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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PHX Corphttps://trustygem.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/windows-10-insider-preview-phase-3/ My Thoughts on Windows 10 Insider Preview07/02/2015 - 6:17pm
Matthew Wilsonhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?t=18&v=CbGmrySQLIg looks like Inafune is giving capcom the middle finger.07/02/2015 - 5:05pm
TechnogeekUnfortunately, the shoutbox moves fast enough that I can't find why I got that impression, so if was indeed erroneous I do apologize.07/02/2015 - 4:34pm
TechnogeekBut yeah, as far as my earlier comment re: you and the article, I did get the impression at some point that you felt there should have been some sort of reprecussions for the article's existence.07/02/2015 - 4:34pm
TechnogeekI got expletive-censored for posting something a few weeks back wherein I expressed my shock that I agreed with you about something, Skunk; so you're not the only one being hit with that stick.07/02/2015 - 4:31pm
Andrew EisenI know you don't. And you haven't recently so all's well.07/02/2015 - 4:25pm
Goth_SkunkI don't think I misrepresented anything.07/02/2015 - 4:24pm
Andrew EisenHeavy profanity is not permitted in the Shout box. Words like "moron" are but we ask that our readers not resort to name-calling.07/02/2015 - 4:23pm
Goth_SkunkSo I can't say a 4-letter curse word, but Mechacrash is free to call me a moron. Acknowledgment: Mecha was warned about his conduct, but his post was not edited, as mine was.07/02/2015 - 4:20pm
Andrew EisenWhat people took issue with was your misrepresentation of what the author said. Now that you're criticizing what she actually said, no one has a problem (though they might disagree with your opinion).07/02/2015 - 4:19pm
Andrew EisenThat's not comparable at all. One is advice, one is a rule.07/02/2015 - 4:17pm
Goth_SkunkBut apparently, people seem to take issue with my justification and have been jumping down my throat about it for... 24 hours?07/02/2015 - 4:17pm
Goth_SkunkAnd now we've just had an example wherein I was forced to moderate myself in order to minimize offense.07/02/2015 - 4:16pm
Goth_SkunkThat's what this whole conundrum's been about! I strongly disapproved with the Wired article writer's suggestion and made that opinion known here in the shoutbox.07/02/2015 - 4:16pm
Andrew EisenPlease keep such strong language out of the Shout box. Anyway, that's fine. If there's something you want to write about. Go right ahead. Don't like someone's suggestion? Feel free to say so.07/02/2015 - 4:13pm
Goth_SkunkIf I get a response "this rape scene you wrote was offensive. You should've done it differently. Consider examples A, B, C, or D" I would happily take it under advisement should I decide to write something similar in the future.07/02/2015 - 4:12pm
Goth_SkunkIf I get backlash for such a decision consisting of "this rape scene was offensive," that's fine. If I get criticism like "this rape scene was so offensive, you shouldn't have written it," I'll respond "Go (expletive) yourself"07/02/2015 - 4:11pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - Oh, absolutely. But no one's saying any specific trope or subject should be taboo.07/02/2015 - 4:11pm
Andrew EisenA few have opined that I should have left the "I'm on a whore" line out of my Old Spice Parody video. I don't see why that's a problem.07/02/2015 - 4:10pm
Goth_SkunkHypothetical: If I'm writing a story and in my story there is a rape scene, and that rape scene is present because I want it to be there, and it is very relevant to the story as a whole, I'm going to write it.07/02/2015 - 4:10pm
 

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