1979 Revolution: A Cinematic Adventure Game

App review by
Jenny Bristol, Common Sense Media
1979 Revolution: A Cinematic Adventure Game App Poster Image
Violent, intriguing first-person perspective of revolution.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about Iran's history, empathize with the various people involved in the revolution, and get a sense of what the ramifications of this type of conflict can be. More depth is needed for a full picture of the revolution and the Iranian people and their culture, but this game provides an intriguing starting point.

Ease of Play

Little direction on how to interact with the scenes, and interactive scenes with tapping and swiping don't always function correctly.

Violence

Police brutality, interrogation, beating, torture, death, blood, and weapons, though all is related to historical circumstances and isn't gratutitous.

Sex

There is one scene with some negative references to a woman's sex life, but the game's focus is elsewhere.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that 1979 Revolution is the mobile version of the computer game that tells the gripping and sometimes violent story of the time surrounding the 1979 Iranian revolution through personal viewpoints. Because it includes many scenes of violence, including torture, murder, and weapons, it's best for older teens. Also, the mobile version's controls are occasionally glitchy, which can affect gameplay. Parents may want to play through the game before having their older kids play and then discuss the themes, events, and cultural topics that come up as their kids play through. At the time of review, no privacy policy is available.

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What's it about?

Right from the start in 1979 REVOLUTION, players are thrust into the action of the chaotic time before and after the 1979 Iranian revolution to overthrow the pro-Western Shah. In this interactive story, you claim to be just a photographer, but your friends and family are involved in the demonstrations and politics, and since you're connected to them you become involved, too. You've been sent a bunch of pictures of the revolution and are then caught by police and put in Evin Prison where you're interrogated and where your captors try to trick you into giving up your friends. The story then jumps back in time to just before the revolution. Now you're with a friend, watching a crowd demonstrate for a change in government. Throughout the game, you spend time with friends and family, taking photos of items and events, and walking through the streets filled with activity and demonstrations, with all your photos getting recorded in the game's encyclopedia.

This encyclopedia helps players learn about the cultural aspects of the Iranian people and the revolution, including such topics as the tradition of offering and drinking tea, receiving gold coins on your wedding day, political posters, and important people and places in history. It's also where you can compare your game photos with actual photos taken at the time, deepening the experience. A combination of video and interactive scenes, the game occasionally lets you quickly choose a course of action or piece of dialogue, and more active scenes let you dodge and jump. If your character dies, you can retry that scene. Also, since the game has three profile saves, players can try out different options. 

Is it any good?

An immersive experience, this game allows players to experience a snapshot of what it was like in Iran during the revolution, but it's not just blood, violence, and demonstrations. Learning about Iranian culture through the conversations and encyclopedia helps integrate kids' knowledge of the violent revolution and the human side to the story.The real appeal of the game is that it puts players in the shoes of a person in the midst of conflict and strife. You see how families can get caught up on opposite sides of the issues, and it's rarely clear what the "right" answer is. Sometimes it doesn't even matter what you choose. And, as with reality, the lines between right and wrong are blurred and distorted, challenging players to make difficult choices. The game's content is based on actual people and events and is based on first-person accounts, though there is some controversy around the story it tells. Though the animation of the game is a bit stiff, it isn't too distracting, but many of the voices are very quiet, and the text that pops up on the screen is a little haphazard. Subtitles are small, and it's hard to tell where you're supposed to look, with text disappearing faster than you can read it. The game also doesn't have much built-in help, except occasional notices about what you're supposed to do. You just have to wander or tap things or look around. There's a time limit on many options, and it's easy to not respond in time. The mobile version also seems to have some control glitches, so that tapping or swiping doesn't always register, which can cause your character to die. Despite its flaws, this type of game introduces an exciting way to blend gaming and historical learning in a seamless and immersive world.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games and how the context or different treatment of violent acts might make a difference. How might the violence in this game differ from a shooting game you play just for fun? Does the history change how the violence might affect the player?

  • Families can talk about how war and conflict can sometimes tear families apart. The family divide in this game can be compared and contrasted with the American Civil War, where brothers and cousins also sometimes fought on opposite sides of the battle. How would you handle it if you were on the opposite side of a conflict from some of your family?

  • Pull out a globe or a world map and find Iran. Study its location in the world, and discuss how that part of the world has changed over the past 40 years, looking up resources on the internet as needed. Compare and contrast the types of government that are currently in place in that region with other regimes during the past 50 years.

  • Consider the cultural traditions brought up in the game, included in the game's encyclopedia. Research more about those Iranian traditions and discuss them. Knowing how other people live on a daily basis helps kids empathize with a different culture.

App details

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