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How the Syrian Games Industry Crumbled Under Sanctions and Violence

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the no-games-no-peace dept.

The Almighty Buck 141

Fluffeh writes "Syria's games industry now looks like just another collateral casualty of dictator Bashar Al-Assad's struggle to hold power. 'Life for Syrian game developers has never been better,' joked Falafel Games founder Radwan Kasmiya, 'You can test the action on the streets and get back to your desktop to script it on your keyboard.' Any momentum Syria may have been building as a regional game development hub slowed considerably in 2004, when then-US President George W. Bush levied economic sanctions against the country. Under the sanctions, Syria's game developers found themselves cut off from investment money they needed to grow, as well as from other relationships that were just as important as cash. 'Any [closure of opportunity] is devastating to a budding games company as global partnerships are completely hindered,' said Rawan Sha'ban of the Jordanian game development company Quirkat. 'Even at the simplest infrastructure level, game development engines [from the US] cannot be purchased in a sanctioned country.'"

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Syria was a game developer hub? (2)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915117)

And you thought women programmers were rare HERE.

But seriously, does anyone know what games were developed there? Falafel Games seems to best be known for "Knights of Glory," which I've never heard of. But anything bigger?

Re:Syria was a game developer hub? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915263)

TFA mentions a few, none with any name recognition to speak of in the US market; but apparently they moved a fair number of units regionally.

Re:Syria was a game developer hub? (1)

am 2k (217885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915501)

And you thought women programmers were rare HERE.

But seriously, does anyone know what games were developed there? Falafel Games seems to best be known for "Knights of Glory," which I've never heard of. But anything bigger?

I guess if they had any projects, they were developed for big game productions, where you aren't allowed to talk at all about it.

Re:Syria was a game developer hub? (2)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916863)

If you read the article, Under Ash [wikipedia.org] is there biggest game, which sold several hundred thousand. It's an FPS from the Palestinian point of view. You never win, it gets harder and harder no matter how good you are, eventually you die.

They also made an RTS [quraishgame.com] that focuses on Islamic history.

Re:Syria was a game developer hub? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917843)

Whatever games they developed, looks like they'd have had to have taken a Baath on it

Life in Syria sucks all around (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915147)

Horrible oppressive dictatorships tend to stifle small businesses.

But very clever to blame it all on George Bush.

Damn dubya, if it wasn't for him Syria would be a fun land full of gamers and anime!!!

*wacks off to huffpost* *smug grin*

Re:Life in Syria sucks all around (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915253)

Smug satisfaction is enormously pleasurable; but there is an open line of argument about the question of the efficacy of economic sanctions, which this story serves as a case of(along with the not-really-news that serious violence usually drives off and/or kills off the local human capital)...

Depending on the local economy, how the local government is funded, how effective or ineffective a set of economic sanctions is, and probably enough other variables that only a hardened social scientist would be comfortable drawing conclusions, there is the potential for sanctions to hurt the local despot's local enemies more than his local allies and critical supply sources. It's also possible that you end up hurting both, or that your sanctions are so porous as to be irrelevant.

Re:Life in Syria sucks all around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915477)

Re:Life in Syria sucks all around (4, Interesting)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915485)

Economic sanctions dont mean we roll in there and take their money; they amount to one country saying "we dont like what youre doing, so we wont trade with you freely, and will encourage others not to as well".

If there WERENT sanctions, I imagine wed be seeing an article about how Bush was in bed with Syrian leadership and is to blame for the hardship there now.

Re:Life in Syria sucks all around (0)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915593)

Smug satisfaction is enormously pleasurable; but there is an open line of argument about the question of the efficacy of economic sanctions, which this story serves as a case of(along with the not-really-news that serious violence usually drives off and/or kills off the local human capital)... Depending on the local economy, how the local government is funded, how effective or ineffective a set of economic sanctions is, and probably enough other variables that only a hardened social scientist would be comfortable drawing conclusions, there is the potential for sanctions to hurt the local despot's local enemies more than his local allies and critical supply sources. It's also possible that you end up hurting both, or that your sanctions are so porous as to be irrelevant.

I agree, we should drop the sanctions and partake in carpet bombing instead.

Re:Life in Syria sucks all around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915733)

I think what the parent was referring to was the edit from the original:
"'Even at the simplest infrastructure level, game development engines [from the US] cannot be purchased in a sanctioned country.'"

Actually that applies to any of the countries who are participating in UN-led sanctions, not just the US. But nice way to throw a jab in at old Uncle Sam while pretending the rest of the world is just standing by twiddling their thumbs and wanting to do business.

Re:Life in Syria sucks all around (1)

swb (14022) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915989)

Usually the debate in the "open line of argument" about the efficacy of sanctions is between people who want to use sanctions to motivate a government versus those that want to use high explosives to motivate a government.

It's all fine and dandy to argue that economic sanctions don't work or don't achieve the desired goals in a timely fashion (cf. Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Syria), but what's your alternative? Armed interventon or asking nicely?

Re:Life in Syria sucks all around (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916533)

Unfortunately, there generally isn't a good alternative. Problems are not, alas, required to have satisfactory solutions.

Asking nicely never hurts; but helps approximately as often. Armed intervention typically has consequences that make economic sanctions look like a polite humanitarian gesture, so you have to really have a good reason to use it.

The 'argument' I was referring to was the question of whether sanctions are effective, even marginally, or whether they are actually counterproductive. If they simply don't do what you want them to, you don't really need an alternative in order to not use them. Simply doing nothing is better. If they do work, somewhat, doing nothing becomes less compelling, and so the question of whether you should be doing sanctions or something else can arise.

I have strong doubts about the Syrian situation being 'solvable' in any way that we would prefer(particularly given that years of being downright nasty about suppressing dissent have not given the government significant trouble, and they've been good buddies with Iran for years, despite that not being something we approve of). What I don't know is how much our sanctions hurt the state, and its supporters, vs. how much they hurt the state's potential opponents.

Re:Life in Syria sucks all around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917381)

Here's a good solution: a single .30-06 impacting Bashar's head or center torso.

No need to shoot everyone, just the one asshole causing the trouble.

Re:Life in Syria sucks all around (3, Insightful)

swb (14022) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917427)

I think historically sanctions probably work better than the credit they get. At a minimum they raise the cost of doing business since a country under sanctions has to now engage in some subterfuge to keep engaging in whatever the sanctions were supposed to change.

For severe sanctions, this can mean drastically raised costs -- Iran hasn't been stopped from pursuing its nuclear program, for example, but the few suppliers they have are probably charging the Iranians whatever they want and getting paid up front in an expensive to obtain currency or submarket-priced oil.

In Syria's case I don't think there have been serious sanctions levied against them until recently. Direct trade with the US was impossible, but there were always satellite/client state Lebanon or other Arab states who weren't subject to the sanctions. The Assads run a near monopoly on anything worthwhile in Syria, so increased wholesale costs are just that, increased wholesale costs.

As for sanctions hurting the broader cause by hindering opponents or more broadly, allowing a state to trumpet sanctions as the reason for price increases or a shitty currency that only goes so far.

For one, how effective has resistance EVER been in Syria or Iran? Short of a running guerrilla war without an outside supplier, resistance in those states has been near zero and of limited effectiveness, even now in Syria.

Secondly, when you have a secret police, censor the media and jail political opponents, your PR of "blaming" sanctions for economic problems will only get you limited support. Iranians aren't stupid and they know that a dictatorial oppressive regime that openly supports terrorism is the real problem and that state policies more in line with Jordan will get them further than state policies more in line with North Korea.

Re:Life in Syria sucks all around (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916549)

... but what's your alternative? Armed interventon or asking nicely?

"Let me in, or else!"
"Or else what?"
"Or else we will be very angry with you... and we will write you a letter, telling you how angry we are."

Worst Places (2)

mrops (927562) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915437)

Basher has 55% popularity in Syria, his oppression of the other 45% is definitely wrong, however there are places like Bahrain where the rulers have only 30% support, they are killing doctors who happen to help peaceful protesters shot by shotguns at point blank range by the local enforcement. The difference is that Assad is supported by Iran and Bahrain is a western ally.

What bull shit, the mighty west comes screaming foul when one of those pissed and frustrated by their policies does something stupid.

You geniuz! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916289)

Wow. How many years into your useless geek life did it take for you to notice this?

Re:Life in Syria sucks all around (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915561)

That 'oppressive dictator' has the support of the majority of Syrians.

You may want to read something other than your propaganda for a change. Might learn that the world's a little different than what Fox and CNN tell you.

Re:Life in Syria sucks all around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915769)

"That 'oppressive dictator' has the support of the majority of Syrians who were willing to respond to the poll."

FTFY

And you should take your own advice about propaganda, it's certainly nothing unique to the US... in fact I think if you got off your ass and actually went to some of those countries you'd find that what we have in the States pales in comparison. Not that I'm trying to justify it, because I'm not, just pointing out your own sources are still the product of a State influenced propaganda machine.

Re:Life in Syria sucks all around (4, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915861)

That 'oppressive dictator' has the support of the majority of Syrians.

It doesn't matter if he has support of 99% of the population. You still don't set up snipers to indiscriminately shoot civilians, use mortars and tanks to bombard neighborhoods, or block out international media and peacekeeping inspectors.

Re:Life in Syria sucks all around (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917685)

Well, to be fair, if 99% of the population likes it...

That would be a hell of a large S&M population, I'd say.

Re:Life in Syria sucks all around (3, Insightful)

poity (465672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916113)

And 99% of North Koreans support Kim Jong Un (the other 1% are in luxurious diet camps in the mountains). What's your point? Shit, a majority of Americans in February 2003 supported the imminent Iraq invasion. Guess that's alright by your book, and anyone who said anything different was a victim of anti-American propaganda right?

Re:Life in Syria sucks all around (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916209)

Democracy! Segregation also had the support of the majority of citizens in some of the southern states.

Re:Life in Syria sucks all around (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915893)

The summary doesn't "blame it all on George Bush"; it points out the reasonably neutral fact that the sanctions he put in place hobbled Syrian game development companies. Since putting economic pressure on the regime is the *point* of sanctions, the fact that it worked in this case is neither here nor there as to whether the sanctions were justified.

Perhaps you think the idea of a Syrian game development company is just silly. I don't see why a county of 22 million people couldn't produce a few successful small time game development studios, especially after the iPhone came on the market. The top two universities in Syria have 180,000 and 56,000 undergraduates respectively. Damascus University offers graduate programs in computer science and informatics through an in-country cooperative program with a British university.

Sounds like a country which could support a few companies in the gaming industry. And it wouldn't be silly at all for some Syrian hackers to start companies to produce games. Remember, it's not about *playing* games; it's about putting bread on the table by *creating* games for others to play. The median income from an iOS app is something like $3000. That's a lot of money in a country with a per capita GDP of $2800.

Re:Life in Syria sucks all around (1)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915913)

But very clever to blame it all on George Bush.

Shame on me, I RTFA. They blame it on two things, and they're right in the title: sanctions and violence.

Re:Life in Syria sucks all around (1)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916543)

Well no, there's no doubt oppressive dictatorships frequently don't create great environments for small businesses.

But Bush banning the import of game engines certainly didn't help the matter. It only compounds the problem when sanctions make the people more dependent on the dictatorship, not less.

Err...logic? (1)

Shoten (260439) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916679)

Okay, so here's the thing. It's not like Bashir Assad came to power just before the industry...small as it may have been...crumbled. He was there all along, and his father Hafez before him, who was even worse. So, if the dictatorship is what killed the industry, how did the industry come to be in the first place, eh? Sanctions kill business; that's the whole point of them. They deny trade and commerce, and in doing so cause economic hardship. And I think you're reading too much into the Huffington Post's comment; it's not like they are saying the sanctions are bad. If anyone's putting the logic and facts aside for the purposes of pure political loyalty, it's you.

Pronunciation (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915197)

Quirkat.... how do our pronounce it?

Drawing on my native language I am assuming it's "Queer cat".

Re:Pronunciation (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915329)

Over there, normally Qu's drop the u sound or, with an I turn it into a double ee. So I think it's Keerkat, Like Meercat but less simples.

Oh no! (0)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915203)

Now we'll *never* see "Grand Theft Jihad III"!

Re:Oh no! (2)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915571)

Ah yes, just throw the word 'jihad' in there. Instant comedy.

I wonder if they do the same over there? Just throw the word 'hot dog' or Uncle Sam into something barely related to the subject at hand for instant comedy about Americans.

Re:Oh no! (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915877)

Ah yes, just throw the word 'jihad' in there. Instant comedy.

Shut up. I keel you!

Re:Oh no! (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916379)

You're right. Grand Theft Jihad? So in the game you stead jihads? Huh?

He should have worked car bomb into the title somehow. Now THAT'S comedy!!!1!121! (bing! zip! rimshot!)

Re:Oh no! (1)

Shoten (260439) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916829)

No, but I hear the previews of 'Grand Theft Carbomb' are very promising. Very realistic...you blow up about a dozen people, and then a JDAM levels your house, and you pretend that you're winning! :)

Yet another reason to go after Bush (3, Informative)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915245)

For all of their bullshit about human rights, the neocon Bush administration threw the religious and ethnic minorities of Iraq to the wolves in the name of "democracy." Iraq has lost half of its Christian population because of the violence and persecution they've faced since the fall of the Ba'athist regime. The US needs to stop meddling in these countries; the "freedom fighters" are often as bad as the regimes they want to replace. Hell, even now in post-Kadaffi Libya, the Berbers are getting mistreated even worse than before.

When this is what democracy means, I say "fuck democracy."

Re:Yet another reason to go after Bush (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915269)

So...I guess we can blame Obama for the fleeing of Christians from Egypt and Libya for the same reasons right?

Re:Yet another reason to go after Bush (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915327)

So...I guess we can blame Obama for the fleeing of Christians from Egypt and Libya for the same reasons right?

We performed a full-scale invasion of Egypt and Libya?

Re:Yet another reason to go after Bush (0)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915441)

Does one need to do a full scale invasion or simply sit by and do nothing to be complicit in the same act? The answer is blindingly simple.

Re:Yet another reason to go after Bush (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915489)

I dont think it is simple, and for the record Im no fan of Obama.

Re:Yet another reason to go after Bush (4, Informative)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915569)

So it is bad to invade, but it is also bad to sit back and stay out of the rest of the worlds affairs? make up your minds people

Re:Yet another reason to go after Bush (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916497)

Yeah, meddling in other Middle East countries has turned out so well hasn't it? Obama is Bush 2.0, on steroids: more fearmongering, more meddling, more rights taken away, more corruption.

Re:Yet another reason to go after Bush (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917081)

So it is bad to invade, but it is also bad to sit back and stay out of the rest of the worlds affairs? make up your minds people

Well that was the point of my post. Kinda funny isn't it? It's kinda like gee, where are all those 'protests' about "war" and all that jazz that people had going on during Bush's term, yet when Obama launched a new war, there was silence.

Re:Yet another reason to go after Bush (3, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917359)

When you stand back, you are not the one directly responsible for what happens in those countries.

When you invade and trigger the persecutions, you are.

So, yes, it is worse to invade if you do it like that. The point is really rather that if you do invade on premise of "bringing freedom and democracy", then stay there long enough to actually make it work, forcibly if needed. You did that with Japan back in the day, so it's not a pipe dream.

Problem is, this kind of civilization project requires stronger commitment in terms of both money and military power. More importantly, it requires being honest about what you're doing and how, rather than playing PR games about how locals are running the show. Something that America seems to not have the balls for these days...

Re:Yet another reason to go after Bush (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915691)

Does one need to do a full scale invasion or simply sit by and do nothing to be complicit in the same act? The answer is blindingly simple.

So... if we interfere it's our fault, and if we don't interfere... it's still our fault?

Wow, I guess I was wrong, my country doesn't hold a monopoly on idiots who reason in a circular motion...

Re:Yet another reason to go after Bush (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916407)

It's more of a wibbly wobbly elliptical reason.

Re:Yet another reason to go after Bush (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915621)

Ironically, many of the same folks that support our current president would have no problems if the US lost 1/2 of its Christian population. So is it too much to ask for consistancy?

Re:Yet another reason to go after Bush (0)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915887)

Iraq's mess is the first Bush's fault for listening to the consensus that we shouldn't go the rest of the way into Baghdad. The people were looking to us to liberate them from Saddam, instead we stopped short, leaving him in power for another decade. No wonder they hate us.

Syria? (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915249)

Never figured Syria had a large gaming economy. Sanctions were supposedly imposed when Syria supposedly started supplying weapons to Iraq. Probably just as much BS as the rest of what Bush said but I doubt it was to ruin the gaming industry there.

Re:Syria? (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915371)

I think the point of economic sanctions to ruin a nation's entire economy. And Slashdot picked out just the games part so it will fit in with this website.

Re:Syria? (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917433)

I think the point of economic sanctions to ruin a nation's entire economy

No, the point of sanctions is to urge the sensible people in the country to make [Insert Oppressive Dictator or Evil Policy Here] go away, for their own sake and everyone else's ... without having to get into armed conflict from the outside. When someone like Saddam Hussein shows his own people that he's perfectly willing to steal their food/medicine relief support for his pet army, and take the oil-for-food cash for use in building more really ugly palaces and to buy missle parts from North Korea, then sanctions start looking rather counterproductive. They really don't work on completely corrupt regimes that have absolutely no problem with starving their own people. See: North Korea.

Of course, NK is getting help from China, so that messes up the recipe. And Syria's getting lots of support from the Dictator's Club For Men, and can rely on places like Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and even Russia to keep them afloat, too.

JUST LIKE MEXICO'S GAMES INDUSTRY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915267)

And we all said, at least we got each other !! Now let's go make us some drugs we can sell to those stinkin gringos !! Only we said it in mexican !!

You like Iran, you lose! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915271)

The Syrian regime is collateral damage to our policy against Iran.

Without Syria as an ally to Iran, Iran would be more isolated and it would work out better for us.

Let's spread democrary to Syria!

Re:You like Iran, you lose! (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915629)

iran would just take them over after we leave the impotent democratic government that depends on us for everything behind. democracy is good if people want it and would rather vote on an issue the blow there neighbour to hell over it.

really? (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915283)

assad is a murderous tyrant, but we want to focus on sanctions george bush put on his regime... and its effects on the gaming industry? this is the important thing to talk about?

if you demonstrate an eagerness to talk about the usa and american actions, or GAMING, for crying out loud... on the topic of a country currently under the full force of mass murder of civilians by a true tyrant on a daily basis for months... you look like you are less motivated by actual principles and more like you are either obsessed with the usa or lack all proportionality in your ability to think about and understand the world you live in

really? the fucking gaming industry is the important issue here? i'm pretty fucking sure the entire syrian gaming industry would agree with me: "uhhh... that's a little unimportant right now, they are murdering us"

there are people dying in this world for rights that some people in the west take completely for granted... because obviously, it's more important to talk about fucking videogames, on the topic of syria right now

wake the fuck up, you coddled fat suburbanites

Re:really? (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915355)

Oh, shut up you sanctimonious twat. It's looking at the effect on an industry as a result of Assad's destructive actions and the sanctions they incurred.

It's called taking a perspective, one of many you can have in places as diverse as the middle east.

Re:really? (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915481)

did you see the part of the story summary where it focuses on the sanctions under the bush govt?

or is it more important to you to call people sanctimonious twats on the basis of reactions that only exist inside your head?

Re:really? (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915505)

Yeah he points out the sanctions hit the nation hard and killed an industry that was just starting up. And you whine that they even gave the games industry over there a slice of attention.

Re:really? (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915677)

current events pop quiz for you: what is happening in syria right now?

how would rate the importance of that current event in regard to the topic of the videogame industry there?

scratch that: if a syrian game developer were in this comment thread right now (something that would actually endanger his life), do you think maybe he would be saying something like, gee, i dunno "HELLO, SPOILED FAT CLUELESS WESTERNERS, WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT VIDEOGAMES, THEY ARE MURDERING US"

what do you think?

this is reality, asshole:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2135413/Syrian-rebel-buried-alive-gunpoint-horrific-video-emerge-brutal-civil-war.html [dailymail.co.uk]

this guy was buried alive because he was passing video of what is going on in syria to news organizations

now go ahead, keep on talking about fucking videogames

clueless, fat, spoiled, coddled, useless westerners

Re:really? (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916003)

current events pop quiz for you: what is happening in syria right now?

A world of shit.

how would rate the importance of that current event in regard to the topic of the videogame industry there?

Probably higher, but that doesn't make them mutually exclusive.

if a syrian game developer were in this comment thread right now (something that would actually endanger his life), do you think maybe he would be saying something like, gee, i dunno "HELLO, SPOILED FAT CLUELESS WESTERNERS, WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT VIDEOGAMES, THEY ARE MURDERING US"

According to the article, a lot of them have straight up left the country. And those that haven't, probably aren't in a position to comment.

Do you seriously think we're ignoring everything else that's going on and focusing solely on video games? Because that's what you're screaming, rather than acknowledging that there's a lot more going on. Here we have all the news in the world focusing on the shit happening in Syria, one article comes along focusing on an industry we're familiar with and you lose your shit.

Re:really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916141)

Well, it is a bit like saying "The world is coming to an end folks, but look - this bunneh rabbit has a twisted whisker! Me must help teh bunneh." And you want to focus on the rabbit.

Seriously. People getting murdered >> any "industry" (gaming or not)

Re:really? (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916189)

"Do you seriously think we're ignoring everything else that's going on and focusing solely on video games? "

yes, i do actually believe that there are fat clueless spoiled pampered westerners who care more about videogames than reality

i don't go into videogame forums and scream about syria. but on the topic of syria itself, the cognitive dissonance is too much for me to put up with this

there really are more important things going on this world than the fucking framerate on your fps, you fat spoiled clueless fucks

Re:really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916465)

So what have you done to help Syria, Mr. Avenger?

Re:really? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916605)

got it. me saying the right thing to do is wrong because you don't have a PGP signed certificate of my resume

why does it matter who i am? is what i say right, or wrong? isn't that all that matters on an anonymous forum?

is it that you don't act on any principles until someone else does first? so you are a blind follower? no? the why does it fucking matter WHO says something on an anonymous forum? if you have principles, you act on them, no matter who i am or what someone else does

this is where you say "i'll take that as a no" and completely miss the point. you don't know me, or what i am doing. but you'll pass judgment to satisfy your own smug desire to do nothing

Re:really? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915515)

And once again the game industry is utterly unimportant in this context. Its not like it was one of Syrias mainstay industries that is now in shambles. I mean, if you asked the average Syrian, do you think he would care in the lease about the state of the Syrian gaming industry?

Re:really? (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915573)

They may not care, but it's interesting to look at what happens to a familiar industry when your nation is hit by sanctions thanks to your utterly insane ruler. It also shows that said ruler isn't necessarily impacted, but the economy takes a hit and your best and brightest are forced to go elsewhere.

Re:really? (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916035)

They may not care, but it's interesting to look at what happens to a familiar industry when your nation is hit by sanctions thanks to your utterly insane ruler. It also shows that said ruler isn't necessarily impacted, but the economy takes a hit and your best and brightest are forced to go elsewhere.

The point of economic sanctions is that it's not supposed to impact the leader of the target state. If you want to impact the leader, you impose travel sanctions and freeze any externally held assets. The point of economic sanctions is to essentially strangle the economy and the government's ability to undertake regular government functions (supply/pay the military, hand out pensions, provide basic services). Generally when economic sanctions are imposed it coincides with an increased tempo and possibly even use of the military and police apparatus, which creates further pressure as they are now using far more resources than would normally be necessary. Basically the whole point is to cause internal pressure on the government by creating dissension among the civilian population or in the military. This would cause one of 2 outcomes: the government eventually gives in to international demands, thereby lifting the sanctions, or the government folds, either due to protests by civilians, a breakdown of the security forces, or even an outright coup by the military.

Of course, as you said, it is the people themselves that get hurt, not the leaders. The international world knows this, as does the leader in question. So the question boils down to either causing suffering for an innocent population, or let their leader use that innocent population as hostages that he can hide behind. And if you let him do it once, he will keep doing it. So generally it is decided that economic sanctions, while terrible for a population in the short run, will benefit them more than the alternative in the long run.

Hi, Welcome to Slashdot (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915397)

assad is a murderous tyrant, but we want to focus on sanctions george bush put on his regime... and its effects on the gaming industry? this is the important thing to talk about?

The sanctions are part of the history of Syria's currently ailing game development industry. Think of this as maybe a case history of how a destabilized nation can lose out on arts and entertainment due to sanctions. This is, arguably, the point of sanctions: not to deplete food, water, shelter but more so the nice-to-haves (one of which is games).

if you demonstrate an eagerness to talk about the usa and american actions, or GAMING, for crying out loud... on the topic of a country currently under the full force of mass murder of civilians by a true tyrant on a daily basis for months... you look like you are less motivated by actual principles and more like you are either obsessed with the usa or lack all proportionality in your ability to think about and understand the world you live in

really? the fucking gaming industry is the important issue here? i'm pretty fucking sure the entire syrian gaming industry would agree with me: "uhhh... that's a little unimportant right now, they are murdering us"

You seem to have misread this article from the PoV as we are trying to help save Syrian lives. That's not really the case and the mainstream media has already covered this issue fairly well. You're actually reading a techie site called Slashdot where games and technology are two important topics. While politics and conflict sometimes find their way into the discussion, it's usually kept to the topics most important to us. Just because humans are losing their lives and that's the most important thing, doesn't mean we have to ignore the facets that are important to us and also affected by this conflict. As such, you can turn your attention to a variety of other news sources if you want body counts or UN actions. But if you're curious about the collateral to Syria's Games Industry, here is a unique story on it. It's not meant to replace the reporting on the actual conflict but mildly augment it.

there are people dying in this world for rights that some people in the west take completely for granted... because obviously, it's more important to talk about fucking videogames, on the topic of syria right now

wake the fuck up, you coddled fat suburbanites

You seem to make the assumption that because we're talking about Syrian games and not people dying that we don't care about it. Did you know that last night The Simpsons aired at its regular time slot instead of emergency 24/7 reporting on all television channels about the conflict in Syria? And I suppose we're all horrible awful inhuman demons for not constantly talking about death in Syria? Instead of instructing me to "wake the fuck up, you coddled fat suburbanite" I suggest you consider the possibility that I am capable of consuming a very diverse range of news reports, this being one of a particular topic. And to stop assuming that this is the only coverage of Syria I'm being exposed to.

Here at Slashdot, games are art. Art is culture. And a destruction of culture is indeed an important topic. Syria appeared to be a major hub of game development in the Middle East and Arab World so of course it is important to note when their game industry is sent back to the stone age. This means that a large part of the world isn't getting something that is integral to our lifestyle and it will be a long time before that industry catches up with the West. Which is truly unfortunate because, unlike nuclear weapons, these are cultural experiences that can be enjoyed the world over.

Re:Hi, Welcome to Slashdot (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915519)

i too like to look at ants building small mounds on the side of the road instead of the fiery multicar pile up and people screaming for their lives two feet away

zzz

You Seemed to Be Okay with It in 2009 (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915791)

i too like to look at ants building small mounds on the side of the road instead of the fiery multicar pile up and people screaming for their lives two feet away

zzz

Well, back in 2009, you were submitting [slashdot.org] and commenting [slashdot.org] on a story about violent video game law in the United States. At the time the United States was being accused of civilian deaths in Afghanistan [youtube.com] yet you seemed capable to "look at ants building small mounds on the side of the road" in that situation. Now what is so special about Syria that we can't talk about the state of their video games? Surely -- if you yourself can submit and comment on articles about US video game law while said country wages war and kills innocents and insurgents -- we can comment at this point in time on Syria's video games industry, can't we?

Replace 2009 with 2007 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915827)

misread the time stamp on that article

bad analogy (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915865)

on the subject of syria, it is absurd to focus on molehills instead of mountains. don't ask me, i would be willing to wager any syrian would agree with me here

on the subject of the usa in 2009, the involvement of the usa in afghanistan would be topic #1... in a topic thread about afghanistan. any afghani would agree with you on that

so if those topics you cite had to do directly with afghanistan, you would be correct

Re:bad analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915971)

on the subject of syria, it is absurd to focus on molehills instead of mountains. don't ask me, i would be willing to wager any syrian would agree with me here

Except for maybe the developers quoted in the article?

Country is at war, #1 concern for that country is the war. Post stories about the state of games inside the country. Analogy is apt. Just because you're the United States doesn't mean you get to have and discuss a long list of priorities while other nations are running around screaming about only one problem.

Re:bad analogy (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916153)

i am so so sorry, to suggest on the topic of syria, that there might be something gee i dunno, slightly more fucking important than videogames right now?

and i'm glad the syrian can vent with some escapist black humor. he needs no reminding of what is most important, he sees and hears it around him every day. we owe it to him to acknowledge we know what is most important as well

Re:really? (1)

bbbaldie (935205) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915401)

Yes, shut up. Dammit, we have a chance to rant about Bush here, and you're ruining it for everybody!

Re:really? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915499)

+1 insightful

Re:really? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915835)

Apparently the Syrians themselves want to talk about it. If they want to talk about it, I can't see why you should have a problem with it. And you probably don't, after ranting like that, you'll probably go drink a coffee and forget about it.

This line was hilarious, "You can test the action on the streets and get back to your desktop to script it on your keyboard," and it comes from a Syrian himself. Best of luck to all freedom-loving Syrians.

Re:really? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915915)

escapist black humor does help. a syrian in syria needs no reminder of what is most important in syria right now. he can hear it and see it. we owe it to him to keep our minds focused on what is most important too, for his sake

Re:really? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916041)

Are you suggesting Obama should send the US army over there to intervene? Because words are pointless.

Re:really? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916119)

no, i suggest russia and china grow a human conscience and allow INTERNATIONAL forces to intervene, as with libya, with good success

Re:really? (1)

Bootsy Collins (549938) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916405)

no, i suggest russia and china grow a human conscience

Good luck with that.

Re:really? (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916493)

i suggest russia and china grow a human conscience

OK.

Um... how does that happen, exactly?

Re:really? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917455)

allow INTERNATIONAL forces to intervene, as with libya, with good success

What "success"? The one where rebels are openly flying al-Qaeda flags over captured government buildings, are "cleaning out" towns that were disproportionally loyalist, and are ethnically cleansing the country of its black population?

Yup, that's exactly the kind of thing Syria needs. In fact it'll probably go even better there, what with it having a prominent split between Sunni majority and Alawi and Christian minorities. If Libya model is followed, where the West did not intervene directly other than supplying firepower to the rebels, those rebels - and specifically the more militant factions (read: al-Qaeda) will be the ones in power by the end of the exercise. Which will result in a massacre of religious minorities.

If Western countries really wanted to make the region better, they need to send ground forces there (Libya and Syria both), occupy it, and administer it themselves until a secular society can be established there. Which will probably take decades, billions of dollars in money, and thousands of soldier lives, which is something the West doesn't have the guts for. But it's the only thing that works. What we see today is just meddling that only makes things worse.

THIS is your criticism of economic sanctions? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915287)

Yes, economic sanctions harm a country's economy. This should not be news. That's precisely what they're designed to do. It's the stick to encourage behavior (in this particilar case, the decades-long occupation of Lebanon and state sponsorship of Hamas).

But, yeah, they do have side effects. And THIS is the one you're focusing on? Oh, no, we can't produce videogames domestically as easily!

You want to talk side effects of sanctions? Talk about people starving without food aid. Talk of infrastructure crumbling because they can't get funding to finance those projects (which will cripple the economy for decades). Talk about people who can't get proper medical care. Talk about small shop owners who can't make ends meet. But video game developers? THEY'RE the victims you want to cry out for?

Re:THIS is your criticism of economic sanctions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915347)

To the person who modded this "Funny," I assure neither I nor anyone in Syria is laughing about it.

Re:THIS is your criticism of economic sanctions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915745)

Looks like two people modded it Funny, that would mean one ordinary Slashdotter and Assad himself. Hi Assad!

Re:THIS is your criticism of economic sanctions? (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915387)

And this is Slashdot so you're modded "Funny". But if you said all of them deserve to die anyway, you probably would have been modded "Informative".

Have you noticed the "News for nerds" thingy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915539)

"People are starving all around the world and yet you focus on patent wars between technology companies? Shame on you, slashdot! Shame on you!"

We all know what economic sanctions do to a country. I, for one, thought it was fascinating to read a bit about the middle eastern games industry and how the current politics affect it. If you want to know about the situation in general, there is always the... you know... rest of the media. I think that this approach is both educational and interesting and suits this target audience well.

But I guess we could just forget the target audience and state that there is no reason to have news about layoffs of large tech companies when there are still children starving. And forget Raspberry Pi while there are military dictatorships. And forget copyright issues when there are still rainforests that are being cut down...

Developers, developers, developers (1)

ZeRu (1486391) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915309)

First time I've heard of Syrian Game developers...guess it's also going to be the last.

Cause and effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915315)

After reading this:

Any momentum Syria may have been building as a regional game development hub slowed considerably in 2004, when then-US President George W. Bush levied economic sanctions against the country.

How can you jump to conclusion that

Syria's games industry now looks like just another collateral casualty of dictator Bashar Al-Assad's struggle to hold power.

The summary is politically biased, to say the least. Sanctions crippled the game industry, under dictatorship they seemed to be doing well enough.

Nice spin there (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915357)

another collateral casualty of dictator Bashar Al-Assad's struggle to hold power

Whether you like Al-Assad or not, it is not his fault the West is imposing sanctions on the country and terrorizing the Syrian people. This is an aggression by the Western Powers that has been planned for over 10 years just like General Wesley Clark told the world back in 2007.

Re:Nice spin there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916031)

another collateral casualty of dictator Bashar Al-Assad's struggle to hold power

Whether you like Al-Assad or not, it is not his fault the West is imposing sanctions on the country and terrorizing the Syrian people. This is an aggression by the Western Powers that has been planned for over 10 years just like General Wesley Clark told the world back in 2007.

Yes, that is a nice bit of spin you've engaged in. The sanctions came as a result of Syria's actions, not the other way around. And saying that it was the sanctions which are terrorizing the people is just fucking retarded. I'm pretty sure it was the part where the government was shooting unarmed civilians that caused the bulk of the terror. But please, tell me more about how not having access to John Carmack's latest 3D game engine has struck fear in the hearts of the population.

Fucking Muppets...

So what we really mean to say is this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915785)

Game development is no longer Syria's business?

Been done (1)

paxcoder (1222556) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915889)

Not sure by whom, but I've heard about something like this (>5?) years ago.

Re:Been done (1)

paxcoder (1222556) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915905)

Wrong thread.

Oh boy here we goo (1)

Sav1or (2600417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915973)

inb4 some liberal rambling about how Bush hates the gaming industry.

What about the poor Iranian game developers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916029)

George Bush destroyed the hopes and aspirations of game developers working in oppressive dictatorships around the globe. We should provide low interest business development loans to these downtrodden developers so that computer gaming can thrive, even in countries where most people have never seen a computer and are mistakenly concerned with peripheral nonsense like eating and freedom.

Misplaced responsibility (1)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916509)

Any momentum Syria may have been building as a regional game development hub slowed considerably in 2004, when then-US President George W. Bush levied economic sanctions against the country.

So Bush made the conscious decision to prohibit investment in Syria, but Syria's president is responsible for this. And when a man beats his wife, it's her fault for "making him do it," right?

Re:Misplaced responsibility (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917565)

So Bush made the conscious decision to prohibit investment in Syria, but Syria's president is responsible for this.

Correct.

And when a man beats his wife, it's her fault for "making him do it," right?

I don't know... is she supplying weapons and cash to terrorist networks? Is she running a Ba'athist dictatorship that took delivery of lots of Saddam Hussein's VX gas stockpiles and uses snipers to kill pro-democracy political protesters on the street? If she is, then yeah, she made him do it.

So, we have to assume you're just clumisly trying to be ironic, or that you're incredibly disingenuous, or that you're badly under-informed and form really poor understandings of the nature of the world. Please do not vote.

Proof that video games don't cause violence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917281)

If these sanctions took effect in 2004, and the rebellion didn't start until 2011(?), then that means there were ~7 years in which the game developers were sitting around playing games instead of making them. Therefore, either video games don't cause violence, or there is a 7 year lead time. Since we never consider cause-effect beyond the previous U.S. presidential term (1997-2004 it was Clinton's fault, 2005-2012 it was Bush's fault, 2013-? it was Obama's fault) then that means a 7 year lead time is preposterous. The only logical conclusion is... video games don't cause violence.

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