1979 Revolution: Black Friday is a historical story-driven interactive adventure game developed and published by iNK Stories. The game is available for purchase on Steam and the Apple Store. It can be played on Mac, PC, Android and iOS and will cost $4.99 on iOS.
iNK Stories unravels the explosive political change during the 1979 Iranian Revolution through the eyes of a civilian photographer.
When the word Iran appears, what do you think of? Shallow references to Islam, the Middle East, or perhaps even terrorism? Many of us will never know and likely will never care about a country so distant and faraway. However, let’s not live under a rock and presume that the Middle East is as simple and contrived as mainstream media portrays.
Iran was and is a country rich in history and culture. A culture renowned for its hospitality and grace. Of course, like any country with deep historical roots, shit has hit the fan in the path of revolution and destruction- all in the name of freedom.
The 1979 Iranian Revolution removed a US sponsored Shah (Leader of government). People were pissed about a Shah that in their eyes was a western puppet, positioned to take away the traditional identities of Iranian people. The regime was also becoming increasingly corrupt, brutal and oppressive. So what do the good people do? Rebel.
Ironically, while the revolution was supported by leftist movements including students, communists and other Islamic organizations that don’t like living under a US puppet, the person they put into power was extremely conservative- he was opposed to women’s rights for instance.
Story (Minor Spoilers)
You are Reza Shirazi, a civilian photographer visiting home to find his friends and families embroiled in a civil uprising against a corrupt and oppressive Shah.
The story begins with Reza being chased after and arrested by the secret police. He is thrown in Tehran’s infamous prison, Evin. Maybe you would have heard of the name on some CIA/FBI/Homeland TV show. When he wakes up, he is confronted by the biggest asshole interrogator who believes that torture is the best way to make someone talk. So through threats and blackmail, this self-named “Butcher” of Evin Prison, forces Reza to tell his story from the beginning.
Reza begins his narrative by talking about his friend Babak. Bakak tasks him with taking photos of the uprising as they walks through the streets full of passionate and very angry civilians. “Tell the world what is going on here. Show the world what is happening through your images. The camera is your weapon.” When the government forces begin to march in, would you choose to throw rocks at them to antagonize the situation or refuse the peer pressure and place your feet firmly in the pacifist camp?
Regardless of your choice, the main point of interaction in the game is through the camera. Each time a photo is taken of an event or significant moment, the screen pauses and two photos appear side by side. On the left is the one you just took in-game, on the right is the real life photo taken during the Iranian revolution.
As the story progresses, Reza finds out that a mole exists within the rebellion’s rank. Someone tried to murder the leader during the fight between civilians and government forces. In an effort to find the mole, the leader betrays your trust and uses your position as a photographer to weed out the traitor. Again, another moral dilemma.
To make matters worse, Reza’s family is pretty high up with the Shah. Helping the rebellion means betraying your family. What would you do?
Play 1979 Revolution: Black Friday and test your own morality. What would you do differently?
This is a review of the iOS version of 1979 Revolution: Black Friday. It is also available on Mac, Windows and Android.
Similar to the episodic adventures developed by Telltale, this game is choice-driven and the answers you choose will affect the ending of the story. You are forced to confront your morals and face difficult situations head on. Are you antagonistic or are you peace-maker? Are you a hero or a bystander?
1979 Revolution: Black Friday gives you a virtual glimpse of the many horrible and uncomfortable realities that exist in this world. While most of us will likely never experience this, understanding the complexities of how things can go to hell really, really fast puts into perspective many tragic events that are happening in the world today.
The main focus of the gameplay was the story and the flow of it was good and basically gave you a crash course into revolutionary history. However, I felt the story was rushed and the ending was a bit disappointing. The choice-driven aspect was done well however, it was obvious that the developers wanted the story to progress in a certain way so that made one or two of the ‘choices’ seem forced and unnecessary.
Character development is quite noticeable in our protagonist, Reza and his friend, Babak. We even see strong personalities from other minor characters. The story is not only rich historically but it also manages to make the characters relate-able to you and I. Voice acting was 100% on point. I loved it.
I only did one play-through and the ending I got left some loose ends. I wanted to know more and to understand more but was met with a cliffhanger that just made me feel upset. Perhaps I may end up redoing my choices in the future to see if it would make a difference.
That being said, perhaps leaving it ambiguous and open-ended makes the story more realistic. After all, life isn’t a cartoon where your insipid dreams magically come true. (Bonus points if you get the reference) War is complicated.
Playing with an iPhone 6 was a bit of a struggle. The movement was jerky at times and it was difficult to navigate the crowds. I also found that my phone would overheat very quickly forcing me to pause the game so the phone could cool down. Doing arrow swipes was also challenging because it was rather unresponsive. I’ve tripped over in the game more times than I care to admit.
However, the game wasn’t too punishing when mistakes were made. There are times when you make the wrong decisions and you end up dying, but it would then reset back to checkpoint.
1979 Revolution: Black Friday costs $4.99 and given the knowledge I have gained, I definitely believe that it is worth buying. It takes around 2.5 hours to play through the whole game. It’s a good story, the graphics are beautiful to look at and the voice acting is a pleasure to hear.
Take a few hours to entertain yourself with this game and learn more about the world at the same time!