There are about 20 million “gamers” in Iran. Half the population is under 25 years old and last year the internet services sanctions were eased by the United States. This resulted in a boost to the game market. Seven Quests is an online multiplayer game which is an update of the 1,000 year old Iranian poem, the “Shahnameh,” which means the “epic of kings.” Rostam who is the Iranian national hero is a mythological symbol for a warrior who supposedly conquers evil. Amir-Esmaeil Bozorgzadeh heads the development company which is based in Dubai and is aiming the game at Iran’s market since that community already identifies with the story. The game is a traditional war game but adds a twist of mythology.
When Washington lifted the internet sanctions in 2013, the point was to encourage Iranians to communicate on social media, but the Iranian government still blocks those services. Online games, however, are becoming an open channel of communication. The compelling part of this story is that people are making alliances and enemies through the game so there is a real international interaction via chat rooms and forums. The tech team holds meetings via Skype with the offices of Falafel Games in Hangzhou, China. Read more at NPR.