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Kuma Reality Games Sparks Virtual Dialogue With Iran Over Nuclear Arms Dispute

by Rainier on June 9, 2006 @ 10:04 a.m. PDT

Kuma Reality Games announced today Assault on Iran, Pt. 3: Payback in Iraq, a video game simulating a realistic conflict between U.S. and Iranian forces over the development of nuclear arms. The newest chapter is a direct response to “Commander Bahman,” a game being developed by the Union of Islamic Student Societies.

“Assault on Iran, Pt. 3: Payback in Iraq” begins where the Iranian game reportedly leaves off, with Iranian forces attacking US troops in Iraq to recover a captured nuclear scientist. By re-imagining the Iranian story from multiple points of view, Kuma hopes to bring to the foreground key issues at stake in the current nuclear standoff and create a game-powered forum for frank dialog on the real-world conflict. Kuma’s latest episode will enter an open Beta period and be available for free public download at KumaWar ( beginning July 4, 2006.

Last September, Kuma garnered international attention with its release of “Assault on Iran,” simulating a realistic U.S. attack on a key nuclear Iranian installation. In this original episode, US Special Forces destroy the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in Iran with the assistance of a defecting Iranian scientist. With Iran’s nuclear activities continuing to make headlines in news media, the Middle Eastern nation’s game culture recently responded to Kuma’s virtual attack with a game of its own. Apparently borrowing story elements from Kuma’s original “Assault on Iran” episode, the Union of Islamic Student Societies initiated the latest round in the online conflict with Kuma by announcing “Commander Bahman,” a virtual counter-attack that will feature the rescue of an Iranian atomic scientist captured by US forces in Iraq. Reports indicate that the game will be available in March 2007.

The launch of “Assault on Iran, Pt. 3: Payback in Iraq” is Kuma’s response to the Iranian gaming counter-attack. This will be the seventy-sixth episode of KumaWar. Picking up where “Commander Bahman” will reportedly leave off, Kuma will weave holes in their own narrative, which they hope will be filled by the Iranian Student Union in subsequent episodes.

“This kind of game-based dialogue is unprecedented in the history of international relations. To have been able to ignite such a vital discourse with a video game is beyond our greatest hopes,” said Keith Halper, CEO of Kuma Reality Games. “While we seek to bring current affairs to life in a manner that is both accessible and relatable, the thoughtful engagement by the Union of Islamic Student Societies was unexpected and thrilling. We think the story they’ve suggested is exciting and relevant, and both emotionally and politically charged. We look forward to responding with the same level of thought-provoking, relevant game-play in which the whole world can participate.”

As with all KumaWar episodes, “Assault on Iran, Pt. 3: Playback in Iraq” will contain expert analysis and a thoughtful discussion of the political ramifications of military action as well as a playable 3D simulation, allowing ordinary individuals to pick a side in realistic military engagements. Current plans call for the game episode to include English, Farsi and Arabic dialog.

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