Wednesday, August 06, 2014

"War Games" Removed From Google Play

Two games on Google Play were pulled down in the span of an afternoon after Twitter posts became a frenzy on Monday. The games were Bomb Gaza and Gaza Assault: Code Red. Both games focus on the current strife in Israel and Hamas, and each game lets the player be a pilot of a plane, where you drop bombs on the enemy. It was offense enough to some people that Google pulled them (though they cite that the games broke their Terms of Service).

But why these two games? Other products such as Iron Dome, where you defend Israel from rockets by clicking on them, are still active.

My theory is that these other games focus more on defending civilians, not attacking them. With the pulled games, they centered around destruction. There was no delineation between the enemy and the innocent. Where as Iron Dome and Defending Israel encourage you to save people. And in Google's TOS that's okay. Where as having a game where you blow up another country is considered harassment and racial defamation. When you compare these products to games like Call of Duty, with current iterations focusing on events that have yet to happen, it takes us out of the element of reality. We know that it's a game because that war isn't real. But when we involve a current conflict, we get a knee-jerk reaction and want to halt production.

As a pacifist, I get it. But as a person who believes in free speech and want games to push our boundaries, we shouldn't immediately call for a boycott and raise hell when we see a product that we don't care for. This is the real world. War is an unfortunate part of life. And these games are trying to convey the emotions being felt on both sides of the conflict. I bet if they had made distinctions between the enemy and civilians, the products would still be online.

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