“Black Friday” isn’t the first video game to be banned in Iran. In 2011, “Battlefield 3” was also blacklisted for depicting a mission with US soldiers invading Tehran from the Alborz mountain range. At that time, the NFCG also cracked down on video game stores, and a petition circulated online accusing gaming company Electronic Arts of having an agenda to paint Iran as an aggressor in the eyes of the international community.
Since the game’s arrival in April, the Iranian authorities have shut down over 50 websites that posted torrent links. Even though “Black Friday” is banned, the Supreme Council of Cyberspace and NFCG find it difficult to block online stores.
Indeed, Iranians have repeatedly proven themselves adept at finding ways around censorship by using tools such as VPNs. As Khonsari noted, “If there’s a will, they’re going to find it. The more Iran pushes hard on the game, the more it’s going to provide people with interest.”
iNK Stories is already thinking about a sequel to the aftermath of the 1979 revolution storyline. If there’s one thing the ruckus about “Black Friday” shows — something the Iranian authorities do not appear to have learned — is that all PR is good PR.