It is a common practise for game developers to take inspiration, or even make games directly on real-life events. Hence, it is not a surprise that the current on-going event in the Middle East, the Israel-Gaza conflict was also moulded into an mobile game ‘Bomb Gaza’ on Android.
After spending a week on the Play Store, the game was finally removed by Google and is no longer available. How Bomb Gaza, developed by an eerily named developer “PLAYFTW” got into the app store in the first place is unbelievable, given the policies against hate speech Google Play has. Maybe bombing civilians doesn’t count a lot on Google’s hate speech scale.
The game itself features a bizarre gameplay. Playing as the Israeli Air Force, the objective is to throw bombs from airplanes flying overhead. Your targets are black terrorists, while the white civilians you have to avoid. A rage meter increases depending on the number of civilians you’ve killed.
This isn’t the only exception on the store either, as Polygon reports, several other apps such as Gaza Defender and Iron Dome are still available on the Play Store. Time‘s update also features the history of games on this subject, including Raid Gaza!, a title created in 2008 marking that period’s conflict.
Games such as Bomb Gaza blur the lines between entertainment and violence. It’s up to Google to ensure now that it keeps its application market from being as un-political as possible.
The ongoing conflict in Gaza is in itself a strong violation of international laws. With almost 2,000 civilians killed at the time of writing, it is already clear who is the oppressor and who is not.