How I almost went to prison over my controversial game

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How I almost went to prison over my controversial game

In the beginning, there was just love…

I saw my first and true love at my uncle’s house when I was just 5 years old. She was squared shaped and ugly! But I loved her. A love at first sight! I asked my uncle about her name and he said: “it’s Atari!” A few years later my uncle opened an arcade in our small city and it was always crowded with lovers who wanted to play a game called Atari Airplane! On that time, people were used to putting a name on every famous game. Later, I found out that the name of that Airplane game was River Raid and even nowadays lots of old gamers call the Super Mario, Mushroom Eater!

My parents weren’t able to buy new consoles so easily and I can still remember that I once prayed to God to give me a SEGA Genesis… But God never gave me a SEGA! So I was always using previous generation consoles or I would play in Arcades. I was badly into video games, so I picked up a notebook and started to draw my favorite game characters on every page of it. Later on, I drew storyboards based on games like Resident Evil and made animations by using the pages of textbooks from games such as Shadow Dancer.

When I was a teen, I joined some filmmaking schools and made some short films too, but the movies were in action or horror genre and weren’t suitable for film festivals! After a while, I came to the conclusion that turning my ideas into films would be an expensive work. So I went back to my first love: Video Games!

About 10 years ago, there weren’t any schools or college programs for learning game development in my country and with a dial-up internet connection, I gradually learned how to make a simple game by using Game Maker. Finally, when I was 22, and after spending 6 months sitting behind a computer and listening to complaints from my parents, I made my first game with the name “Dream Land”, a simple 2D game. I sent the game to some national Video Game Magazines and when I was not expecting, one of my favorite game critics called me and a few weeks later a full page article plus an interview with me was printed in their magazine! Suddenly, different newspapers and tv shows started to talk about my game and my parents felt that game development is not just a waste of time and that it can actually lead to success too!

After the popularity of Dream Land, I worked on a website with the name “Fanaei.com” and tried to teach game developing to the others through it. Then we would hold competitions with prizes and everything! Step by step, the website got bigger and we added a video reviewing section to it. Until I realized, after a few years, that I was going far away from my main goal. So I left the website and went back to game developing.

…In the meantime, unloved creatures were lurking in the dark…

Since I had done some research about Satanism, Freemasonry and secret societies, and I loved horror games such as Resident Evil, I decided to make my next game about this mysterious subject. An as an attempt for making it more puzzling, I gave it a weird name for it: 41148

After a few months of watching Unity 3D tutorials and working on my game for nearly 6 months, I published my game on a local android market with millions of users. The game went to the top lists quickly and even got featured on a national TV channel. But meanwhile, I was receiving lots of threatening comments from people saying my game was promoting Satanism. These words went viral very fast and in less than a few days, one of the most popular news shows of my country aired news report on my game being involved in the promotion of Satanism! After that, the national organization of video games announced that my game wasn’t certified by them.

Now, everything was against me. I was receiving lots of hate mail, and since I live in a religious country, there wasn’t a day I would spend without being scared of getting arrested for promoting Satanism! Finally, because of this mental pressure, I removed my game from every online store. But I was still flustered and I wouldn’t answer any phone calls from unknown callers.

Days and weeks had passed in this way and little by little, some users that understood the purpose of the game asked me to continue its development. Then, an online news source wrote a post about it and the national video game organization that had forbidden my game, confirmed it indirectly with a news post.

But in the end, love wins..

Everything became better and I started to make the second episode for 41148. This episode was shorter, but soon it became one of the best sellers.This time, nobody said anything against my game and a few months later, I made and published the third episode. This episode became a best seller too, and also the third game of the year. Finally, after a year, the last episode was released. It sold more than 6 thousand dollars just in the first days and became the best game of the year by popular votes. Now, the boy that once dreamed about having a SEGA console tried all the new-gen consoles and he’s trying to show his game to all the gamers in the world.

Hafez Shirazi says: The path of love seemed easy at first, what came was many hardships.

If you start developing video games for money and it fails, you will feel that you wasted your whole life. But if you make love with your game, even if nobody downloads it, you’re still a winner, because you enjoyed every moment of it.

Nowadays, I’m teaching Art in a junior high school in a small town, and I make video games on my free time. So maybe that’s the reason why making 41148 took almost 3 years! In our Art class, we also have a few weeks for learning the basics of game development and students love it. However, video game development is not in our main programs, but I like sharing my love.

So, is it love or money you work for?

Source

About the Author:

Art Teacher and Indie Game Developer

37 Comments

  1. Connor Allgood 2017-11-16 at 5:15 am - Reply

    Thanks so so so so so so so so so much for making this game. I am crying right now because of how beautiful and sad this game is.but this game also gives me inspiration and I hope you know this but…… I AM YOUR BIGGEST FAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am going into 7th grade and out of all the games I have played this one is my favorite. I just want you to know it doesn’t matter what other people think about you. All you have to do is be yourself.

    Your Biggest fan, Connor Allgood

    • Mahdi Fanaei 2017-11-16 at 10:47 am - Reply

      Thank you Connor. It’s very kind of you.

  2. Akshay Prajapati 2017-11-21 at 4:26 pm - Reply

    Sir This game ending has made me cry I really LOVE this game a lot
    Can you please make more game like this SIR!!

    • Mahdi Fanaei 2017-11-21 at 6:11 pm - Reply

      Thank you.
      Check out this website for news about the next game.

      Good luck

      • Ti kidZ 2017-11-29 at 8:41 pm - Reply

        Sir it’s a very nice game i like it and i wanna to know the gane 41148 will be continue or not??

        • Mahdi Fanaei 2017-11-29 at 9:34 pm - Reply

          Thank you. But I’m working on a new game. More information about it, will be available soon on this website.

  3. Yash Gilatar 2017-11-22 at 9:53 pm - Reply

    Sir You are absolutely Genius. Your Game 41148 no doubt, is one of the best Games I have Ever played. Your Story Is very motivational. Thank you

    • Mahdi Fanaei 2017-11-22 at 11:02 pm - Reply

      Thank you Yash.

  4. shahed shahidi 2017-11-23 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    آقای فنایی من از این بازی لذت می برم عاشقش شدم. من یک برنامه درباره بازیتون ساختم به نام راز های ۴۱۱۴۸. ***

  5. yehia 2017-11-26 at 4:50 am - Reply

    your game is good like lembo

    keep going you are good.

    • yehia 2017-11-26 at 4:51 am - Reply

      i am waiting ur new game

  6. Jaded B 2017-11-27 at 10:07 pm - Reply

    BEAUTIFUL game… Beautiful story.. thank you for sharing!

  7. Habib hidayatul syarif 2017-11-28 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    Nice game i was complete this game in 3 days in 4 episode i hope your game completely make many game in long story thanks,and im from indonesia.

  8. Ashik Basha 2017-11-28 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    Sir,
    Ur 41148 game it’s really impressed me I love that story , the game truly like me and that khhh super helper and I’m waiting for ur game more thank you for this game sir

    • Mahdi Fanaei 2017-11-28 at 8:34 pm - Reply

      Thank you Ashik.

      • sandeep kumar 2017-12-06 at 9:06 am - Reply

        please launch your new version 41148 part2

  9. Maksud 2017-11-29 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    You’re 41148 game was so good.Please make another super game please.

  10. Alex mondal 2017-11-29 at 8:43 pm - Reply

    Sir…. Nice game owwwwssssaammmm…..
    Game complete 1day 4 episod…..
    Plzzzz 41148 2 part plzzz come back plzzzz sir…….

  11. doaa H 2017-12-03 at 2:08 am - Reply

    Ahhh iam Muslim and iam Egyptian and I loved it easily it’s really awesome and now biggg FANnnnNnn I just want u don’t stop making games iam sure one day you will the first Muslim developer and the greatest and I believe u will have great company I love love sinsa tanta very much and I love how your game was action mystery and puzzle I felt like iam james bond hahah sir love your sinsa and still sad for him soo much love everything u have done it’s really perfect iam waiting for your new game yay!! Your the best sorry for so long

    • Mahdi Fanaei 2017-12-06 at 10:38 am - Reply

      These kinda comments give me energy! Thank you so much.

  12. Anonymous For Security Purposes 2017-12-05 at 11:07 am - Reply

    Dear Mr. Fanaei,
    Your childhood has MANY similarities with mine.
    My parents COULD afford SEGA, but they wouldn’t buy one for me since they were scared about me being addicted to videogames.
    GUESS WHAT?
    Even after 25 years, I’m still playing Mortal Kombat 2, or Super Shinobi 2, or…. on emulators on my laptop and phone.
    I have also finished Resident Evils (1,2 and 3) several times on PS1 emulators and RE4 and RE5 once on PC.

    Remember Parasite Eve? Remember Silent Hill? Tekken? FIFA 98?
    Remember that we had to go to “video clubs” and pay for 15 minutes of credit for playing video games?
    I would spend HOURS every day just looking at other people playing those and maybe, if I was lucky, I’d learn some code (or a FINISHING move in MK games, if you will).
    Those were the days. I feel so close to you now!! Gimme a hug xD

    I enjoyed this game a lot actually (41148). I might be able to help with the English translations as well. All you need to do is to send me all the Persian sentences in a WORD file, and the current English translations, and I can send you the corrections.

    I really like coding. I have even done some minor games in Pascal and QBasic. But I guess my studies took me somewhere else. C++ was harder than science!!

    Anyways, I would love to keep in contact with you. You will have my email down here, right?
    Please shoot me an email.
    Thanks (^_^)

    • Mahdi Fanaei 2017-12-06 at 10:36 am - Reply

      Yeah, Our childhood looks the same.
      I’m working on a localization system to put all the texts in a TXT file. I’ll contact you as soon as it gets ready.
      Thank you

      • Anonymous For Security Purposes 2017-12-07 at 10:21 am - Reply

        Looking forward to it my friend.

    • jinifur 2017-12-24 at 1:00 am - Reply

      Parasite eve I so wish would make a comeback! Had many hours of fun with that one! I hadn’t seen that title in awhile and u spurred some memories…thought I’d share!

      • Mahdi Fanaei 2017-12-24 at 1:40 pm - Reply

        Glad you enjoyed it.

  13. sandeep kumar 2017-12-06 at 9:05 am - Reply

    sir this game really fabulous I am waiting your next game. this game is really excellent it’s hero villains all characters are too much and also thisgame is good for thinking about anythig . But one thing in last the hero is (tanta) kill by villains so please explain your new version 41148 part2 please…..

  14. Aravind 2017-12-06 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    Really a good game I loved it please create more and more games and god bless u and I wish u all the best for ur game u r soo much creative and may ur creativity earn u what u want ……….

    Ur biggest fan
    G. Aravind
    B.tech EEE

  15. leonmani 2017-12-10 at 12:43 am - Reply

    Comment…hi sir I am from India tamilnadu I like your game so much I am waiting for your next creation thank you sir you are a creator of game

  16. Abdullah Mohammad 2017-12-15 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    Hello, I must say that I loved your game very much, you don’t see mobile games with this kind of quality every day, the story, the art, everything about this game was wonderful.
    Please keep up the good work

    • Mahdi Fanaei 2017-12-15 at 3:07 pm - Reply

      Thank you Abdullah. It’s kind of you.

  17. jinifur 2017-12-24 at 1:05 am - Reply

    What an interesting life you have had. If you had the freedom to design your dream game, what would it be about? Follow your dreams! You only get this go around in life, don’t let it end with regrets of things you DIDNT do! You are dedicated and most of all talented! Game design is in your blood! Do it for the LOVE of it, money is only a perk of it!

  18. shahed 2017-12-24 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    I am really happy for you. This game is best in the style of the platform. Designs, sounds, motions, shapes, and so on are perfect
    I’m giving 100 likes for this game. Hope to win…

  19. Divyam 2017-12-29 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    Amazing game and i know how hard it is to make a game. I myself use unity for 3d game making. It takes time and hard work and i can see that u have teally worked hard

  20. Pratyush Vatsa 2018-01-03 at 10:27 am - Reply

    The story line of this game was amazing. I enjoyed playing this game so much. While playing this game I felt that I was inside the game.

  21. James Paez 2018-01-04 at 11:11 am - Reply

    Just finished the game and it was a blast. Hands down! Its the best game that i have ever played! Ive been into real racing 3 and some moba games but this game is just damn. I really hope that you will continue the story line of this game.

  22. Hachi 2018-01-09 at 4:32 am - Reply

    Hi. Im a guy that wants to develop a game and I just want to say, 41148 is a AMAZING game that I have seen of this genre. The ending of the game almost made me cry

  23. Shivali 2018-01-10 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    It was really a superb game with nice graphics and storyline. No doubt it’s the best game that I have played ever. I loved all the characters and felt as if all the things were happening in real. Also felt emotions, fear, anxiety, sorrow everything that could turn to be real. I really liked this game soooo muchhh. I appreciate your hard work in making this game. Thanks for such a wonderful game. Looking forward eagerly for its sequel and your next games…

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