Apple Rejects Game About Syria's Civil War

By Jordan Mammo email: , Jan 16, 2013 11:27 AM EST
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As video games become a more permanent cultural fixture, the hope is that they will also become more ambitious and complex. Developers believe their potential to explore and express ideas and topics is unmatched by other media, and one such example is a new iOS game that explores the current civil war raging in Syria.

Unfortunately, Apple wasn't convinced. "Endgame: Syria" was recently rejected by the company because it failed to comply with the App Store's terms and conditions, namely the one stating that no game will "solely target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity".

The game's creator, Tomas Rawlings, was obviously let down by the news.

"This decision is a shame, really, as it makes it hard to talk about the real world," he said. "We had hoped that Apple would be more nuanced in how they applied this rule, but we got a bit worried when it had been in submission for around two weeks without a decision."

"We then figured that because of the controversy of using the gaming medium to cover an ongoing war meant passing the game had become an issue for them."

Rowling said that his team will be making some changes to the game in order to resubmit the title and get it approved. Still, that will mean removing at least some of the game's context to satisfy Apple's conditions.

"Endgame: Syria" is intended to inform players of the many potential outcomes of the Syrian war. Depending on what decision the Syrian rebels make, the war could end in any number of ways. Will they compromise to attain peace? What if the situation becomes terribly hopeless? What kind of action can the United Nations take to help?

"Obviously games about war are nothing new, but a game about an ongoing existing war, I think that makes some people uncomfortable," Rawlings said. "I get why, and that's because with the very word game the association is fun and frivolous, and war is serious. People are really dying. But I see game as a term for medium - if it's more comfortable you could call it simulation, an exploration or an interactive guide....

"As a game designer I'm interested in the situation [in Syria] and I want to explore it, and the medium that that's natural for me to explore it in is via a game."

The title is just one of many published by Game The News, a company that tries to use video games to explore current trends, news events, and controversies occurring in the world.

The game is still available for free on Android devices, and there is an HTML5 version online.

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