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back to article Google pulls Gaza games from Play store

Google has removed the games Bomb Gaza and Gaza Assault: Code Red from its Play app store. The games tasked players with destroying Hamas combatants and rockets without killing civilians, and have been criticised as glorifying violence. Unlike Apple, which pre-approves all games on iTunes, Google does not have a rigorous …

Anonymous Coward

Aren't there games on the major consoles about Western troops in Afghanistan or other Middle East countries, or any other war come to that?

It seems that some wars are Ok to gamify while others aren't?

All wars suck to the pit of despair, I'm just pointing out what appears to be a double standard.

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Don't forget

One level on Call of Duty has you walking through an airport brutally slaying innocent civilians.

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Unhappy

It used to be that war games mostly had the player defending people. Seems more common these days that the protagonist is the invader.

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I think the issue here is that this war is current whereas the Afghanistan and Iraq wars are (officially) over. So it's ok to glorify a historical war but not a current one.

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there were TV series and movies about iraq long before it was over though. if it is over

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Anonymous Coward

"All wars suck to the pit of despair, I'm just pointing out what appears to be a double standard."

Quite. Where are the games to launch missiles at the occupying Israelis?

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>>"Quite. Where are the games to launch missiles at the occupying Israelis?"

Two wrongs don't make a right.

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"So it's ok to glorify a historical war but not a current one."

Well the original Counterstrike was released in 1999, and therefore was "glorifying" future wars, not current or historical ones, if we consider the format of Western ground forces interacting in the Middle East with local insurgent groups.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Don't forget

Which is one of the reasons why I don't play games like that. I prefer games where the killing is alien based and ideally with more cartoonish violence.

I really don't find, for example, 2nd WW based games entertaining as my parents and grandparents were severely affected by the war. In fact even WW1 doesn't seem a good source of entertainment to me.

I suppose for me a game has to be sufficiently distant from real events and harm to real people in order to be entertainment.

Perhaps I use double standards but something like Unreal Tournament is OK but Call of Duty is not. There's my tuppence worth.....

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Anonymous Coward

"Two wrongs don't make a right."

There are degrees of wrong though. Terrorist atttacks by the IDF on Gaza have killed at least 1,750 Palestinians - of which ~ 80% were civilans and 25% children.

Resistance to the occupying Israeli forces from Hamas has killed 69 people - 96% of them IDF soldiers.

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Anonymous Coward

Religion

So so many unnecessary deaths to answer for

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Religion

I think you're being a bit naive if you think this or most other wars have anything to do with religion. Stalin was an atheist, to give but one example.

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Re: Religion

"I think you're being a bit naive if you think this or most other wars have anything to do with religion. Stalin was an atheist, to give but one example."

Sigh - not that old canard again. Stalin was a bastard who just happened to be an atheist. He didn't slaughter people in the name of atheism.

While there have been many wars over territory and supremacy, there has been an unhealthy proportion of wars where religious motivation has been at or close to the surface.

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Religion... and the rest

People will ALWAYS find an excuse to kill each other, whether it is religion, politics, culture, tribalism, football etc. etc.

Take one away and something else will fill the void.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Religion... and the rest

People will ALWAYS find an excuse to kill each other, whether it is religion, politics, culture, tribalism, football etc. etc.

Take one away and something else will fill the void.

Did you read that in your bible?

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Re: Religion... and the rest

>>People will ALWAYS find an excuse to kill each other, whether it is religion, politics, culture, tribalism, football etc. etc.

>>Take one away and something else will fill the void.

While that might be true on some level, wouldn't it be nice not not to have this appeal to authority, or this division of people, for example if you couldn't say "God gave us this land, simply believing in this flavour of God means this is mine" or "My god is better than your god".

Could something fill the excuse void as well as gods do?

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Re: Religion... and the rest

yes i think so, people have had to be pretty inventive to make god the excuse. In fact "We're attacking because you're not the same religion" dosent make sense to me as a reason, but it dosent stop them

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Re: Religion... and the rest

Easily. Nationalism, tribalism... and given a little more time and some propaganda against the opponent, a sense of moral superiority.

You can still see some very early propaganda in the old testament. The tribe of Israel was in a state of on-and-off war with the Caananites (Actually a term for a whole collection of other, loosely-affiliated tribes). There are quite a few places where the moral character of these tribes is viciously insulted, no doubt to make it easier for the leaders to then justify a bit of slaughtering.

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There are still some games out there...

...that are pretty realistic.

Here's Gaza Defense

And of course the classic Raid Gaza

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Anonymous Coward

Re: There are still some games out there...

I think there's a (moral) difference between games that try to be realistic, and ones that try to be cartoony fun. To me, cartoony-fun games about current/recent events involving a considerable civilian death toll as a consequence of military actions are offensive and inappropriate. At least with nominally realistic games there can be a sense of the difficulty and/or tradeoffs involved in the tactics or strategy of such situations without disguising what is really happening. I suppose I'd regard an FPS game of such a situation something of a borderline case (ob xkcd http://www.xkcd.com/873/).

You are, of course, perfectly at liberty to disagree with me; I'd be interested as to where others draw the lines (if any) on this sort of thing.

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Re: There are still some games out there...

>>"I think there's a (moral) difference between games that try to be realistic, and ones that try to be cartoony fun"

If you think the games I posted are "cartoony fun" then you've missed the point of them. They're satire. They draw attention to the death tolls them in a way that a realistic FPS where the player is encouraged to lose themselves in a game, normally does not and they highlight the dark absurdity of the situation.

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Re: There are still some games out there...

There is a moral difference but I think you've got it the wrong way round. Realistic FPS games about a war glorify it far more than some stupid Mario rip off. They show what looks like real people being shot, dismembered, tortured and dying and then ask the player to join in. Can you think of a better strategy to kill as many Palestinians as possible than the Israeli army? Give it a go...

Personally I prefer my FPS in the Doom mould rather than the CoD mould. I'm much happier blasting demons, zombies, robots, etc than people.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: FPS games about a war glorify it far more ...

Each sort of game has its own drawbacks - cartoony games tend to trivialize war/suffering, FPS games tend to glorify it, and then board/strategy games tend to abstract the details away to merely a label of "war" and omit suffering entirely.

As regards causing offense, the subject I was addressing (and the focus of the article), I believe that cartoony tends to be worse - i.e. trivializing suffering is more offensive than glorification. I suppose my line of argument would tend to be that glorification is only possible once the suffering is trivialised; the fact that player X can trivialise digital representations of violence is less the fault of the game than of the player. In contrast, I see cartoony violence as inherently trivialised, and therefore more offensive.

From the other side, I suppose that with cartoony violence, it's hard(er) to manage to add on the glorification as well.

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MrT
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Re: Realism

I can think of one example where added realism lowered the ESRB rating of a game...

Half-Life v1 was rated 'M' for Mature (17+) in its unadultered 'head-crabs with everything' version. Apply the Day of Defeat WWII mod to it and the official age rating drops to 'T' for teen (13+). The explanations that I saw centred on the historical relevance of the scenarios as the reason for the shift, although the DoD source code is still 'M' and therefore this suggests they also dialled some of the violence down from 'intense' for the DoD release. Maybe it's not stoving things in with the crowbar that tipped things...

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Re: FPS games about a war glorify it far more ...

>>Each sort of game has its own drawbacks - cartoony games tend to trivialize war/suffering, "

I'm really concerned about this comment and the downvote on my post. I find it hard to believe that anyone could click on the links to those games and think they were actually meant as games. Neither has any actual game-play or possibility of winning. That is the point of them - they are there to draw attention to the death toll of the Palestinian people and mock the rhetoric that Israel is threatened by the Palestinians as a justification for the bombings. They are satire. Anyone actually "playing" the games I linked to cannot misunderstand that, surely?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm really concerned about this comment

OK - although note that I (a) made the comment you quote, but (b) didn't downvote. In general I prefer not to downvote since IMO I'd rather discuss a point.

As for the games you linked - my comments are about games in the abstract, not those specific examples. The role of "satirical games" and whether or not they might be more or less offensive than other types of game, and what my general opinion might be, is not yet determined ... except that it's likely, especially in this instance, to be a rather cautious opinion.

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Anonymous Coward

In other news

the sun came up this morning, there is a high tide this afternoon, and lots of other things happened.

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Re: In other news

>>and lots of other things happened.

For example, schools being bombed.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In other news

Yes, sadly in life bad things happen. But I don't see how that's related this this pathetic ex-app.

Idiots uploads lots of offensive things, things get reported, things get removed.

This should be a positive story that Google removed it, not the negative tone it has.

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WTF?

Re: In other news

Although Google has removed these 'games' for glorifying violence, I presume they have no problem with actually anyone conducting aforementioned violence and so still offer their web services to the state of Israel?

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Re: In other news

>>"Yes, sadly in life bad things happen. But I don't see how that's related this this pathetic ex-app."

Are you the same AC who is replying to everything else here? The point of talking about a school being bombed (on the off-chance you're somehow not aware of this, the Israeli forces shelled a UN school in Gaza yesterday, killing ten and wounding another thirty-five.

The reason this is related is because this is a story related to the Gaza situation and a comment was made about how "in other news the Sun rose, etc..." i.e. that comment comes across as very dismissive of the article suggesting it's a non-story. My reply pointing out that those "other things" include the bombing of schools is a pretty obvious way of saying that a post shrugging and suggesting this is a non-story is ignoring how serious this whole situation is.

If you are the same AC who is replying to all of these posts - and I think not understanding the point of the school bombing, not understanding that a "game" where all you do is die to Israeli tanks is not "cartoony fun" suggests that you are - then please understand the point of what is being said here, that violence and bombing is being utterly condemned, not trivialized.

Also, I don't see any "negative tone" in the article unless it's deploring the existence and opportunism of these games in the first place.

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Pint

Re: In other news

Spot on, more and more Western countries has issued boycott warnings, other even want economic sanctions. I think it will become very popular.

A few years back, they bombed EU sponsored schools, bridges and sanitation facilities ... this time, though, they hit a UN school, so it is a completely different story ... most likely in retaliation to what the general secretary said last week.

The only way you can have peace in the area is by kicking Israel in the nuts so hard it stops its constant humiliating attitude towards the gaza ghetto and west camps.

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Re: In other news

>>The only way you can have peace in the area is by kicking Israel in the nuts so hard it stops its constant humiliating attitude towards the gaza ghetto and west camps.

That's going to take US condemnation. So long as the USA is giving $3bn annually in aid to Israel, they will never take seriously any US diplomatic pressure. It's like trying to bully someone whilst giving them your lunch money. The Obama administration is privately going nuts trying to reign in Israeli aggression - the USA would actually (hard to imagine, I know) love to see things calm down in the Middle East and for it not to get dragged into more conflict there. But all the politicians there feel constrained.

Firstly, there's the aid. I forget the exact figures but I think about 70% of it comes right back to the USA in terms of purchases, overwhelmingly military. So it's essentially a way of turning US taxes directly into revenue for the US military-industrial complex, and that's a powerful entrenched interest. Israel also puts itself as the USA's supposed proxy in the Middle East and supposed bulwark against the Islamic states there. But I think the current realization is that Israel is becoming more a hindrance than a help in that regard.

But the final big hold is that there's a very strong Zionist lobby in the USA (n.b. to the less-informed, zionist =/= jewish) that act as king maker in the States. Recall a couple of years ago when Obama dared to make some critical statements about Israeli aggression. Within about three days there was a long speech given about how the USA unconditionally supports Israel and is loyal to it. It was heavily publicised and quite obviously, it had been made very clear the degree to which his electoral chances could be hurt. There's a lot of influence there, and more than enough to make the difference in a two-party system as finally balanced as the USA's.

But until that lock is broken, Israel will have the USA's backing diplomatic, militarily and financially. That makes it extremely hard to pressure them diplomatically. I'm not saying it can't be done - it can and should be. But I'm pointing out the degree that the USA's support hinders this.

(N.b. and again, because pro-Israeli types set about very hard to try and make the two synonymous, Zionist is not the same as Jewish. There are many Jewish people who are critical of Israel's foreign policy and there are many prominent pro-Israeli government types who are not Jewish. The former Attorney General of the US Govt. John Ashcroft, a Christian, belongs to a church that publically teaches that unless Jerusalem is Jewish, the Kingdom of Heaven cannot descend. One of the first things needed to break the pro-Israel lock on US politics is to no longer allow Israel to pretend to speak for all Jewish people, which is its first and most despicable tactic. It doesn't. /rant ).

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Re: In other news

"The only way you can have peace in the area is by kicking Israel in the nuts so hard it stops its constant humiliating attitude towards the gaza ghetto and west camps."

I presume this "area" is Gaza. Because I don't see much peace in the Middle East even when the countries aren't Israel. In fact, about half of the wars in the MIddle East seem to not involve Israel at all.

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Anonymous Coward

"Great Game, I am impressed. Game is perfect"

Sounds like a legit review.

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Anonymous Coward

Great Comment.

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The is no need to assault him, or bomb him. He seems perfectly able to damage himself. Some say that the years he spent at Tottenham Hotspur means he deserves this kind of ridicule, but I say he should have at least some respect, particularly for his performances at Italia 90, and euro 96.

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Anonymous Coward

Having his knackers crushed by Vinnie Jones was cruel and unusual punishment as well.

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Not just me then

I was beginning to think I was the only one expecting a Paul Gascoine story

/Autocorrect fail: "Paul Gasoline"

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Why don't they.....

Produce a game based on the Amtrak Wars? I mean that is American killing American. The aim of the game could be for the Federation to stop the Tallisman, & the mute side to produce the first green blade of grass.

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