Apple has rejected a new iOS game exploring the ongoing civil war in Syria because it depicts a "real entity," the designer said.
British game studio Auroch Digital launched "Endgame: Syria," the latest installment in its "Game the News" series of videogames aimed at generating interest in current affairs.
"Obviously games about war are nothing new, but a game about an ongoing existing war, I think that makes some people uncomfortable," Creative Director Tomas Rawlings said in the game's official trailer. "I get why, and that's because with the very word game the association is fun and frivolous, and war is serious. People are really dying. But I see game as a term for medium — if it's more comfortable you could call it simulation, an exploration or an interactive guide."
Weeks after the design studio submitted the iOS version of the game to Apple's App Store, the tech giant rejected it, claiming "Endgame: Syria" violated rules against games that "solely target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity."
However, some games depicting current conflicts have passed Apple's muster.
Screenshots for "War on Terror," an iPhone game released in November 2011, show a cartoonish President Barack Obama amid a chaotic scene of what appears to be Islamist terrorists and camouflaged soldiers. A map of countries in the game shows a nuclear explosion going off somewhere on a crassly-drawn map of Egypt and South Africa.
Another game, titled "Name That Modern Warship," lets users select the class or name of naval ships based on real pictures of them.
Two Apple spokespeople did not respond to calls and emails from TheWrap requesting comment.
Rawlings criticized Apple's rejection, saying he wanted more explanation of how his game violated App Store rules.
"I'd like to see them clarify it a little more," Rawlings told Wired. "They should trust their users to make their own judgments a little more; I think they would see the difference between something exploitative and something respectful, so they should err on the side of letting apps pass."
The March 2011 uprising in Syria is nearing its second year with few signs of letting up, as government forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad continue to battle with disparate factions of rebels for control of the country.
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