Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

An alternative reality

A new generation of Arab designers are creating video games with a very Middle-Eastern flavour

Video games are very popular among young Arabs. Boys and girls - and those much older - can spend hours in their homes or in internet cafes playing computer games, some designed for consoles, some played across the internet. The market for games in the Middle East could be worth as much as US$2bn annually.

Many of the games, however, are designed by western or Japanese companies and some do not reflect Islamic values or they represent the Arab world negatively. One popular game, Call of Duty, was amended by the company after controversy emerged at Quranic writing depicted hanging in a bathroom. Arab designers are responding by creating their own content, such as Knights of Glory, a massive online game set during the Arab conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries.

In the UAE, where the video game industry is growing at a rapid pace, the first class of computer-game design graduates will finish their training in twofour54's Gaming Academy in few weeks. And the country will be hosting a large electronic football games competition this Ramadan. Creating video games can be empowering for Arab youth considering how powerful these games can be in changing attitudes. And the new generation of Arabs seem to understand this very well.

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Ali Benflis, opposition leader and main rival to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika speaks to the press after casting his vote in the presidential elections at a polling station in Algiers on. Former prime minister Benflis ran against Bouteflika in 2004 but lost heavily, charging the vote was rigged 10 years ago and has said fraud will be his ‘main adversary’ during the election. Patrick Baz / AFP Photo

Best photography from around the world, April 17

The National View's photo editors pick the best images of the day from around the world.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

Video: Local reactions to a national fishing ban

A federal fishing ban has been imposed by the UAE federal government, but local authorities are taking diiferent approaches to implementing the ban. Two fishermen tell two very different sides of the story. Produced by Paul O'Driscoll

 Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr is pictured before the Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England, on March 1, 2014. Glyn Kirk / AFP

New Southampton owner leading club’s resurgence from the shadows

Katharina Liebherr keeping with family tradition and letting others dominate the spotlight

 The new Bentley GT Speed convertible on display at a press event of the New York International Auto Show. Jason Szenes / EPA

In pictures: Hot cars at New York International Auto Show

With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the US car industry. Here are some of the vehicles to be shown in this year’s edition.

 The cast of Fast & Furious 7, including Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, centre, on set at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Fast & Furious 7 filming in full swing at Emirates Palace

Filming for Fast & Furious 7 has started and we have the first photos of the cast and crew on set at Emirates Palace hotel this morning. Visitors staying at Emirates Palace say they have been kept away from certain areas in the grounds.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National