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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Matthew WilsonI updated to a clean instill of windows 10.07/29/2015 - 2:36am
Mattsworknameargue that it's wrong, but then please admit it's wrong on ALL Fronts07/29/2015 - 2:06am
MattsworknameTechnoGeek: It's actually NOT, but it is a method used all across the specturm. See Rush limbaugh, MSNBC, Shawn hannity, etc etc, how many compagns have been brought up to try and shut them down by going after there advertisers. It's fine if you wanna07/29/2015 - 2:05am
Mattsworknamediscussed, while not what I liked and not the methods I wanted to see used, were , in a sense, the effort of thsoe game consuming masses to hold what they felt was supposed to be there press accountable for what many of them felt was Betrayal07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAs we say, the gamers are dead article set of a firestorm among the game consuming populace, who, ideally, were the intended audiance for sites like Kotaku, Polygon, Et all. As such, the turn about on them and the attacking of them, via the metods07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAndrew: Thats kind fo the issue at hand, Accountable is a matter of context. For a media group, it means accountable to its reader. to a goverment, to it's voters and tax payer, to a company, to it's share holders.07/29/2015 - 2:02am
Andrew EisenAnd again, you keep saying "accountable." What exactly does that mean? How is Gamasutra not accounting for the editorial it published?07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - I disagree with your 9:12 and 9:16 comment. There are myriad ways to address content you don't like. And they're far easier to execute in the online space.07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - Banning in the legal sense? Not that I'm aware but there have certainly been groups of gamers who have worked towards getting content they don't like removed.07/28/2015 - 11:45pm
DanJAlexander's editorial was and continues to be grossly misrepresented by her opponents. And if you don't like a site, you stop reading it - same as not watching a tv show. They get your first click, but not your second.07/28/2015 - 11:40pm
TechnogeekYes, because actively trying to convince advertisers to influence the editorial content of media is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, especially for a movement that's ostensibly about journalistic ethics.07/28/2015 - 11:02pm
Mattsworknameanother07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
Mattsworknameyou HAVE TO click on it. So they get the click revenue weather you like what it says or not. as such, the targeting of advertisers most likely seemed like a good course of action to those who wanted to hold those media groups accountable for one reason07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
MattsworknameBut, when you look at online media, it's completely different, with far more options, but far few ways to address issues that the consumers may have. In tv, you don't like what they show, you don't watch. But in order to see if you like something online07/28/2015 - 9:12pm
MattsworknameIn tv, and radio, ratings are how it works. your ratings determine how well you do and how much money you an charge.07/28/2015 - 9:02pm
Mattsworknameexpect to do so without someone wanting to hold you to task for it07/28/2015 - 9:00pm
MattsworknameMecha: I don't think anyone was asking for Editoral changes, what they wanted was to show those media groups that if they were gonna bash there own audiance, the audiance was not gonna take it sitting down. you can write what you want, but you can't07/28/2015 - 8:56pm
MattsworknameAndrew, Im asking as a practical question, Have gamers, as a group, ever asked for a game, or other item, to be banned. Im trying to see if theres any cases anyone else remembers cause I cant find or remember any.07/28/2015 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenAs mentioned, Gamasutra isn't a gaming site, it's a game industry site. I don't feel it's changed its focus at all. Also, I don't get the sense that the majority of the people who took issue with that one opinion piece were regular readers anyway.07/28/2015 - 8:43pm
MattsworknameDitto kotaku, Gawker, VOX, Polygon, ETC07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
 

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