New Videogame launched in Sheffield is changing the perception of Muslims in media

Students playing videogame Virtue RealityStudents playing videogame Virtue Reality
Students playing videogame Virtue Reality
A new game launched by Ultimatum Games and aid charity Islamic Relief UK has been tested out by Sheffield youngsters.

The game shows players how foreign aid works through real life international development projects run by Islamic Relief across the world.

The idea for this game, ‘Virtue Reality’ came from a recognition that Muslims are often not presented in a positive light in films, TV and games, often presented as ‘the bad guys’.

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Shahid Kamal Ahmad, Managing Director at Ultimatum Games, said: “Having worked in the video games industry for 37 years, I can’t help but notice that, as with the media and pop culture, Muslims are generally presented in a negative light in videogames.

Picture of the gamePicture of the game
Picture of the game

“Often, when you see characters from the Islamic faith in videogames they are ‘other’ed’ as terrorists or villains you have to kill, usually dark-skinned characters shouting Allahu Akbar and carrying weapons.

“I haven’t seen people from my community portrayed in any other way in videogames. It is as though there is no other way for a Muslim to be: you never see any peaceful, ordinary Muslims just going about their lives.” added Shahid.

The videogame is not only being launched here in Sheffield, but simultaneously launched in the US and Canada.

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Adam Russell, Head of Computer Science at Silverdale School in Sheffield, said:

Students playing the videogame Virtue RealityStudents playing the videogame Virtue Reality
Students playing the videogame Virtue Reality

“This is an incredible opportunity. We continually push our students to question and not to simply accept the norms and constraints of the world of technology they are immersed in. Choice, independence and determined questioning are the bedrocks of our Computer Science curriculum.”

Judith Escribano, Head of Communications at Islamic Relief UK, said: “We see Virtue Reality as a solution to two challenges presented by society: scepticism of aid and increasing Islamophobia.”

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