The latest online game from Middle Eastern developer Quirkat is an Arabian take on the Guitar Hero formula which replaces the Les Paul Gibson with an oud – better known in the west as the humble lute.
Al-Moosiqar – the Musician – can be played for free via Arabic/English game portal Fuzztak, and gives players the chance to strum along to traditional Middle Eastern tunes or even upload their own creations.
Mahmoud Ali Khasawneh, Quirkat’s CEO, explains that “the Oud is the most important Arab instrument and is nicknamed the Prince of the Instruments. We consider it part of our mission at Quirkat to bring such proud Arab achievements to the gaming world.”
The Middle East is home to a burgeoning videogame industry, and Quirkat’s CTO Candide Kirk said that the company is committed to using Arabic influences in its games: “Every day, we feel the lack of a suitable avenue for Arab generations to express their love of video gaming in a way that reflects their identity and aspirations. Al-Moosiqar will capture and deliver to the world a unique Middle Eastern music channel thriving on creativity and musical expression.”
Although Fuzztak offers English translation on its main site, Al-Moosiqar’s instructions are all in Arabic, so we’ve put together a quick guide to getting started for any non-Arabic readers who fancy testing their prowess on the virtual oud. Once the browser window opens, click on the bottom right button to assign keys, then click the right-hand button to accept (remember Arabic is read from right to left, so western positioning is reversed).
Then click on the top right button, choose your tune from the list, and accept again. A final screen seems to provide difficulty info – accept again and you’re on your way to oud superstardom.