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tech: Interview with Radwan Kasmiya of AFKARMedia
Posted on Tuesday, September 07 @ 21:53:12 CEST by julian

Political Games
Well that didn't take us long! The author of UnderAsh and UnderSeige, Radwan Kasmiya, talks to selectparks about AFKARMedia's challenging political games, their message and their plans for the future.

This interview will also be translated into Spanish by Marta and published on Elastico.

Thanks luv!!!

Do you intend to make other work like UnderAsh and UnderSeige?

Recently we are focusing on producing UnderSiege in an international version that supports as many languages as possible.

Have you got in any kind of trouble (media, press, law, organisations) for making UnderAsh/UnderSeige?

Our web site was hacked twice since we started the project, we received a lot of threat messages, some press and media organization misunderstood our message and published false news about us and the content of our games, but we managed to clarify things up!

Have you seen any positive change coming from making UnderAsh (educating others about the Palestinian Crisis etc)?

Yes, actually results were more than we had expected especially for Arab gamers (since underash was published in Arabic only), we sense some kind of digital dignity from those Arab players who support us regardless of the moderate technical level of the game and how expensive the price was in a market (where 95% of games are pirated).

Do you consider UnderAsh a 'documentary game'?

Actually I can't recall a documentary game example, I prefer to call it a 'modern history game'.

Do you see this game to be the political opposite of games like Full Spectrum Warrior or America's Army?

No, I have played AA, I just can't wait for UnderSiege to be published internationally so players can tell the difference between a history game based on lives of real people trying to survive ethnic cleansing and a political propaganda that is trying to inject morals in future marines to justify their assaults on nations far away from their homeland.

A lot of people think that UnderSiege looks like an opposite to AA but in fact it is NOT.

Do you think games deliver a political message better than documentary films?

Yes, especially for youngsters who don't care a lot about news or documentaries.

What are the special qualities a game has that a documentary film doesn't?

A lot of people may merge into the events of a good documentary, but not all of them. I think that any player that intends to finish a video game will melt into it, and sometimes look at it as a personal challenge. That wont happen to documentary viewers, in addition to that there is the time factor, a good documentary is a short clever one (as many people think), but a good game is judged according to its long, full of action levels.

And of course not to forget that games attracts youngsters, documentaries do not!

Do you think the setting of a military struggle, with heroes, is the best way to fight a political battle in a game context?

Games don't solve political or military situations of real life, we all know that, neither do I while reading an incident in a newspaper. We simply get information through it.

Do you see other genres of game as being also useful ways of getting a message across?

Of course, it is not about the genres of games, it is about how you can implement your messages in it cleverly without loading the game too much, after all it is just a video game.

Would you do anything differently next time?

Of course, we will study players comments and reactions carefully before getting into our next project. But for sure we will make something different. Actually we are working on 'QURAISH' a Real Time Strategy game about the history and civilization of Islam, it should be very original and we are trying to load it with simple, yet solid and trustful information about Islam.

Will you release UnderAsh/UnderSeige for other platforms than Windows (Linux, OSX etc)?

No, but we are planning to release new games on the PS2 platform.

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I am 31 years old, I have a degree of electronic engineering and computer science, made my first programs on Sinclair Spectrum computers 1983, and established my first company 'SuperSoft'1995 when I was in my 3rd year at collage, later on 'SuperSoft' was merged into 'AFKARMEDIA' 2001.

I like to work and dive into history concepts using new media tools like video games, I devote most of my projects to achieve a better understanding of Islam civilization and history.

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