The National Foundation for Computer Games held a “heavily visited” exhibition last week at Goft-o-Gu park – in Tehran.
Videogame love seems to be popping up in the oddest places these days: First at a museum of Soviet-era arcade games in Moscow, then in a real-life arcade in North Korea that looks older and more beat up than the Russian museum. Now it’s Iran’s turn to prove to the world that just because it tortures and kills its own citizens for minor infractions of grossly unjust laws doesn’t mean the boys in the Morality Police don’t know how to kick back and have a good time at the end of the day.
In fact, according to a report by the Tehran Times (via Edge) the exhibit was put on as part of the “great expo of the police… organized to familiarize Tehrani citizens with the activities of the police in different fields of art, computer games and new productions,” as well as “to promote proper culture of computer games for families.” Social awareness and the development of a culture based around education and health were the focal points of the games on display at the show, which ran from October 7-12.
One series of games on display, named WII, has been designed to provide children with an opportunity to play videogames “without fear of inappropriate stimulation,” which at least one visiting mother seemed to approve of, saying such exhibits help familiarize families with safe forms of videogaming for their children. Whether the WII games bear any relation to Nintendo’s Wii console is unknown.
The National Foundation for Computer Games is an office of the Cinematic Affairs department of Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, responsible for ensuring that domestic videogame development is of sufficient quality that it can compete with foreign products, said Mohammad Bitaraf, an official with the agency. “The foundation also trains experts, promotes research to produce Iranian computer games, pays special attention to national and religious values, and holds seminars to increase the quality of computer game products,” he added.
Iran has previously unveiled two home-grown videogames, Save The Port, described as a strategy game in which players defend the Iranian port city of Anzali from enemy forces, and Rescue the Nuke Scientist, putting gamers in the role of an Iranian special operative charged with rescuing husband and wife nuclear scientists who have been taken prisoner by U.S. forces while on a pilgrimage to Karbala.