A game where players raise dogs to fight other dogs in illegal dog-fighting rings has been given the boot from Android Market after people (appropriately) complained.
When it comes to the issue of dog-fighting (and not the cool kind with fighter planes over WW2-era Britain) I find myself solidly in the same camp as MovieBob: It’s a heinous act and those who engage in it should be punished with the full force of the law.
Naturally, there are always going to be some amoral jerks who look at the practice of forcing dogs to brutally murder each other and say, “Hey, that would make a cool game.” Such was the case with Dog Wars, a mobile game on Android where players raised their dogs to fight other dogs. Apparently, it was pretty much just a poor Mafia Wars clone, so the developers can’t even say it was an original idea.
There may still be a little hope left in humanity yet: Said game has been pulled from the Android Marketplace after gamers, the Humane Society, actress Alicia Silverstone, and NFL player Michael Vick all called for its removal. Vick, as you may know, went to jail over real-life dogfighting, which makes his actions either ironic, hypocritical, or all the more genuine depending on how you look at it.
“I’ve come to learn the hard way that dogfighting is a dead-end street,” said Vick. “Now, I am on the right side of this issue, and I think it’s important to send the smart message to kids, and not glorify this form of animal cruelty, even in an Android app.”
According to All Things Digital, the creators of Dog Wars said that the same free speech that enabled others to criticize the game also protected the game’s existence. Of course, while free speech is a legal right in the USA meaning that the government couldn’t do anything about the app, Google is a private entity that has the right to control its own services however it damn pleases, so crying “free speech” here is about as legitimate a defense as tissue paper is legitimate body armor.
The most popular mobile game may involve flinging birds at castles, but until Angry Birds becomes a real-life problem I don’t think we have to worry about that.