Gamers get ready to rejoice next month as an array of surprises and tournaments are being lined up for the kingdom’s much-anticipated pop culture event led by Esports and comic book guru Mohammed Saif and his team.
The Bahraini English teacher, known in the gaming community and to his friends as Arceus (named after a white, equine Pokémon) and his team NextLvl have been helping Bahrain Comic Con organisers Dallah Productions to put on successful Esporting events during the two-day convention.
And this year’s event promises to be wholesome and entertaining.
“I don’t have a complete list of all the things we will be doing in terms of gaming at Comic Con, but I can tell you the following with certainty,” Arceus from A’ali told GulfWeekly.
“Several games will be in the convention along with many surprises and treats that I am not at liberty to disclose yet.
“To all the Street Fighter and Tekken fans, rest assured, your games will be featured as tournaments. So will FIFA, Valorant, Overwatch 2, League of Legends and CS:GO. This is just a small taste of what we have in store for all the fans this year at Bahrain Comic Con which is being held at the Bahrain International Circuit on October 6 and 7. I will be leading my team as part of the managing team for Dallah to handle the Esports and gaming halls.”
Arceus has been involved in Esports since 2009, having organised tournaments over the years, with his first being for Street Fighter 4. In 2010, he was involved in the Animania convention and later became a manager at a gaming centre in Gosi Complex running and organising weekly tournaments, along with contests for the IGN convention in Bahrain.
He then co-created NextLvl with his brother Saif and friends Omar Waheb and Hamad Al Manaee.
“Together, we organised a few events for universities and restaurants,” said Arceus. “We got our big break when we reached out to Bahrain Comic Con to help them organise the Tekken 7 tournament during their second convention.
“Dallah Productions liked our work and agreed to bring us on for the next one. Alas, Covid-19 struck, and all our plans to expand our horizon came to a halt. Once the third Bahrain Comic Con was announced, we expressed our interest in the event and Dallah has been nothing but supportive and generous with us. Our work was so successful that Dallah’s chief executive officer Salman Bukhari brought me on as the chief of Esports at their company.
“Since then, I have helped manage and run all Esports related events involving Dallah and Bahrain Comic Con, along with my team. One of these events happened to be the National Qualifiers for the Bahrain Esports Federation.”
Soon he was invited to join the federation on an official capacity as a coach, manager, committee member and its official tournaments’ organiser.
“It is a great honour and an absolute dream-come-true to be part of the federation,” added Arceus. “We have many plans for the future that the whole team is working on, under the guidance of our president Hussain Al Kooheji. We hope to make Esports great in Bahrain.
“What I hope to achieve from being a part of the federation and Esports field is ‘to help nurture and grow players to international ranks, as there is a well of untapped optional here waiting to be explored. I also want to put my country, the Kingdom of Bahrain, on the map!”
Arceus also wants to provide the current gamers with opportunities his generation may not have had.
“I am proud of my country and believe that we can achieve greater strides, given the opportunity,” the University of Bahrain graduate in English, literature and linguistics said. “This is in alignment with the goals of the Esports Federation.”
And when he isn’t busy organising tournaments, he enjoys his favourite pastime— comics. As of September 1, he claims to have read 104,883 comics digitally.
His love affair with the colourful characters and books started as a child. “All my life, I loved to read,” he said.
“However, I struggled with a learning disability, dyslexia. This prevented me from being able to grasp the full joyous experience born from reading.
“Thus, entered comic books. The art direction in comics allowed me to understand the words and formulate with my eyes what my brain struggled to comprehend in the words written. That way, I was able to challenge my disability, enjoy reading and immerse myself in a multiverse of stories be it the DC Universe or the Marvel Universe. Those stories, at the risk of sounding too cliché, changed my life and allowed me to overcome my disability; to a degree that is.”
He also loves to write comics.
“I write stories such as the ones I grew up reading of my favorite heroes including Superman, Green Lantern, Spider-Man, the X-Men and Thanos, amongst others,” he said.
“I am now an educator and I spend the majority of my free time writing stories that one day, hopefully, will be published.”
For details, follow @arceussaif on Instagram.