U.S. State Department Calls for Release of Game Developer Held in Iran for Spying

August 30, 2012 -

The U.S. State Department has called on the government of Iran to release Amir Mirza Hekmati, a game developer who was arrested and already stood trial once for being a spy for the United States government. Hekmati, who has dual citizenship in the both the United States and Iran and served in the United States Marines, works for Kuma Reality Games - a game studio that makes games about real-world conflicts.

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Duke Nukem Forever Developer to Activists: Have At It

February 24, 2011 -

Gearbox Software President Randy Pitchford is not worried about feminists or other activists groups taking issue with the company's saucy first-person shooter, Duke Nukem Forever - in fact he encourages them to use it to their advantage if it will promote their cause. Speaking to Eurogamer at length, Pitchford can see both sides of the issue when it comes to Duke's strong personality and questionable behavior.

"I'll tell you what, if some feminist organisation that is doing a great job advocating women's rights worldwide, which I think is really important, can get some advantage by using Duke... go for it," Pitchford told Eurogamer. "How is there a downside for humanity? Go for it. Take it. Use Duke. That would be awesome.

"If anyone can better our world through the use of anything, and if Duke is a tool to help them do that, that's fine," he added. "The people that are entertained... The choices people make are their choices."

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Saudi “De-Terroristing” Program Uses Videogames

February 5, 2010 -

friendsAn article in The Telegraph details Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s hope to leverage the influence of Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz in order to lure Taliban fighters back into normal Afghan society.

Karzai is banking on the King’s influence among Taliban leaders to realize his plan, which would also require a program to socially reintegrate the fighters. Saudi Arabia already boasts such a program to “rehabilitate” Islamic radicals, which reportedly uses "positive thinking" classes, art therapy and video games.

The U.S. has questioned the viability of the Saudi program in light of a group of graduates of the course returning to terrorism upon completion. In fact, The Telegraph reports that one specific graduate of the program is now a deputy Al-Qaeda leader in a Yemen cell, the same group purportedly behind the attempted bombing of a flight into Detroit on Christmas Day.

Saudi General Mansur al-Turki defended the program:

We are confident in our system. Part of that is the rehabilitation programme, and when we say that we are considering one thing - the results we are getting. We are not giving up because a few people decided to go back and share Al-Qaeda activities.

2 comments

Iran Wants to Join Global Video Game Market

August 21, 2009 -

This week's gamescom in Cologne has seen the first appearance of Iranian game developers at a Western game show, reports the BBC. Trade group the Iran National Foundation of Computer Games was also on hand with a booth.

Amir Tarbyatjoui, head of Parsan Business Development Solutions, acknowledged that the current political situation makes Iran's entry into the global game biz a challenge:

We need more investors. The [US] sanctions do affect our industry, but they cannot stop it.

We are using this event to promote what is happening in the Iranian games industry. We believe we have more potential and we want to promote that potential...

 

It is difficult given the relations between Iran and the USA. Certainly all of us here today will be at E3 next year, but there will not be a dedicated Iran stand such as you see in Cologne today.

Ras Games exec Bahram Borgheai told the BBC that Iranian culture has a unique mythology that has not yet been seen in video games:

Persia has been around for a very long time. What we have is something quite unique and we are using the event in Cologne to show that to the world.

GP: Where diplomacy has failed, can video games succeed in reconnecting Iran to the West?

Via: Iran Quest

15 comments

State Department Official Meets with Egyptian Students in Second Life

January 12, 2009 -

New World Notes reports that State Depatment official James Glassman (in avatar form at left) will hold a virtual meeting with student journalists in Cairo this morning.

Among other issues, Glassman, who serves as Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, is expected to field questions about the current Israeli-Hamas conflict in Gaza.

DIP's Dispatches from the Imagination Age reports that USAID is funding the event.

No Second Life account? Catch the video simulcast.

UPDATE: DIP has a video of the event.

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Michael ChandraBut when the mountain obviously exists...09/18/2014 - 5:49pm
Michael ChandraMind you, if someone makes a mountain out of a molehill with a secret agenda as motive, it'd be fine.09/18/2014 - 5:48pm
Andrew EisenOkay, so I guess I'm not making sense of #notyourshield because it doesn't make any sense.09/18/2014 - 5:28pm
Andrew EisenI'd really only count three as being "death of gamer" articles and only one as arguably going a bit far with "gamers are young white dudes" stuff.09/18/2014 - 5:17pm
Andrew EisenMost are really just a look at the crap that happened the previous day when Sarkeesian's new video came out and almost all are exceedingly clear that they're talking about the specific gamers who are being obnoxious.09/18/2014 - 5:17pm
Andrew EisenKrono - Yep, I had only seen two. I looked at the 12 you sent and while I had seen a few of them, I didn't think to count them. Some aren't about gamers at all. One's just highlighting two others. One is a Gamasutra community member blog post.09/18/2014 - 5:15pm
Michael Chandrawould clearly not apply, since they weren't used as shield. It's more "hey, just because I don't agree with you doesn't mean I'm CISWASP."09/18/2014 - 5:08pm
Michael ChandraIn comparison though, the more extreme views would be fairly countered with "you don't speak for me". But the batshit crazy people tend not to even use others as the shield to defend their batshit crazy ideas and insults, so at that point #notyourshield09/18/2014 - 5:06pm
Michael ChandraWhich is of course real silly because when there are so many horrible stories and statistics too, it's utterly irrelevant whether some don't mind.09/18/2014 - 5:00pm
Michael ChandraIn this context it would be women claiming they don't see a problem with the stuff, so stop claiming women don't like it!09/18/2014 - 5:00pm
Michael Chandra"You don't speak for me. I am not your shield. You cannot use me to defend your own opinion."09/18/2014 - 4:59pm
Michael ChandraAE, if we leave aside the falsehoods some use with the term, the idea is regarding minorities and such.09/18/2014 - 4:58pm
Michael ChandraKrono did just a bit earlier in the shoutbox prh99.09/18/2014 - 4:56pm
Andrew EisenI still don't get the what #notyourshield is supposed to mean. Who is unfairly using who as a shield for what?09/18/2014 - 4:43pm
prh99Didn't said anything about #notyourshield or it's origins. Assuming your comment was directed at me.09/18/2014 - 4:28pm
prh99Leigh Alexander is right though, no one has to cater to them (trolls). I think a lot of them would likely continue playing even if scantily clad women were omitted or protagonist was female.09/18/2014 - 4:21pm
Michael ChandraSo no, normal gamers feeling attacked was not what sparked #notyourshield and only a fool would suggest otherwise.09/18/2014 - 4:21pm
Michael Chandra#NotYourShield was kickstarted by 4chan people, so don't go and make nonsense claims about that.09/18/2014 - 4:20pm
prh99those toxic individuals conduct their trolling under. It could have easily been under the Men Rights banner etc, they are just generally unpleasant and angry people who can't stand people disagreeing with them. 09/18/2014 - 4:00pm
prh99The whole gamer identity is the scapegoat some have latched onto in the wake of gamergate. I am sure it will fade, only to be replaced with the next thing, it always is. I am not so sure removal of identity will fix the problem, it's just the banner..09/18/2014 - 3:55pm
 

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