In the press

Mastering the prince of instruments – Arab News

A MELODY: In Al-Moosiqar, the player controls the Musician’s movements to play back Oud selections.

Do you think you have the talent of Mohamed El-Qasabgi or Farid Al-Atrash? Or perhaps you limit yourself to putting on virtuoso performances in the shower? Either way, Al-Moosiqar is the game for you.

Released exclusively on Fuzztak (www.fuzztak.com), Al-Moosiqar or The Musician, is an online game that allows players to unveil the oriental Guitar Hero inside their souls and take on one of Arabic music’s greatest instruments, the oud or lute as it is more commonly known in the West.

In Al-Moosiqar, the player controls the Musician’s movements to play back classical Oud pieces. Using intuitive controls, the user can help the Musician hit notes and strum according to the flow of notes on the screen. The Oudist’s facial expressions indicate the success of the playback, and successful consecutive notes improve the score through multipliers. “Al-Moosiqar launched just two weeks ago and the response to it is incredible. It is the first one of its genre in Arabic. The game can be played freely online through a PC by using our site www.fuzztak.com. Where in the past we’ve had what we considered to be a best seller that has been played 10,000 times in a year, this game has been played over 4,000 times in 10 days. The uptake has been amazing,” said Mahmoud Ali Khasawneh, Quirkat’s CEO.

Quirkat, headquartered in Jordan, is spearheading the development and publishing of regionally relevant content, by capitalizing on its knowledge of the Middle East region’s history, culture, social structures, religions and demographics. The company developed Al-Moosiqar and owns and operates, Fuzztak.com, the online casual gaming destination hosting the game.

“What we’ve been trying to do with Fuzztak since its launch in 2008 is to create a community of Arab gamers and people who have an interest in Arabic culture,” Khasawneh explained. “Al-Moosiqar is yet another demonstration of our commitment to building unique gaming experiences generating from our culture and heritage. 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.”

Candide Kirk, Quirkat’s CTO added: “We have a relentless commitment at Quirkat to make sure the Arab world is heard through the medium of 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.”

Khasawneh emphasized that the idea behind the game is for Quirkat through Fuzztak to provide the technology and the platform to spark the creativity of musicians using gaming as a medium of interpretation.

Registered users on Fuzztak can upload and annotate their own original music pieces to the online game for other users to play back. Thus the game transforms into a Music Portal of old time favorites and Oud classics, as well as original content from within the user base.

“We are trying to give people an audience for their original music. We are telling people, ‘You play it and put it out there and then let other people play it back,’” said Khasawneh. “But we also want to make it clear that if the music isn’t in the public domain, then people shouldn’t upload it to the site. We are encouraging players to be creative. Use the game to interpret the music you hear inside you.”