|Release date(s)||2012: December 12 (Android, HTML5)|
|Genre(s)||Trading card game newsgame|
Endgame: Syria is a trading card based newsgame developed by GameTheNews.net, a project looking to turn news into games. It launched on the 12 December 2012 and claimed to be the first ever attempt to cover an ongoing conflict in the form of a video game. It attracted a range of responses from the positive to critical. The game places the player in the role of coordinating the rebel side of the Syrian civil war where they have to decide the political and military choices faced in resolving the conflict.
The game is a Trading card game where each turn is divided into a political and military phase. In each phase may impact on the player (and the regime's) level of support. If either side loses its support, the game is over. The game can also end in a peace deal between the sides.
Apple submission controversy
The game was rejected by Apple's App Store citing App Store guidelines forbidding games that “solely target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity”. This sparked debate over both the rules of the App Store and the appropriateness of the form in covering war.
Russia Today featured a report on Apple's refusal to publish the game agreeing with the decision citing the game as "unethical" and "only on one side" as there is only an ability to play as the rebels and not as the government. They also considered it to be factually inaccurate as the game features Russia as supporting the government despite "statements coming from the foreign ministry that Russia does not take any side in this conflict."
Three separate submissions were made to Apple in an attempt to get the game passed each time removing a wider range of things that might be considered a reference to real groups or people. Ultimately Apple refused to allow Endgame: Syria onto the App Store for simply mentioning the country of Syria itself and so the game was re-skinned to Endgame: Eurasia.
Tomas Rawlings, the game's lead designer, was disappointed with this as the game could no longer serve as an educational piece promoting awareness. "We've come to the end of three rejections and one appeal and the only way we've been able to get Endgame: Syria out on iOS was to remove all references to the real world and sadly that changes it from a 'newsgame' into just a 'game'."
Hemmings' Play Company
Hemmings' Play Company is a game built for Shakespeare's Globe theater in London by GameTheNews's host company Auroch Digital. This game aimed at children utilised the same engine that had been written for Endgame: Syria. Rawlings explained the reasons for this as "these bold adaptations of our existing titles show how the dynamics of a game should not be confused with its subject matter. If the core functionally is robust and game play intuitive, they can become the canvass for a variety of great projects."
- "Endgame Syria Launched (official announcement)". 2012-12-12. Retrieved 2013-02-22.
- "Apple rejects iOS game exploring Syria's civil war (wired)". 2013-01-08. Retrieved 2013-02-22.
- "Review of Endgame Syria (gameswarp)". 2013-01-08. Retrieved 2013-02-22.
- "Endgame Syria - Reducing The Civil War To A Game Is Unhelpful And Distasteful". 2013-01-08. Retrieved 2013-02-22.
- Stuart, Keith (2013-01-11). "Guardian article on interactive journalism". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2013-02-22.
- "Endgame Syria: Apple shoots down rebel scenario simulator". 2013-01-09. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
- "Endgame: Eurasia". 2012-03-21. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
- "Endgame: Eurasia Released Across Multiple Platforms". 2012-03-21. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
- "Banned iOS game morphs into Shakespeare kids game". 2013-07-17. Retrieved 2013-07-25.
- "Banned iOS game morphs into Shakespeare kids game". 2013-07-18. Retrieved 2013-07-25.