Benedict Arnold is considered by the Americans as the ultimate traitor. However, to the British, Arnold was loyal to the British Crown, the legitimate rulers of the colony, making him a hero. Hero or villain--depends on which side you're on. Similarly, while most games portray Arabs as terrorists, there are games that show them in a different perspective.
Under Siege is a serious game designed by Radwan Kasmiya about the Palestinian hardship in the Second Intifada, the second Palestinian uprising during 1999-2000. The game is a military mission FPS set in the Middle East. You play different characters that America or Israel might call terrorists. All the missions are based on events documented by the United Nations.
The missions are raw and original, designed to elicit emotion. In the first mission you are in a mosque where a lunatic Israeli general, dual-wielding submachine guns, is shooting civilians. You must neutralize this Israeli terrorist, during ammo reloads, bare handed. In mission three, you play as a boy who must take an Israeli flag, mounted on a tank. The boy is equipped with a sling shot for this task. In mission five, you play a woman who must kidnap an Israeli general from an armed convoy. Most missions involve targeting the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), the Israeli army, and absolutely prohibits harming civilians.
Story-wise, Under Siege is overly dramatic. For instance in mission three, the boy captures an Israeli flag from a tank, completing the mission and triggering a cutscene in which one of the tank's crew shoots the boy with the tank's mounted machinegun, wounding him. As the boy crawls away, the soldier climbs out of the tank, firing his pistol, multiple times, at point blank range. As you sigh for relief, knowing that the brutality is over, the ultimate overkill occurs. The soldier continues by lifting a concrete block to smash the boy.
The game also has a major design issue. The game is unnecessarily difficult due to the poor feedback system. You often die and have no idea why. There are no in-game cues as to what is occurring. Worse, in mission four, you have to plant an explosive on a bridge without being detected by IDF patrols. As soon as you step out to the street, the game abruptly stops, leaving you wondering. It take several tries before you figure out paths that avoid enemy lines of sight. At times, playing Under Siege is like playing a action-puzzle game with a meta-goal of figuring out how the game system works.
I laud Radwan Kasmiya for making games not for mere entertainment but as an interactive documentary of hardships of the Palestinians. Although overly dramatic, he tells the story masterfully and guides the player in building a strong emotional connection to the characters. I however prefer Peacemaker, a game created by a team of Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans with a more balanced agenda. Peacemaker shows the difficult choices that face an Israeli or Palestinian leader but does it in a way that tugs my heart AND my mind, helping me to understand both emotionally and intellectually.