Damn it. I’m busted again.

As a professor of video games, I am often called upon by the top intelligence agencies in the world to apply my skills against nefarious regimes and other enemies of freedom. Usually, my work is stealthy, hard to detect. But I’m no match for Iran’s stellar spooks, who yesterday blew my cover.

Having arrested Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, an American citizen, former marine, and video game designer, the eminences in Teheran claimed him a spy and the software development company he worked for a cover for the CIA.

As the video games blog Kotaku reported yesterday, the company in question, Kuma Games, received a substantial grant from the federal government to develop a game that would help American soldiers develop “mission-specific language knowledge.” Hekmati was the project’s principle investigator.

Of course, less astute observers mightn’t have batted an eyelid. Naively, these gullible unfortunates would have assumed that since video games came into being as a military-funded project in the 1960s—the original purpose was to sharpen the reflexes of combat soldiers—and since the use of gaming in military simulation is merely a part of a long tradition of war games that began with the Prussian army in 1812, there was nothing nefarious about the American army using interactive digital technologies as training tools. But the Iranians are sharper then that; they saw right through the ploy, and condemned Hekmati to death.

I hope and trust strong diplomacy and light coercion will eventually commute his sentence and see to it that he’s freed. If not, it might be time to launch the Mechanized Assault Routine Iranian Operation. It’s something secret we video game scholars/C.I.A. operatives are busy developing.

Iran Calls Video Games Part of C.I.A. Plot [NYT The Lede]