Google removes “Slavery Simulator” game from store following a wave of criticism in Brazil

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CNN
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A game entitled “Slavery Simulator,” where players can “buy and sell” enslaved Black characters, has been taken down from Google’s app store after widespread criticism from Brazilian social media users.

The app, developed by Magnus Games, was launched on Google’s Play Store on April 20 and was downloaded more than 1000 times before it was removed on Wednesday, according to a statement from Google to CNN Brasil.

On Wednesday, Brazil’s Public Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation into why the game was made available on the Play Store in the first place, it said in a statement.

Prosecutors requested “specific information about the game” from Google, adding a “great number of racist comments” were also identified in the Google platform.

Within the game, users could “exchange, buy and sell slaves,” images show. “Choose one of two objectives at the start of the slave owner simulator: the Path of the Tyrant or the Path of the Liberator. Become a wealthy slave owner or achieve the abolition of slaver,y” the game’s description said.

In one of the modes offered to players, the game said, “Use slaves for your own enrichment. Prevent the abolition of slavery and accumulate wealth.”

This screenshot shows gameplay in Slavery Simulator.

Screenshot of the MagnusGames Facebook group, the only webpage associated with the company that developed the game.

Throughout the game, prompts to users included: “Slave level: the highest the level, the highest the profit the slave will bring,” and “You need guards! You have slaves but no one is guarding them. Without guards, the slaves will run away or rebel. Hire some fighters. Usually, 1 guard is enough for 30 slaves,” screenshots of the game show.

The game quickly went viral on social media, with multiple people criticizing both the game developers and Google.

“The normalization of violence against Black people is so wide than then things like this happen,” Levi Kaique Ferreira, an influencer activist and professor, wrote on Twitter.

“Our country was built with the blood of the Black population. People were killed, tortured. A “Slavery Simulator” is not a theme for games,” lawmaker Denise Pessoa posted on Twitter.

Another lawmaker, Orlando Silva, made a formal complaint to the Public Prosecutor against the “macabre” game. “This is apology to crime, this is recreational racism, they have to answer criminally,” he said on Twitter.

In a statement sent to CNN Brasil, Google said: “We have a robust set of policies that are designed to keep users safe and that 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 file a report. When we identify a policy violation, we take appropriate action”.

According to Google’s own platform, the application had a rating for “all ages.”

Google itself details, on its website, that the classification of this category for Brazil indicates that “the content is suitable for all ages. Sometimes, it can present some element of very low impact, such as childish violence”.

According to the platform, the application had a 4-star rating out of five. Users’ reviews of the app included: “Great game to pass the time. But I think it lacked more torture options. They could click on the option to flog the slave too”, one user wrote, giving it a 5-star rating.

“It is unbelievable that this type of content is available and accessible to children,” wrote another reviewer on the same day.

A notification is seen in the game which says,

Within the mobile app, MagnusGames said the “game was created solely for entertainment purposes. Our studio condemns slavery in any form. All game content is fictional and not tied to specific historical events. All coincidences are accidental”.

CNN has reached out to MagnusGames for comment.

Other games created by the developer remain available in the Google PlayStore, such as “Mafia Offline Killer Simulator,” a detective game, and an “Election Politics Simulator.”

CNN Brasil has also contacted the Brazilian Association of Game Developers (Abragames) and is awaiting a response.

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