by Leslie Smith, Editor in Chief
Monday, April 25th, 2011
What a week for people who are, have been, or wish to be part of dog fighting rings.
I had planned to write today about Michael Vick’s ascent to the finals in the run-off to be the Madden NFL 12 video game cover boy. Football fans have been voting on their pick for weeks, gradually narrowing the pool of candidates until just two were left to potentially grace the game’s packaging: Vick and the Cleveland Browns’ Peyton Hillis. The winner will be announced Wednesday.
The idea that a violent killer like Michael Vick could wind up as a cover model deserves its own column. But unbelievably, that news has been obscured by an even more egregious announcement. A developer called Kage Games has released an app for Android, the mobile operating system, called Dog Wars. And it’s exactly what you think it is.
In the game, players train Pit Bulls to fight. The dogs are forced to drag tires and can be injected with steroids as their owners shoot at cops coming in to bust the ring. The logo features a crop-eared, yellow-eyed Pit Bull whose muzzle is dripping with blood.
Kage Games eloquently defends its (free) offering with this impeccable logic:
“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.”
Great points, Kage Games, and thank you for refraining from fully spelling out the word “butt.” (I would hate for our women and children to be exposed to anything offensive.) That said, there does seem to be just an itty bitty tiny bug prohibiting me from comfortably sitting down to enjoy your creation.
1. Just a video game. Um… Kage Games, Android, and Google: You do know that dog fighting is a rampant, serious, deadly problem in this country, right? You’ve heard about the torture these animals endure, haven’t you? And you know that making light of such suffering only perpetuates the idea that the Michael Vicks of the world should not only be forgiven, but propelled to hero status?
2. Perhaps one day video game makers will understand that fantasy role play games do affect the people playing them. (Some studies have found stronger correlations than others, but even the most tenuous link is a risk we can’t afford to take.)
3. Just because something isn’t illegal (i.e., video games about dog fighting) doesn’t make it right or smart. My guess is one could develop games promoting child molestation or glorifying slavery — it’s just “pretend,” after all — but manufacturers have largely avoided such “entertainment” because to find those sorts of activities attractive is perverted and abhorrent.
If you find Android’s app offensive, let them know:
You can also email Google: firstname.lastname@example.org. While they didn’t develop the game Dog Wars, they remain Android’s parent company. And their stance is critical.