Google removes controversial 'Slavery Simulator' game

Google removes controversial ‘Slavery Simulator’ game which allowed players to ‘buy and sell’ black characters – but only after it was downloaded more than 1,000 times

  • Brazilian figures took to social media to denounce the offensive mobile game
  • Game allows players to ‘buy and sell’ and even inflict torture on black characters
  • It follows a report finding ‘racist stereotypes’ in the popular FIFA football game

Google has finally removed a controversial mobile game that allowed players to buy, sell and even inflict torture on black characters.

Called ‘Simulador de Escravidão’ (or ‘Slavery Simulator’), the Android game for ‘all ages’ was created by Malaysian games developer Magnus Games. 

It was released to Google’s Play Store on April 20 and downloaded more than 1,000 times before it was removed on Wednesday following uproar on social media. 

But it still remains available to people who have already downloaded it, according to Brazilian daily newspaper Folha de S Paulo. 

It follows claims that the hugely popular FIFA football video game perpetuates racist myths and stereotypes about black people. 

Called ‘Simulador de Escravidão (or ‘Slavery Simulator’), the game was created by Malaysian company Magnus Games

Brazil’s ministry for racial equality said it had contacted Magnus and Google and those behind Slavery Simulator will be held legally responsible, according to the Guardian.

What is Magnus Games?

Magnus Games is the Malaysian ‘indie’ game company behind the offensive ‘Slavery Simulator’ game. 

Slavery Simulator lets players ‘buy and sell’ and even inflict torture on black characters. 

Magnus Games is also behind Re:Legend, which it says is ‘the most funded Kickstarter video game in Southeast Asia’. 

Re:Legend lets players ‘adventure with friends in a beautiful world of wonder and fantastic creatures’ and ‘build, craft, farm and fish, as you raise and breed amazing pet companions’. 

It’s unclear whether the offensive game was created solely for the Brazilian market or if it was available in other countries too. 

Slavery Simulator lets players ‘accumulate wealth as they exchange, buy and sell slaves’ while keeping them from ‘running away or rebelling’ by hiring guards. 

According to CNN, players choose one of two objectives at the beginning of the game – the Path of the Tyrant or the Path of the Liberator.

As an alternative to becoming ‘a wealthy slave owner’, choosing the ‘Path of the Liberator’ lets them achieve the abolition of slavery’ the game’s description said. 

The Facebook page of Magnus Games still has a screenshot from the gameplay, showing a wealthy white slave owner and a black character behind bars. 

Brazilian figures took to social media to condemn the game and its creators, as well as Google for releasing it. 

In a tweet, Brazilian politician Renata Souza called it ‘blatant racism’, adding: ‘The image illustrating the game has a white man surrounded by black men. 

‘It is absurdly violent. Google and the developer must answer for this crime of hatred and racism.’ 

The Facebook page of Magnus Games still has a screenshot from the gameplay, showing a wealthy white slave owner and a black character behind bars

Bruno Cândido, a black lawyer based in Rio de Janeiro, posted disturbing screenshots of the game to Twitter

According to Souza, some of the comments on the app store about the game were ‘great to pass the time, lack more torture options’, and ‘I would like to do it in real life’.

READ MORE: FIFA perpetuates racist myths and stereotypes, study claims

Researchers say FIFA is perpetuating racist myths and stereotypes about black people

Another comment said: ‘I have a black friend and it was cool to play co-op with him.’ 

Bruno Cândido, a black lawyer based in Rio de Janeiro, posted disturbing screenshots of the game to Twitter, one of which showed a black man in shackles.

Cândido said: ‘At any time your black child could come across a game in which they are reduced to enslavement, and if your child is white, they will be taught through recreational racism to become an enslaver in real life.’ 

Meanwhile, Quilombo Periférico, a collective mandate of black city councillors in São Paulo, said: ‘Racism is not entertainment, it’s a crime!’

Slavery Simulator had no age classification, so it’s possible that even children are still playing it after its removal. 

Brazil’s Public Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation into why the game was made available on the Play Store, according to CNN.

Prosecutors requested ‘specific information about the game’ from Google, while highlighting the ‘great number of racist comments’ from users.

Regarding the issue, a Google spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘The mentioned apps have been removed from Play. 

Google confirmed the game had been removed from its Play Store, the firm’s app store on Android-certified devices (file photo)

‘Google Play has a robust set of policies aimed at keeping users safe and which all developers must follow. 

‘We don’t allow apps that promote violence or incite hatred against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, or that depict or promote gratuitous violence or other dangerous activities. 

‘Anyone who believes they have found an app that violates our rules can report it to Google Play. When violations are found, we take appropriate action.’ 

Magnus Games is yet to respond to MailOnline’s request for comment. 

Racism remains a problem in Brazil, which abolished slavery in 1888, more than 20 years after the US. 

By then Brazil had imported an estimated 4,000,000 slaves from Africa – around 40 per cent of all slaves shipped to the Americas.

The controversy follows a report that found black stereotypes are still rife in the video game FIFA, developed by US company Electronic Arts (EA). 

Authors of a study say top black players in the game FIFA were given greater physical attributes, such as sprint speed and jumping (file photo)

It found top black players in the game are given greater physical attributes such as sprint speed and jumping, while white ones had higher scores in cognitive and technical areas. 

EA Sports, the division of EA that publishes FIFA, criticised the study, saying there is ‘no correlation between skin tone and skill in our game’. 

The company had to change the name of its successful game after the two-decade-long partnership with the global football governing body ended. 

One of the earlier racist video games was called ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ and was released by Microsoft in early 2002. 

In the first-person shooter, the player controlled a neo-Nazi skinhead and was tasked with killing stereotypical African-American, Latino, and Jewish enemies. 

People who identify as ‘gamers’ are more likely to engage in sexist, racist, and aggressive behaviours, study finds 

If you’re a member of a gaming clan online, a new study suggests you’re more prone to socially harmful behaviour – especially if you play Call of Duty.

Researchers surveyed more than 1,000 US gamers on their beliefs and personality traits, as well as their level of ‘identity fusion’ with other gamers. 

Identity fusion is a psychological phenomenon that causes a deep sense of alignment with a group or cause, and is particularly prevalent among gamers. 

The researchers found links between identity fusion and multiple undesirable traits, including sexism, racism and recent aggressive behaviour. 

The research also found that specific gaming communities – namely, Call of Duty players – can encourage ‘strongly fused’ gamers to embrace anti-social tendencies more than others. 

Read more 

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