Sunday, November 12, 2006

Bangkok Nights

I didn't get to go around much in terms of shopping centers and I.T malls when I was in Bangkok except for the first and last days of my recent stay there.

The I.T Square at Laksi was the first one I visited and it was pretty much a disappointment. There was only one outlet selling original console games on one of the upper floors and a copy of Mario Hoops was going for 2400 baht which translates to RM240.

This newly opened multi-storey and rather colourful mall is mainly dedicated to computer hardware and good luck trying to find an original copy of Windows XP or any other application software for that matter. However, original computer games are easy to find and cheap in Thailand due to strong localization efforts; a copy of Company of Heroes at the I.T Planet outlet was selling for 699 baht (RM 69.90).

The mall is located just next to the Laksi Wat and a 5 minute drive from the old Don Muang airport as well as a 5 minute walk from the hotel I was staying at.

Mah Boon Krong Center, or MBK as it is known amoung the locals, is located at what taxi drivers usually say as "downtown" Bangkok. So just say yes to the question "Do you want to go downtown, shopping?" and you'll most likely end up in the area where the big shopping malls MBK, Siam Discovery, Siam Center and newly minted Siam Paragon are located at.

There are several shops selling console games in MBK and one of them located at the lower floors had a lot of Gameboy Advance titles. The same shop had a bargain bin of sorts for PSP games going for 999 baht (RM 99) each.

The shop situated at the arcade level had an Xbox 360 on display and there were quite a number of youths attracted to the game NFS:Carbon which was playing on screen. This shop had several DS titles but most of them were pretty dated and are in Japanese such as Famicom Wars which is also known in its English version as Advance Wars DS. There is also a shop located at the handphone floor that sells handheld consoles and accesories but no games.

I visited Siam Discovery, Siam Center and Paragon in a span of an hour so I didn't get a good look at the three malls. But if you want to get a better variety (and maybe a better bargain) in terms of console games, visit Pantip Plaza.

It's hard to gauge what handheld console gaming is like in capital in Thailand. On one hand, people hardly bat an eye when my colleagues were playing my Nintendo DS in the airport but on the other hand, I hardly see anyone playing a handheld console save for one female airport staff who was walking around playing her PSP.