When the devastating Israel-Hamas conflict that has left about 2,000 people dead is turned into a mobile game to simulate Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip, users are not going to take kindly to it. Following public outrage over the inappropriate game, Google Inc had to pull down the app from its Play Store.
The game, "Bomb Gaza", invites players to play as Israeli military and 'drop bombs' from a fighter jet while ensuring they are not hit by Hamas missiles. It is developed by PlayFTW and was available on Google Play app store before it was taken down on Monday.
Surprisingly, the game has already been downloaded 1,000 times in a week since its launch on 29 July. In another shameful revelation, the maturity setting on the game, which keeps younger users from accessing harmful content, was kept on 'low', thus allowing even young gamers to play it.
Google confirmed on Monday that it had pulled down the app. "We remove apps from Google Play that violate our policies," a spokesman for Google told The Guardian.
Google Play prohibits content that amounts to hate speech, bullying and violence, and also allows users to flag abusive content. Users poured in outraged reactions on the review page of the Google app store.
Some of the comments by users read as –
"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
"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." – Geroge Coote.
"There is ongoing conflict in which people are dying and you seem to find it acceptable to make a game of it." – William Howgate.
And it is not just this game simulated on the gory conflict that is available on the Android store, according to The Guardian. A game titled "Gaza Assault: Code Red" and "Iron Dome" are also available, the latter based on the missile defence system in Israel that the United States is also funding.
The Israel-Hamas conflict that has continued for a month has left more than 1,800 Palestinians, one-third of them children, dead.