It's not often that game-related news makes it into the top stories on mainstream media sites like CNN.com, but that's exactly what's happened. Kuma\War, a free game that uses real life circumstances to create its missions, managed to get itself national recognition by releasing a mission that has American special forces destroying an Iranian nuclear refinery. The mission is based on the tensions between the U.S. Government and Iran following a recent news report that suggested the United States has sent recon teams across the Iranian border, scouting areas that would be important were the United States to use military force against the country. The game has a number of people rather upset, specifically in Iran. Persianpetition.com has a petition up
requesting that the game's makers, Kuma Reality Games, withdraw the mission. The petition has been been signed by over 5000 people. According to the PersianPetition numbers, that's nearly 1/4th of the people that have read the article.
The petition itself is written in Farsi.
Translated, the text of the petition speculates, in the opinion of the author, that Kuma Reality Games created the mission as a way of testing world and domestic reactions to a U.S. attack on Iran. The petition lists the e-mail address of Kuma Games and asks that people send e-mails to the site until the company agrees to remove the game.
There appears to be some confusion about what exactly is going to be removed, since the mission that's being objected to, Assault on Iran
, is not a game unto itself and must be downloaded separately from the game engine. In fact, Kuma\War is structured entirely of missions from different real-world and historical events, most of which have to be downloaded and installed separately from the main game. Other missions allow players to experience past battles, such as a recreation of U.S. forces freeing hostages from the American embassy in Tehran in the 1980s. Kuma Reality Games recently circulated a press release introducing a mission that recreated Saddam Hussein's alleged massacre in Dujayl in 1982, for which he is now on trial.
Some of the scenarios created by Kuma Games are based on events that have already taken place (such as their recent announcement of free modules based on Saddam Hussein's trial
); others are based on alternate realities, or battles that could have been had things gone differently in the real world.
Theoretically, Kuma Games would not have to remove the entire Kuma\War game from online in order to satisfy the petition, only the individual mission being objected to.
The idea of using real-world events to create news driven game content strikes me as an extremely good one, but it does bring up a question: when volatile issues are in play, with high tensions, should there be more caution taken with what sort of issues are addressed when the game does not allow for a peaceful ending?
Keith Halper of Kuma games told CNN that the company has no intentions of taking the game offline. Apparently Kuma Games has received 300 e-mails from Iran, with some expressing dislike at the content of the game, and others asking how they could get hold of a copy for themselves.
PersianPetitons.com is operated by Aria IT Group, based out of Tehran, Iran. They appear to be privately operated, as does PersianPetitions.com. The wording of the petition is also quite informal.