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Alive and gaming in Baghdad

Ross Miller

"We can't go outside, so I prefer to keep inside and keep myself alive."

The words are from Wisam, a gamer living in Baghdad. Wisam is a rarity, and listening to his story on Iraq blog / vlog Alive In Baghdad explains why. Wisam, a recent graduate of the Baghdad University English Department, explains that he spends upwards of $200 on electricity each month -- partly from a local generator that runs 4 p.m. until midnight and partly from the fuel he buys for his personal generator. That's a hefty sum

Wisam said he learned his English from games such as Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy. MTV News' Stephen Totilo has a thorough piece on Wisam and the crew of Alive in Baghdad. Among the game-related topics discussed, Wisam talked about the decline in interest for war shooters like Medal of Honor and Call of Duty. "We hate the attacking, the gunfire in games," Wisam told MTV News. "We started to hate it."

In a sad note, Wisam described how Grand Theft Auto is much like Baghdad right now. Omar Abdullah, who interviewed Wisam for Alive in Baghdad, concurred, telling MTV News that "it was very, very similar to Baghdad. We were like, 'Oh my God. These are the same actions that happen in Baghdad.' There are some places that are divided. For each place, there is a gang ruling that place. You can go down the street and drive any car. If you want to jump on a motorcycle, you can do it."

With all the news that circulates about Baghdad, include tonight's U.S. Presidential address, it's thought-provoking to see a often missed perspective on the region.

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