Al-Ahram Weekly Online
7 - 13 March 2002
Issue No.576
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875 Current issue | Previous issue | Site map

Palestine in pixels

One of the strengths of the virtual world is that in its shady corners and hidden deeps there is space to challenge convention and tilt at the dominant world-view.

That's the aim of the developers of newly-released Underash, a Syrian computer game based on the Intifada. Apparently motivated by horror at the number of US games with Arab baddies, Underash, a 3-D 'stone-em-up' lets you take control of Ahmed, an Intifada hero. Ahmed, as well as standing up to checkpoints and settlers, can stroll around a virtual version of the Haram Al-Sherif mosque, an excitement many of the game's players are probably denied in real life. The game designers say they abjure violence, except in the context of resisting aggression.

It is easy to sneer at computer games as the silly embodiment of someone's teenage fantasies. Which they are. But at least in Underash the silly fantasy is not the product of someone else's teenage morality; this one's all our own.

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