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Everywhere you look there’s new smartphone games popping-up—it’s like an epidemic of fun, but when has a digital company gone too far? Last December a digital company released a smartphone game called, “Angry Trayvon.” The game shares the same first name as a 17-year-old Florida boy, who was gunned down early last year. The game was taken down, but reappeared Tuesday, July 9 on Google Play Store, before being banned again later that night—after several complaints were posted.
This by no means is opportunity to suggest that the app company who developed this game was trying to be racist (since this case has brought on a lot of racial tension). But it raises concern about smartphone games moral codes and is this the direction that smartphone game developers are starting to adopt—taking high profile media cases and turning them into spectacles. Since this is a high profile case and the smartphone game shares so many similarities to the people involved—the game should have never been approved. The character in the game is dressed in a dark hoodie and jeans just like the deceased, Trayvon Martin. Society has grown comfortable with entertainment violence, but we find this of particular concern because it singles out an incident of not only extreme racial tension, but exploits the death of a young boy. The accused party was found not guilty on Saturday night. Regardless, of the outcome of this trial—this game is in poor taste.
There seems to be a light moral code set in place for the smartphone game approval process (if any). This is not the first time that smartphone games have been banned due to offensive content (e.g. Road Head, Smuggle Truck and Slashing). In most mediums, like television commercials—companies have to abide by strict guidelines. Is this the case for smartphone games? If so, who approves these games and do they have a code of ethics in place?