A mobile phone game in which players pretend to be the Israeli military bombing Gaza has been removed from the Google app store, a spokesman for the internet firm said on Monday after a public backlash.
Bomb Gaza, which is designed for Android phones and tablets, had been downloaded up to 1,000 times since its release on 29 July 2014, according to app store data. Its stated aim is to “drop bombs and avoid killing civilians”.
Seemingly designed to offend, the game reflects the real-life conflict in Gaza in which at least 1,800 Palestinians have been killed. Many comments on the game’s review section expressed outrage that the game was given a platform by Google, though some also defended Israeli positions.
“Utterly shameful. Real people, many of them children, are dying in Gaza. Many of those who haven’t been killed face life with debilitating injuries, bereavement and without homes. Their suffering is as real as yours or mine, and to make light of it like this speaks of your essential failure as a human. Shame on the creators of this game, and those who ‘play’ it.” George Coote
“WTF There is ongoing conflict in which people are dying and you seem to find it acceptable to make a game of it. That’s fucked up.” William Howgate
Its maturity setting – designed to protect younger gamers from harmful content – was listed as ‘low”, which meant younger players were encouraged to play it.
The developer, PLAYFTW, described “an improved performance” in a second release of the game which mentioned the addition of “Israel’s theme music”.
Many people called upon Google to take the game down swiftly, and pointed users in the direction of the Report button.
“Please take this off the play store. It is offensive and I am really let down that Google actually allowed this. If this game isn’t removed I’m starting a Google boycott.” Oma Al
Apart from Bomb Gaza, there are other titles on the Android store which reference the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. There is also a game named Gaza Assault: Code Red (with a five star rating) and Iron Dome, based on Israel’s controversial US funded missile defence system.
“We remove apps from Google Play that violate our policies,” a spokesman for Google said, confirming that the game had been removed from the Google Play app store. Google did not specify which policy the game had violated.
The Guardian has contacted Roman Shapiro, the developer responsible for PLAYFTW’s titles, which also include a piano playing game and a Space War simulation.
Source: The Guardian