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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Retro reflections: On Al-Qadim: The Genie's Curse and the wonders of fantasy Arabia


Retro reflections by Matt S.

As most readers know by now, I’m a great fan of the fantasy Middle East. One of the first games I played that really captured the exotic magic of that setting was Al-Qadim: Genie’s Curse, and to this day, with a setting as criminally underused as the fantasy Middle East, Al-Qadim stands out as one of the better examples, as applied to a game.

Effectively all fantasy Middle Eastern stories are based on the classic 1001 Arabian Nights, a collection of short stories notable for a couple of things. Obviously the setting itself delights the imagination, from the exotic sands of the great deserts, through to the noisy cities, the exploits of sailors on their journeys, and the occasional oasis to bring relief from it all.

The other thing the stories are best known for is their genies, capricious elemental beings of great power. They represent the fear and respect that the peoples of the Middle East had for the harsh and unforgiving natural world around them, and so many of the stories of the 1001 Arabian Nights involved mankind falling on one side or the other of a genie’s whims.

Retro reflections: On Al-Qadim: The Genie's Curse and the wonders of fantasy Arabia
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