Why 'Mariam' is the most trending game in the Middle East
Just a few years ago, Flappy Birds was the most trending game in the region. The pleasant, though rather frustrating, game had an addictive factor that caused it to be taken down. The future? Well, the future does not seem as simple.
A mobile game that was recently released has caused a stir among Arab parents. Mariam is an interactive horror game with a dramatic story-line, that was released by Salman Al-Harbi on both the App store and Play store. With fear themes engulfing this interactive game, it takes players through Mariam’s life, where they are asked to help the girl fight ghosts by answering a series of multiple-choice and short answer questions.
The game, rated 9+ on the play store, starts off by informing players about trending news to demonstrate Mariam’s capability of reading minds. It takes them through different stages in which the user has to answer some personal questions, including their political views. This psychological thriller works with sound and visual effects designed to create a horror effect. Players are asked to log-in 24 hours after a certain stage, a strategy that keeps users coming back.
Perhaps unsurprisingly it has caused a havoc these past few days. Parents have taken to social media asking authorities to take it down, with #Ban_Mariam trending a few days ago. Their argument is that children do not know the potential damage of giving away personal information, including their home location, their Facebook account and so on.
However, Mariam's developer, Salman al-Harbi, insisted that it was just a game. Interviewed by the Times of Oman, he was quoted saying, “I am so happy that my game is becoming so popular. Thank you, everyone. For those sending me private messages, I love you, but my inbox blew up and I don’t have the time to reply to all of you.”