A Look at Iranian Games

Shrugging off Western sanctions and a combination of cultural and government repression, videogame makers in Iran are still managing to churn out titles.

An article on TrueSlant takes a look at some of the titles coming out of the Persian country, billing them overall as “actually pretty damn good.”

Given top billing is the Puya Arts-developed Quest of Persia series, which allows PC gamers to take part in events culled from the long and storied history of Iran. Quest of Persia currently consists of three titles.

The first in the series, called Quest of Persia: The End of Innocence is set in the early 1980s and revolves around the Iran–Iraq war. The first-person shooter also features driving and puzzle-solving elements. Released in 2005, The End of Innocence won numerous Iranian gaming awards.

The second installment in the series, dubbed Quest of Persia: Lotfali Khan Zand, is a third-person action-adventure game that tells the story of Zand, a king of Persia 200 years ago. This title was issued in 2008. A demo of this game is available here.

The latest game in the series, released just this year, is called Quest of Persia: Nader’s Blade. A third-person sword fighting game, this title is also about a former king of Persia, Nader Shah Afshar, who ruled some 300 years ago.

Two more entries in the Quest of Persia series are planned.

Another title mentioned in the TrueSlant piece is called Special Operation 85: Hostage Rescue, and was developed by the Association of Islamic Unions of Students. The first-person shooter revolves around the story of two Iranian nuclear scientists kidnapped by U.S. military forces.

Iran’s government has even gotten into the act, funding development of The Age of Heroes, a computer game based on Shahnameh, described as an epic work and literary masterpiece from the Persian poet Ferdowsi.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone


  1. 0
    JustChris says:

    I haven’t looked much into their video game work, but I’ve seen some amazing 3D portfolio work coming from Iranians. It just goes to show you that there are many young progressive thinkers out there in that country.

  2. 0
    Erik says:

    I would say rather that it is no bigger a suspension of belief than any of the Modern Warfare games.  Where one US/British/Whatever soldier who can regenerate health takes down 50 or more enemy soldiers single handedly.

    Or is current propoganda having us believe that this is possible?  I can’t seem to keep up with that.  It’s hard sometimes to try to kill my brain so I believe that we are always in the right.

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  3. 0
    Wavy gravy says:

    "The only reason that Iran sees America as the bad guy, as you put it, is because they want to destroy Israel because Israel is a Jewish nation, and if they tried, America would help Israel."

    What about Operation Ajax in 1953?

    I mean the U.S. did overthrow Iran’s democraticly elected Prime Minister……… Im pretty dam sure thats still a sore spot in Iranian-U.S. relations.

    Oh that and when the U.S. supplied Iraq with equipment, intelligence and economic funding during the Iraq-Iran Conflict….. Im pretty sure that didn’t help either.

  4. 0
    DarkSaber says:

    Grab yourself a napkin, you’re drooling like a spastic. Which requires more suspension of disbelief, the premise of this game or a game that places you in the role of a Japanese sun god returned to Earth in the form of a wolf to fight the lord of darkness?


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  5. 0
    DarkSaber says:

    Trying to join in with the cool kids just doesn’t work for you. Stay in the dunce corner where you belong.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  6. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Spiderman takes place in the Marvel universe, which is not the real world.  Bioshock takes place in a world where such bioengineering technology existed in the 1950’s, which is not the real world.  Games that do ACTUALLY take place in the real world, like most war-based first-person shooters, still require a suspension of disbelief.  I’m not disputing that.  I’m saying that, as it relates to this particular game, the suspension of disbelief required is so massive as to be all but unfeasable.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  7. 0
    Valdearg says:

    " Both of those games you pointed out have a different world-view than reality, so the rules are different."

    Wrong. BOTH of those games supposedly take place in the real world. The suspension of disbelief is in that it’s possible for a character like spiderman, or the protagonist from bioshock to even exist in the real world, which is exactly where both of those situations supposedly take place.

    You are totally letting your anti-iranian bias, and your belief that the military is all powerful blind you from other points of view. You refuse to acknowledge that any game based the "real world" requires a suspension of disbelief, when, in reality, ALL games require it, ESPECIALLY if they are based in the real world.

  8. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    I already told you why we’re the bad guys – we, as a nation, support Israel.  Iran wants Israel to burn.  We won’t allow that.  Thus, we’re bad guys.  That’s also why America has been the target for terrorism.  They also feel it "plausible" because they buy into the lies of terrorist organizations, that Americans kill Muslims for fun, and we want to destroy Islam.

    Also, you did nothing more than prove my point.  Both of those games you pointed out have a different world-view than reality, so the rules are different.  By playing by those rules, the suspension of disbelief is less than if an under-developed country tried a military incursion into the last remaining world superpower to rescue a kidnapped person from a military stronghold.  If the game changes the rules somehow, like you’re some sort of Iranian supersoldier, created from gamma rays as a side effect of one of those nuclear experiments, I think it would be a nice twist on the superhero genre.  However, from what I’ve read, this game is supposed to be your classic FPS.  That’s where the relative suspension of disbelief comes in.

    I mean, it’s not like there’s ninjas or anything.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  9. 0
    Valdearg says:

    LOL.. No offense, but you are incredibly dense.

    Take Bioshock, for example. (I’m assuming the game is old enough for a minor spoiler) Are we really to believe that sea cucumbers contain a substance that can grant us super powers?

    Another one, Spiderman. Are we really to believe that a spider can survive radioactivity, and that being bitten by it will grant us webslinging super powers?

    ALL VIDEO GAMES require a suspension of reality, and the Iranian one is no different. You only dispariage it because it pits our American Society as the Antagonist, and you don’t think that’s right.

    Rather than bash the game, scoffing at how "realistic" it is, why not question why, in Iranian society, we are viewed as the bad guys? How come they feel it is plausible that the US might actually come and kidnap one of thier citizens?

  10. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    I disagree, because the suspension of disbelief needed is correlated to the world in which we play.  If we’re playing X-Men, it’s not so bad because the world we play in allows for that.  The title in question, however, is trying to be based in the real world.  Therefore, for the main character to achieve victory, the suspension of disbelief is considerably moreso than X-Men.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  11. 0
    Valdearg says:

    No bigger a suspension of believe that we, as American Gamers, need to take when playing a game as some sort of lightning infused super hero, or a game where we shoot fireballs from our hands.

  12. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Well, none of that changes the fact that, in the game I brought up, in order for your character to live through the game, you’d need a suspension of disbelief so big that you, Vald, only think religious people are capable of to believe in God.  That’s basically my point on this one particular game.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  13. 0
    Valdearg says:


    I think you missed my point, here..

    As for the realism of thier games, it makes no difference. We make games where we play super heroes and save America, the damsel in distress, the world, or some other righteous American cause. American games appeal to American interests. They don’t have to be realistic. In fact, the least realistic games are often the most entertaining.

    Thier particular world view puts America as the threat. They feel that they are protecting thier way of life when they "fight off" American invasion. They feel like they are the heroes, much like we do when we fight for the American way of life. You can defend your righteousness all you want, because, in many cases, you may very well be right, but they will defend themselves as the righteous side, as well, because they believe that they are defending thier interests.

    It’s all based on the point of view. Hell, using WWII as an example. We all know that Hitler was an evil man. We all know that he committed atrocities. However, from HIS point of view, and the points of view of his followers, he was just trying to rebuild Germany, after the other European Countries, as well as America, destroyed it and punished it for defending itself in WWI. He saw the other countries as the oppressors, and felt that he and his country were being oppressed and he sought to bring back the "glory" of the German people. Again, I’m not defending his actions, but just want you to realize that there are several points of view, here. HE didn’t see himself as an Evil person. He saw himself as the savior of the German people.

  14. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Your point makes no sense in this particular case because of the fact that the US military force outnumbers the entire population of Iran.  Even if Ahmadenijad (or however you spell his name) pressed every man, woman, child and infant into the military, they wouldn’t have the forces necessary to mess with America on our own soil.  Even if they did, our superior military training would give us a formidable advantage.

    As far as you trying to relate that game to the WW2 shooter in America, remember that the WW2 shooter is based on a war that America, Britain and Russia won, and fought with the armor of a just cause.  The only reason that Iran sees America as the bad guy, as you put it, is because they want to destroy Israel because Israel is a Jewish nation, and if they tried, America would help Israel. (at least, until Obama came along; now I’m not so sure).  Not exactly a just cause, there.  Not to mention that THE ENTIRE WORLD knows that Iran’s nuclear program is a cover for the development of nuclear weapons, that, if completed, would be used on, you guessed it, Israel.

    Your "different historical, sociological and geographical viewpoints" comes down to some whackjob in Iran wanting to nuke Israel, and is making a video game to support it.  I merely called that out.

    Also, apparently everyone missed the last line, where I said I wish the developers well in their pursuits, because everyone’s all juiced up with the anti-American sentiment.

    He was dead when I got here.

  15. 0
    Austin_Lewis says:

    Henry Lincoln Johnson, Jack Churchill, Bhanbhagta Gurung (really, just about any Gurkha.  Those fuckers are scary), Jonathan Netanyahu, Lewis Millet (recently deceased, God rest his hardass soul), Mitchell Paige.  I mean, there’s more, but I have to go pick up my car in a minute here.


    Patton.  Patton could’ve done it on his own.

  16. 0
    Shahab says:

    I for one think that this is great. As a gamer the more people producing content for me and the more interesting ideas that I get to play with the better.

    I feel like a lot of western games have become reptitive, I’d like to see content from other countries.

  17. 0
    Thomas says:

    Its times like this, where my signature rings all the more true.

    And people say we can’t learn things from video games.

    "We never paid any heed to the ancient prophecies… Like fools we clung to the old hatreds, and fought as we had for generations"

  18. 0
    TBoneTony says:

    I really like the idea of trying to get more culture diversity games into the market, because aside from the Japanese games, it is really hard to find other videogames that are not from the western culture.


  19. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    That doesn’t make any sense.  Was that supposed to be a shot at me?  If it was, it might have helped if you actually tried to, you know, point out the flaw in my logic.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  20. 0
    Technogeek says:

    "That doesn’t change the fact that there is no way in hell an Iranian soldier is getting back someone that the US Military kidnaps…"

    "He was dead when I got here."

    I think the one line has the answer to the other.

  21. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    No, I know we aren’t infallible.  Barrack Obama points that out every chance he gets.  That doesn’t change the fact that there is no way in hell an Iranian soldier is getting back someone that the US Military kidnaps, which wouldn’t happen in the first place.

    He was dead when I got here.

  22. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Well, I don’t know what games you’re talking about, because every WW2 shooter I’ve played has had British and/or Russian forces to play as.  Also, civilians being left out is a choice of the developer.  I mean, look at all of the hoopla over MW2.

    He was dead when I got here.

  23. 0
    Valdearg says:


    I, too, was laughing at the utter irony of jedi’s statement. It’s almost like he thinks the US is infallible, much like, I’m sure, the Iranians think that THEY are infallible.

  24. 0
    Valdearg says:

    What you have to realize, Jedi, is that much like we see Iran as a foriegn threat to our country, many of them see us as the same thing. To add to that, we are a MUCH more realistic threat to them. In fact, many individuals in America speak of invading Iran, much like we did Iraq.

    I don’t see how imagining a game like that, from the Iranian point of view, is all that unlikely. Just like we, from WWII’s standpoint, see the Nazi’s as the bad guys, the Iranians see the US as the bad guys.

    Lets face it, we only see the world from our single American perspective. You see Iranians as bloodthirsty terrorists, who can’t fight man to man, and they see us as the big bully who invades whoever we want and kidnaps whoever we want.

    On top of that, you joke about how no Iranian could ever rescue a hostage taken by US forces.. Let me ask you this, could any one soldier win WWII by himself, like many video games ask you to believe? Scaled back, could any one soldier really expect to single handedly kill hundreds of enemy soldiers in a single mission, even after being shot several times, and somehow manage to not only recover from being shot, but to also not suffer any short or long term effects to his ability to fight due to those injuries, but rather just heal up and go running off to complete the mission?

    The answer is "No." We have the same imagination as they do, just from different historical, socioligcal, and geographical viewpoints.

  25. 0
    DarkSaber says:

    Yeah, it an absolute laugh. Oh the imagination. It’s almost as hilarious as all those U.S. World War 2 games that make pretend that they were the only group fighting the nazis and the whole war was won by a single guy with regenerating health. Or the games set more recently that pretend that U.S. armed forces would never, ever kill a civilian, even by accident.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  26. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    I like the imagination of these developers.  Especially Special Operation 85.  Does anyone really think that, if Americans kidnapped anyone from Iran (a dubious idea in the first place), that any member of the Iranian military could get them back?  The only way this game could possibly have any basis in fact is either A) you blow yourself up in a mall somewhere in America, or B) you get killed by US Marines.

    Aside from this particular title, though, sounds like decent ideas.  I hope it works out for them.

    He was dead when I got here.

  27. 0
    Zerodash says:

    I would love to see more ethnic, international games see release over here.  Right now, all we really have are Eastern and Western flavored games (admittedly with some regional variance IE Japan vs. Korean games). 

Leave a Reply