After finishing the Sisler reading for this week, I was astonished to learn so much about this niche of video game that I had never heard anything about before. Sisler spotlights how video games developed my Muslims for Muslims can shape the way that the religion is practiced.
One specific example are the games coming out of Afkar Media located in Damascus' newly opened free-zone. One game that they have released that we talked about in class was Under Siege.
Afkar Media has already produced two games, both dealing with the plight of the Palestinian people. One game released last year, "Under Siege," was born out of frustration with the prevalance of Arabs and Muslims portrayed as terrorists in Western video games. The creators of the game say the story line counteracts the biases in some Western games by showing the Palestinian struggle from an Arab vantage point and creating Arab and Muslim characters who are fighting in self-defense.
Critics say the game merely inverts stereotypes - replacing extremist caricatures of Muslims with extremist caricatures of Jews, like that of Baruch Goldstein, and using the violent "shooter" format common to many video games.
It is still unclear to me if these games have any affect on the way Muslim identity is defined, but it is a great question to look into further.