I have been debating on which angle I should cover this and we here at Mobility Digest have had a lengthy discussion on Animal Cruelty, Freedom of Speech, and where to draw the line about what should and should not be available on the Android Marketplace. The App in question has only been released on Google’s Android Marketplace and has absolutely no chance of ever being made into an iOS game. The name of the app is Dog Wars by Kage Games. As the name of the app implies, it is a game where you “Feed, water, train and FIGHT your virtual dog against other players”.
Yes, PETA is pretty pissed off and have rallied their supporters together and have petitioned Google and Kage Games to pull it from the Android Marketplace. From PETA:
“…along with thousands of other PETA members and supporters—is calling on Google and Kage Games to pull the violent game from the Android Marketplace on the grounds that it promotes an illegal activity in which dogs are starved, beaten, shot, and forced to rip each other to shreds. Dogfighting is a felony offense in all 50 states.”
Kage Games, developers of Dog Wars have stated that:
If you have a bug up your b*tt about the game concept, remember:
1. It is just A VIDEO GAME
2. Perhaps one day we will make gerbil wars or beta fish wars for people who can’t understand fantasy role play games
3. Just because something is illegal in real life in certain countries, does not mean it is illegal to make a song, movie, or video game about it (looking at you XDA Developer Forums… deleting our beta testing thread and banning our account?!)
4. Just go slingshot some virtual birds to kill some virtual pigs.
5. Go complain to someone who cares about Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Weed Farmer, Smoke a Bowl (these two are listed in the top 15 of casual games on Android Market) and maybe even Sierra’s Leisure Suit Larry from 1987.
Let’s Get it On!
Even Michael Vick, Pro Football player and convicted dog fighting felon Michael Vick had this to say:
“I’ve come to learn the hard way that dogfighting is a dead-end street. Now, I am on the right side of this issue, and I think it’s important to send the smart message to kids, and not glorify this form of animal cruelty, even in an Android app.”
And lastly from the Humane Society President and CEO Wayne Pacelle:
“Android should drop ‘Dog Wars’ from its online market and join the national movement to save dogs from this violent practice. Because ‘Dog Wars’ actually instructs players on how to condition a dog using methods that are standard in organized dogfighting, this game may be a virtual training ground for would-be dogfighters. Its timing and message are all wrong.”
Even though I personally think Michael Vick and anyone associated with Kage Games and the making of Dog Wars is douche bag, I am a little torn about “forcing” Google to pull it. It would be my hope that Google would pull it on their own accord for decencies sake and that no one would download this game. But how many other games would be pulled? There are tons of FPS games that could be pulled for their content as well. Murder the last time I checked is a Felony and so is Reckless Driving. Dog Wars does not at the end of the day violate any of the T&C for Google’s Android Marketplace so it has lasted this long without being pulled.
I read some comments on Android Central that suggest that this game would have been fine if it was renamed Zombie Dog Wars or Hooker Dog Wars. Maybe it’s because in it’s current form it’s too close to the disturbing truth of reality that we hate so much. That takes this article way above my pay grade to tackle and better left to Dr. Jim.
At the end of the day, let this have it’s 15 minutes of fame, and this game goes away. When it does and the morons at Kage Games goes away, I hope they take Michael Vick with them.