Revolutionary Computer Game faces Crackdown in Iran

By Holly Dagres, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

There’s a tech crackdown going on in Iran right now. It began in May with the arrests of Iranian Instagram models for posting “un-Islamic” photos. Then, the Supreme Council of Cyberspace — the body responsible for overseeing online activities — announced that it would give foreign messaging apps such as Telegram a year to move data on Iranian citizens to servers inside the country.

Now, with the release of “1979 Revolution: Black Friday,” the crackdown has spread to the gaming sector.

The game’s title comes from a massacre that took place in Tehran’s Jaleh Square (later renamed Martyrs’ Square) on Sept. 8, 1978. Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s military fired on protesters for violating martial law, killing scores of people. This moment in Iranian history is seen as the point of no return for the shah.

In “Black Friday,” the protagonist is an aspiring photojournalist named Reza who has to make life-altering decisions to survive the streets as insurrection breaks out against the Iranian monarch. The game progresses in a choose-your-own-adventure style that allows players to navigate the 1979 Iranian revolution as it unfolds. Think “The Walking Dead” game series with a historical twist.

This documentary style — also known as verite — comes from Iranian-Canadian game developer Navid Khonsari of the New York-based iNK Stories. Khonsari is behind such blockbusters as the “Grand Theft Auto” and “Max Payne” series.

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