metadata as arrays

hi, I am trying to expose a function that will update metadata on an entity/object. i have initialized this object ($game) in another function and added the metadata:

$game->squares=array("TL"=>0, "TC"=>0, "TR"=>0, "L"=>0, "C"=>0, "R"=>0, "BL"=>0,"BC"=>0,"BR"=>0);

and my function to edit this is:

return $game->squares[$space];

where $space is of TL, TC, TR.... sent over the network as a parameter. This returns nothing to my client. i have returned $player and $space for debugging purposes and this returns what is expected. Seems as though what is not working is the squares array. I have a feeling the type of $space is not correct.

Any Ideas? Any help would be appreciated, thanks!