“1979: The Game” – A Video Game Based on the Iranian Revolution

Navid Khonsari, one of the creative forces behind the phenomenally successful Grand Theft Auto III and GTA: Vice City games, is working on a new video game called 1979: The Game which will be based on the events of the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

The trend in video games is for more complexity and “sand-box” gameplay where situations are open ended and the player is allowed to make choices that will impact the plot development and ultimately the conclusion of the game. Khonsari has been instrumental in this trend and in the merger of video games with movies. Games like Red Dead Redemption and the soon to be released LA Noire feel more like an immersive movie experience than what an average person would think of when they imagine a video game.

But saying “there are no good guys” as Khonsari does is going too far. Moral ambiguity is part and parcel of life but the 1979 Iranian revolution has no ambiguity. And thanks to the 20/20 perspective that hindsight provides us, we know exactly who was on the right side and who was on the wrong side.

In any case, this is an interesting development especially considering the reshaping of the Middle East taking place right now. Maybe in 30 year’s time we’ll have a video game about the Egyptian and Tunisian popular uprisings.

  • Concourse on Low

    Tens of thousands of people are protesting against the regime today in Tehran, so 1979 might be obsolete sooner than later.

    Oh, and I’m sure Baha’is are licking their chops at the prospect of a democratic Iran so they can get a toehold there. But without actually doing anything meaningful to help overthrow the regime, of course.

  • Craig Parke

    Indeed. Back in the 1960′s and 1970′s the Baha’i Faith DID have street cred in the streets of the U.S. because people had put it all on the line before they came into the Faith. It was marvelous! Many Baha’is at that time were people who had marched with Dr. Martin Luther King or had been big in the anti-war Vietnam protest movement or were Vietnam Veterans who had been in VVAW. I knew many. Some Baha’is who had been Baha’is with CO status before being drafted had actually been combat medics in Vietnam. Just marvelous people. I would say 98% were very dedicated Baha’is for a solid 8-15 years. The myth being perpetrated by the UHJ now that people were not deepened and left is just NOT true! In fact it is some sort of psychological Orwellian bureaucratic outright LIE! people only began to leave in total disgust in the mid and late 80′s when they saw the utter haplessness and dysfunctional cowardice of the Administrative Order in matters of social justice. The Old Guard of “Baha’i World Country Club” got top down control of the Faith back around 1987 and the rest is now history. There is no freedom of thought and freedom of action in the Baha’i Faith now. If anyone rocks the boat now they will end up in a movable black balled Concentration Camp as a bad apple. The brutal 2007 U.S. National Convention was the end of the road for many. In the automaton Ruhiized Faith there will be no interesting histories. But activist people once saw the Baha’i Faith as the next step and it was once lightning in a bottle. It was like being in the Early Church in Jerusalem. I have no regrets that I experienced that. But that does make the rule of the boys club ITC hijackers that much bitter. the Faith was once a contender. It will now all slip away into oblivion because it is not in accordance at all with what the Cosmic Spirit brought.

    I pray for those Iranians going to the wall at this very moment because they long for freedom in their land from idiot clergy – which is precisely what Baha’u’llah articulated over and over! Divine Judgment is archetypal. Theocratic goons are gpoing to not get any taklers among educated people in the dawning World Age.

    So it goes.


  • Anonymous

    I wish the people of Iran the best but I worry that it will be difficult to replicate Egypt’s experience. For one thing, the Egyptian military has very very close ties to the US and they were ordered to stand down and even many times put themselves in between the protesters and the police. In Iran, the full brunt of the regime’s apparatus works against the people. We’ll see. I’m hopeful but not naive.

  • Concourse on Low

    Baquia, I agree.
    The battle against the Iranian regime of rapists is wholly different and more difficult than the Egyptian struggle. Mubarak’s regime was secular. His goons worked for money, not ideas. The bastards beating demonstrators in the streets of Iran are motivated by money and their belief that they’re doing God’s work.

  • Craig Parke

    Yep. Beating people up because you believe you are “doing God’s work” is the lowest spiritual state of being possible on this hapless planet. When will this mentality ever end? I am sick of all violence whether it be political or religious. Completely sick of it. How long before things change when everyone on Earth just says “Enough of this? Why are we doing this to each other? Why? Let us end this. Let us find a better way to live.”

  • Bird

    I’m sicken by the games being made promoting violence and further racial tentiond My sons can play one M game that let’s them kill zombies. That’s fantasy. Making a game about 1979 Iran is horrible and will make matter worse for the other children whose parents let them play anything. Very disturbing. I may have once shared I met one of the Anericans held hostage for 444 days there. Don Sharer. Amazing man. He and others came forward when the new President, Adjaminihad(?) Was one of his captures back in 2005. The government did nothing. They won’t stop this game from being made either. To think this guy is making his living creating these violent outlets. Indeed, quite disturbing. Thank you for sharing.

  • fubar

    Blessings be upon those Luminous Souls that protest Absolutism, oppression and ignorance and that will fight to the end of time for freedom and liberation from suffering, ego and the clinging to Illusion.

    Evolutionary enlightenment arises from the Ever Present Origin.
    (Ursprung und Gegenwart)

    It is not “owned” by those religious leaders that dwell in the sewer of their evil Delusions.

    Hey Bird,

    It’s great hearing from you, hope you have been well.

    Keep in mind that Hermes was the god of transformation *and* the god of information *and* the Great Liar and Deceiver.

    What these game/models show is that in the Age of Information, old, hierarchical assumptions are being replaced by “network” models of information flow that are more “open” and “interactive”. That is how the children of post-modernity experience “reality”.

  • fubar

    Multi-perspectivalism explained:



    In this paper I start with the premise that at the turn of this century we are in the midst of profound cultural and psychological change. During the past half-century we have had some of our species’ sharpest minds trying to get to grips with the evidence that something significant is going on in the evolution of human consciousness and culture. I want to rehearse something of what they have said, before reflecting on what this might mean for our work as teachers in an information-rich society. Specifically I want to look at our age from

    [*] four different perspectives:

    [1] postmodern social analysis,
    [2] the history of consciousness,
    [3] constructivist developmental psychology and
    [4] archetypal psychology.

    Each of these perspectives is represented in the work of a group of thinkers. While the thinkers in each group share ideas, there is no indication that they are influenced by people from the other groups, or even that they are aware of their existence. Yet, as you will see, their conclusions about the kind of consciousness which is emerging in what we now conventionally call the information age have a great deal in common.

    The information society is guided by a fantasy of the marketplace, in which exchange is an end in itself – a fantasy of deregulation, free interchange, commodification. Knowledge, like wisdom, health, pleasure, law, spirituality and relationship, is now a commodity whose only value is its market value. Economic rationalism is only one manifestation of this kind of thinking. The consciousness of the marketplace permeates all areas of life.

    A further characteristic of the postmodern condition, which Lyotard sees as another consequence of the information revolution, is the decline of orthodoxy. The “grand narratives” of the modern, industrial era – Marxism, Rationalism, Christianity – have been set aside in favour of an increasing relativisation of values, ethics and beliefs. Even conventionally religious people are no longer inclined to make claims to absolute truth.

    Postmodern thinking is characterized also by the abandonment of the heroic fantasy of controlling and possessing nature.

    In a postmodern consciousness the significance of the image is magnified to a point where we are floating in a sea of images which are no longer expected to represent any reality or truth.

    One image which is reiterated by analysts of postmodernity is that of play. Nothing can be considered significant or important either in itself or because of its place in some cosmic plan. All we can do is play.

    Third order thinking rationalizes a particular consensus view of reality, a particular way of imagining the world which is common to the family, tribe or culture. There is a taken-for-grantedness about the way the world is. To stand outside this narrative, the adolescent must �leave home�, and experience the isolation and exhilaration of fourth order thinking.

    Her thoughts become the thoughts of an autonomous individual who does not depend on the authoritative voices of her culture to give them legitimacy, but can rather look at the evidence, whatever its source, and make successive approximations to the truth.

    As a third order thinker I accept without question the truth as I have absorbed it. As a third order thinker you believe in your truth in the same uncritical way. I am right and you are wrong, and at best we tolerate each other.

    As fourth order thinkers we each maintain a critical stance towards our truths, and our concern is to look critically at these truths and all other versions of the truth and decide which one best accords with the evidence.

    As fifth order thinkers we regard all truths as partial, and if we find ourselves in dispute we are capable of constructing a truth which resides not only in both your partial truth and my partial truth but also in the tensions and contradictions between them.

    Kegan argues that the shift from third to fourth to fifth order thinking in not simply a matter of individual cognitive development. We are dealing here not only with personal development but with cultural change. In pre-scientific societies third order thinking was perfectly adequate to meet the demands of the environment. Fourth order thinking both enabled and was demanded by the Age of Science. The culture in which we find ourselves at the end of the twentieth century demands that we be capable of dialectical, post-ideological, transpersonal, fifth order thinking. When we were at school we may not have been taught to think like this, and we may use this skill rather clumsily. It may, indeed, be beyond many of us much of the time. But our children and students may be more capable of it than our parents and teachers ever could be, and if we ignore this we will not make much contact with them.

    Gebser the rational consciousness which has dominated European civilization since the enlightenment was not the supreme achievement in human development but rather the deficient form of the mental structure which emerged about three thousand years ago. He saw the deficiency in the rational consciousness of the past four centuries as deriving from its arrogant devaluation and suppression of the earlier structures. In the thirties and forties it was clear to him that the rational structure was collapsing and that European civilization was slipping back into a deficient magical-mythical structure. At the same time he found indications that a new structure was emerging. He suggested that this new structure involved the integration of the four older structures

    Gebser observed that not only were the magic and mythical modes of perceiving the world being once again being accepted as legitimate by the intellectual culture (Lyotard makes a similar observation), but that the magical and mythical structures of consciousness were being integrated with rational consciousness to produce a totally new way of perceiving and thinking, a way of perceiving and thinking which enables us to apprehend not just the parts but the whole.

    James Hillman is a contemporary interpreter of Jung who argues that these archetypal images structure all our experience and behaviour.

    With or without assistance from the analysts of postmodernity we can find in our literature, science, cinema and the daily news a dominant narrative of complexity and chaos, of the vanishing of boundaries, of deceit, denial and delusion among our leaders, of the preference for image over substance, of the loss of familial and tribal bonds, of the disappearance of our conventional grounds for moral judgments, of an unwillingness to confront reality, of the abandonment of rationality, of the proliferation of information, of the slipperiness of ideas and ideals which once seemed solid and graspable, of a market-place so ubiquitous and noisy that we cannot escape it.

    In psychological inflation, as Jung developed the idea, the individual is “blown up” by a particular archetypal pattern. A person’s perceptions, values and behaviour are driven by an image which has its source outside the individual, in the collective or psyche. Personal identity is engulfed by the archetype. One’s perceptions of the world, one’s thoughts about it, one’s values, are shaped by a single image. This process is often driven not only by the energy of the archetype as experienced by the individual, but also by the archetypal image projected on to the individual by others. Ancient cultures explained it as coming under the power of a god. Where we see someone as having a â€?power complexâ€? or a â€?mother complexâ€? or just as â€?falling in loveâ€?, the classical Greeks would have seen an individual driven by Zeus, Demeter or Eros.

    Analogously we can talk about cultural inflation, in which a nation or society, or at least a substantial part of the population, is taken over by an archetypal image and energy, so that the group’s perceptions, self-image and behaviour are formed by a single instinctual pattern and driven by a single instinctual energy. Jung understood German Nazism as a national inflation by what he called the “Wotan” archetype.

    Where third order schooling aims at dependence and fourth order thinking aims at independence, fifth order thinking aims at interdependence.

    Where third order schooling focuses on transmitted knowledge and fourth order education focuses on discovering the truth, fifth order schooling seeks a plurality of understandings. Where third order learning is passive and receptive and fourth order thinking is critical and active, fifth order learning is creative and constructive. Where third order curriculum emphasizes received truth and fourth order curriculum seeks to discover universal principles, fifth order curriculum celebrates a diversity of incomplete (and even contradictory) truths.

    Where third order education is founded on historically based assumptions about race, gender, class and cultural difference, and fourth order education maintains a socially critical perspective, fifth order education seeks to be aperspectival, or at least multi-perspectival. Even the socially critical perspective is relatives as one perspective among many.

    Where third order education is grounded in a way of imagining the world and fourth order education is grounded in thinking about it, fifth order education integrates first order body, second order emotion, third order image and fourth order thought in an holistic experience and expression of what it means to be human in this world.

    Where third order schooling is community-centric and fourth order schooling is ego-centric, fifth order schooling is eco-centric and transpersonal. It is sustained by an emerging ability to perceive not only �my truth and �your truth� as each incomplete without the other, but even �me� and �you� as each incomplete without the other.

    The role of information technology is central to this. It both enables and demands the dissolution of boundaries, the development of transegoic consciousness, the transcendence of rational, linear, dualistic thinking and the constraints of quantified space and time. It both enables and demands the emergence of an holistic, eco-centric, process-oriented, constructivist curriculum. It both enables and demands a new way of thinking both from students and their teachers.


    Koestler also points out that holons are autonomous, self-reliant units that possess a degree of independence and handle contingencies without asking higher authorities for instructions. These holons are also simultaneously subject to control from one or more of these higher authorities. The first property ensures that holons are stable forms that are able to withstand disturbances, while the latter property signifies that they are intermediate forms, providing a context for the proper functionality for the larger whole.

    Finally, Koestler defines a holarchy as a hierarchy of self-regulating holons that function first as autonomous wholes in supra-ordination to their parts, secondly as dependent parts in sub- ordination to controls on higher levels, and thirdly in coordination with their local environment.

    A holon is a system (or phenomenon) which is an evolving self-organizing dissipative structure, composed of other holons, whose structures exist at a balance point between chaos and order. It is maintained by the throughput of matter-energy and information-entropy connected to other holons and is simultaneously a whole in and itself at the same time being nested within another holon and so is a part of something much larger than itself. Holons range in size from the smallest subatomic particles and strings, all the way up to the multiverse, comprising many universes. Individual humans, their societies and their cultures are intermediate level holons, created by the interaction of forces working upon us both top-down and bottom-up. On a non-physical level, words, ideas, sounds, emotions—everything that can be identified—is simultaneously part of something, and can be viewed as having parts of its own, similar to sign in regard of semiotics.


    …Every holon has the dual tendency to preserve and assert its individuality as a quasi-autonomous whole; and to function as an integrated part of an (existing or evolving) larger whole. This polarity between the Self-Assertive (S-A) and Integrative (INT) tendencies is inherent in the concept of hierarchic order; and a universal characteristic of life.

    The S-A tendencies are the dynamic expression of the holon’s wholeness, the INT tendencies of its partness.

    4.3 The most general manifestation of the INT tendencies is the reversal of the Second Law of Thermodynamics in open systems feeding on negative entropy (Erwin Schr?¶dinger), and the evolutionary trend towards “spontaneously developing states of greater heterogeneity and complexity” (C. J. Herrick).

    4.4 Its specific manifestations on different levels range from the symbiosis of organelles and colonial animals, through the cohesive forces in herds and flocks, to the integrative bonds in insect states and Primate societies. The complementary manifestations of the S-A tendencies are competition, individualism, and the separative forces of tribalism, nationalism, etc.

    4.6 In adult behaviour, the self-assertive tendency of functional holons is reflected in the stubbornness of instinct rituals (fixed action-patterns), of acquired habits (handwriting, spoken accent), and in the stereotyped routines of thought; the integrative tendency is reflected in flexible adaptations, improvisations, and creative acts which initiate new forms of behaviour.

    4.7 Under conditions of stress, the S-A tendency is manifested in the aggressive-defensive, adrenergic type of emotions, the INT tendency in the self-transcending (participatory, identificatory) type of emotions.

    4.8 In social behaviour, the canon of a social holon represents not only constraints imposed on its actions, but also embodies maxims of conduct, moral imperatives and systems of value.

    5.8 Input hierarchies operate on the reverse principle; instead of triggers, they are equipped with “filter”-type devices (scanners, “resonators”, classifiers) which strip the input of noise, abstract and digest its relevant contents, according to that particular hierarchy’s criteria of relevance. “Filters” operate on every echelon through which the flow of information must pass on its ascent from periphery to centre, in social hierarchies and in the nervous system.

    5.9 Triggers convert coded signals into complex output patterns. Filters convert complex input patterns into coded signals. The former may be compared to digital-to-analogue converters, the latter to analogue-to-digital converters (Miller, G. A., Galanter, E. and Pribram, K. H., Plans and the Structure of Behaviour, 1960).

    5.10 In perceptual hierarchies, filtering devices range from habituation and the efferent control of receptors, through the constancy phenomena, to pattern-recognition in space or time, and to the decoding of linguistic and other forms of meaning.

    5.11 Output hierarchies spell, concretize, particularize. Input hierarchies digest, abstract, generalize.

    6.1 Hierarchies can be regarded as “vertically” arborizing structures whose branches interlock with those of other hierarchies at a multiplicity of levels and form “horizontal” networks: arborization and reticulation are complementary principles in the architecture of organisms and societies.

    6.2 Conscious experience is enriched by the cooperation of several perceptual hierarchies in different sense-modalities, and within the same sense-modality.

    8.1 Holons on successively higher levels of the hierarchy show increasingly complex, more flexible and less predictable patterns of activity, while on successive lower levels we find increasingly mechanized, stereotyped and predictable patterns.

    8.2 All skills, whether innate or acquired, tend with increasing practice to become automatized routines. This process can be described as the continual transformation of “mental” into “mechanical” activities.

    8.3 Other things being equal, a monotonous environment facilitates mechanization.

    8.4 Conversely, new or unexpected contingencies require decisions to be referred to higher levels of the hierarchy, an upward shift of controls from “mechanical” to “mindful” activities.

    8.5 Each upward shift is reflected by a more vivid and precise consciousness of the ongoing activity; and, since the variety of alternative choices increases with the increasing complexity on higher levels, each upward shift is accompanied by the subjective experience of freedom of decision.

    8.7 Consciousness appears as an emergent quality in phylogeny and ontogeny, which, from primitive beginnings, evolves towards more complex and precise states. It is the highest manifestation of the Integrative Tendency (4.3) to extract order out of disorder, and information out of noise.

    8.8 The self can never be completely represented in its own awareness, nor can its actions be completely predicted by any conceivable information-processing device. Both attempts lead to infinite regress.

    9. Equilibrium and disorder

    9. 1 An organism or society is said to be in dynamic equilibrium if the S.A. and INT tendencies of its holons counter-balance each other.

    9.2 The term “equilibrium” in a hierarchic system does not refer to relations between parts on the same level, but to the relation between part and whole (the whole being represented by the agency which controls the part from the next higher level).

    9.3 Organisms live by transactions with their environment. Under normal conditions, the stresses set up in the holons involved in the transaction are of a transitory nature, and equilibrium will be restored on its completion.

    9.4 If the challenge to the organism exceeds a critical limit, the balance may be upset, the over-excited holon may tend to get out of control, and to assert itself to the detriment of the whole, or monopolize its functions – whether the holon be an organ, a cognitive structure (id?©e fixe), an individual, or a social group. The same may happen if the coordinate powers of the whole are so weakened that it is no longer able to control its parts (C. M. Child).

    9.5 The opposite type of disorder occurs when the power of the whole over its parts erodes their autonomy and individuality. This may lead to a regression of the INT tendencies from mature forms of social integration to primitive forms of identification and to the quasi-hypnotic phenomena of group psychology.

    9.6 The process of identification may arouse vicarious emotions of the aggressive type.

    —end excerpts—

    I believe that the above explains, in a form far more sophisticated and true than bahai scripture itself is capable, bahai administration and the entire degenerative process that can be seen in the history of the religion.

    In other words, bahaism is significantly inadequate as a mechanism for those seeking truth in postmodern culture.


  • Amos_goh123

    I think the game is cool so long as it reflects the most accurate historical account of the events in Iran 1979. The rampant violence, discrimination, and political standoffs, while repulsive, are part and parcel of human history and how it shapes our world the way it is today. If the game successfully materializes to be as thought provoking as the director intended, a curious child will be driven to ask questions and perhaps gain a little more illumination about the world, unlike zombie shoot-em-ups that are mere meaningless entertainment.

  • youdamnsheeple

    I think most of these comments are twisted and demented. Violence has been around throughout the history of mankind. To say that a video game like this is going to cause more violence and tension is completely wrong. He is saying that he wants to give us a different perspective, and everything isn’t so black and white. It’s not an anti Iran propaganda tool. It’s a fucking video game. The sole purpose of video games is to entertain, which it indeed does. If a video game turns you into a serial killer, you must have had problems to begin with. You don’t have to play the video game. Let me point out that every country has violent video games. The reason why America has so much more violence is because of the way the media portrays violence, makes it familiar to us, and 80% of what they report is the negative side of our society. Then braindead Americans want to point fingers and blame everything on video games. Violent video games are made to be entertaining, fun, and humorous, not a murder simulation that drives someone to commit these acts. If you think that it is, you are in dire need of psychological help. Hell, why don’t we just ban violent movies, t.v. shows, and the news? Get real.

  • Fubar

     I’m waiting for a video game in which Iranian fascists wipe out the video game industry and all its customers.

  • Epierce

     It is hard for me to imagine how a game by itself would lead to much of anything but a superficial understanding of history. Who is the typical child playing the game asking questions of? In most cases, adults that are mostly clueless about Iranian history or geopolitics in general? Or Wikipedia?

    Is there any real evidence of how children learn non-superficial information from the internet? I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, I’m just curious if anyone actually knows how much “independent” learning children get from the internet. (or games, or social networks ,or …)

  • Fubar

     How do you know why america is violent? Is your source the propagandists for the game industry, or something else? Actual social science?

    the wold is mostly violent and brutal, especially countries that are not insulated from the real world.

    America is violent because violence is profitable. Violence was profitable when land was being stolen from native americans. When blacks were being enslaved (by rich people), etc.

    Violence is primal, like sex. It “sells” easily. Even to people that don’t like it.

    How many popular video games are there that promote peace and harmony? hmmmm …. “not entertaining” ?

    People that believe in spirituality, or the liberal version of it, are offended at how mass media has hijacked children’s minds, and contribute to the atmosphere of superficial and banal culture. Your  comments lack both insight and discipline. you are crude, and in ways that have no redeeming charm, wit, or insight.

    You seem to be bullying people that do not agree with you.

    How much of that can be attributed to your game playing?

    Is game playing just an excuse for some people to be as cr*ppy as they want?

    Do anti-game adults remind you of your parents annoying you telling you to be more responsible?

  • iranian99

    its not the bahais fault, they didnt want a bloody 1979 revolution, they didnt want khomenie or a any other mullah to come to power, “in GOH KE SHOMA MUSLIMA DOREST KARDIN DAR IRAN BAYAST SHOM JAM KOONIN ” what.. you expect iranian bahais to come clean the shit u guys made, you bring an islamic revolution… you then must end it yourself.
    200 bahais innocently were killed by the islamic regieme 
    i dont think the islamic regieme killed enough muslims yet i expect at least 200 muslims to be killed 

  • iranian99

    sorry about the last reply :((( i was a bit rude 

  • Desir0101


    ”…and wisdom to know the difference”.
    You are right.
    Do you know why Bahais are persecuted in Iran.?
    It seem that the Bahais communities around the world are ignorance about how the BAbi/Bahai history started.
    All started there.

  • Teminemin

    Yes, maybe from a Baha’i perspective there is no ambiguity and the Shah was on the right side. But I do agree that there were no good guys. The Shah was far from perfect. His regime being replaced by a worse one makes him good in comparison, but doesn’t put him “on the right side”.

  • Kryters

    I find it funny that at the end of your post you talk about educated people when you’re clearly not educated because you believe in a magical invisible man.

  • Kryters

    As long as religion exists that will never happen.