The Brazilian Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office in Rio Grande do Sul (MPF-RS) launched an investigation last week into a slavery simulator application available on Google’s Play Store in Brazil. The app, developed by MagnusGames, was taken down only after thousands of downloads.
The discovery of this terrible and disrespectful game sparked widespread criticism. Leaving many asking, how can a well-known business like Google enable the development and distribution of racist apps with such a terrible premise?
The game resulted in over a thousand downloads and countless hateful comments. This extreme debacle calls into doubt Google’s approval filters and standards.
The Brazilian Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation into the situation. Google was asked for “specific information about the game” by the prosecution, who also noted that a “great number of racist comments” had already been found on the Google platform.
In the game, players may “exchange, buy, and sell slaves,” as evidenced by the photographs. At the beginning of the slave owner simulator, you can choose between two goals: the Path of the Tyrant or the Path of the Liberator. Slavery can be abolished, or you can become a wealthy slave owner, according to the game’s description.
The game instructed users to “Use slaves for your own enrichment” in one of the settings available. Gain money while delaying the end of slavery. The game continuously prompted players with messages like “You need guards! “, “Slave level: the higher the level, the higher the profit the slave will bring,” and “Slave level: the highest the level, the higher the profit the slave will bring.” You own slaves, but nobody is watching over them. If there are no guards, the slaves will escape or rebel. Engage some combatants. In most cases, one guard is sufficient for 30 slaves, as seen by game screenshots.
Lawmaker, Orlando Silva, filed an official complaint with the public prosecutor about the “macabre” game. He wrote on Twitter, “This is recreational racism, and they have to answer criminally.”
Google replied in a statement provided to CNN Brasil: “We have a rigorous set of regulations that are intended to protect consumers and that all developers are required to abide by. We don’t permit apps that show or encourage gratuitous violence or other risky behaviors or instigate violence against individuals or groups based on race or ethnicity. Anyone can submit a report if they think they have identified an app that disobeys our guidelines. We take the necessary steps when we find a policy infringement.”
The program was rated as “all ages” on Google’s own platform.
The platform gave the application a four out of five-star rating. “Great game to pass the time,” one user said in regards to the software. But I believe there should have been more ways to torment. One user gave it a five-star review and stated that they could click on the option to flog the slave as well.
Another reviewer on the same day stated, “It is amazing that this type of stuff is online and accessible to youngsters.
The game displays a message that reads:
“Welcome! This simulates being a slave owner. You’ll need to get and oversee your slaves, generate income, and move closer to your objectives.“
MagnusGames stated on the mobile app that the “…game was made exclusively for enjoyment purposes. Any type of slavery is abhorrent to our studio. All of the game’s material is made up and has nothing to do with actual historical events. Every coincidence is unintentional.”
The Google PlayStore still has several games made by the company available for downloading.