Game based on Syrian conflict rejected by Apple app store

A screenshot from the game, which has been rejected by Apple
A screenshot from the game, which has been rejected by Apple
Share this article
Have your say

AN APP that allows players to take part in a game that simulates the ongoing conflict in Syria has been rejected by Apple on the grounds that it ‘targets a real government.’

The California-based firm has stringent guidelines that forbid games that ‘target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity.’

Apple: Stringent guidelines

Apple: Stringent guidelines

The app, titled Endgame: Syria is readily available on the Android platform and on the web, and forms part of the UK-based Auroch Digital’s ‘GametheNews’ project, which sees the creation of topical games based on current affairs.

Another game in the series, ‘My Cotton Picking Life’, focuses on the cruelty of child labour in Uzbekistan.

Auroch designer Tomas Rawlings, who worked on the Syria game, spoke of his disappointment at Apple’s rejection.

In a statement released by the firm, Rawlings says: “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.”

Auroch have confirmed they will be altering certain aspects of the game, and will resubmit it in the hopes it will pass muster with Apple.

Rawlings added: “It does mean we’ll have to strip some of the meaning and context from it to pass Apple’s submission process, and that’s not ideal.

“Our aim is to use games as a format to bring news to a new audience and submission processes such as this make it a lot harder for us.”

Apple have gained notoriety for their hardline stance on apps that it deems unsuitable or offensive - in 2011, the company rejected a game named ‘Smuggle Truck’ which allowed users to smuggle immigrants across the US border. Makers Owlchemy redesigned the game, and rebranded it as ‘Snuggle Truck’, replacing the immigrants with soft toys.

Following the rejig, the game passed Apple’s stringent tests. Whether Endgame: Syria will follow suit remains to be seen, but until Apple reassess the suitability of the game, iOS users can access the HTML5 game online, and decide for themselves whether the game really does assist people in understanding current affairs.