The West Bank has its first game developer
"I truly believe that Palestinians are very innovative and out-of-the-box thinkers. It’s something that is required in our day-to-day life, and I’m certain that, when given the chance, this makes our games different."
- Khaled Abu Al Kheir, developer at PinchPoint
Game developers can develop games everywhere -- even war-torn, disputed territories. In a new New Yorker profile, Simon Parkin speaks to
PinchPoint, the development studio behind Spermania
, a cartoony (if slightly ribald) new mobile game.
The article tells the tale of game fans who grew up to be game developers -- nothing special about that, except perhaps the circumstances. The studio is in the West Bank
, a territory that is disputed between Israelis and Palestinians. It is the first venture-backed, Palestinian game studio, according to CEO Khaled Abu Al Kheir.
Thanks to tensions with Israel during his childhood, says Kheir, "I played more video games thereafter because I had so much more free time. School was often shut, and there were widespread curfews. It kept me indoors, and I became a much more dedicated game player."
The story is, thus, a rare look at the first blossoming of a game industry amidst turmoil -- but it's not truly unique. Two years ago, Gamasutra took a closer look
at studios in Syria, Lebanon, El Salvador, and Egypt.