Summer 1978. A bloody uprising is erupting against Iran’s self appointed King – the Shah, and thousands of Iranians are filling the streets to fight for change despite their class, religious beliefs or political allegiance.
Welcome to the Revolution.
Before we get into it, it’s important to know – this is not your everyday game. 1979 Revolution: Black Friday is written and directed by Navid Khonsari, a game development veteran who has worked on such juggernauts as GTA: Vice City, Alan Wake and Resident Evil 7. But that’s not the mind blowing part. Khonsari grew up in Iran but left with his family after the revolution. Iranian officials believe this game is ‘pro-American propaganda’ and sales of it have been banned in Iran. Khonsari has also been accused of being a U.S. spy. As I said, this is not your everyday game.
As for the story itself, you play as Reza Shirazi, a young photojournalist. You have no interest in picking sides in this war. Armed with your camera, your passion instead is capturing what’s going on in the streets. But your photos are powerful in a way that even you might not be able to comprehend. The repercussions of your photos mean you will be dragged into this whether you like it or not. And once you’re in the thick of it; do you choose peace, or violence? Can you ever cure violence with more violence? Whatever you choose, the next 2 hours of this stunning narrative adventure may just blow you away way more than you were originally expecting. Perhaps more than any other game this year. It may be a bold statement to make, but 1979 Revolution is as bold as they come.
1979 Revolution also feels very authentic, not just because of Khonsari’s upbringing in Iran, but the game’s research is based on real first-hand testimonies of freedom fighters, witnesses and casualties of the revolution, as well as those who were imprisoned in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, which is featured prominently. I won’t go into the story too much, because it’s told in such an emotionally charged way that my second hand account of it simply won’t do it justice. I can however tell you that you’re not simply selecting dialogue choices here. There is that, but there are action sequences, critical choices and a fascinating selection of collectibles which add so much more. These serve as stories within stories, and the way these collectibles are collected and presented is magical. Despite being only 19 chapters (some of which are under 5 minutes), 1979 Revolution fits a whole museum worth of depth into its short lived but inspiring delivery.
Trophy hunters will be pleased as well. The Platinum is very straightforward and most importantly, enjoyable. If a trophy is not story based, it’s collectible based. And at the risk of repeating myself, the collectibles are a joy. But don’t worry if you’re not into that or playing on Nintendo Switch – the game is a reward in itself. Not to mention it also excels in other areas: it looks excellent, as well as being accompanied by some top quality voice acting that compliments its powerful script. I could go on and on, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to run out of superlatives soon.
But if you do decide to give this game a chance, I hope in your own way you feel similar to how I did when the credits rolled – grateful that we get to have experiences like this. Grateful that there are developers out there who are willing to push boundaries, tell untold stories and put it all on the line for our enjoyment, our escapism. That’s awesome if you really take the time to think about it. Gaming’s the best, isn’t it?
Rebellion, resistance, revolution – whatever you want to call it; 1979 Revolution is a beautiful, important and groundbreaking game that deserves to be held in the highest regard.
Punk rating: 9/10