Apple Pulls Games With Confederate Flags from App Store, but They May Have Gone a Step Too Far

(Photo: Game-Labs)
(Photo: Game-Labs)

The drive to remove the Confederate flag has now reached the virtual world.

Apple announced Thursday that it would be removing apps from its App Store that it deemed offensive.

“We have removed apps from the App Store that use the Confederate flag in offensive or mean-spirited ways, which is in violation of our guidelines,” the company said in a statement. “We are not removing apps that display the Confederate flag for educational or historical uses.”

The move by Apple is unjust, say the developers of the game Ultimate General: Gettysburg. Apple told the developers at Game-Labs that the game could be reinstated if the Confederate flag were removed. The game maker won’t do it, the company said on its blog.

“Spielberg’s Schindler’s List did not try to amend his movie to look more comfortable. The historical Gettysburg movie (1993) is still on iTunes,” Game-Labs said. “We believe that all historical art forms: books, movies, or games such as ours, help to learn and understand history, depicting events as they were. True stories are more important to us than money. We really hope that Apple’s decision will achieve the desired results. … We can’t change history, but we can change the future.”

Also gone from the App Store are several games including Civil War: 1863 from Hunted Cow Games.

That game and three others — Civil War: 1862, Civil War: 1864 and Civil War: Gettysburg — were removed “without any warning, because they used the Confederate flag,” said Andrew Mulholland, co-founder of Hunted Cow Studios. “It seems disappointing that they would remove it as they weren’t being used in an offensive way, being that they were historical war games and hence it was the flag used at the time.”

The studio is reworking the games to replace the “Stars and Bars” Confederate flag with the earlier flag used until late 1862, he said. “Hopefully they’ll accept the changes, but it will have to go back through the review process again. We’re in no way sympathetic to the use of the flag in an offensive way, we used it purely because historically that was the flag that was used at the time.”

Removing such strategy simulation games is misguided, said journalist Jeff Grubb on news site GamesBeat. “It isn’t just pulling consumer products like mugs that feature the stars and bars. It is banning creative expression from its App Store, which is one of the largest digital-distribution channels on the planet,” he wrote. “This means that if you want to make a game about the Civil War, you cannot accurately portray the symbols of that conflict.”

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SOURCE: Mike Snider
USA TODAY

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