The Cat and the Coup

Release Date: July 16, 2011 (Mohammed Mossadegh's birthday)

Developer: Peter Brinson, Kurosh ValaNejad

A documentary game in which you play the cat of Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh.



Play the Game:

Click here


The Cat the and the Coup was created by Peter Brinson and Kurosh ValaNejad and funded by The Advancing Scholarship for the
Humanities and Social Sciences
as well as
 the Game Innovation Lab
at the University of Southern California. This “documentary game” won an award at IndieCade2010 and has been selected as a finalist in the 2011 Independent Games Festival. The goal of the game was to explore a part of world history that is well documented, but rarely discussed.

In the summer of 1953, the American government engineered a coup to take down Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh and changed the balance of power in Iran. In the game, you play as his cat and you guide Mossadegh through the past to explore significant events that were all put into place to remove him. The gameplay as well as all the visuals act as clever metaphors to explain the rise and fall of the Prime Minister. Traditional Iranian art mixed with cut and paste metaphoric symbols representing different countries, ideas and individuals act as a backdrop to this somber, documentary game.

The Advancing Scholarship for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Game Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California

Price: Free

Indiecade 2010 Best Documentary Game Winner, Sublime Experience Nominee
Games for Change 2010 Knight News Game Award Nominee
Independent Games Festival 2011 Nuovo Award Nominee
Meaningful Play 2010 Finalist

News on Peter Brinson’s website




  1. 10
    Serious Games
    Total Game Reviews: 1

    The Cat and the Coup

    In this videogame, you play the cat of Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran. It is a game designed around the folk culture of Iranian’s oil industry and Mossadegh’s involvement in it during his term as Prime Minister. The message of the game is clear. Though culturally symbolic imagery, there is a clear representation of the “hot topics and issues” that surrounded Mossadegh, which included involvement of the United States and Britain.

    You start the game at Mohammed Mossadegh deathbed (March 5,1967). This is the starting point that follows with the game leading you through significantly relevant past dates in which Mossadegh was involved. Mossadegh is represented as a ghost, and through the cat, you lead Mossadegh from room to room uncovering a piece of historical information at each.

    This game proves to be quite meaningful. Every action you take as the cat is merged into the larger frame of the overall game experience. You must figure out how to get Mossadegh into each room. This requires some trial and error, but nothing to complex that would deter you from finishing the game.

    I give this game a 10 because not only was I playing a game, but also I left with clear and concise knowledge of the Mossadegh’s overthrow by the United States CIA. I had no prior knowledge that on 19 August 1953, a coup was orchestrated by the intelligence agencies of the United Kingdom and the United States. At no point did I ever get frustrated with the game, rather I felt an uncanny urge to continue and learn about this historical event in our world history.

    Bravo to The Cat and the Coup.

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