If you took away the lush farmland of Zynga’s FarmVille and replaced it with a desert in the middle of nowhere you would have Happy Oasis a middle east version of the popular game that has already attracted more than 100,000 active social gamers.
Developed by Aranim Games the product offers Arabic and English versions and asks players to create their own “Oasis” in the desert.
The game is not only a “build up your land” setup, it also attempts to bring modern day struggles to the masses, for example both men and women can drive cars in the game, a current major issue of contention in Saudi Arabia.
Company CEO Suleiman Bakhit told Mashable that his company is better equipped than most to deal with social issues in the Middle East, noting:
“There are serious cultural issues that are extremely sensitive … most western companies won’t know how to deal with these issues.”
The game started as a comic book in which Bakhit chronicled a beating he received near his Minnesota university following the 9/11 attacks. In his comic books, also published under the Aranim company name he speaks about social issues in the area, features Arab heroes and attempts to teach school age children important lessons about tolerance. [Read more…]