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Posted On: 23 February 2023 09:00 am
Updated On: 22 February 2023 03:21 pm

Meet Hatem Salah - gamer, content creator, co-founder of Showdown e-sports platform

Cassandra Pallagud
Cassandra Pallagud
Content Writer
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Hatem salah gamer content creator co founder showdown

Qatar's gaming community and industry are full of passionate and talented people. Many would say gaming has impacted their lives in numerous ways; some have even made it their career.

Hatem Salah is an active member of Qatar's gaming and e-sports field as a content creator, Geekdom host and presenter, Red Bull gaming opinion leader, and co-founder of the Showdown e-sports platform.

The (ILQ) team caught up with Hatem to learn more about his passion for gaming and how he has made a career out of it.

ILQ: Can you tell us about yourself?

Hatem Salah
Image credit: Hatem Salah

HS: My name is Hatem Salah, video gamer and father, and I produce content around video games in a comedic style. I mostly use Instagram and YouTube to publish my content.

I also help Redbull Qatar produce video games and pop culture content on their website.

Aside from that, I have been the main host of Geekdom for the past 4 years.

My central vision with all my projects is to celebrate gaming as a form of art, change the stigma around gaming, and show it for what it is. It's not just a hobby.

ILQ: What got you into gaming?

HS: I grew up on video games.

However, in the days of "Alsakher" and NES (also SEGA), I was not allowed to touch these consoles. I used to sit back and watch my older siblings try to finish masterpieces like Legend of Zelda, Castle Mania, Metal Gear, and Super Mario.

Then, I think I did well in school and was awarded the one and only Game Boy! That marked the beginning of the still-going hobby I adore and love.

I used to take that Game Boy everywhere, from car rides to school trips and family gatherings. As long as I was stocked up on AA batteries to power it up, I was gaming on it all day (mostly Pokemon and Zelda). Our house would run out of batteries, and no clocks, remote controls, or toys were safe!

ILQ: How would you say gaming has impacted your life?

Hatem Salah
Image credit: Hatem Salah

HS: Gaming as a hobby stayed with me my whole life. It taught me English, problem-solving, and creative writing and made me quick on my feet when creating content.

Gaming also got me through difficult periods in my life, which I would like to outline below:

  • Gaming through grief: I lost my big brother when I was 16 in a sudden tragic car accident. Trying to deal with grief as a 16-year-old kid, I turned to games, picked up his favourite video games, and made it my duty to finish them all for him. I still do that sometimes. Digimon World 2, Final Fantasy 8, and Castlevania Symphony of the Night.
  • Gaming through the pandemic: Doha reached a standstill when the pandemic hit. Everyone was worried all the time, locked in, and bored. Gamers had the time of their lives; we got to obey the law and stay in without feeling guilty. My wife is an extrovert who struggled with the lockdown; it was the perfect time to introduce her to the world of video games. We connected while playing couch co-op games or simply watching me play a game while explaining the story (harder than you think). So, gaming got us both through the lockdown, made me connect with friends, and kept me entertained. Most importantly, it kept me in the house.
  • Gaming through content: I had never produced a video or written an article that did not involve video games. Even in 2018, when I was still producing shows and content for Al Jazeera, playing games always fed my brain and creativity. Even when I produced scientific videos, I used examples from video games, used them as an art, and used it to encourage viewers to responsible gaming and the benefits of this hobby.
  • Gaming through grief (Part 2): Mid-pandemic, we went through another loss. My wife and I lost our son Omar before his time (8 months, stillborn). Dealing with a new kind of grief took us some time to absorb this shock, but time heals everything. I have a new understanding of "loss" now. We eventually got through this difficult time (I mean, not really, it still hurts), and thanks to video games (again), we have unlocked a new level of understanding when a character in a video game experiences a similar situation.
  • Gaming through entrepreneurship: Showdown, an e-sports platform in Qatar. Not only does this involve and revolve around video games and e-sports, but you must be good at certain video games to properly organise tournaments. I cannot organize a good Tekken tournament without wiping the floor at least 20% of the participants. No? Is it just me? Ok. How Can you listen to feedback without understanding these games and having knowledge about how it's played right? Also, gaming made us understand what gamers want. And helped us develop solutions to problems that gamers like me face. Gaming gave me an edge in business.

ILQ: What would you say is your all-time favourite game and why?

Shin Megami Tensei
Image credit: Nintendo

HS: That's a difficult question. I'm into story-driven games. So any game with a good story can easily answer that question. Let's see... Metal Gear Solid series? Witcher series? Shin Megami Tensei (SMT) series?

Yes. Shin Megami Tensei series in general but the 4th instalment in specific. And why? Where do I start? I love it when a game knows it's not about the graphics. It's all about the experience. And SMT gave me that.

A darkly twisted story with plot twists that you would never expect? Check!

Recruit awesome-looking demons to join your party and command them in battle like Pokemon. Check!

Amazing level design and puzzles? Check!

Does innovative mechanics like demon fusion, press turn system, and weakness system? Check!

Interesting characters and arcs? Check!

Best music in a video game? Check!

Best stories with multiple endings? Check!

I have played through all SMT games except the first one. And every game gave me a different experience and took me through a journey in that I was in control of my fate. I love it so much!

ILQ: Can you tell us about Showdown?

HS: Showdown started when we identified major issues and obstacles that the e-sports sector in Qatar faces. If we resolve these issues or offer technology solutions to overcome these obstacles, Qatar will become the first contender in e-sports.

Plus, we have noticed that players do not have any means to show their achievements in tournaments, hence no career development. So we decided to use our tournament organizing skills and develop a platform that offers solutions and tools that enables tournament organizers to oversee, manage, and control tournaments easily.

Not only that, the Showdown platform offers a social element to gamers. You get to follow your favourite player and participate in the same tournaments as they do. You can easily join online or offline tournaments and build your career profile, as all your achievements are automatically recorded. Think of it as LinkedIn but for e-sports.

ILQ: Can you explain what you do as a gaming opinion leader for Red Bull?

HS: I assist the Red Bull team in creating gaming content for their website, besides giving them my opinion about their events.

They also sponsor my YouTube channel and help me with giveaways, announcing events, and I create contests for them sometimes. Usually, I'm called in when there is a gaming event they are involved in, and I assist them the best I can.

ILQ: Can you tell us about your collection of figures and toys?

Hatem Salah collection
Image credit: Hatem Salah

HS: I started collecting at a young age. I used to keep my toy collection safe beside my childhood consoles and handhelds. This started as a small corner at my parent's house, a gaming space for myself and my younger brother.

Then I started buying collector editions of my favourite video games that usually have a figurine of my favourite character. Then as the market evolved in Qatar and many geeky shops started opening, I started collecting my favourite gaming figures (some anime figures too).

I eventually built a gaming room when I got married and moved out. My wife, Ala Saffouri, designed the room and helped me create a safe space to game, stream, and create content.

ILQ: How did you start streaming and creating videos?

HS: This started in 2019, right before the pandemic hit. My friend and I ran a small podcast, and I loved the live commentary. This is why I decided to turn to Twitch and stream my gameplay. Of course, this was difficult at first, but I got a good joke or two per stream. Streaming became a habit after the pandemic. I then launched my YouTube channel, and the subscribers started asking for more streams and videos as we stayed home. The rest is history.

ILQ: What advice would you give those wanting to start creating content?

HS: The best advice I can give creators is to have two things before you start.

The first thing is your added value. No viewer should leave your video without obtaining new information they did not know before or having a good laugh and enjoying the video.

The second thing is originality. Please do not copy other successful YouTubers and get devastated when it does not work out. You can remix things, of course, and add your twist to ideas. But do not copy and follow trends. Be yourself, stay consistent, and develop your skills and content. It will work, I promise.

ILQ: Can you tell us about Geekdom and your contribution to it?

Hatem Salah at Geekdom
Image credit: Hatem Salah

HS: My journey with Geekdom started when the event was still called "Hobbies Corner" in Katara. I have witnessed its evolution to become the event everyone waits for. It's a place to be yourself, celebrate your hobby, meet new people, and showcase your work.

Geekdom organizers and founders Abduallah Al Mosalam and Shorouq found my YouTube videos funny and informative. They approached me to host Geekdom live during the midst of the pandemic. Since the show was a success, I was assigned the duties of helping Geekdom with content, hosting, and presenting.

Showdown was the main tournament organizer for the last Geekdom. I assisted them in promoting the event, creating content around it, interviewing iconic people around Doha, promoting local artists and creators, and finally, making announcements.

ILQ: Can you tell us about the gaming community in Qatar?

HS: The gaming community in Qatar is thriving and is very progressive. The only issue I see is that each community (for each game or multiple games) works towards the same goal, but their efforts are not unified. That's what Showdown is trying to accomplish. We want to unify these efforts and pull all communities to rise.

Also, we have enough talent and skills to enable Qatar to compete internationally in e-sports. However, for the above reasons, we are still trying to figure out how to unify all players and communities.

ILQ: What gaming-related events would you like to see in Qatar?

HS: More e-sports grand tournaments, international tournaments, famous sports players, invite-only tournaments, and pop culture events (besides Geekdom) like Comic Con.

ILQ: Are there any upcoming events you would like to promote?

Showdown Charity Tournament
Image credit: Showdown

HS: Showdown has partnered with Qatar Charity, Store974, and Team Mana for an offline charity e-sports tournament in Qatar with the admission fees for the event at QR 50. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to support those affected by the devastating earthquake that struck Türkiye and Syria.

The tournament is for Fortnite, Super Smash Bros, and Tekken 7. Learn more HERE!

Check out Hatem Salah here:


Have you seen Hatem's content before? What do you think about his passion for gaming and e-sports? Let us know in the comments! Do share this article - it keeps us going!