The region was home to many ancient civilizations, including the oldest civilizations in Babylon/Iraq and Egypt, as well as Persia/Iran, Syria, Phoenicia/Lebanon, Palestine/Israel, Arabia, Anatolia/Byzantium/Turkey, and the Gulf/Dubai. While many games are set in these locations/civilizations, others often use an unnamed Middle-Eastern location.
The region is also the origin of the three major monotheistic Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Most of the major religious figures in these religions hail from the Middle East, including Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad.
While many video games are set in the Middle East, the region has traditionally had very little involvement in the video game industry. The region has, however, had several influential game designers. Iran's Nasir Gebelli was a driving force behind American companies Sirius and Gebelli Software and Japanese company Squaresoft, and inspired game designers such as RPG pioneer Hironobu Sakaguchi and FPS pioneer John Romero.
In the 21st century, video games have been increasingly growing in popularity in the region. American first-person shooters, many of which take place in the Middle East, are particularly popular among Middle-Eastern gamers.
Current Middle-Eastern designers include Turkey's Cevat Yerli and his brothers Avni and Faruk, the founders of Crytek, the industry leader in real-time 3D graphics technology, with the CryEngine series of game engines. Other Middle-Eastern developers include Ramadan Soft's Tarek Solaiman, Saudi Arabian developer Semaphore, and Turkish developer Taleworlds.