Endgame Syria, changes its name for iOS after three rejections from the Apple App Store. The developer has had to not only remove references to specific groups that are part of the conflict, but any reference to the actual word ‘Syria’ too.
The much-amended version of Endgame Syria has made it past Apple’s approval process as ‘Endgame Eurasia’.
The original version is still available through Android, PC and Facebook with the latest update 2.0.1 going live today.
Endgame Syria without the Syria
The developer, GameTheNews.net’s Tomas Rawlings remarked,
“We’ve come to the end of three rejections and one appeal and the only way we’ve been able to get Endgame Syria out on iOS was to remove all references to the real world and sadly that changes it from a ‘newsgame’ into just a ‘game’. We’ve released this game version so at least players with Apple devices can get a feel for what we originally intended for the platform. We are of course disappointed to not be able to release the game and hope that our experience informs a wider debate about how games have matured into a form that would benefit from a reappraisal by some.”
In contrast with Apple’s policy decision, Endgame Syria has been recognized by Games For Change, one of the world’s leading exponents of how games can be used beyond play.
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In what could be considered one of the closest to the genre of Non-Fiction Gaming, Endgame Syria was launched last year and allows players to explore the difficulties and options open to the rebel side in the ongoing Syrian civil war. The game attracted media coverage for not only its subject matter but how it was received by gaming and non-gaming audiences.
Educating players on the complexities of a civil war isn’t what games should do according to Apple’s Developer Guidelines.
“We will reject Apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line. What line, you ask? Well, as a Supreme Court Justice once said, “I’ll know it when I see it”. And we think that you will also know it when you cross it.”
The game focuses on the complexities of the Syrian civil war through card-based gameplay. Played from the perspective of the Syrian rebels, players make strategic choices, all of which impact the final outcome.
Players must balance the in-game currencies of morale and support against the costs of fighting in the war. Without a set ultimate goal, the player decides when and if the time is right to accept a peace treaty.
Events in Endgame Syria can be replayed to show how different choices and strategies lead to different outcomes and maximize players’ understanding of this complex environment.
GameTheNews.net’s other games also explore current affairs from a commentary on the horse-meat scandal to covering science and technology news.
So whilst games aren’t allowed to cover the news in Syria, a television channel accidently uses an Assassin’s Creed screenshot to illustrate a news report about Damascus.