If the deadly conflict in Gaza wasn’t bad enough in real life, there are video games for your phone that allow you to fire your own rockets and drop your own bombs. Google, however, said it was cracking down on Monday and removing some of the most distasteful Android apps from the Google Play store, including: BombGaza and Gaza Assault, among others. You’ll get a sense why they were pulled with this sampling from the Daily Dot:
First up, there’s BombGaza, a well-reviewed app that puts you in the cockpit of an Israeli jet flying low over Gaza’s rooftops. Aim to destroy any building filled with black-clad, rocket-toting Hamas operatives, but be wary of collateral damage: When you’ve killed too many innocent civilians, a “Rage” meter tips into the red zone, and your mission comes to an end.
Next up is Gaza Assault: Code Red, which invites you to “[t]ake control of an Israeli UAV equipped with powerful weapons in an attempt to secure the region” and rather pointedly asks if you “have what it takes to protect your citizens.” Don’t forget, though, you’re fighting to bring about peace, which is only possible when the enemy’s territory has been reduced to rubble.
Google has now blocked these titles, the BBC reports, along with Whack the Hamas where “the gamer is told to target members of Hamas as they emerge from tunnels and is described by its developer as 'for fun and relaxation, for the people who are being killed every day by a terrorist group.'" “Rocket Pride by Best Arabic Games, in which players attempt to outmanoeuvre Israel's Iron Dome missile defence system,” the BBC reports has also been taken down.
“We remove apps from Google Play that violate our policies," a Google spokesperson said in a statement to NBC News. Google did not specify where each game ran afoul, but Google's ban on the depiction of hate speech seems most appropriate. “We don't allow content advocating against groups of people based on their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity,” the Google Play policy reads. The BBC notes games that specifically name groups or enemies seem to have been the first to be taken down, while others that are slightly more vague have managed to remain online.