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

16 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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Papa MidnightWii U Games finding Solidarity with PC Gamers :(08/19/2014 - 6:09pm
Zenbuy all of the bad DLC before they even showed the main content everyone was waiting for. I paid for it, I wanted it, and I got tossed aside.08/19/2014 - 4:10pm
ZenIanC: Yep, both Call of Duty games did the same thing holding back all DLC and then releasing the day one map 2 YEARS later out of the blue. Why play what they won't support. Warner Bros canceled their DLC after promising it because Wii U owners didn't08/19/2014 - 4:09pm
Andrew EisenShe's the developer of Depression Quest. It's an interesting game (although I wouldn't call it fun) and you can check it out for free at depressionquest.com.08/19/2014 - 2:48pm
Sleakerwhat's all this Zoe quinn stuff all over and should I even bother looking it up?08/19/2014 - 2:37pm
IanCExactly Zen. The third one had random delays to the DLC and they just came out seemingly at random with no warning, and the 4th they didn't even bother.08/19/2014 - 2:31pm
ZenI may have bought both AC games on Wii U, but WHY would anyone be expected to get the game when they came out MONTHS before release that they were skipping DLC and ignoring the game? They poisoned the market on themselves then blamed Nintendo players.08/19/2014 - 1:27pm
Papa MidnightIn review, that's fair, Andrew. I just tend to take Gawker articles with a lot of salt, and skepticism.08/19/2014 - 12:07pm
Matthew WilsonFor one has a English speaking support team for devs. Devs have said any questions they have, were translated in to Japanese. then back in to English. 08/19/2014 - 11:41am
Adam802they need to realize the "wii-fad" era is pretty much over and start rebooting some old great franchises like they are doing with star fox08/19/2014 - 11:39am
Adam802unfortunatly, this seems to represent 3rd party's position on the wiiU in general. Nintendo has always sucessfully relied on 1st party but now since 3rd parties and console "power" are so important this gen, they're in trouble.08/19/2014 - 11:38am
IanCOkay, so what can Nintendo do to these 3rd parties? Huh? If a company release games late with missing content then of course it won't sell. Seems simple to me.08/19/2014 - 11:25am
Andrew EisenSakurai and Co. REALLY need to go back in there and re-pose Samus. She is so incredibly broken.08/19/2014 - 11:06am
ZippyDSMleeUntill Nin starts paying out the azz or doing much much more to help 3rd party games development, the WIIU is dead in the water.....08/19/2014 - 11:03am
ZippyDSMleehttps://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=316135481893472&id=22417313775637408/19/2014 - 11:02am
ZippyDSMlee*gets out the popcorn* this will be fun08/19/2014 - 11:01am
Andrew EisenIt's not as simple as "Nintendo gamers don't buy AC games."08/19/2014 - 11:01am
Andrew EisenACIII was late, missing DLC (so was IV) and was on a brand new platform that had never had the series competing against two platforms that had an install base of 80 million a piece who had all the previous games.08/19/2014 - 11:01am
Andrew EisenI'd say TechDirt is being a bit unfair towards Kotaku's article to the point of slightly mischaracterizing it. It's not really bad but, while a little muddled, neither is the Kotaku article.08/19/2014 - 10:59am
 

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