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Jan 24, 2006



This is distressingly unrelated to ice cream.


I thought the Prophet(*) strongly discouraged the depiction of of human figures in art, because it lead to idolatry and polytheism. I would think depictions and stories of supernatural human figures would land squarely in that area.


At least for Saudi Arabia, the famous decision about television may apply also for computer imaging. It went roughly like this: In the early 1960s, when television came on the scene for Saudi Arabia, the king asked his foremost religious scholars to tell him whether light was holy (it was) and whether shadow was holy (it was, for all people cast shadows). He then concluded for them that, unlike painting and sculpture, television's depictions of people must be allowed, for it is only a combination of light and shadow.

[I'm relying here on the work of Marwan Kraidy on new forms of media in the Arab world.]


Well this seems a bit of paradox if the mass media are to be believed. Based on what the various news outlets have shown me about Muslims, it appears as though they wouldn't have any interest in video games. The media has me believing that they are like Amish people. The tiny scrapings of intelligence in the basement of my brain KNOW that this is NOT true, but the media do such a good job of overwriting your programming that the first thought that leapt to mind was, "Islamic video games?? They HATE technology!" (and although I don't believe a disclaimer is necessary with this smart bunch, I know SOMEONE will take offense, so let me just affirm that I am poking fun at THE MEDIA, NOT muslims ... okay, so maybe the journalists will be offended)


I remember I ran across an ad for an Arabian MMOG about a year or so back. I wish I got the name of it, but I was surprised to see something like that in the Middle East. I also recall that Japanese animation is particularly popular in Saudi Arabia, as well.

About a week ago, while surfing some Iranian websites devoted to those really surreal haigographic murals or Ayatollah Khomeini and martyrs of the Iran-Iraq war and other propaganda, I came across a link to an Iranian comic book, loosely based off historical records (or as much as Ro3K/Dynasty Warriors is based off Chinese history). The art was not-so-hot, but I was rather intrigued by it, especially the fact that it had barely dressed heroines fighting alongside their male counterparts.


Indonesia and Malaysia are Muslim countries. Lots of Western comics and games are immensely popular. I have a nephew who absolutely loves Spiderman!

Will a comic basing its heroes on Islamic attributes do well? The really religious would not touch it. The "lip service*" religious probably would not be interested.

* To clarify this. If you spend a lot of time in Indonesia and Malaysia you would understand easier. Religion is everything. Everyone has a religion - it just that some only pay lip service to it in order to fit in.

With regard the "attributes". There is not really much of a difference. You will find the essentially the same values in all religions. The main difference will most likely be Western Individualism (the one against many) versus the Eastern Group/Collective ( together you stand, divided you fall).

Not really something that fits into an MMOG well (unless the game rewards the zerg that is :) ).


Young Freud > I also recall that Japanese animation is particularly popular in Saudi Arabia, as well.

I think that Naif al-Mutawa is part of Teshkeel Media Group which I think has done a M East distribution deal with Marvel Comics.

There is also this: www.akcomics.com/indexenglish.htm

Which makes The 99 seems a little less exceptional.


...the Eastern Group/Collective ( together you stand, divided you fall). Not really something that fits into an MMOG well (unless the game rewards the zerg that is :) ).

I thought Linage and Guild Wars were based on the concept of team play? Not to mention that Everquest and WoW need large, well-coordinated teams to take down the highest-level mobs.

To say West == individualism, East == collectivism is oversimplfying things to distortion.


Certainly in MMOGs, the idea of grouping people with supportive powers is one fairly strongly used.

I'm not at all a comic expert, I can think of a good number of superheroes with only one power, like the Flash (and certainly a few characters from Xmen). Batman has none. Superman has a few. Wolverine has one, but it's augmented with those blades... Spiderman has a few (sense, strength, sticking to walls, jumping...). The Fantastic 4 only have one power each.

To me, this concept of an east-west difference seems a little manufactured. If you take anime as an source of eastern superheroes you can find plenty that buck the trend set out here too. At least the spinoff tv show for pokemon heavily centered around Ashe's pickachu, which is meant to be much more powerful than your average bear. Generator Gawl features Gawl, who's not the brightest guy in the world, but is the one who matters. Bebop's Spike is a loner. Lain is a loner. Major Kusinagi is a bit of a loner, Dragonball Z characters tend to have more than one 'power', and the list can go on a while...

This is on the assumption I can stretch the definitions equally in the way that the pokemon are superheroes (when really they're always somewhat subservient to the desires of their masters and appear to have little personal moral judgement).


Pikachu was totally Ash's conscience in the TV show. <(^_^)>

To comment on the East / West split as percieved:

I take too much history and am far too steeped in Western thought to really be unbiased, but my take is that the collective east compared to the individual west really stems from population numbers.

Life is different when the space in which you live is so much smaller, both physically and culturally.


Alright, I'm throwing Joseph Campbell into the mix:

Campbell characterizes four heroes, signatures of Four Great Domains of mythology. I excerpt like so:

The four representatives, respectively, of human reason and the responsible individual, supernatural revelation and the one true community under God, yogic arrest in the immanent great void, and spontaneous accord with the way of earth and heaven–Prometheus, Job, the seated Buddha, eyes closed, and the wandering Sage, eyes open–from the four directions, have been brought together.
--Oriental Mythology, p33.

In the most succinct terms, the idea of "collective" vs. "individualism" has never been with respect to East vs. West. Both have both.


I read the whole thing as a publicity exercise designed to make the whole thing more attractive to restrictive censors, to be honest.


Daniel Speed wrote: "Ashe's pickachu, which is meant to be much more powerful than your average bear."

Pikachu. Is. A. MOUSE!!!

Sorry. I had to.

"According to Naif al-Mutawa, superheroes fall into two archetypes Judeo-Christian and Eastern."

I thought we had moved beyond dividing the world into two disjoint sections and then shoehorning everything into one side or the other. Superheroes, and heroes generally, come in lots and lots of archetypes, and individual heroes often partake of several of the "archetypes" in different measure. "oversimplfying things to distortion." is right.


Craig Ewert> I thought we had moved beyond dividing the world into two disjoint sections and then shoehorning everything into one side or the other.

We have -- we now divide and shoehorn all behavior into four categories.

Prometheus/reasoning individual = Rational = Explorer
Job/revelatory security = Guardian = Achiever
Buddha/sufficiency through self-actualization = Idealist = Socializer
Sage/virtuoso action = Artisan = Killer


And also wrong by oversimplification, of course.

But completely wrong?



Buddha/sufficiency through self-actualization = Idealist = Socializer

I don't get this one. How are Socialists also Idealists?


Serious answer:

Assuming you're willing to buy into a little bit of temperament theory (with some of my own theorizing stuck onto it to address gameplaying styles), Socializer behavior is a gameplay-specific subset of the kinds of behavior expressed by people with a predominantly Idealist temperament.

The "Idealist" name got applied to that temperament because these are the folks whose internal motivation is always toward trying to approach some idealized perfect self. (Hence the "self-actualization" description.) In most cases this requires deep interaction with other people, either as a mirror of oneself or to feel better about oneself by helping others toward perfection. (I went into this stuff back in Will The Real Explorer Please Stand Up.)

So I see Socializers as special cases of Idealists in that socialization -- the forming and nurturing of emotion-based relationships as the path to self-fulfillment -- is the behavior most common to Idealists. And I see both of these as most closely related to the Buddha-hero through that determination they all share that peace through becoming better people is what matters most.

The other three hero-associations follow similar lines, so if you're not buying this, you won't like those other three, either. :-)

Silly answer:

Socialists all follow an ideal, you see, in much the same way that Exporters have to ration their transactions, Kilters enjoy a bit of sage in their haggis, and A Cheever wrote about guardians in Falconer.

Or something like that.


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