They may be living under an Islamic Republic but young Iranians are no less enthusiastic about video and online games than the rest of the world. And like anywhere else, there are lucrative profits to be made by producing games which cater to specific demographic and age groups.
With the spread of the Internet in Iran online games are becoming very popular. Unlike those video games which need specific hardware such as Xbox or run on a specific platform such as Windows, online games need only access to the Web and a browser.
Below is a brief intro to the most popular games in Iran.
The sci-fi theme of Sky Citadel II, offered in both Persian and English, will likely seem very familiar, but it was the first online game developed in Iran. It is 2808 and a total war between humans and robots has engulfed the solar system. The humans are in danger of being made extinct by the robots, which they themselves have made. The only way out is to migrate to other star systems. After a long journey in the infinity of space, the ship arrives at the gates of a new system and from that moment on the player must command the spaceship and build a new planet.
The game is made by Simulation Developer, an Iranian software company and has been made possible by the support of government-run Iran’s National Foundation for Computer Games. In the first Iranian Festival of Computer Games, it was voted the best Iranian online game of 2011. It 2013, Sky Citadel II was chosen by gamers as the “best indie game” in the international MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) of the Year competition.
In SpeedUp you play the role of the manager of a car racing team. You hire drivers and buy cars to participate in various tournaments and if you win you receive prizes such as smartphones. As the game progresses, the gamer can expand and improve the team by acquiring more modern cars and more experienced drivers. The game also simulates a driving academy and a repair shop.
The game has sleek graphics and its website boasts of its own speed in loading the game based on the A rating that it has received from YSlow, a software tool that analyzes the performance of a website.
The theme of Legacy is totally Iranian. The game lets you play as the heroes of the Book of Kings, or “Shahnameh” in Persian, the national epic of Iran. You can become Rostam, the mighty warrior, and fight the White Beast. You can stand up to Esfandiar, a Siegfried-like figure and a misguided but divine prince who fights against Rostam but loses when Simurgh, a mythical bird, helps Rostam. You can search for hidden treasures and experience the thrill of confronting mythological creatures and figures.
Mace is an online strategic game, similar to the computer game Warcraft. In this game you form your own army by selecting a “race” which can be human or imaginary, recruit your troops and fight another army. The game is updated constantly.
Aiders of Persia
Aiders of Persia is another game with a pure Persian motif. It revolves around mythological and historical events and statecraft in the Achaemenid empire, one of brightest periods in the history of Iran which started with Cyrus the Great.