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

16 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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MaskedPixelantehttps://twitter.com/IGLevine/status/457552538343325696 The Lutece Twins show up in some of the most unlikely of places.04/20/2014 - 2:44pm
Andrew EisenAs it happens, Chinatown Wars is the only GTA game I've played.04/19/2014 - 10:43am
Papa MidnightWith GTA5 (to date) failing to even provide indication of a PC release, I'm realising that this might be the first GTA game that I have not played (outside of Chinatown Wars) since the series inception.04/19/2014 - 8:14am
IanCSo im guessing a bunch of edutainment games, which a lot of people elsewhere are going gaga over, dot count as classics? Okay. If you don't mind me, i have a sudden urge to play Putt Putt....04/19/2014 - 6:15am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/18/playstation-99-cent-sale-discounts-tokyo-jungle-super-stardust/ Weekend long PSN flash sale. So much stuff is 99 cents for the rest of the weekend.04/18/2014 - 5:59pm
Adam802http://www.polygon.com/2014/4/18/5627928/newtown-video-game-addiction-forum04/18/2014 - 4:14pm
Matthew Wilsonit is a video talking about why certain games/products/consoles do well, and others do not. he back it up with solid research.04/18/2014 - 3:56pm
Andrew EisenI'm not keen on blind links. What is it?04/18/2014 - 3:45pm
Matthew Wilsonthis is worth a whatch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyXcr6sDRtw&list=PL35FE5C4B157509C904/18/2014 - 3:43pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 3: Night Dive was brought to the attention of the public by a massive game recovery, and yet most of their released catalogue consists of games that other people did the hard work of getting re-released.04/17/2014 - 8:46pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 2: If Humongous Entertainment wanted their stuff on Steam, why didn't they talk to their parent company, which does have a number of games published on Steam?04/17/2014 - 8:45pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 1: When Night Dive spent the better part of a year teasing the return of true classics, having their big content dump be edutainment is kind of a kick in the stomach.04/17/2014 - 8:44pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
IanCErm so they shouldn't sell edutainment at all? Why?04/17/2014 - 4:42pm
MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
MaskedPixelanteWell, I am officially done with Night Dive Studios. Unless they can bring something worthwhile back, I'm never buying another game from them.04/17/2014 - 2:29pm
 

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