GamesLatest series of articles on game development in the Middle East previously focused on Syria. The latest installment takes us on a tour of game makers in Lebanon and Jordan.
One of the first Lebanese-developed games was 2003’s Special Force, which focused on the fight between Hezbollah and Israel over occupying forces in Lebanon. The article claims that Hezbollah was taken with the game, and adopted it as its own, eventually merging it into its propaganda machine. While Hezbollah’s adoption of the game caused it to be banned in some Middle East countries, it did call attention the game, allowing the developers to create a sequel.
Hezbollah spokesperson Mahmoud Rayya talked about Special Force in a 2003 interview with WND.com, stating, “In a way, Special Force offers a mental and personal training for those who play it, allowing them to feel that they are in the shoes of the resistance fighters.”
After naming their studio Might 3D, the developers issued their second title called Special Force 2: Tale of the Truthful Pledge (pictured), which centered on the 2006 Lebanon War between Hezbollah and Israel. Due to Hezbollah’s backing of the game, many compared the new Special Forces title to the U.S. Army’s efforts with America’s Army. Both Special Forces games developed buzz, “but no real sales.”
Another game to emerge from Lebanon, entitled Jenin: Road of Heroes was released in 2003 and revolved around “the fight for freedom in the occupied lands of Palestine against the Israeli occupation .”
Jordan-based developer Quirkat originally made a go of game development by focusing on localizing international videogames, including Arabian Lords and Mythic Palace from U.S.-based BreakAway Games. These days the company is looking to produce more mobile and casual games.
Another Jordanian developer, named Maktoob, was called “very successful” because of the popularity of its free browser-based games. The company maintains a hub of both original and localized casual online games.