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A good overview of “Islamogames” September 19, 2006

Posted by joshg in indie games, Islam.

1Up has an excellent article, reprinted from their affiliate magazine Computer Gaming World, on the world of (what they term) “Islamogames“.

Though relatively small, Islamogaming is also a diverse field, ranging from amateur projects by students, unabashed anti-Zionist propaganda produced by an internationally recognized terrorist organization, religious games produced to teach Islam to kids, and a set of more sober games designed to explore the complex realities of Middle Eastern history.

There’s certainly much more political focus here than religious; the majority of the games they describe are focused more on undoing the common Arab-villain stereotype, or depicting conflicts between Palestinians or Lebanon with Israel. The title which seems most focused on actually teaching the Muslim faith, U.K.-based Innovative Minds’ game The Resistance, has “kids become make-believe members of Hezbollah’s Islamic Resistance in Southern Lebanon; players get ammo for shooting at Israeli tanks as rewards for providing correct answers to a faith-based history quiz.” Still, whether the games are to your political taste or not, the article is an excellent look into the world of Arab-written video games in the Middle East.

Quraish, a title in progress by Akfar Media, might be the most interesting project of the bunch. It’s a Civilization-style game depicting the early rise of Islam.

Kasmiya believes the game will impart a deeper respect for the history of Islam beyond the image of “[the] Crusades, oil, and terrorism” that dominates Western media representations. However, the game has also been controversial to radical fundamentalist Muslims, who fear it might not give the version of history they endorse. “They are afraid that we can’t view Islam in the right way,” Kasmiya says flatly, “or might make fun of spiritual characters.”

Honestly, can we get more history lessons delivered to us via Civ-style gameplay? Sign me up for this one.

Oh, and if you skim the article, make sure you read the last section completely. Granted, it’s a bit weird for them to quote an Israeli artist at the end of this article, but it’s hard to argue with Eddo Stern’s take on the situation.

(Via GameSetWatch)

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