The man who conquered this game, using his wellhoned, virtual driving skills to win a Chevy Lumina S 2008, was 30 year-old, Fadi Tammour, a Syrian sales consultant, and the husband of the winner of another game. “The three of us stayed head-to-head, till the very end.

My nervousness helped me focus,” recounts Fadi after winning. He attributes his win to severe practice and good choice of car. Despite having won the Karting Championship in Dubai’s Autodrome, Fadi was impressed with SR3. “It was one of the most realistic races I have ever played. If you were hard on the car, you lost time,” he sums up accurately.

Deal or No Deal, a virtual version of the popular TV Game Show, allowed the three finalists to compete against each other, with a provision for two rounds. The player with the maximum total of tickets was declared winner. 29 year-old, Ghayda Ismiel, also Syrian, and an executive secretary at Paris Gallery was the proud winner of a Dh50,000 shopping spree at Mall of the Emirates.

She was also the second half of the fortunate duo, six months pregnant at the time. She claims she felt fairly confident before the contest and that there was no technique involved, just luck and knowing when to accept or reject a deal.

Fadi plans to convert the car into a family car and Ghayda plans on investing a large amount of the money in her coming baby. American High-Striker, a test of a player’s strength and capability to strike the centre of the strike-pin, went through three rounds to determine its winner, 28 year-old Egyptian, Medhat Latif, a personal trainer living in Abu Dhabi.

His strategy to winning the game was to focus on enjoying. He decided to compete to demonstrate his power. When asked what he would like to do with his prize of a trip to anywhere in the world, he replies, “I would like to go to Lebanon, to England, to America. We have some family everywhere.”

He and his wife will be celebrating their one-year anniversary in a week and a half, and therefore the trip will be like a second honeymoon.

The unexpected, but overwhelming, response from the wide array of cultures, and age groups of people, for MPWC has encouraged the organisers to make this a regular event. And indeed, the event was entertainment personified.

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