First-person shooters have been asking gamers to gun down Middle Eastern ‘terrorists’ for some time, but now an Iranian video game under development is taking the opposite approach.
As reported by The Guardian, a video game, entitled The Stressful Life of Salman Rushdie and Implementation of his Verdict, is being developed by the Islamic Association of Students and was announced yesterday at Iran’s International Computer Games Expo.
Details about the game are sketchy, but the title seems pretty self-explanatory – implement the fatwa.
Salman Rushdie was targeted by Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic republic of Iran, who issued a fatwa against the writer in 1989 after the publication of his novel the Satanic Verses.
The book received positive responses in the United Kingdom, but fired up controversy in Iran as it was perceived to be blasphemous and insulting to the Islamic faith.
Director of the Students Association Ahmad Khalili says that video game development in Iran is often difficult, but coming up with ideas such as this was the easy part.
"We don’t usually have any problems with initial thoughts and ideas but when it comes to the actual point of production we experience delays,” he told a local news agency.
Iranian officials have worried in the past that their country has been the target of a cultural war through western novels, films, television and video games.
Another Students Association member, Mohammad-Taqi Fakhrian, says producing Iranian-made video games is one way to help ensure that cultural saturation does not take place.
"We felt we should find a way to introduce our third and fourth generation to the fatwa against Salman Rushdie and its importance,” he told another local agency.
Another video game released recently in Iran focuses on the role of the Iranian navy’s presence in the Gulf of Aden and involves the player killing pirates and destroying their hideouts.
On the other side, in 2010 US-made game, Call of Duty: Black Ops caused controversy by including a mission which saw players trying to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
Do you think the Iranian game cuts a bit close to the bone, or does it just demonstrate the insensitivity of Western titles? Post your comments below.