On April 20, a game called Simulador de Escravidão landed on the Google Play Store in Brazil. Soon, the game, which had been downloaded less than 1,000 times, made headlines, sparking a backlash and condemnation from Brazilian society.
Slave Simulator is a nutritionally developed game developed by Magnus Games in which players can become the hero of freeing slavery or become a slave owner who does all the evil. However, the game has put a lot of effort into portraying the miserable life of slaves, not only allowing players to exchange, buy and sell slaves, but also inflicting various kinds of torture on black characters in the game, including but not limited to whipping, branding, cutting, etc.
As the game's synopsis says, "making money" is the core philosophy of Slave Simulator. In order to maximize profits, players need to pay attention to market dynamics in real time, each slave has a specific value and is constantly changing, and accumulating wealth through training and buying slaves is the ultimate goal of the game. Slave Simulator details the process of squeezing out the last shred of value from a slave, and even bribing officials to prevent the abolition of slavery, which is also an alternative way to make money in the game.
"Welcome to Slave Simulator, where you need to buy and manage your slaves. Make money and move towards your goals"
Although the game has been released with less than a thousand players, Slave Simulator caused an uproar after the media exposure, and many politicians began to pay attention to the game and urged the relevant authorities to impose higher standards on the regulation of game companies. Brazilian federal lawmaker Orlando Silva tweeted his condemnation of Slave Simulator and re-emphasized the urgency of regulating digital platforms;
Denise Pessoa, a member of parliament for Brazil's Labour Party, also tweeted: "In a country where racism is a crime, a game that spreads cruel and hate speech is unacceptable." Our country was built with the blood of black people. People were killed, tortured. 'Slave simulators' are no joke. ”
At the time of the Atlantic slave trade, Brazil had a blood-stained history. About half of the tens of millions of African serfs sent to the American continent were taken to Brazil. Brazil was one of the largest importers of slaves during the slave trade and the last country on the American continent to officially end slavery. Racial discrimination in the land has not yet been eradicated, and countless Afro-Brazilians take to the streets on November 20 every year to celebrate Black Consciousness Day to commemorate the soldiers who liberated black slaves.
Crowds celebrating Black Awareness Day on the streets of São Paulo 2022
Slave Simulator's over-entertainment treatment of the slave trade touched a large number of Brazilians, and game developer Magnus Games had to come forward to clarify: "The game is for entertainment purposes only, and we condemn slavery in the real world in any form." All game content is fictional and has nothing to do with specific historical events, and any similarities are purely coincidental. ”
Slave Simulator has been removed from the Google Store, and Google has said it will work with the Brazilian government to establish a better anti-racist content moderation mechanism to prevent similar incidents from happening again. The slave trade has always been a sensitive topic in the world of video games, but it is also a real and bloody history, and before we can uncover the scars of others, we should first give them the most basic respect and thoughtfulness.