"Pocket God is one of the most heavily downloaded games in Apple's online store but indigenous groups have started to take offence at the use of grass-skirted islanders who are set on fire and tossed to the sharks.

The game is described as making the player an "all-powerful god that rules over the primitive islanders"."

…Elaine Howard from the international Pacific Women's Information Network says that's "ridiculous", and has sent a complaint to Bolt stating the game is an "arrogant slap in the face to our people".

"How do you think people would react if you created a game where you were God and you could create and kill as many Mexicans as you wanted? Or Asians?" wrote Howard, who lives in the US.

"People would be outraged.

"I hope you don't decide to advertise your application in New Zealand or Australia because you will get a backlash of the same intensity."

I'm not going to defend Bolt Creative, the US-based creators of the very popular Pocket God game for the iPhone. I don't find it offensive myself, but I support the right of any group to vocalize their oppositon to anything they find offensive.

Pocket God Screenshot

It occured to me that views like this would not only leave us without a popular iPhone app, but also without some of the classic games or gaming characters that we love.

For example, Mario Mario (his real name) is probably the videogame icon, but would we even have a Mario today given how quickly we object to stereotypes in our entertainment? What was once considered clever character design born out of the need to overcome graphical limitations, would probably not fly today.

The graphic fidelity of today's games mean a game character with a big-nose, mustache, overalls and broken English would only be around long enough to be the top story on a CNN report.

And as I look around, I see that there is an aversion to creating characters with, well, character. Out of fear of creating stereotypical characters, we get stuck with bland, repetitive characters that seem pulled from the same generic mold. Even traditional platform titles, usually the home of diverse characters, now seem full of safe, watered-down and utterly forgettable protagonists.

About the only ones left untouched are female characters (X-Blade's Ayumi and Bayonetta's Bayonetta) and extreme sports avatars.

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10 Comments on "Pacific Islanders find Pocket God “disgusting”"

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Anonymous
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Anonymous
5 years 10 months ago

I completely agree with you. and i also see why this game might be offensive. But if you dont want to kill them, as someone else said, play with them and provide for them. i do that when i get bored.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
6 years 2 months ago
If they are going to protest a game that has violence they SHOULD protest a game like grand theft auto. In grand theft auto vice city you kill cubans and Haitians. In gta iii you kill chinese triads also in gta Chinatown wars you you kill Chinese and cops and deal drugs. Gta iii you also kill ITALIAN mafia members and gta games pour on some people think to avoid racial conflicts use stick figures instead of actual people but it isn’t my place to say my opinion whether or not I find it racist but unless something is outright… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
6 years 3 months ago
The author of the article clearly states he is NOT, I repeat, NOT going to defend the developers, but that he himself does NOT, I again repeat, does NOT find the game offensive. How much clearer can he state that? He DID state, however, that he DOES support each person’s right to state their opinions, even if he himself does not agree with it, just as you had a right to state yours. And HE has a right to also state HIS! I feel he was very nice about it when replying to your comment, even though your remarks were… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
6 years 5 months ago
Just shut up and play the game. Hey fanatical game haters, why not GTA which you can do WAY more harm to others. I mean New Yorkers should be horrified that Rockstar just went out and destroyed their culture and way of life. I mean the used some Russain guy not even involved with America but just to make a better living, but look what he did. Would you guys not complain much if these primitive pacific Islanders were the ones behind the gun? Next GTA its gonna be a Pacific Islander to cause the chaos! Rockstar use that idea!!!… Read more »
Heather
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Heather
6 years 5 months ago

If Nick is so upset at the killing of innocent little island figures, then he should just be a benevolent god. Fry them fish, or make them a roast bird meal (unless you’re offended at eating meat. Then just feed them coconuts.) Rescue them from drowning, and chase off the T-Rex before she can eat them. Build them a fire to roast marshmallows over. Throw a party and make them dance. Bring in a big wave and let them enjoy some scuba action.

It’s a simple game. Should we protest when the characters drop their leaves and call it indecent exposure?

Nick Girard
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Nick Girard
6 years 5 months ago
Am I the only one who finds this app to be one of the most digusting out there? The ONLY thing this game let’s you do is kill innocent little characters resembling island people. (yeah, that’s totally harmless to the monters of children I see who have played this, and I’m a f**king 17 year old boy with a good life, not some middle aged stay-at-home-mom with an abusive family.) I’d understand Mario if he were created today, I mean, he is the HERO. in this game you’re just killing underlings, if pointless spearing, burning, drowning, and freezing (among other… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
6 years 6 months ago

im aussie to and i love the game!!!! so i would say the same thing as the other guy.

Swanky
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Swanky
6 years 9 months ago
I love this game on my iPhone, it cracks me up with all the crazy things I can do as God to MY people. I’m not sure who rote this piece in the article “I hope you don’t decide to advertise your application in New Zealand or Australia because you will get a backlash of the same intensity.” But I’m an Aussie and one thing we do really well is take the p*ss out of ourselves. It’s a game in fun that doesn’t aim to offend but entertain, when are we going to stop taking everything so seriously. In the… Read more »
Dale Weir
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Dale Weir
6 years 10 months ago
[quote=Guy]I never like people like u, who thinks that this game is ridiculous, this is for people who have time to waste( not time to offend bolt creative) and are for kids and adults who DONT OFFEND THE GAME. I am one of the many THOUSANDS OR MILLIONS WHO HAVE THIS GAME AND LIKE IT. If u don’t like it then don’t say it. If u don’t have any thing nice to say, then don’t say it Dale and Howard.[/quote]I don’t know what you were reading that motivated you to post, but it clearly wasn’t my article. I didn’t find… Read more »
Guy
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Guy
6 years 10 months ago

I never like people like u, who thinks that this game is ridiculous, this is for people who have time to waste( not time to offend bolt creative) and are for kids and adults who DONT OFFEND THE GAME. I am one of the many THOUSANDS OR MILLIONS WHO HAVE THIS GAME AND LIKE IT. If u don’t like it then don’t say it. If u don’t have any thing nice to say, then don’t say it Dale and Howard.

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