Digitally Downloaded (Australia)

iNK Stories has, in 1979 Revolution: Black Friday, created a narrative exploration of the Iranian Revolution in 1979, which provides insight on the events that transpired by giving players the opportunity to live through them. And it is such an important game. Everyone should play it.

The Shah of Iran was deposed in 1979, and the constitutional monarchy was replaced with a new government, the Islamic Republic of Iran. This government was led by the Grand Ayatollah Khomeini, and the institution of sharia law changed the fabric of Iranian society. It is the events leading up to the revolution itself that are the focal point of the game created by iNK Stories, and it is through the eyes of main character Reza Shirazi that the events are experienced.

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Zam

1979 Revolution is an adept depiction of the chaos, ambiguity, and uncertainty which characterizes real historical events-- but which other games rarely communicate.

1979 Revolution: Black Friday knocks you sideways first thing. The game begins with the protagonist Reza in a prison interrogation room. In front of him sits a tape recorder, a file folder, and his camera. A sinister interrogator gives him tea and asks him questions. Despite the real-life setting and cultural details, any gamer knows the drill. We’ve done the Interrogation Resistance Section before in Metal Gear Solid. Just be strong and tell them nothing -- they’ll give up eventually. Rescue will come.

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Game Planet

Politics is a tough subject to approach in video games. It requires propulsive writing and firm tone, both of which are difficult to maintain interactively. Most games that tackle political subject material are merely action games set against a vaguely political backdrop. Add the intricacy of political situations and the sheer volume of information required - see the Democracy series’ cluttered interface - and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

Which is why it’s so refreshing to see, in 1979 Revolution: Black Friday, a bona fide political thriller that engages deeply and empathetically with its subject material, maintains interactivity, and stays riveting throughout.

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XGN (Netherlands)

1979 Revolution Black Friday is op 5 april uitgekomen op Steam. De game vertelt het verhaal van de Iraanse revolutie in de jaren '70. De game is duidelijk bedoeld om de speler meer te leren over de donkere tijden in Iran tussen 1950 en 1980. Of dat gelukt is, lees je in onze 1979 Revolution Black Friday review!

In 1979 Revolution: Black Friday speel je als Reza Shirazi, een aspirant foto journalist die net terug is gekomen in Iran vanuit Duitsland waar hij heeft gestudeerd. Reza is behoorlijk onwetend over de toestand waarin zijn thuisland zich verkeert en komt bijna per toeval terecht in de revolutie. De revolutie vecht tegen de koning van Iran, de Shah. De Shah wil van Iran een islamitische staat maken, iets waar veel Iraniërs het niet mee eens zijn.

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GameReactor

Prior to writing up this review we must confess we knew very little about the revolution that took place in Iran in the late 1970s. We didn't learn much (if anything) about it in school, even if some of our classmates had fled the country as a result of the unrest and the changes it brought with it. And while almost 40 years have passed, it's a historical event that still very much reverberates in the region, its effects still causing ripples today.

Ultimately playing the game made us want to look things up and it helped us connect a few dots that had previously eluded us about the region. And while this game may not paint the complete picture it does whet your appetite and inspire you to find out more.

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Techrasa

1979 REVOLUTION: Black Friday is an action-adventure video game about Iran’s revolution in 1979. This game made a lot of noise in Iran since the Iranian government stated that the story is twisted and is not based on facts.

There are many video games out there but this one particular game is different. How is it different? well, if you release a game about Iran, it would get so much attention inside the country and 1979 REVOLUTION: Black Friday is no different. The game grabbed a lot of attention in the past few days in Iran since the government and many organizations claimed that the story is not based on facts and it’s twisted.

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Arcade Sushi

When we talk about video games, there is and perhaps always will be a debate going on about the fun factor of a game and how that dictates the game’s worth. iNK Stories & N-Fusion Interactive’s 1979 Revolution: Black Friday is the kind of game that is likely to add fuel to that debate. In a world where racial, religious and political tensions are still unfortunately in the spotlight, 1979 chooses to observe the revolution that took place in Iran against the monarchy led by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The game has some slight technical flaws and pacing issues that work against its goal, but it is nonetheless a gripping snapshot of human hope, passion and cruelty from a personal perspective.

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Dork Shelf

Developed by iNK Stories and set during the Iranian Revolution against the Shah, 1979 Revolution: Black Friday has a narrative focus that places it somewhere between Life is Strange and Heavy Rain. It combines scenes that allow for exploration and photography with quick time events that ratchet up the tension, while the snappy dialogue rarely gives you much time to consider your responses. The game forces you to make moral decisions and form allegiances in a complex and rapidly escalating situation.

The result is a game with some thrilling moments and an incredible sense of context. The plot centers around Reza Shirazi, a striving photojournalist returning to Tehran after studying abroad in Germany. Reza recaps events leading up to the Black Friday massacre in 1978 while sitting in an interrogation chamber in prison in 1980, and it’s an effective framing device that clarifies the stakes for the people at the heart of the revolution. The earlier chapters are naively optimistic, and every return to the present reminds you that there is no happy ending.

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The Washington Post

From the perspective of the present, it can be tempting to view the past as an orderly succession of occurrences. Good history, whatever its form, should remind us that those caught up in the spirit of their times were not predestined to any particular outcome. “1979 Revolution” is a sharp new title that explores the Iranian Revolution as a dynamic entity and not as a settled thing of forgone conclusion. This vérité-­style game — told with graphic novel economy — is based on the stories of over forty interview subjects whose views of the Revolution span different ideological lines.

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IGN

Capturing the complexity of the Iranian revolution is hard to do in just two hours, but 1979 Revolution: Black Friday makes a noble and ultimately effective attempt. Thanks to an interesting cast of characters, impressive performances, and a respectful mix of drama and Telltale Games-style quick-time event action, 1979 Revolution kept me hooked all the way through and even managed to deliver an engaging history lesson along the way.

The hope, passion, danger, secrecy, and tragedy of the real Iranian revolution makes it a fascinating time and place to set a story and 1979 Revolution manages to hit on all these points in its short, but sweet two hours. It’s set just days before the tragic turning point in the revolution known as the Black Friday massacre, which left several dozens of civilians dead in Tehran’s Jaleh Square after the army opened fire on a crowd.

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NPR

Renee Montagne talks to Navid Khonsari, who has designed a new video game based on the Iranian revolution. The game — 1979 Revolution: Black Friday — is banned in Iran.

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COG Connected

The year is 1978, and you are Reza Shirazi, a photographer who has returned home from abroad to find his country in increasing turmoil. This Telltale-style game is set during the Iranian Revolution, and while it does have its flaws, its importance is undeniable. Given today’s context of a post-9/11 world, this game sheds an attentive light on one part of Muslim socio-political history and all of its complexities. 1979 Revolution: Black Friday is not the first video game to teach history lessons alongside good gameplay (a beloved example being Valiant Hearts), but it portrays a controversial and underrepresented topic with such historical empathy that a trail blazing behind it is certain.

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Hooked Gamers

A cursory glance at 1979 Revolution: Black Friday may have the average person either assuming that it’s a new adventure game from Telltale or somebody trying to emulate Telltale’s formula. From the four way conversation option menu (in which silence is always a valid option), the binary and obvious branching two option menu and the ‘he/she will remember that’ notification that pops up in the corner, this has all the trademarks of a Telltale game. 

Except it isn’t; in the same way that 80s and 90s industry giant Sierra On-Line pioneered the graphic adventure game genre and introduced a parser-based game engine which other companies then emulated, Telltale has taken point in the adventure game genre by introducing a far more accessible, streamlined experience focusing more on storytelling over particularly taxing gameplay mechanics. And unlike Telltale’s efforts, 1979 Revolution focuses instead on real-life events. Originally incepted in 2013 but failing to meet its initial Kickstarter goal, the game was nevertheless worked on until it was finally funded; this has obviously been a labour of love for its developer, whose background includes work for Rockstar Games.

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Multiplayer (Italy)

Anni fa fu pubblicato un piccolo gioco indipendente chiamato The Cat and the Coup che racconta del Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh, il primo Primo Ministro iraniano eletto democraticamente, deposto con un colpo di stato organizzato dalla CIA nel 1953. Il motivo è facile da immaginare: il controllo dei pozzi petroliferi iraniani. Gli storici attribuiscono a quegli anni l'inizio del declino dell'Iran che porterà alla rivoluzione del 1979, con l'esilio dell'ultimo Scià di Persia, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, e la salita al potere del Khomeinismo, con tutto ciò che ha comportato. 1979 Revolution: Black Friday, tenta di raccontare proprio quei giorni, ma lo fa in modo originale, quantomeno per il medium videoludico.

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PC Games (Germany)

Seit Jahrzehnten steht der Iran im Fokus der Weltöffentlichkeit aufgrund der anhaltenden Spannungen zwischen dem Mullah-Regime und dem Westen. Der ehemalige US-Präsident George W. Bush bezeichnete das Land als Teil der Achse des Bösen. Entsprechend wird der Iran auch bei uns vor allem als radikaler islamischer Staat wahrgenommen. Dabei hat das Gebiet zwischen Kaspischen Meer und Persischen Golf, das bis Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts vor allem als Persien bezeichnet wurde, eine lange und bewegte Geschichte. In einem Teil dieser Geschichte entführen uns die Entwickler von iNK Stories (darunter einige Exil-Iraner) mit 1979 Revolution: Black Friday.

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Huffington Post

So when is public education going to get on board the “video game as instruction” revolution? The use of video games as an instructional tool is so obvious to some of us. Why is it always so difficult for public education to catch on? I strongly believe that our educational system is so conservative that we simply cannot fathom the idea of using “video games” as an instructional tool. There was a time not long ago that the words “video games” were synonymous with “a complete waste of time and energy”. That is simply not true. With proper guidance from teachers and/or parent supervision, video games can be an unprecedented learning tool for the 21st century.

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ICXM

1979 The Revolution: Black Friday is a game created by two indie studios, iNK Stories, and N-Fusion Interactive. iNK Stories was created back in 2006 by the gaming veteran, former Rockstar developer, and filmmaker Navid Khonsari, and his wife Vassiliki Khonsari, documentary filmmaker and visual anthropologist. While at Rockstar, Khonsari worked in some of the company's famous titles such as GTA 3, Vice City, San Andreas, Max Payne, Max Payne 2, Midnight Club 2, and Midnight Club 3, just to name a few. Once he created the indie studio with his wife, he had also worked with Remedy on Alan Wake and Kaos Studios on Homefront, among other collaborations for other games. His work was mainly related to marketing and promotional campaigns. As for N-Fusion Interactive, you might know them from games such as Frontlines: Fuel of War and Hour of Victory for Xbox 360. This shows how the two development studios clearly knew what they were doing.

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War Is Boring

The interrogator leans over Reza. “My name is Assadollah Lajevardi,” he says.

Reza is bloody and bruised. Scratches on his face, ropes across his wrists. The room is the non-descript gray of torture chambers everywhere. This is Iran’s Evin Prison — a building that’s easy to enter, but impossible to leave.

“Now,” Lajevardi says, “what is my name?”

Reza begins to repeat the name back to his interrogator but Lajevardi backhands him before he finishes. “Reza,” his tormentor says. “Why can’t you show me the decency of remembering my name? My name is Assadollah Lajevardi … but here in Evin they call me Hajj Agha. Now, what is my name?”

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PC Gamer

I first ran into 1979 Revolution: Black Friday in 2011, when former Rockstar developer Navid Khonsari announced his desire to make a game based on the Islamic Revolution in Iran that overthrew the Shah and installed a theocratic republic. A Kickstarter campaign a couple of years later fell short of its goal, but work continued, and earlier this month the game finally made its debut on Steam.

1979 Revolution is played from the perspective of Reza Shirazi, a photographer who returns to Iran after studying in Europe just as the revolution is catching fire. It's a very linear experience—such is the way of historical games—and plays much like a Telltale adventure, with many timed dialogs and a few quicktime events to get through. And it is not, to be clear, as hair-raising or action-packed as the trailer may make it seem: Most of the game is simple exploration, learning about Reza, his family, and his country by clicking on hot-spots and taking photos of pre-determined subjects. But it is unquestionably intense. The conversation response timer moves with an unforgiving quickness, and while the torture scenes that punctuate the pre-revolution narrative aren't graphic by current videogame standards, they are harrowing.

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Gaming Trend

Passion projects can produce some of the most inspiring work, but also some of the most disappointing. Creators of such personal pieces can expose certain stories that others have very little knowledge of, but they can also become so invested in one aspect that the rest of the project suffers. 1979 Revolution: Black Friday is the definition of a passion project for Navid Khonsari, so much so that he has risked beingbanned from re-entering his homeland just to get this message across to the public eye. 1979 is about the Iranian revolution that occurred throughout the late 70’s in attempts to overthrow the Shah and install a reliable government. Unfortunately, many westerners know very little about this subject, something that will undeniably change by the time you see 1979’s credits roll.

Heading this emotional journey is the main character Reza Shirazi, a man that bleeds pride for his country, but also has an unwavering commitment to his family. He seems to have little combat experience, but instead relies on being a photojournalist to uncover the truth around him. As you walk around the streets of Iran, you get notifications of different photo opportunities. An early showing of this comes during a protest that sees Reza on top of a building while people below show their disdain for the oppressive regime.

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