Pakistani gamers want a place at the dinner table

in a Medal of Honor At a tournament in Islamabad, Pakistan, an angry gamer stood up from his computer and demanded a shout-out from the players who kept sniping him. “Who is this ‘$@dy’?” he growled, mentioning the player’s in-game name, his eyes scanning the room expectantly – but what happened next turned his anger into embarrassment, Because a small young woman raised her hand nervously.

Now, more than 15 years later, Sadia al-Bashir, 33, recalls that encounter with a twinkle in his eye. “I was the only girl in a room full of boys and the moment he saw me, he sat down again. The thought of me being killed by a girl really hurt his self-esteem.”

At the time, Bashir was just a computer science student, and her dream was to make a living in the mysterious world of video games.Now she is a game developer with her own studio in Islamabad and is Pixel Art Game Academya technology incubator that brings together gaming talents from around the world to mentor a new generation of Pakistani game developers who want to create more diverse products for the international market.

But Bashir’s journey into the world of video game development has not been smooth sailing. She grew up in a family where money was always tight, which meant limited opportunities to play video games. There were no game consoles at home, and her family had no computers for the first 14 years of her life.

When she actually started playing video games—Mario Kart On a friend’s Nintendo — she’s in eighth grade. “It’s like, mind blowing up,” she said, gesturing a pistol over her head. “From that moment on, I knew there was something magical about video games. Everything else was so boring to me that I knew that was what I wanted to do.”

In conservative Pakistan, where the female literacy rate is 48 percent, Bashir’s choice to attend university is a milestone in itself. But in a country where gaming is still seen as a boring pastime, the stigma of wanting to be a video game developer left her initially not having the courage to tell her parents. “They only knew me as a software engineer,” she told Wired. “It’s really hard for people here to understand the concept of a career in video games. Even now, people think I’m just wasting my time for fun.”

Awais Iftikhar is One of the best in the world Iron Fist playerIn an interview, he spoke about the public antipathy towards video games as a profession in Pakistan. “When I started getting serious about gaming, my family never supported me. In fact, even my peers who were involved in video games thought I was ruining my future by putting in so much time. In fact, Pakistan Not realizing how big platform games are for people like us.”

But with the international success of Pakistani gamers like Awais Iftikhar, Evo Champion Arslan Siddiq, which is likely to change soon.In October last year, the UAE-based esports giant galaxy racerThe $1.5 billion company with more than 400 million users worldwide has announced that it is expanding its portfolio to include South Asian markets. Fakhr Alam, head of Galaxy’s operations in Pakistan, told WIRED that there was a need to break down the stigma surrounding video games. “One of the main things we’re trying to do here is encourage parents to see gaming as a boring pastime,” he said. “We want people to know that esports is by far the largest sports industry in the world, and if you take it seriously, it’s something to explore as a potential career.”

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