Iran's mastery of the Unity engine may not have gotten the attention of the United Nations Security Council, but games like Gando (pictured above) sure have spooked 'Murica, according to Iranian government sources quoted in a report published by Iran.
Mokhber Dezfouli, the secretary of Iran's Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution, said video games became a priority on orders from Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khameni himself. "We used to have only two weak [Iran-made] games," Dezfouli said. The item was published by the Fars News Agency, which is hardly an independent publication.
Recognising video games' importance in exporting culture, Iran began the peaceful pursuit of an enrichment process that later "developed around 140 games with Islamic and Iranian contents which can compete with foreign products," Dezfouli said. One of them is Gando, a platformer made for children ages three and up.
Brian Crecente had a look at Gando and 40 other Iranian-made games back at Gamescom last year, and clicking through the gallery, some have overtly nationalistic, historical or religious themes, but many do not. Hell, three of them dealt with the country's conflict with Iraq, one set in 1982, another in the year 2484. Any sane reading of that games catalogue would see something reasonably similar in tone with what goes on in the West, which itself has no shortage of military propaganda produced in consultation with government agents.
But naturally, Kotaku was not cited by Iran in describing the West's reaction to Persian games development. "A TV network in the West voiced concern, saying that Iran's move is aimed at exporting the culture of the Islamic Revolution," Dezfouli said. How much do you want to bet that was just Megyn Kelly again scaring the crap out of a nursing home on Fox News?
The government report goes on to mention the banning, and subsequent double-banning, of Battlefield 3, which featured an American strike on Tehran. Iran's response was, typically, to commission a game about attacking Israel.
I don't have any illusions about these games' quality compared to RPGs, racers and other apolitical games in the West, nor do I really want to play them. But if mainstream media in the West caricatures everything in Iran as fire-breathing Islamist propaganda, Iran itself seems all too willing to do it, too.
Official: West Concerned about Iranian, Islamic Video Games Production [Fars News Agency]