Gaming enthusiasts enjoy the facilities at the indoor gaming centre at Geeky Lizard on Al Wasl Road, Dubai. Image Credit: XPRESS/Clint Egbert

Dubai: Geeky Lizard, a one-of-a-kind geeky store, as the name suggests, is for all you geeks out there who are into comics, table top war games and super-heroes.

Sprawling over 2,000 square feet of space in Al Ghazal Mall on Al Wasl Road, the store is a hub for hobbyists who meet regularly to play their favourite card and board games.

A brainchild of Emirati Omar Sharif Al Ali, the store also hosts a number of indoor games competitions.

“I was passionate about comic books when I was growing up, but I did not find people who resonated with my idea of fun. In 2006 a friend introduced me to Dungeons and Dragons and a thought struck me to start a gaming centre of my own,” said Ali, recalling how the idea of the store came to his mind.

“I knew I had to first obtain a licence and organise the fund. In 2011, I managed to get some funding from the Khalifa Foundation and started the community gaming centre,” he said, adding that the store is yet to have an official opening.

Last Friday when XPRESS visited the store, more than 60 gamers, aged between 12 and 50 years, could be seen immersed in games such as Pokemon Yugioh, Exploding Kittens, Vanguard, Dungeons and Dragons to Magic: The Gathering (a tradeable card game) among others. But the biggest action was where a popular Gundan robot competition was under way – with 34 participants in the fray.

Speed and precision

“They have all been given a kit and we judge them based on the speed and how perfectly they can assemble the robot piece by piece,” said Ali.

“We also have a new Pokeman release and everyone is excited about it,” said Ali. The centre is expected to soon have a lounge for competitive video-gaming, he added.

Filipina expat Benjie Reyes, a regular at the store, said: “This is one of my favourite places to visit on weekends. I come here every Friday to spend time with my friends and play different games. Today is a bit more challenging as I decided to take part in the Gundan competition. Also this is the only store I trust when it comes to buying games. You find a lot of fakes in the market.”

Pointing to a stack of Worbla in a corner, Ali said: “You will not find this anywhere else in the UAE. Worbla is a thermoplastic which is used to make faces of superheroes and comic characters,” said Ali. Geeky Lizard is open daily from noon until 10pm. On weekends the time extends up to 1am. “We have a 24-hour permit and once in a month we keep the store open full day,” said Ali.