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Iranian spy implicates game dev as US propaganda arm

Tuesday, 20th December 2011 16:51 GMT By Andrew Groen

Iranian state TV networks “revealed” that an alleged confessed spy has implicated a New York game developer as a propaganda arm of the US government. The game developer in question is Kuma Games, a New York-based FPS developer that makes the Kuma/War games which recreate significant acts in US military wars/conflicts in video game form. For instance, you can go play the assassination of Osama Bin Laden if you’re inclined to do so.

The supposed spy, Amir Mirza Hekmati, (who, for clarity, is saying he was a spy for the Americans that was discovered by the Iranians) says that Kuma is attempting to distort American views of the Middle-East by altering those events to be more favorable to Americans.

The claims don’t seem to be being taken very seriously though. Probably because it’s pretty obvious to anybody who takes even a cursory glance at Kuma that they have an interest in distorting global events to be pro-American. You don’t need to be a spy to make that allegation.

However, it’s just much more likely that Kuma is in the business of catering to gun-toting, staunchly Pro-America military fans. Nobody wants to play a morally conflicted military shooter (especially one that’s based on real events, which is a double bummer.) This issue is much more simply explained as a company profiting off of people who want an overly simplified view of the world.

Via Kotaku.

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32 Comments

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  1. Phoenixblight

    It would be more believable if the game was actually known or played.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. YoungZer0

    “The supposed spy, Amir Mirza Hekmati, (who, for clarity, is saying he was a spy for the Americans that was discovered by the Iranians) says that Kuma is attempting to distort American views of the Middle-East by altering those events to be more favorable to Americans.”

    How is this news? The americans do it all the time with their movies.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Phoenixblight

    @2

    Not just AMericans, its everyone that is in power that will use this tactic and movies and video games =/= reality. If people are using movies or video games as a form of their truth we have larger issues than propaganda.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. YoungZer0

    @3: Right you are. I’m just saying, americans seem to do it more than other countries. Especially if the military is involved.

    The movie U-571 and Pearl Harbor being the biggest offenders.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Phoenixblight

    @4

    Well when a movie has anything to do with the US military the military has to watch it to see if it promotes the “right idea” about what the military is. I would suggest watching a documentary called “This film is not yet Rated”, very interesting stuff and there are plenty of books, sites that corroborate what the director is claiming.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. YoungZer0

    @5: Really? But has the military any say in it being released?

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Phoenixblight

    @6

    Yep they have a tribunal that watches the film, there was a documentary that was going to show actual stuff going on in the middle east and not the censored version and the director wanted to get the flick out but the military blocked it because it wasn’t showing the romantic version of being in the service.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. GwynbleiddiuM

    Lol, someone watches our TV! I don’t! except the times the show Real Madrid games or AC Milan, and that’s that. But this spy business is truly funny, hysterically funny.

    In middle-east from the moment you set foot in school they tell you how evil is the west and how they’re working day and night, tirelessly in fact to bring Islamic nations down. Phoenixblight you wanna know about how full of it my so-called government is you need to come and live here for at least a month. Observe and see how much anti-western propaganda is on EVERYTHING, TV, radio, newspaper, everything than can be used to talk shit about Europe and America, is being used, in less 5 hours you’ll hear more of this shit than you heard the western propaganda so to speak in your entire lifetime.

    Anyway, this kinda shit and conspiracy theories are not exclusive to Iran or USA, everyone has it, everyone use it to their advantage, it’s nothing new. And this Hekmati dude if he had a middle name like Steve or Johnathan or something would’ve been less suspicious than having a PLAIN middle-eastern name.

    What you need to know about Iran’s regime is that there is no LOW that they wont stoop and sink to.

    I can’t watch their shits on tv and not smash my head against the wall almost immediately.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Phoenixblight

    @8

    I wasn’t trying to claim that our system is based purely on propagand and is in a much worse(better?) state of it than Iran. I am sure Iran or the middle east do it because they feel they have to in order to keep that vision of the West is the devil. I was just discussing why movies are the way the are especially with military flicks.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. The_Red

    They did not capture a spy. Iranian government just likes to say they did catch someone every now and then just so they can feel good about themselves and pretend they matter. I know that as a fact because I happen to live there.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. G1GAHURTZ

    http://www.americasarmy.com/

    #11 3 years ago
  12. yoggesothothe

    @7 Ye-nooo. That’s not how it works. What happens is that all those helicopters and tanks and military hardware has to come from somewhere, and the cheapest thing for movie producers to do is to go to the army and ask for assistance.

    It’s not that the US military has overarching censoring powers or some such, it’s just that if a studio wants help staging realistic military action (unless they do everything CG), they need the army’s cooperation, which they won’t give beyond a point if the context looks bad. So studios self-censor. Simple economics. It’s really not more nefarious than that.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. YoungZer0

    @8:

    “In middle-east from the moment you set foot in school they tell you how evil is the west and how they’re working day and night, tirelessly in fact to bring Islamic nations down.”

    Which is very close to the truth. I’d also say that watching a few minutes of FOX News would show you how much your country has in common with the states.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. Old MacDonald

    I read that Bethesda is secretly funded by the Norwegian government. That explains Skyrim, doesn’t it? I say VG247 should investigate.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. Phoenixblight

    @12

    No that’s not how it works like I said go watch the documentary called ” This film is not yet Rated” it discusses this very thing. As I said a documentary which didn’t need to footage all the equipment like you are suggesting. It was a film centered on what really goes on with the soldiers in the middle east so just a film crew following the soldiers around as they did their day to day life was shut down because the military heads didn’t like what it was showing because it wasn’t romanticizing the military like so many AAA films do.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. DarkElfa

    The header pic is awesome.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. DSB

    @10 I think that’s slightly on the naive side. It’s common knowledge that the US military doesn’t lend aid unless you show a more than slightly positive image of their operations.

    If you look at something like Battlefield LA it’s basically like one long recruitment commercial, and if you’ve seen the actual recruitment commercials in the US, it’s quite obvious that the military is extremely fond of Hollywood theatrics.

    Whether it’s better or worse than Arby’s or Coca Cola or Citroen buying their way into a movie is up to the individual, but it’s usually pretty obvious when the US military gets “something for something”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwY67LYzH7Q

    That’s perhaps one of the more tasteful, some of them look like they’re selling action figures :P

    I guess it’s better than some European commercials. The Danish military likes to make itself look like a summercamp full of smiling children.

    #17 3 years ago
  18. yoggesothothe

    @15 So that’s an entirely different thing you’re talking about then isn’t it? Specifically documenting military activity as opposed to, you know, a fictional portrayal in a Hollywood blockbuster. Why wouldn’t the army have say over that? That doesn’t make sense… especially if the film crew is tagging along at the pleasure of the army. It’s not like film crews are entitled to free reign within active military outposts stationed on foreign soil or something. Am I missing something here?

    #18 3 years ago
  19. DSB

    I think the US army has been groundbreaking in the access it allows journalists. Watching a documentary like Restrepo (which everyone should) should really assert as much.

    They have airborne troops crying on camera after they get ambushed and have guys killed, and soldiers speaking candidly about the costs.

    That’s just the most famous perhaps, but there are lots of similar documentaries. Some offer access and editing that the others don’t, but I haven’t seen anything similar within Europe.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the non-fiction side in general.

    #19 3 years ago
  20. Phoenixblight

    @18

    THe footage was already taken all the work was already done when the film was given to the MPAA to be rated to be shown in theaters it was given access denied because of the military.

    #20 3 years ago
  21. yoggesothothe

    @20 Yes… and… ? Again, isn’t the point that the footage was taken at the pleasure of the military to begin with? I’d be hugely surprised if the US military gave out that access without some say in final cut, and really the producers shouldn’t have been either (if indeed they were).

    And again, you’re talking about non-fiction documentation there. The US military can’t just no-go a movie because it is portrayed poorly unless the movie was specifically produced with contractual agreements to procure the participation of the army.

    #21 3 years ago
  22. Phoenixblight

    @21

    WHatever this director had gone out of his way to go into a dangerous area to film the real day to day involvement of all the military which the soldiers who were filmed gave them rights to do so. But because of military tribunal’s fear of how their military may be portrayed because it may actually inform new recruits about the real life shit that goes on they had denied this film to be shown in theaters when the media has the freedom of speech. Done arguing with you because you obviously have no idea how it is supposed to work in the US.

    #22 3 years ago
  23. yoggesothothe

    @22 Hmm, ok not sure why you are offended. ???

    Seriously, the question is about whether the US military has censorship powers over all films that portray it, and the answer is that it doesn’t. It simply doesn’t.

    The only powers it has are given through contractual agreements which the producers themselves agree to when producing films with army participation. Simple.

    You seem to be upset that the military doesn’t want itself portrayed poorly. But really, that’s an entirely separate subject.

    #23 3 years ago
  24. Phoenixblight

    @23

    THe military does have the power thats the point especially if a director wants it to go on the big screen. That was my point entirely. This director had no contractual agreement with the military whatsoever other than the individuals that had devoted their life to it.

    #24 3 years ago
  25. DSB

    @23 It’s not a question of wrong or right, but rather truth versus fantasy.

    If the army leverages it’s capabilities towards the latter, that’s a problem. The army isn’t a corporation, it’s funded by the taxpayer.

    The army isn’t there to protect itself, and when the possibility is offered, it should always choose to educate the people it serves, rather than mislead them.

    That being said, there are plenty of documentaries out there showing US troops in bad situations. The US army has been groundbreaking in letting people see and hear the truth in that regard.

    The same certainly can’t be said for movies though.

    #25 3 years ago
  26. yoggesothothe

    @24 Really? They let an entire film crew in on an active military outpost without any sort of official consent? And that was legal? That’s really hard to believe, but I guess I’ll take your word for it on that. :O

    @25 Yeah, I’m really not debating whether or not it’s right or wrong. I’m just saying that there are no laws in the books that give the US military that much censorship power–only those agreed to by contract. Free speech laws and all that.

    #26 3 years ago
  27. Phoenixblight

    ” Really? They let an entire film crew in on an active military outpost without any sort of official consent? That’s really hard to believe, but I guess I’ll take your word for it on that. :O”

    Not an outpost but in the actual streets of Afghanistan. This director had used his own money with his own equipment to film the soldiers on the streets that do patrols.

    #27 3 years ago
  28. yoggesothothe

    @27 Hmm, that does make the situation much hazier–especially if it was just footage taken in open public. How exactly did they censor? I mean, what was the mechanism through which they enforced that censorship? (just curious)

    #28 3 years ago
  29. Phoenixblight

    @28

    TO get a film on the big screen each director has to submit it to the MPAA(Motion Picture Association of America) and then the MPAA rates it a review they feel the film is. The MPAA is pretty shady but they have 12 or so raters that watch the film along with clergy men and military personal. The director gets the rating back which in this case he got feedback saying this can’t be rated because it doesn’t portray the right vision of what the military is. Which means if the film is not yet rated they can’t put it on the big screen. Like I said look up “This Film is not yet Rated”, its a fantastic documentary that shows power and corruption of the MPAA especially for independent directors.

    #29 3 years ago
  30. yoggesothothe

    @29 Ahh, ratings denial. So they put pressure on MPAA and industry caved/self-censored? Yeah, that’s pretty shady and unfortunate. Wonder if that would have happened if it was a mega budget blockbuster, but yeah. That reminds me of China’s government run approval board that decides distribution rights.

    Still, I don’t think there’s an actual law or legal device which gives the US military overarching censorship powers (compared to China, for instance), but if the MPAA won’t stand up to pressure, pretty much the same thing I guess.

    It’s worth mentioning, though that MPAA is industry run (and ratings are voluntary), not government run. Which puts a lot of the blame here on the personal politics/discretion of the board, too.

    #30 3 years ago
  31. Phoenixblight

    @30

    The director has other ways of showing his footage it just not the same scope. Like through the IFC channel, internet, Sundance film festival, etc. That can’t be stopped.

    #31 3 years ago
  32. yoggesothothe

    @31 Right. That was actually my point from the start really. US military can’t just no-go a film because it doesn’t like it. But I guess you were arguing that it can impact distribution.

    #32 3 years ago