Grand Thrash Auto: Nina Saeidi (Lowen)

If the gruff, lackadaisical vocals used by many stoner bands help give the music a carefree tone, then Nina Saeidi’s soaring howls propel the genre into the stratosphere. As vocalist for UK progressive stoner doom outfit Lowen, Saeidi’s commanding croons dominate proceedings, but the enchanting music behind her voice certainly does its fair share of the heavy lifting too. Lowen is doom at its most adventurous. Inspired in part by the Iranian music Saeidi heard growing up, the band craft a unique style that drifts from dramatic, brazen highs to soft, pensive lows with remarkable skill.

Today we’re excited to be talking to Saeidi for Grand Thrash Auto to hear more about her favourite video games. There’s some classics in here that anyone will recognise but also a few lesser-known titles that are worth checking out, so be sure to read on. And as a note to any Magic: The Gathering fans reading this who are happy to see that it makes an appearance, be sure to keep an eye on our site for something a little extra coming soon…

Magic: The Gathering Arena 

As someone who has competed in tournaments and been playing multiple formats on paper for several years, being able to play Magic: The Gathering digitally is a great way to fuel my love for the game. I usually play the ranked historic format and love the real-time premier drafts. The most recent set, Kaldheim, is Viking themed and has a lot of art that metal fans would really love. 

It’s a great game for introducing new players as the tutorials explain the rules far better than most humans could and the controls are very intuitive and you don’t have to go through the awkward trouble of dealing with some of the negative stereotypes that some players of the game can present. The closest thing you’ll get to that is someone spamming emotes at you whilst ultimating Teferi: Hero Of Dominaria as you angrily smash the “Concede” button. 

The interface is far superior to Magic Online and I love being able to play with friends and people across the world in some cosy pajamas whilst not having to worry about bent card sleeves and sneaky shuffling. I love streaming this on Twitch and chatting with other players in real time as people tend to have entertainingly strong opinions about deck archetypes and game strategies.

The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time

I strongly believe that Breath Of The Wild is one of the best video games ever made but Ocarina Of Time was such a formative game to grow up with and it kickstarted my love for the Zelda franchise. The temples left me in awe and I relished tackling the many puzzles whilst exploring its rich open world. I still regularly listen to the iconic soundtrack and the many lo-fi variants that exist as they are a warm balm to the soul.

Even today I’ll boot up my translucent purple Nintendo 64 and run around Hyrule Field on Epona, cutting down all who oppose Link with the Master Sword before wandering into the sexually fraught domain of the Zora to gawk at friendly undressed fish-people. My young impressionable mind was blown by the bad bitch fashion of the Gerudo warrior women and I still feel a strange paternal connection to the moustached rumbles of the Great Deku Tree.

The Story of Raji: An Ancient Epic

This is a Nintendo Switch game set in ancient India where you play a young girl setting out to rescue her little brother from a violent abduction by demons. With the aid of Hindu gods and mythologies drawn from the Mahabharata and Ramayana you explore elaborate palaces and temples architecturally inspired by Rajasthan’s antiquity, solving puzzles and battling demons whilst unlocking a rich backstory that gives a wonderful insight into the culture and history of India.

I don’t know of any other games where you get to play from the point of view of an Indian girl, let alone one where you get to use a range of badass divine weapons in a gorgeously designed environment with graphics and sound that will make you stop just to relish your surroundings. I never realised how there were so few games designed specifically for someone of my non-male non-western demographic until I played this for the first time and realised that there were tears of appreciation in my eyes. It’s just wonderful, thank you so much to the people who made this happen! Of course, this game is for everyone and you’d be hard pressed not to enjoy it regardless of who and where you are. I thoroughly recommend it.

Chip’s Challenge

This was the first computer game I ever played and I did so obsessively. It came pre-loaded on Windows 95 and I was four when I got to start playing it. It starts as an incredibly simple tile-based puzzle game that gets incrementally harder as you beat all 149 levels. You’re presented with obstacles such as ants, carnivorous flowers, ice, water and fire until after a certain point you’re in an elemental cell hell far more complex than the Water Temple whilst frantic midi music jazzes around you. 

I found out that you could button mash random strings of numbers and letters into the password box that granted you level access and find yourself in the most absurdly complicated puzzles. If you’re ever bored you can watch some pretty impressive playthroughs on Twitch and YouTube.

EVE: Online

This game is so good that I won’t let myself play it. It’s a real time MMORPG set in space with a map so big it’s pretty much impossible to explore the entire game. The graphics are utterly gorgeous and it’s so immersive that you can lose yourself in it for days shooting through gorgeous nebulas and mining asteroids whilst complex player space-politics, feuds and full blown intergalactic wars take place around you as players fight for resources in the cold, beautiful void of space. The week long free trial was one of the most addictive gaming experiences I’ve ever had.

For more Grand Thrash Auto pieces, click here.

Intro: George Parr

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