Malaysian boy, 12, a national hero after building an e-sports game at a cybercafe and trying to sell it for US$0.25 to help his mother

  • Muhammad Thaqif spent one year working on the game at a cybercafe
  • With the game 75pc complete, cafe owner deleted it thinking it was a virus
PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 November, 2018, 9:21am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 November, 2018, 9:34am

A 12-year-old boy has won the hearts of fellow Malaysians after he built his own zombie-shooting e-sports game at an internet cafe and then tried to sell it online for one ringgit (US$0.25) to help his mother – only to have his work deleted by the shop staff because they thought it was a virus.

The online PC community has come together to help Muhammad Thaqif fulfil his dreams, with Malaysia’s youth and sports minister, Syed Saddiq – a major supporter of e-sports in the country – paying him a visit this week.

“[I’m pictured] together with the youngest game developer, Thaqif who studied at Tahfiz [religious school]. He once tried to sell his own game at RM1 which was developed in cybercafe,” the minister tweeted along with a picture of himself with Muhammad.

“The industry is expected to be worth around US$4.5 billion by 2021. I want to position Malaysia as the leader in Asean.”

Muhammad’s family moved from Bangi, a commuter town about 60km from Kuala Lumpur, to the village of Jengka around 250km away in the state of Pahang because of “his health problems”, according to local media.

Muhammad would spend time at a nearby internet cafe and work on his game because the family could not afford a PC. He said the game was 75 per cent finished before it was deleted.

“Assalamualaikum and hello everyone, to those who asked me when my game was going to be finished, I have some bad news. The CC [cybercafe] owner deleted my application and its data,” Muhammad posted on PC Gaming Community Malaysia.

“I visited the CC earlier to continue developing the game, but they told me it was deleted. I’ve spent close to a year on this game, and the product was deleted. The game was 75 per cent completed.”

The game involves shooting zombies and spiders and, happily for Muhammad and his fans, the data was eventually recovered by the internet cafe owner after his story went viral in Malaysia.

Apart from working on his game, Muhammad also helped his mother with her online business and his story touched the hearts of his fellow gamers as they came together to help him finish his project.

He received pledges of RM1, RM5 and RM100 and recently was gifted a computer by an imam who was inspired by the young boy’s sincerity.

“Today I got a pc gift from ustaz [imam],” he wrote. “I will try to finish [the game] soon.”

Malaysia is one of the leaders of e-sports in the region and the government has pledged millions of ringgit to promote its development.

This month, Malaysia will host a Dota 2 Major tournament, one of the most prestigious events in the series and only the second time a Major is held in Asia.

“This is Malaysia’s golden boy, keep up your good work bro,” wrote one admirer on Facebook, one of hundreds who have flooded social media and news websites with comments of support.

“Congratulations brother, when you grow up you will be an asset to the country,” wrote another.

“Bravo and congratulations. You have become the pride of Malaysians and the world. We pray for your success and wellness.”