Iranians Destroy U.S. Tanker…in Video Game
Most hardcore and even casual gamers have played a title that was set in the Middle East. The game that immediately jumps to mind is Conflict: Desert Storm, a title based on America's recent conflicts with Iraq (and now within the country). Even more popular is the Tom Clancy series of games, which, although they are not often set in Iraq, Iran or Israel, are often situated in mock Middle Eastern countries. Still, it's the thought that counts.
Recently, the coin has been flipped. Reports have been emerging about an Iranian-produced game that challenges players to destroy an American tanker in the Persian Gulf.
The game was rushed together in three months to commemorate the anniversary of the 1988 Iran-Iraq war, a conflict that placed the United States and President Reagan in some bitter controversy amid the Iran Contra scandal. For many, the conflict is a forgotten one, but for the people of Iran it is an example of America's intrusion into Mid-East affairs (it was here that the U.S. government allegedly supplied future enemy Saddam Hussein with chemical and biological weapons for use against Iranian forces).
Screenshots have been hard to come by, but we've been able to find the one below:
The game and the controversy surrounding it are leaving many Americans fuming and many gamers frustrated. It's another reason to point to games as the downfall of human civilization, and what's most exasperating is that the Iranian-made title shares the same name with an immensely popular PC and Xbox title, Counterstrike. The latter will surely reap bad press from all of this.
It remains to be seen what kind of controversy this will stir in the United States or Iran. However, considering the long list of titles made in North America depicting Iranians as the enemy, it seems somewhat hypocritical that we should be criticizing their (budget) title.
Clearly, for anyone who knows a thing or two about games, it takes a little longer than three months – with the finest American programming and technology – to make a satisfactory title. Iran's "Counterstrike" is unlikely to find an audience outside of Iran itself, and therefore shouldn't stir a major anti-American phenomenon. We certainly hope not; because if it did, the effect on the gaming community would be the least of our worries.