Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

iTunes rejects Syrian uprising game | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat – Want to send an assassin to take out a senior al-Assad regime figure? Or would you prefer to direct a Free Syrian Army [FSA] squad? If so, you don’t actually have to join the Syrian revolution, rather, check out Endgame: Syria, an ioS strategy game that allows the player to guide the rebels in their struggle” and ultimately topple the Bashar al-Assad regime. The game is available on Android and as an HTML5 browser game; however one place you can’t find the game is Apple’s iTunes store after it rejected the game due to its political content.

Apple asserts that the mobile game based on the Syrian civil war violates restrictions against games that “target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation.”

Commenting on Apple’s decision, Endgame: Syria app designer, Tomas Rawlings, told Asharq Al-Awsat “we’re disappointed that Apple rejected this app. We feel we have been very respectful to the source material in making the game and hoped this would be reflected in the decision.”

He added “we will try again to get it passed, but I suspect some of the content will be lost in this process, which loses some of the impact of why we are doing this. However the game can still be found on Google Play and on our website.”

As for why he decided to design a mobile game based on the Syrian conflict, Rawlings said “I’d been following the story for some time, as I had all of the Arab Spring. As it unfolded I got to thinking ‘what would happen if…’ at the number of points and so the natural way for me to express those ideas as a games designer is in the form of a game.”

He added “I welcome anyone playing it. It seems that most of the audience who get in touch with us are younger people and people who identify as gamers. We’ve also brought attention to the war to people who might not have considered it before.”

Endgame: Syria, developed by UK-based Auroch Digital’s Game The News project, allows the player to pursue both military and political means to “to reduce the al-Assad regime’s support to the point where they have been defeated or will sue for peace.” Endgame: Syria allows the player to make use of the FSA, mujahedeen and international allies and recognition to strengthen the rebel forces and defeat the Syrian military.

Auroch Digital’s Game the News project sees the “rapid-prototyping of news stories into games”. So far, Auroch Digital has produced Endgame: Syria which focuses on the Syrian revolution, as well as games on child labour in Uzbekistan and rhino poaching in South Africa, amongst others. Tomas Rawlings told Asharq Al-Awsat “We intend to make apps about any news and current affairs, so I think this will not be the last game we make about issues in the Middle East. Our next couple of games will be on global warming and the war on drugs.”

This is not the first time that Apple has removed an app dealing with Middle Eastern affairs from the App store. Apple removed the ThirdIntifada app – which updates users on upcoming protests and highlighted articles critical of Israel – after Israeli Minister of Public Affairs, Yuli Edelstei, sent an email to Apple chief executive Steve Jobs calling for the “immediate removal” of the application. He described the ThirdIntifada app as “an anti-Israeli and anti-Zionist application…that calls for an uprising against Israel.”