Apple Removes Sweatshop from App Store, Rejects Endgame: Syria for Third Time

March 21, 2013 -

Apple has refused to include Auroch Digital's Endgame: Syria on the Apple App Store and has removed Sweatshop HD - a collaboration between U.K. studio Littleloud and Channel 4, according to this Polygon report. Both games, it seems are a little too controversial for Apple.

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Required Reading: War-torn Developers Creating Games from the Front Lines

July 25, 2012 -

Gamasutra has a fascinating article on how developers in war-torn regions cope with developing games in the midst of chaos and bloodshed created by violence. Some, like Radwan Kasmiya from Syria, have fled to other countries but still find the wars they ran away from having a long arm and a strong influence on the ability to practice their craft.

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Undercover UXO Teaches Children about the Dangers of Mines

May 2, 2011 -

The developers of a video game called Undercover UXO, (short for unexploded ordnance) aim to teach children in Cambodia and other war-torn regions about the dangers of land mines and other explosive devices - remnants of past wars in the region. In Cambodia, explosive devices have injured nearly 64,000 people in the last three decades, according to the Cambodian Mine/Explosives Remnants of War Victim Information System. Around 286 people were injured last year.

The new video game was designed by professors at Michigan State University using a $78,000 grant from the State Department. The game has been selected by the Golden West Humanitarian Foundation for a pilot run in Cambodia. So far, the game has been tested on children in its Phnom Penh office before introducing it to communities that are more rural and where the dangers of mines is even more prevalent.

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Philly Army Experience Center to Close

June 10, 2010 -

A high-tech, videogame-laden Army recruiting center in Philadelphia that was often the center of controversy and protests is shutting down at the end of July.

The Army Experience Center cost approximately $12 million to build and was launched in August of 2008. The 14,500 square foot facility, located in the Franklin Mills Mall, was consistently targeted with protests led by a coalition of national peace groups that operated the website Shutdown the Army Experience Center.  The activists felt that the Army Experience Center glorified killing and depicted war as a game with its realistic simulators.

The protest group claimed victory, stating that the Army center was closed at least partly due to its efforts, noting that it had another planned protest in the works for Saturday, June 19.

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6 Days in Call of Duty 4 Machinima Offers Anti-War Message

August 6, 2009 -

When we last heard from Joseph DeLappe, the artist/professor was was participating in online matches of the Defense Department's own America's Army game as a means of protesting the war in Iraq.

Now DeLappe and machinima artist J. Joshua Diltz have collaborated on 6 Days in Call of Duty 4. The anti-war video project combines a static view of CoD4 multiplayer action with a mobile cam. The kill count scrolls in a separate window. Diltz describes the project, which incorporates the recent Six Days in Fallujah controversy in its title:

"6 Days" is an experimental documentary that examines the consequences of a military conflict that rages over a period of six consecutive days in a virtual game world.  Through the lens of both a static and roaming ground camera, the movie captures both  visceral action and a sobering body count.

Based in the game "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare", the film pays homage to the lives, both military and civilian lost during the Second War of Fallujah.

Download a copy here...

Partially via: Kotaku

14 comments

Protester Writes About Her Arrest at Army Video Game Recruiting Center

May 7, 2009 -

Last weekend GamePolitics served up live Twitter coverage as anti-war protesters marched on the Army Experience Center.

The high-tech recruiting facility in Philadelphia uses PC and Xbox 360 games to attract potential recruits.

As we reported, seven protesters were peacefully arrested when they refused an order by police to leave. One of those arrested, Elaine Brower, the mother of a U.S. Marine, writes about the experience for Op Ed News:

I myself, was part of a group of protesters who donned death masks and the names of fallen soldiers and stood directly in front of the AEC, which was at that point surrounded by police...

It seemed to me that the recruiters were becoming a bit unnerved, and the police were becoming extremely impatient... since the AEC is open to the “public” many demanded to go inside, but weren’t allowed...

After only one warning, the police decided to aggressively arrest seven of the protesters who were wearing death masks, peacefully standing in front of the AEC and not blocking the entrance.  Taken to a distant precinct, the civil affairs Captain vowed vengeance by trying to charge the seven with a “misdemeanor in the third degree.”  After 6 hours in the most deplorable conditions, they were released to return to court in June...

What is happening right under our noses is a transformation of the way in which the military plans on re-wiring the brains of kids at a very young and impressionable age to turn them into silent killers.  By allowing anyone from the age of 13 to 18 to handle a machine gun, or use games that promote violence, it creates a generation that is wired to kill and think that killing is something that is easy and sanctioned. 

GP: My observation was that the police gave at least two warnings; this can be seen on the video footage I took at the protest. In any case, it seemed like the masked protesters planned to be locked up in order to make their point.

129 comments

Protesters Arrested at Army's Video Game Recruitment Center

May 3, 2009 -

This video shows anti-war protesters yesterday as they marched with police escort to the Franklin Mills Mall in Philadelphia where they delivered a symbolic "criminal complaint" to U.S. Army recruiters and the mall's management company.

The demonstrators were protesting the Army's use of a high-tech, video game-equipped recruitment center located in the mall.

There was a significant police presence as the protesters arrived. They were permitted to enter the mall and stage their rally at the entrance to the Army Experience Center.

As the rally ended, seven protesters, mostly in white masks, were arrested, presumably for refusing to disperse. The arrests were peaceful and appeared to be scripted by the protesters as a symbolic gesture.

UPDATE: A press release on yesterday's protest has been issued by its organizers.

UPDATE 2: The local Fox outlet has a video report.

93 comments

Covering a Video Game Protest March via Twitter

May 3, 2009 -

Yesterday GamePolitics utilized Twitter to provide live coverage as anti-war demonstrators staged a rally and march against the U.S. Army Experience Center in Philadelphia. The experimental recruiting facility located at Franklin Mills Mall uses an elaborate video game setup equipped with high-end gaming PCs and Xbox 360s to attract potential recruits.

For those who didn't catch yesterday's Twitter feed, I've pasted it below as it offers a detailed chronological picture of how the protest evolved; ultimately it would end with the peaceful arrest of seven protesters by police (see pic at left).

Here's the Twitter feed, including my answers to some questions by readers at the end. My tweets are in blue:

# LIVE Twitter coverage of protest march against US Army video game recruitment center in Phillly today. Please RT: http://tinyurl.com/cy9olkabout

# Heading down to Philly now to cover protest march against Army video game recruitment center

# Scattered showers here in philly, but I don't think it will interrupt the protest march targeting the US Army video game recruiting ctr

# Rain has stopped and sun is out. Weather will not interfere with today's protest march against US Army video game recruiting center in phila

# Protest starting soon. My crowd estimate is maybe 100, so somewhat less than what protest organizers were hoping for. There is at least [one counter protester here] (this message was truncated by Twitter)

# Looks like a peaceful crowd as u might expect for antiwar protesters. Generally older, average age 40+

# Philadelphia PD is on hand, both uniformed and plainclothes. They are low profile, seem to be coordinating w protest leaders
(click "read more" below for the rest of the report)

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TODAY: Follow GP's Live Coverage of Protest March Against Army Video Game Recruitment Center

May 2, 2009 -

Anti-war activists will stage a rally today in Philadelphia to protest the Army Experience Center at the Franklin Mills Mall - and GamePolitics will be on hand to provide live coverage.

The $12 million experimental recruitment facility, equipped with PCs, Xbox 360s and violent games, is the first of its kind. While the Army hopes that the AEC's video games, sofas and rock music will attract potential recruits, anti-war groups charge that the Army is using video games to militarize youth.

Today's protest is scheduled to begin with a 1:00 P.M. rally at a nearby church. Speakers will include veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Celeste Zappala of Gold Star Families for Peace and a former State Department official, Col. Anne Wright.

After the speeches, organizers say that several hundred bullhorn-equipped and sign-carrying protesters will march from the church to the mall, which is about a mile away. Along the way the protesters will unfurl a 12-foot banner reading:

War is Not a Game, Shut Down the Army Experience Center

Upon arrival at the mall, the protesters will attempt to serve a "criminal complaint" on the Army Experience Center and the company which owns the mall. It is likely, however, that they will be denied access.

The protesters have apparently revised their original, potentially chaotic plan which, as GamePolitics reported in March, called for them to pose as mall shoppers and then descend upon the AEC.

GamePolitics will have full coverage of this unprecedented video game protest. I will provide a live Twitter feed as the event unfolds. I will also be taking plenty of photos and video and will post a recap after the event.

To keep up with my live Twitter feed, follow GamePolitics.

UPDATE: Pic at left shows the protesters arrving at the mall.

54 comments

Large Scale Protest Planned for Army Video Game Center in Philadelphia

March 23, 2009 -

An experimental, high tech Army recruitment center in Philadelphia has been targeted for protest by an anti-war activist group.

According to a post on the website of After Downing Street, the protest is being planned for the Army Experience Center at the Franklin Mills Mall on the afternoon of Saturday, May 2nd at 2:00 P.M. The group also quite openly details how the protest will be staged:

Please join us... show up early at the mall and spend some time shopping... Shopping bags are an excellent decoy. (The cops will suspect everyone with a shopping bag!) At 2:00 pm people will come out of the woodwork and converge on the Army Experience Center... We think it's possible for hundreds of us to arrive at the mall without being detected. And it is a free country, sort of...

We can enter the Army Experience Center and cause a great big fuss at 2:00 pm until we're asked to leave and then we can take our time to get out. We'll go to peacefully and artistically express our indignation at this abomination. Some are planning on singing. Some will unfurl banners, some will chant and some will cry. There's talk of a die-in. We are people of peace. We're nonviolent. The Army is Shock and Awe, Abu Ghraib, recruiting lies, a thousand rapes, and cool video games.

Immediately after the action, we have a location picked out for a demonstration on public property -- on the street -- right outside of Franklin Mills Mall where we have the "right" to peacefully assemble.

We demand the Army close up shop at Franklin Mills Mall and we're determined to block the expansion of this monstrosity in malls across the nation...

After Downing Street describes itself as "a nonpartisan coalition of over 200 veterans groups, peace groups, and political activist groups that has worked since May 2005 to pressure both Congress and the media to investigate whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war."

The Army's use of interactive games and exhibits for recruitment purposes has spurred a variety of protests in recent times. The practice has come in for some negative political attention, as well. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) recently urged the elimination of funding for the Virtual Army Experience, a traveling recruitment exhibit which the military takes to county fairs and other large-scale public events.

GP: As the protest location is fairly local to GamePolitics HQ, we hope to provide live coverage.

61 comments

Protester: Army's Teen Game Competition is "Military Pedophilia"

December 7, 2008 -

Sacramento's News-10 reports that a small contingent of military veterans staged a protest outside a game tournament sponsored by the US Army in Rancho Cordova, California yesterday.

Members of the group Veterans for Peace assembled outside of an Army training center while teens competed inside. Protester John Reiger told News-10:

It's like giving candy to kids. It's sort of like military pedophilia in a way, preying on our young people.

However, Army Sgt. Victor Farrier defended the event, which was staged to show off recruiting game America's Army:

The event is nothing more than an opportunity for people to become familiar with the Army.

Sgt. Farrier added that only those 17 and older were eligible to participate on their own. Under-17s were admitted as well, if accompanied by a parent.

78 comments

Green Party Congressional Candidate Takes Stand Against America's Army Exhibit

October 19, 2008 -

Green Party candidate Peter Myers, running for Congress in California's 15th District, has come out in opposition to the Pentagon's use of the America's Army: Virtual Army Experience simulator in recruiting efforts.

As GamePolitics has previously reported, Virtual Army Experience sparked protests from anti-war groups at several stops during a summer tour of county fairs and air shows.

On his campaign blog, Myers writes:

This report from CNN shows you what some of your hundreds of billions of dollars of tax dollars pay for when they go to the Pentagon. The military's recruitment process for future wars is slick and neatly packaged, and you and I pay for it every day.

My opponents won't take the initiative to rein in this type of wasteful spending that creates an American culture more militant than ever before. Only I have chosen to stand up against these disturbing military recruitment practices; a vote for anyone else is a vote for more disappointment.

In late August, following protests, the Army agreed to restrict participants to those 17 and older. However, the CNN report referenced by Myers clearly shows a 13-year-old boy in line for the exhibit and having his personal data being collected (see pic). It's unknown when the CNN footage was shot.

The more familiar America's Army PC and console games have been criticized by some peace groups for allegedly violating U.N. protocols barring military recruitment of children.

The Green Party's Myers is running against incumbent Mike Honda (D). Myers candidacy is a long shot.

8 comments

Anti-War Protest in Habbo Hotel Tomorrow

September 18, 2008 -

What organizers claim will be the largest online protest ever is to be staged tomorrow within online game/social networking site Habbo Hotel.

Participants will gather in the Euro-teen hangout for an antiwar rally sponsored by Habbo and War Child, a U.K. group which assists kids affected by war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. According to War Child's website:

War Child and Habbo are teaming up for what promises to be the largest online protest ever. On 19th September, in the run up to UN International Day of Peace, teens will gather in Habbo hotel to raise awareness about the effects of war. Habbo is a virtual community of millions of young people, who hang out, play games and get involved in these kind of events.


Via: The Click Heard Round the World

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PHX CorpI'm going to do a test stream later today, if anyone is intrested07/31/2014 - 2:40pm
Andrew EisenYes, I'm such a big Nintendo dork that I read Nintendo's quarterly financial reports.07/31/2014 - 2:09pm
Andrew EisenCool tidbit - Mario Kart 8 sales account for more than half of total Wii U software sales for the last quarter even though it was only available for the last third.07/31/2014 - 2:09pm
Andrew EisenStill a pretty cool promotion. Unfortunately for me, I'm not interested in purchasing Mario Kart 8 and I already owned or didn't want any of the free games on offer.07/31/2014 - 1:43pm
Andrew EisenInteresting that EU had 10 games to choose from while North America only had four.07/31/2014 - 1:41pm
MaskedPixelanteIt certainly worked, I probably would never have bought Mario Kart 8 if it didn't come with a free copy of Wind Waker HD.07/31/2014 - 1:14pm
Andrew EisenI imagine will see similar promotions like "Buy Mario Kart 8 get a download code for one of these specific games" but almost certainly not for all of its (however you would define) biggest releases.07/31/2014 - 11:24am
MaskedPixelanteI wonder if Nintendo is going to be doing "buy one get one free" promos for all their biggest releases going forward.07/31/2014 - 10:48am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/special-report-retail-revolt-over-pc-code-strippers/013614007/31/2014 - 8:27am
ZippyDSMleeWouldn't they be able to afford and get done in a timely manner a general gba emluator for the 3DS? It seems to me if they want to make money off sales they need to do it.07/31/2014 - 7:25am
Sora-ChanAmbassador program, that's what I was looking for. Anyway the other games that have been made no longer exclusive to the early adopters got updates in their software. It'll only be a matter of time more than likely for the GBA to get the same treatment.07/31/2014 - 5:35am
Sora-ChanI might be naming it incorrectly when I say "founder" i mean the program for earlier adopters.07/31/2014 - 5:34am
Sora-Chanthe 3DS's GBA emulator was a rush job due to the founder program. No other GBA titles have been released on the 3DS yet. If/When they do get around to it, they'll more than likely update the emulation software.07/31/2014 - 5:32am
Zenemulator...it's not just a slap job that makes "some" work..they do it for each which is why they work so well. I would rather have the quality over just a slap job.07/30/2014 - 5:48pm
ZenMatthew there is a difference between "worked" and "accurate". You play the Nintendo VC titles they play as damn close to the original as possible. The PSP would just run them as best they could, issues and all. And Masked...EACH VC title has their own07/30/2014 - 5:48pm
MaskedPixelanteOnce again, the 3DS already HAS a GBA emulator, it just can't run at the same time as the 3DS OS.07/30/2014 - 4:54pm
Matthew Wilsonyou cant street pass in ds mode ether, and if moders can make a gba emulator that runs very well on the psp as I understand it. you are telling me that Nintendo devs are not as good as moders?07/30/2014 - 4:49pm
Zenperformance. Halo 1 and 2 worked great because they actually did custom work on each of them...just like Nintendo does now lol07/30/2014 - 4:08pm
Zenexisting hardware while the GBA has to be emulated completely. Same reason the 360 couldn't run most Original Xbox games correctly, or had issues because they just did "blanket approach" for their emulation which led to game killing bugs or horrible07/30/2014 - 4:07pm
ZenSora/Matthew: It's not just Miiverse, but the whole idea of streetpass and things like that would be affected if the OS is not running. And just because a 3DS game can be downloaded and run does not mean that GBA can as easily. Those 3DS games use the07/30/2014 - 4:06pm
 

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