Let’s talk politics for a while. Very often, media is used to convey the emotions of a tense political situation to people who are detached from it. We have seen war movies, played revolution anthems on the radio, read books and graphic novels detailing life in a militarized state, but rarely have we played video games that deal with such hot seat political issues. Well, former Rockstar Games developer Navid Khonsari is looking to change that with this week’s Kickstarter of the Week, 1979 Revolution: Black Friday.
1979 takes place during the Iranian revolution of the same year. It will make you play through the riots, protests, and military actions that shook the country and that cost many people their lives. Khonsari himself lived through the revolution personally before his family moved to North America in 1980. He and developer iNK stories are looking to bring you a unique gameplay experience unlike anything you have seen before.
1979’s main character is Reza, a young photojournalist in Tehran. Reza begins the game as a simple observer, but when the revolution costs his cousin his life he joins up with the movement to overthrow the Iranian monarchy. However, Reza is betrayed before the revolt, and now must exist in a world where both sides consider him an enemy. 1979 will include real stories, pictures, and recorded footage from the 1979 revolution, making it both a history lesson and a game.
The best way to describe 1979 is like a “Telltale” game, but this is no mere point and click adventure. It will be entirely narrative driven, with a focus on decision making. Choices you make during will have real consequences and may lead to short “mini-games” that highlight key set pieces. For example, there will be portions that require you to sneak around like a stealth game. There will be portions where you tend to the wounded which will play out more like Trauma center. The gameplay changes as you progress forward in response to the choices you make.
1979 Revolution will first and foremost be developed for smartphones and tablets. Khonsari said that console gamers tend to have smartphones and tablets, but smartphone and tablet owners don’t necessarily have consoles. Thus, this is a great way to get his message out to more people. In addition, a touch screen allows him to do things with the control scheme that you just can’t do easily with a controller. For example, a “triage” section, where you are tasked with treating one of your friends who just got shot during a protest, will ask you to remove the victim’s shirt by spreading your fingers and provide first care through a variety of touch gestures. It makes you feel like you are more attached to the actual events that are transpiring.
Khonsari is asking for $395,000 to complete the game on iOS. Further stretch goals will allow it come out on Android, PC, Mac, Linux, and even consoles. Unfortunately, the Kickstarter is off to a slow start. After five days of the campaign, only $50,000 has been raised with 315 backers supporting. At this rate, the Kickstarter won’t reach its goal, which is a shame because the game has been praised by several outlets calling it “The Death of Consoles,” and “The Best Game Concept I’ve Heard All Year… Hell, This Decade.” We happen to agree. This is a project that has gotten Khonsari branded a spy in Iran, so now he can't ever go back. He literally gave up his home country to tell this story.
So get over to the official 1979 Kickstarter website. Check the game out and watch the promotional video. If you want to hear more of Khonsari's story, consider throwing some money their way.