What: a story-based game that’s different every time you play it
Players: best with three, but works with two to six
Time: up to two hours
People: can play with anyone, but best with creative, playful types
Remember: it’ll be more fun if you put on silly voices
Available: ~£45.99 here, $39.99 here
Why we recommend it
The Middle East.
How does that make you feel? Probably not that nice actually.
You might be thinking of recent atrocities. Crying children with their arms blown off, or hobbling, dying dogs with burns up one side of their crippled body.
Perhaps you think of a dusty, sandy shit heap of a place where women can’t drive and human rights don’t really exist.
A great place for a fun-filled family friendly romp through history then.
In truth, the romantic, olde-worlde version of Arabia sounds quite nice. You know, like magic carpets, big fat piles of treasure and the non-camp version of Sinbad. Or that cool genie in Aladdin. Or … Ali Baba. Whoever he was. Not really sure, but it sounds familiar anyway.
Plus countless more!
Actually I can’t think of any more.
Apparently there’s also fan favourites Ma’aruf, Zumurrud and Scheherazade. All the classics. These are all characters you can choose to be instead of Aladdin in a game called Arabian Nights.
Each character is also helpfully written in the World’s Shittiest Font™, so it’s fun and easy to keep track.
The game’s a bit like those old Goosebump-style choose your own adventure jobbies.
Essentially you ponce around a medieval Arabian view of the world, sharing the stories of your exploits and gathering cash like some kind of Islamic rapper of yesteryear.
It’s Get Rich Or Die Trying for Muslims (it’s not).
Straight Outta Mecca.
Anyway, I played it as Scheherazade because it sounds a bit like Charizard the Pokemon.
Because the game presents you with all these different situations, you can then choose what Charizard is going to do in that scenario.
Here’s how a typical thingy might play out.
> You encounter a wizard!
Exciting. Roll a dice to find out what type of wizard he is. Turns out he’s a hungry wizard.
What would you like to do with this hungry wizard?
> Feed the hungry wizard.
Oh you can’t do that. What if ‘feed’ wasn’t an option?
> Bind the hungry wizard.
Bind him? What with? What an odd suggestion. Keep trying.
> Inappropriately touch the hungry wizard.
Woh, chill out Charizard. Don’t do that.
> Fried egg the hungry wizard.
What, as in throw fried eggs at him? I don’t think that’s an option either.
The grammar doesn’t seem right anyway. Here’s a list of some of the stuff you can do, that might help.
OK, so let’s aid him.
Or maybe we could follow him. No actually let’s rob him, that’ll be funny.
Oh. Shit. Didn’t work. Still, a story for the grandkids. One story point, please.
Looks like you’re ensorcelled as well. Unlucky. That means from now, other people choose where you go and what you do.
Right, next go. You have encountered a Rhinoceros.
Looks like he’s angry. It’s an angry Rhino.
What are you going to do with the angry rhino?
Wait, you can’t …
> Enter the angry rhino.
This won’t end well.
Every encounter from now will be a case of you trying to enter things.
Crying hag? Enter the crying hag. Beautiful ne’er-do-well? Enter the beautiful ne’er-do-well. Diseased horse. Enter the diseased horse.
I’m afraid I cannot help you. What a strange day.
Arabian Nights is a game practically designed to be messed around with, and it’s a place where creative artistry, rule bending and storytelling silliness is actively encouraged.
Beating the blind man, abducting the sad barber, tricking the sex-change spring and drinking the insane beggar are just a handful of the things I like to do in my spare time.
Now I can do them in ancient muslimopolis too!
Sinbad? More like Sin-quite-good! OMGLOL