BRISTOL, UK. JANUARY 7th, 2013: A game that explores the Syrian civil war, Endgame:Syria, has been rejected by Apple due to App Store guidelines forbidding games that "solely target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity".
Apple say that Endgame:Syria, which explores a real news event and aims to show users the range of factions and peoples involved in the situation, fell into this category and so was rejected.
The game's designer, Tomas Rawlings takes up the story, "This decision is a shame really as it makes it hard to talk about the real world. 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."
Tomas continued, "Our aim is to use games as a format to bring news to a new audience and submission processes such as this do make it a lot harder for us. I get that Apple want to make sure really offensive titles don't pass into their store, but ours is far from that. In fact the response to the game has been broadly positive with much of the mainstream media picking up on the story.
We'll be making changes to the game and re-submitting it but it does mean we'll have to strip some of the meaning and context from it to pass Apple's submission process and that is not ideal." The game runs as a HTML5 application so can be played on an iPhone or iPad without needing to be installed. The game can be found at http://bit.ly/endgamesyria
You Tube: http://youtu.be/sa0GatiKnkU
A longer description of the design and sources for the game can be found here: http://bit.ly/endgamesyriasources
GameTheNews is a project by digital development and consultancy studio Auroch Digital, based in Bristol, UK. The project is exploring how games can be developed from news stories. They have produced a number of games before this one on a variety of topics such as the US elections and solar power. The existing GameTheNews games can be found on Wired and the Huffington Post aswell as here on their site.