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By 26 November 2021
Kit yourself out with the best tools for success on Halo Infinite’s battlegrounds.
Halo Infinite might feature one of the most balanced arsenals of any Halo to date, with all but a few weapons feeling perfectly viable in the right hands. For the first time since its introduction in Halo 2, the Battle Rifle isn’t the be-all and end-all of the competitive Halo meta, and equally groundbreaking is that 343 finally delivered an Assault Rifle that isn’t straight-up garbage.
That said, balance has come at the expense of excitement, with an arsenal that feels a little flatter than before. Many guns with the potential for one-hit-kills (such as the Sniper, the Skewer, and melee weapons) have been made clumsier to use, while others (like the classic Halo shotgun) have been straight-up replaced. Even the likes of the Ravager and Hydra feel a little weaker than they should, lending to a sense that 343 has compressed almost all weapons into the same 1-2 second time-to-kill window.
Still, some weapons will always shine above the rest, and knowing when to trade up for a new pickup can be the difference between victory and defeat in Infinite’s fast-paced arenas. Many guns also come with the added utility of alt-fire modes that you’ll need to be aware of before picking them up.
The best Halo Infinite weapons are:
BR75 "Battle Rifle"
With precision bursts and the ability to skirmish at any range, the Battle Rifle is still the king of Halo. But with Infinite's faster movement and other weapons stepping up for more specialised roles, it doesn't quite dominate the meta as severely as previous games—and the game is healthier for it.
That said, there's a reason the Halo community has converged on this burst-fire killer. It's a 3-burst kill and accurate at all ranges. Most maps have at least one lying around, and you'll want to lock it down as soon as possible.
M41 SPNKR "Rocket Launcher"
The good ol' fashioned Rocket Launcher is the ultimate choice for when you just want to erase someone from the match entirely. Sure, it reloads slowly and only sports 4 shots, but it's a one-hit-kill so long as you land your shot on roughly the same continent as your target.
The one downside? Having to listen to your personal AI call it a "Spanker".
MA40 Assault Rifle
Yes, you heard right—the humble starting Assault Rifle is great, actually. With the loss of Halo 3's SMGs and the classic shotgun, the AR is one of your best options for close-range engagements, and it can punish effectively enough at medium distances. In Ranked play with BR starts, it's well worth picking one of these up as a secondary option.
Incredible in Arena, practically useless in Big Team Battle, the iconic Energy Sword benefits massively from the lack of a classic shotgun to counter its lunges. Getting caught out of range is a death sentence with this thing, so use grappling hooks, active camo, sprinting or good old fashioned sneaking to close distance before you start slicing and dicing.
The hammer suffers from being even more unweildy to use than the sword, with a hefty wind-up and no lunge. But when it hits, it hits hard, and a single swing of this thing can wipe out an entire team if they're foolish enough to stand together.
Pair with the grappling hook and start your swing mid-air for maximum carnage.
The venerable Halo Sniper feels a little unweildy this time around which, combined with the faster pace of Infinite's movement, makes it a little harder to hit shots. But if you're confident in your aim, this thing will tear through skulls like nothing else.
A heavy pistol with dramatic falloff, the Mangler can prod well enough at medium ranges. But with all Banished weapons sharing increased melee damage combined with the fast smacking speed of a Sidekick, the Mangler is brutal in close range.
Give 'em the old 1-2-punch with a shot to the chest and a smack to the head for a quick kill.
A worthy sidearm for any Spartan, the Sidekick is a great mid-range option to have on spawn. You'll want to trade up to a Battle Rifle as soon as you can, but deciding whether to ditch the AR or the Sidekick is a tough call you'll have to make based on what the situation demands.
The weirder, more electrifying Battle Rifle, the Shock Rifle fires a straight lightning bolt that ticks three times. Get all three ticks on a head, and it's a one-hit-kill. It lacks the reliability of the BR, but the Shock Rifle also has the nifty side-effect of disabling vehicles in two shots and its electric will occasionally arc between players.
If you're a galaxy-brain player, you can even use the arcing electricity in combination with dropped weapons or equipment to hit targets around corners.
Unweildy in Arena, essential in Big Team Battle, the Skewer is a slow-firing, slow-to-reload beast that punts a railroad spike across the map at high speed. It's a one-hit-kill against Spartans, but the difficulty of landing a shot plus the slow reload speed make it a hinderance in close-quarters.
The Skewer shines as an anti-vehicle weapon, and a single shot will demolish a Ghost, Wasp or Mongoose, and even heavily damage Scorpion tanks.
A better shotgun than the actual shotgun, the heatwave's gimmick is the ability to toggle between horizontal and vertical spread patterns. The vertical spread will deal far more damage per-hit, but a sneaky horizontal shot might catch out a low-health opponent. Use the Heatwave's richocheting shots to catch out baddies behind corners.
The classic shotgun has been replaced with a fast-firing auto-shotty more akin to Apex Legends' EVA-8 than the traditional Halo boomstick. It'll kill with 2-3 shots in close range, but don't rely on it stopping a lunging sword user in a pinch.
A solid mid-to-long range marksman like the BR75 and Shock Rifle, the Stalker unfortunately lacks the reliability of the former or the utility and one-hit potential of the latter. It can zoom in further than either, making it an effective prodding tool in BTB, but otherwise the Stalker fails to stand out amongst its peers.
A straight-up laser beam that overheats quickly and doesn't quite do as much damage as you'd like, the Sentinel Beam is nevertheless great for tracking and punishing foes at mid-ranges. Watch out for your energy draining a little faster than you might expect.
A truly bizarre pistol, the Disruptor shares the Shock Rifle's electrical rounds, disabling vehicles and dealing damage over time against unshielded foes. But it simply doesn't pack enough of a punch to win most straight-up fights.
Tragically, the Plasma Pistol's utility as a quick way to disable vehicles has been given over to the Disruptor and Shock Rifle. That said, the lowly alien blaster's charged shots are still the fastest way to disable enemy shields—just make sure you have a Sidekick or BR75 on hand to follow up with a headshot.
For a rapid-fire rocket launcher, the Hydra doesn't quite do enough damage per-shot to feel great against Spartans. That said, its secondary fire lets it fire weaker homing shots that are best served to smack Wasps out of the sky on Big Team Battle matches.
Maybe one of the best Needlers in Halo history, Infinite's shard-spitter fires fast, tracks well, and still bursts foes after a dozen or so hits. Nevertheless, it's hard-countered by the sheer speed at which Infinite's Spartans can whip themselves around the map.
The Scorchshot is a weapon that dares to ask: what if the Hydra was much, much harder to use? It'll deal more damage on hit and sports a more punishing blast radius, but those bouncing rounds can be a nightmare to land, and the fly-by-wire secondary mode doesn't feel as useful as it should.
Give it your time and learn its quirks, however, and this thing can be a beast.
The Ravager should be a beast, a rapid-fire grenade launcher with a charge shot that lays down a sizeable pool of burning plasma. Unfortunately the Ravager was hit hard by nerfs after the tech tests, and in the current game it simply doesn't punch hard enough to justify its slow fire rate.
I want to love the Commando. Its audio packs a punch, and the gun fills an interesting role between the Assault and Battle Rifles at slightly longer ranges. But after the first flight 343 nerfed this thing hard, upping it to 8 shots to kill on a fully shielded opponent with a recoil that's harder to control than anything else in the game.
Its shots may sound beefy, but give this one a miss.
On paper, I love the Pulse Carbine as a weirder alien analogue to the Battle Rifle, a more interesting weapon than Halo 3's Covenant Carbine by far with burst-fire plasma rounds that track targets.
In practice, however, it just doesn't pack the punch it needs. Like the Commando, the Pulse Carbine was hit hard with downgrades following the tech tests, with shots now doing less damage per-hit and no longer tracking foes as efficiently. Shots rarely hit at any range, and deal minimal impact when they do.
20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time—and she’s not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and having herself developed critically acclaimed small games like Can Androids Pray, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it’s the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She’s also played for a competitive Splatoon team, and unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.
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Anbernic may be developing a Windows handheld gaming PC – Liliputing
Anbernic is a Chinese company that makes handheld gaming devices, most of which are powered by Android or Linux software and designed for retro gaming. But it looks like the company may be developing its first handheld gaming PC that runs Windows.
That could make the new device an option for gamers looking to play modern PC games, although the new model will also probably be Anbernic’s most expensive system to date – most of the company’s current devices tend to sell for between $50 and $250.
Anbernic hasn’t officially announced the new Windows handheld, but a set of pictures included in a recent patent application make it pretty clear that the device is designed to run Windows.
Like many handheld game consoles, it has a display surrounded by dual analog sticks, a D-Pad, action buttons, start and select keys, and four shoulder buttons/triggers. There’s also a home key on one side, and a Windows key on the other, which will likely function as a Start Key.
On the left side of the device there’s also a switch that lets you toggle between game controller and mouse modes, a feature we’ve seen on some other Windows-powered handhelds, which makes Windows a little easier to navigate on devices without a mouse or physical keyboard. This will most likely let you move a cursor with an analog stick while using action buttons for left and right-click actions.
Other features appear to include a USB Type-A port, what may be a USB Type-C port, stereo speakers, and a 3.5mm headphone jack as well as what looks like a microphone.
There’s no word on the specs or pricing, but it seems like a safe bet that a Windows-powered handheld will have a more expensive processor than most of Anbernic’s systems to date, which will drive up the price tag accordingly.
If and when Anbernic’s Windows-powered handheld comes to market, it will join an increasingly crowded space that’s currently dominated by small Chinese companies like GPD, One Netbook, and AYA as well as the upcoming Valve Steam Deck (which will ship with the Linux-based Steam OS, but which has all the hardware necessary for Windows gaming if anyone feels the urge to replace the operating system).
via DroiX, Taki Udon, and /r/Anbernic
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What are they trying to patent? Buttons and switches where your hand will be gripping and more prone to accidentally activating (ie. bad idea)?
Also, if their handheld looks like this, how are they expecting to compete with the other Chinese handhelds (let alone the Steam Deck)? Price? The bar handhelds are all pretty much the same with different tweaks here and there.
At this rate, I feel like whatever part of the market the Deck isn’t able to capture will just be shared equally among the rest of these small companies.
Now more manufacturers in the game, waiting for Alienware and Razer to join this party, they had UFO and Switchblade concepts in the past
I feel a tiny bit sorry for GPD – after years of being the “only game in town”, now they have competitors coming out of the woodwork!
Still, it seems like good news for everyone else!
If it’s pocketable, then I’d get it. Otherwise, if I’m getting a non-pocketable slab/bar PC handheld, then it’s only the Steam Deck for me.
Judging from the USB Type-A port, this thing’s pretty large. It’s not any more pocketable than the other slabs so pass. The Steam Deck it is.
Waiting for a hologram of Roseanne Barr to explain the meaning of the device’s name to me.
🙂 Close enough to Ambergris
🙂 Close enough to Ambergris
Compare handheld gaming PC specs (Steam Deck, AYA Neo, GPD Win Max and Win 3, ONEXPLAYER and OneGx1 Pro)
Intel’s Alder Lake Mobile chips bring hybrid architecture to laptops, promise up to 40-percent performance boost
Overview of AMD’s Ryzen 6000 mobile “Rembrandt” chips with RDNA2 graphics and Zen 3+ CPU cores
Daily Deals (1-17-2022)
Samsung introduces Exynos 2200 processor with AMD RDNA 2 “Xclipse” graphics
Anbernic may be developing a Windows handheld gaming PC
PineNote E Ink tablet now available for $399 for developers and enthusiasts
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Media campaigns praised for 'making a difference' – Arab News
DUBAI: Media campaigns for some of the world’s biggest brands have been praised for their effectiveness, insight and innovation as part of marketing intelligence firm WARC’s 2021 media awards.
The global awards program, now in its sixth year, rewards communications planning that has made a positive impact on business results. The awards examine the insight, strategy and analytics that influence effective media investment.
This year, the awards saw 56 campaigns win across diverse markets and product categories for global brands including adidas, L’Oreal, McDonald’s, Nespresso and TikTok, and local brands such as Change The Ref in the US, Claro in Chile, NHS England, Omroep Zwart in the Netherlands and Yili in China.
Four juries — one for each category — made up of of experts from both the agency and client-side awarded four grand prix trophies, 10 golds, 17 silvers, 25 bronzes and 12 special awards for specific areas of excellence.
Overall, the UK led with eight wins. China, Germany, the US and Vietnam won four awards each, followed by Canada, which scored three wins. India, Malaysia and New Zealand, each won two awards, and Chile, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Netherlands, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Sri Lanka, Turkey and the UAE each won one award.
In the effective channel integration category, PHD Canada won the grand prix and path-to-purchase award for “Vacation Intervention,” which saw Air Transat convince 75,000 workers not to lose their unused vacation days, with nearly 50 percent of reservations coming from new clients.
“Travel brands tend to be very lower-funnel and promo-led, especially in the lead-up to big holiday seasons. ‘Vacation Intervention’ went the other way with a strong insight, a very interesting central idea and a multi-channel campaign that was fun, topical and successful,” said jury member Ronnie Thomas, group director of global business development Publicis Groupe.
The POE award, which looks at how a strategy successfully linked paid, owned and earned media, and a gold went to FP7 McCann Dubai for “A Dad’s Job” for Home Center. The effective cross-channel measurement award and a silver went to MediaCom’s global campaign “PS5 — 2020’s biggest entertainment launch” for gaming console Sony PlayStation.
Havas Sports & Entertainment won the grand prix for French welfare association L’Enfant Bleu in the effective use of tech category.
The winning campaign “Undercover Avatar” saw the agency create an in-game confidante to enable children to speak out about abuse. The activity generated 700 million media impressions and resulted in the French government working on solutions that will turn video games into a new way to identify abused children.
“Leveraging a native behavior (and interest) in a smart way — a really powerful way to do things purposefully different,” said judge Luca Vergano, vice president of strategy at Elephant.
The initiative also won two special awards: Most scalable idea and platform pioneer.
MullenLowe US won the special award, the early adopter, and a gold for “Ring King” for Burger King.
In the effective use of partnerships and sponsorships category, McCann Paris and FP7 McCann Dubai won the grand prix and effective native award for Lebanese Breast Cancer Foundation for “The Bread Exam.”
The nonprofit collaborated with a traditional baker to create a bread-making video demonstrating how to self-examine. The campaign reached 112 million people, and in nine months increased awareness by 83 percent and screenings by 41 percent.
“They identified breast cancer as something that is difficult to talk about in culture, but managed to make it part of the conversation through the topic of bread making, something that is an integral part of the culture,” said judge Faisal Alani, head of partnerships at eBay.
“They tackled the problem in an incredibly thoughtful way; it really warmed my heart.”
COPA90 won two special swards — the collaboration with an influencer award for Budweiser’s “Messi X Budweiser 644,” and the successful sponsorship award for “Music Keeps Us Playing” for Pepsi and Pepsi MAX, as well as a silver and bronze, respectively.
In the best use of data category, the grand prix and personalization award went to FCB New Zealand for “Personalizing Danger,” a campaign for Water Safety New Zealand. By combining historical, real-time and future data, the agency built a predictive model to reduce deaths of young men from drowning. The campaign reached 95 percent of its target audience and achieved zero deaths.
“Other entrants are just gathering data. But to actually save lives? If only one life is saved, it’s already a success. This is data put to good use,” said judge Kathrin Jesse, chief strategy officer and partner at Wirz Group, Switzerland.
The data-driven insight award was given to MullenLowe US for Burger King’s “Delay Your Way,” which also won a gold, and the attribution award went to Ekimetrics for “Using Advanced Analytics to Market Profitability in a Pandemic” for hospitality brand Accor, which also won a bronze.
ISTANBUL: A Turkish court has acquitted German journalist Mesale Tolu after years on trial for terror-related charges.
“After 4 years, 8 months and 20 days: Acquitted of both charges!” Tolu tweeted after her acquittal. She was accused of engaging in terror propaganda and being a member of a banned left-wing group — the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party.
Tolu, 38, was placed in pre-trial detention for eight months in 2017. She was later released but was barred from leaving Turkey until August 2018. She lives in Germany.
Before her arrest, Tolu worked as a translator and journalist for the Turkish ETHA news agency.
German-Turkish relations were tense at the time of Tolu’s arrest, when eight other German or German-Turkish citizens were imprisoned. Berlin considered the arrests to be politically motivated.
Reporters Without Borders ranks Turkey at 153 out of 180 countries in its World Press Freedom Index of 2021. At least 34 media employees are currently behind bars, according to Turkey’s Journalists Union.
BEIRUT: Hate-filled, misogynist, and racist tweets have targeted a Sudanese TV anchor following a report on her show that criticized the Lebanese government, including Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.
The fury targeting Dalia Ahmad came after she described the country’s long-reigning party officials as crocodiles during her show “Fashet Khalq” on Lebanon’s Al-Jadeed news channel.
#DogBreedImprovement was trending in Lebanon in Arabic after vicious tweets sent out by Hezbollah loyalist accounts attacked Ahmad and the color of her skin.
“You’d be sitting under the safety of God when a black dog comes and starts barking, you want to hit it but then it appears not to be a dog but a black female dog from Sudan,” read a tweet from a profile featuring a photo of the slain Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.
بتكون قاعد بأمان الله بيجي كلب أسود بصير ينبح بتقوم بدك تضربو بيطلع مش كلب بيطلع كلبة سودا من السودان#تحسين_نسل_الكلب
“May God curse the sperm that settled in the womb of the mother of those who offend you, Mr. Nasrallah #DogBreedImprovement,” read another tweet in Arabic. The account’s profile has the word Hezbollah in Arabic with a yellow heart next to it.
لعنَ الله النُّطفةَ التي إستقّرت في رَحِمِ أمِّ من يُسئ إليك سيدي نصرالله.#تحسين_نسل_الكلب pic.twitter.com/6rNLfxiIYK
Another tweet read: “Without #hizbollah Dalia Ahmed would have been offered for sale in the slave market, along with her ilk, by ISIS.”
“Never in my life have I bullied or criticized the creation of our Lord, but this despicable woman, because her heart and tongue are so black they are reflecting on her ugly and malicious face,” read a tweet from @KassemHala555, which had a black smiley face emoji at the end and two images of Ahmad.
انا بحياتي ما تنمرت ولا بقبل انتقد خلقة ربنا ..
بس هيدي الحقيرة من كتر سواد قلبها ولسانها عاكس على وجها المقرق والخبيث …#تحسين_نسل_الكلب pic.twitter.com/fDRwpPX8TK
“By God, by God, whoever wants to attack the Al-Sayyed (Nasrallah), I want to wipe the ground with them and curse those who gave birth to them,” read another tweet from @KassemHala555, whose profile features the Lebanese and Iranian flags. This tweet had an image of Ahmad with the face of a dog photoshopped over hers.
والله والله يلي بدو يتطاول على السيد بدي امسح الأرض فيه والعن يلي خلفو ..#تحسين_نسل_الكلب pic.twitter.com/zxxEh0eGX1
Journalists loyal to Hezbollah and media representatives also chimed in. Journalist Hosein Mortada, who has more than 494,000 followers, tweeted a picture of Ahmad with the comment: “There are breeds that don’t improve because their genes are unclean from the start.”
His tweet is no longer visible because, according to the platform, it “violated the Twitter Rules.”
There were some who came to the defense of Ahmad, including Emmy-nominated director and writer Lucien Bourjeily who tweeted: “My dears: ‘crocodiles’ is a very nice description. Your leaders are corrupt, scammers, and criminals, and an entire society is being destroyed at their hands! How many are you after defending those who impoverished you, plundered you, and destroyed your lives?”
في مين عم يدافع بشراسة وعنصرية عن زعيمه لأن الاعلامية #داليا_أحمد وصفت ما يسمى ب “زعماء” ب تماسيح.
اعزائي: “تماسيح” وصف كتير لطيف.
زعمائكم فاسدين،نصابين،ومجرمين وفي مجتمع باكمله عم يتدمر على ايديهم!
والكم عين بعد تدافعوا عن يلي فقروكم، نهبوكم، ودمروا حياتكم؟ #كلن_يعني_كلن مورطين pic.twitter.com/I43tFI8c1D
Hezbollah and its loyalists have a record of harassing and attacking female journalists.
In January of last year, Alhurra news anchor Layal Alekhtiar received death threats and was subjected to harassment online after tweeting a video of the unveiling of a Soleimani statue and a line from the Qur’an that said: “What are these statues to which you are so devoted?”
In October 2020, independent journalist Luna Safwan was targeted by Hezbollah in an online abuse campaign after her tweet criticizing the party was carried by an Israeli news channel and she was accused of cooperating with Israel.
Lebanese journalist Maryam Seif Eddine, known for her staunch criticism of Hezbollah despite being Shiite, received death threats from the group while her mother and brother were physically assaulted, with her sibling being left with a broken nose. Party loyalists had targeted her family home in Burj El-Barajneh, in the Hezbollah-dominated southern suburbs of Beirut.
Before that, as the country witnessed mass protests in 2019, former LBC news anchor and Shiite journalist Dima Sadek was subjected to harassment by the group after her phone was stolen from her during a demonstration. The harassment, she said, was followed by insulting and threatening phone calls to her mother, who suffered a stroke as a result of the stress.
MTV reporter Nawal Berry, also a Shiite, suffered violent attacks by supporters of Hezbollah and its allies while covering the early days of the protests. Loyalists smashed her team’s camera, snatched the microphone she was holding, spat on her, and kicked her in the leg.
DUBAI: With more than 200 streaming providers around the globe the number of platforms is proliferating, according to Flixed.
And while the coronavirus pandemic has spurred unprecedented growth in viewership the gradual return to normality has seen a churn in subscribers for many streaming companies.
Netflix, which remains the world leader in the streaming space, last year commanded a 21 percent share of the US subscription video-on-demand market, but with competition increasing, it has been experiencing a slowdown, data analytics firm GlobalData said.
The company’s share of US revenue from subscription streaming video was forecast to shrink to 30.8 percent by the end of 2021, from nearly 50 percent in 2018, according to market researcher eMarketer.
Francesca Gregory, associate analyst in thematic research at GlobalData, said: “Netflix experienced a slow start to 2021, following a light slate of content as pandemic production problems came to the fore.
“Although fresh content in its third quarter boosted subscribers to 214 million, competing platforms are experiencing explosive growth.”
By November, Disney+ had racked up 118 million subscribers, and Amazon Prime had 175 million.
“As the number of streaming platforms increases, and the market approaches peak fragmentation, SVOD platforms will use content portfolios to differentiate themselves,” Gregory added.
For example, Amazon has committed $1 billion to its “The Lord of the Rings” even before an episode has aired, while Netflix was forecast to spend more on original programming than ever before. By 2025, 46.5 percent of its projected $18.92 billion budget will go toward original content, compared with 37.8 percent in 2020, eMarketer said.
Besides content portfolios, companies will have to explore alternative revenue sources.
Gregory said: “We have already started to see Netflix branching out to different areas, with the launch of Netflix Games in November 2021 and a co-streaming partnership with Twitch. I wouldn’t be surprised if the company looked to experiment with more gaming streaming platforms in the future.”
She pointed out that as competition increased during 2022, “reaching different audiences will continue to be a key strategy. Companies that fail to secure a market niche will have a limited shelf life in the crowded SVOD market.”
GAZA CITY: In a Gaza TV studio of the ruling Islamist armed movement Hamas, a set features Israeli flags, Hebrew documents and a portrait of Theodor Herzl, the father of modern Zionism.
The make-believe office of enemy state Israel’s security service is being used to shoot a “pro-resistance” television series on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It is Hamas’s answer to Israeli hit shows such as the special forces drama “Fauda” that have gained millions of viewers on platforms such as Netflix, HBO and Apple TV+.
“Fauda,” which in Arabic means chaos, portrays a military unit led by commander Doron Kavillio that launches raids inside Palestinian territories.
Admitting to having watched “Fauda,” though, is not a good idea in Gaza, the Palestinian coastal enclave blockaded by Israel, said local director Mohammed Soraya.
To watch any Israeli TV series means supporting the “normalization” of relations with the Jewish state, argued Soraya, who is directing Hamas’s own TV series on the conflict.
He charged that such shows “support the Zionist occupation” because their plots “criminalize the Palestinian people,” speaking with AFP in the Gaza City studio.
“We want to flip the equation, to show the Palestinian point of view, to broadcast a drama about the spirit of our resistance.”
Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States and the European Union. The Islamist group controls the Gaza Strip, an impoverished territory of 2.3 million people.
It also runs the Al-Aqsa channel, and has been investing in series inspired by Hollywood, and by Turkish soap operas that are popular across the Middle East.
The series now in production, “Qabdat Al-Ahrar” (Fist of the Free), revisits a 2018 Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip that resulted in the deaths of seven Hamas fighters and an Israeli officer.
The protagonists are the fighters of Hamas, which has fought four wars against the Jewish state since 2008.
Budgets are meagre, actors’ salaries are low, sets are basic and deadlines are tight, with the production team expected to deliver some 30 episodes by April, in time for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
While Israeli series often feature actors from the country’s Arab-Israeli minority, productions in Gaza do not use any Israeli actors.
This forces studios to recruit local actors to play Israelis — a job that, the performers say, can expose them to real-world hostility and danger.
One of them is Jawad Harouda, aged in his early sixties and with a husky voice, who portrays the head of Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security service in the new TV series.
To get into character, Harouda said he “soaked up the script,” but added that being too convincing can lead to trouble.
“Some women look at me and pray that I die,” he said, leaning back in his boss’s chair in the fake Shin Bet office.
“I’m happy when people insult me. It means I’ve succeeded … The actor is a chameleon, he must be able to act out all colors.”
In Gaza productions, Israeli characters speak in Arabic. And, at the request of the Hamas mufti, or Islamic jurist, women wear their headscarves even if they play Jewish characters.
“In one series, I played a Jewish woman,” said one actress, Kamila Fadel, who added that she may have been just a little too convincing for her own good.
“After the series was broadcast, a woman tried to strangle me,” she recounted.
“She told me: ‘I hate you, you are hurting us so much’. On another day a 13-year-old boy threw a stone at my head thinking I was Jewish… This means I played my part well.”
Not everyone is a fan of the Hamas productions, which are firmly focused on the conflict.
“There is no love” in the dramas, argued Palestinian director and critic Jamal Abu Alqumsan, who expressed regret that the rare local productions served primarily as a “tool of resistance.”
Abu Alqumsan said the potential for such productions to tell Palestinians’ stories was huge, but the challenges were many.
“In Gaza, we live under a blockade, it’s a unique situation in the world,” he said, speaking in his art gallery, which he hopes to turn into a small film library.
“So we need producers to invest in quality series and tell the rest of the world our story. We have good actors, they just need good directors and means.”
For now, Abu Alqumsan said he was unsure of the impact such shows would have.
“TV dramas are a weapon, but in the face of Israel, local productions are of a low level,” he said.
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