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Review: This Army Public School attack game fails on every front

Updated May 12, 2016 01:44pm


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— Photo courtesy Google Play store
— Photo courtesy Google Play store
This first-person-shooting game is based on the Dec 16, 2014, Peshawar school tragedy. – Screenshot
This first-person-shooting game is based on the Dec 16, 2014, Peshawar school tragedy. – Screenshot

In an attempt to honour the valour of Pakistan Army soldiers, the Punjab IT Board last month released an Android game themed on the Peshawar Army Public School attack in December 2014.

This first-person shooter (FPS) game titled 'Pakistan Army Retribution' is based on the tragedy, when terrorists massacred 144 pupils in what was the country's most brutal terror attack. A quick response from the army is said to have restrained the damage but not before the attackers claimed hundreds of innocent lives.

144Stories: Visit the Army Public School Memorial

Whether or not a game should have been designed around the Army Public School massacre is a different debate altogether. No one, especially families of the victims, would ever want to re-live that dark day. But oddly enough, the developers decided to recreate those moments for a gaming experience.

The game, which begins with the Pakistan national anthem, depicts events that took place on the dreadful day as terrorists breached the school’s security.

— Photo courtesy Google Play store
— Photo courtesy Google Play store

The player’s task is to lead soldiers into the main building and eliminate the heavily armed terrorists scattered throughout the premises.

There are a total of nine missions as of now, and the game-play comprises first person and sniper shooting.

Just like other first-person shooter games, players will have an on-screen pad to control movement, and a trigger to eliminate the terrorists. A radar keeps players informed on where the enemies are.

The first mission starts with a neat animation to take the player inside the school and into classes.
The first mission starts with a neat animation to take the player inside the school and into classes.

To navigate the hero soldier, players have four tap-based directional keys to move back, forth, left and right. Although gunshots are limited, they are enough to destroy the enemies.

Basically, the terrorists are very easy targets and you can eliminate them in all nine levels in your first attempt.

— Photo courtesy Google Play store
— Photo courtesy Google Play store

The game may be an attempt to pay tribute to the Pakistan Army, but the app itself is not very well made considering the name behind it, and the market it was placed in.

One can understand the emotional attachment to the story but as a game, it falls flat. From visuals to controls, the game just doesn’t deliver. Even when taking on such an unlikely subject, the Punjab IT Board is expected to deliver something far superior.

— Photo courtesy Google Play store
— Photo courtesy Google Play store

Developers need to work on improving the graphics and the controller should offer more comfortable gameplay. Levels should be shorter or perhaps poor game control made them seem long.

Producers of the game should keep in mind that quality needs to be a top priority in order to deliver a better image of Pakistani games.

Screenshot of the main menu.
Screenshot of the main menu.

As much as some would argue, the desire to tackle an attacker visiting the school in this virtual manner is in poor taste. The Peshawar attack was a tragedy that holds national significance since it sent the entire nation into trauma. Any recreation of the carnage that day seems insensitive.

The game has been taken down from the Google Play store by its maker.

The author is a graphic designer and freelance writer with a focus on tech.

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Comments (74) Closed

Waqar Jan 18, 2016 11:09am

This game should be pulled down.

Muhammad Ali Jan 18, 2016 11:17am

As mentioned in the article, NO one, not even the common people of Pakistan wants to relive those moments let alone their families. The game should be banned.

global citizen Jan 18, 2016 11:17am

this is in bad taste, what were the developers thinking!

Cricket Crazy Jan 18, 2016 11:31am

too much commercialization! please be sensitive!

Furqan Jan 18, 2016 11:49am

Take it down. Have some respect for the kids who lost their lives, for the parents who lost their most beloveds. This is no game or something to be amused off. Take it down.

Zubair Jan 18, 2016 12:19pm

This is obscene

Mubashir Jan 18, 2016 01:01pm

This is absurd ! this is disrespectful ! should be ban! and arrange classes of ethics for developer , they are obsessed to bring every thing on app store,they don't know the meaning of "emotions".

anees from zaida Jan 18, 2016 01:04pm

For me, this game is nothing more than 'Playing-with-the-feelings-of-the-suffering-families'.

Neutral Jan 18, 2016 01:12pm

Highly Insensitive.... Creating a Game of such a Tragedy. There are several other ways to honor the Army but this is just plain bad thinking.

M.Saeed Jan 18, 2016 01:16pm

Making a game out of the nation's most gruesome tragedy is adding salt to the injuries not only of the families of the martyred children, but the entire nation. Those who thought of it, must be examined for the heath of their mental faculties.

AslamRaisani Jan 18, 2016 01:18pm

I find it disgusting

khan Jan 18, 2016 01:19pm

The most insane, inhumane and disrespectful idea to come with.

Jamal Jan 18, 2016 01:23pm

Do we have some decency left ? why would you create a game based on Peshawar school tragedy.Don't we have some better ideas ? Even having national anthem in the beginning does not in make it a noble purpose.It a stupid idea whoever had it and is disrespectful to the families of those children.

Shahzad Ikhlaq Jan 18, 2016 01:25pm

Highly insensitive in my opinion, this game needs to be pulled down, we do not want to relive those memories in any way.

Sarah Jan 18, 2016 01:28pm

So youtube should be banned, but this is totally okay? I wonder which one causes more emotional distress?

Noor Jan 18, 2016 01:34pm

It is insensitive, but not illegal.

Mehrbano Jan 18, 2016 01:37pm

This is sickening

Dr. Khurram Jan 18, 2016 01:56pm

Is this the way to push out your frustration?? The developers seem to me some dumb people with little vision. Need to come up with some better ideas....

Waseem Ahmed Jan 18, 2016 02:33pm

This has been done in bad taste. To make a game out of a tragedy

Ijaz Jan 18, 2016 02:44pm

I am completely flabbergasted that in poll, 20% believe it is acceptable to have a game depicting what was a great tragedy for the country and the families of APS.

Only in Pakistan could such a tragedy be trivialised in a game and just goes to prove how brutalised as society we have become after 30 or so years of this culture of violence and barbarity.

Our humanity dies with us with such games and we become complicit in killing the innocent again and again.

Shame on the designers of this game. Shame on the players.

From India Jan 18, 2016 02:52pm

Game is in bad taste. Were those developers so short of some decent ideas?

FM Jan 18, 2016 02:55pm

School/ Hospital and other soft targets are things which changed pakistani people would never like to rethink even in game.

Publisher should change scene and location to be played by people

nuzhat shireen Jan 18, 2016 03:01pm

instead of game there should be 144 schools named after 144 pupils .

Eren Khan Jan 18, 2016 03:16pm

Very poor taste! No one should relive what happened on that cursed day!

Maryam Jan 18, 2016 03:34pm

" But oddly enough, the developers decided to recreate those moments for a gaming experience"- The sole reason this app fails on multiple aspects is this!

its even bad this app is being evaluated for its controls and graphics and interface, its bad to create app around those events!

muhammad Jan 18, 2016 03:36pm

Why so much whines about it? If movies and dramas can be made on this why not an android game. I mean even it's unnecessary there are other important things to care about. May be it's just someone else's way of commemorating this incident.

Anwaar Jan 18, 2016 03:57pm

Pathetic, disgusting....etc.

Capt C M Khan Jan 18, 2016 03:58pm

Gosh....want to handover the Producer to the parents of the APS.

anky Jan 18, 2016 04:09pm

this is indeed most pathetic act could these developers develop such a sicking game,,,,even in india, i never wanted to go through last years incident again on tv or through any other means,, god,,those little kids were not a part of any war ,..

umair Jan 18, 2016 04:13pm

Not the right approach and should be rolled back. It's a wrong approach.

Zeeshan Nasir Jan 18, 2016 04:25pm

It was a tragedy, but, Why ppl r blaming? I can't understand that anthems can b played for this but courage movement by this game is negative, why? I think it's another way to show courage against terrorism.

AHA Jan 18, 2016 04:39pm

A very bad idea.

A shah Jan 18, 2016 04:50pm

This is disgusting! How can anyone make entertainment out of this tragedy?

MSD Jan 18, 2016 04:59pm

This is most nonsense ever.

Umar Mansoor Jan 18, 2016 05:01pm

You have to be a special kind of stupid to make something like this.

Amir Jan 18, 2016 06:42pm

Even if these people wanted to design a game around that event, they could have done it smartly by doing missions post the tragedy and outside of the school... they could have been missions hunting down the master minds etc... The problem with our decision makers is that they simply do not reach their statuses on merit. When you become directors and decision makers based on political influence or a parchi that rawness will always reflect in the quality of the decisions being made. This is a good example of that happening exactly. Some senior idiotic bureaucrat thought this would win him a medal or a promotion...

Akhand Bharat Jan 18, 2016 06:45pm

Many lost their everything in tl Don't let them live through that pain again. Take this off.

Hassaan Jan 18, 2016 06:59pm

So this is what a national tragedy looks likes after a year...

Junaid Jan 18, 2016 07:22pm

This game was developed by the Punjab IT Board, a Punjab government institution. Where was the provincial government in all this? Why was there no one to provide some oversight over the IT Board's productions and green-light or veto the production and release of any product that could offend public sensitivities especially on a matter as serious as the massacre of 132 children? The Punjab IT Board has done many good things over the years but this game is just unacceptable. Are there any rules or ethical code by which the Punjab government binds the Punjab IT Board?

QuaziModo21 Jan 18, 2016 07:28pm

The game is not available on Google Play store anymore! .. looks like someone knocked sense into them and they pulled it off.

Ahmed Jan 18, 2016 07:29pm

This game should be deleted please !!!

Mamoona Jan 18, 2016 07:37pm

Developers made games around the world on different issues and tragedies. i.e. Operation desert storm etc. but matter of fact is that original name and place is omitted for the sake of lesser tension in victim families and society... this game is not wrong. but defiantly it shaken the emotions of families and nation. Presenting tribute by this way, May, went worse.

Hasan Jan 18, 2016 08:39pm

Another issue with this game is unavailability outside Paksitan, Being abroad no one can download it

N.P. Jan 18, 2016 08:47pm

This is insane! This game should stay off the Google play store forever. What was the developer thinking. I hope through this article this is the end of this stupid, insensitive game.

hibas Jan 18, 2016 08:55pm

why would you make a game about someones are supppose to be fun and take all the stress from the real world into your fantasy game..this is a disgrace.. pakistani's just keep getting dumber and dumber each year.

Anwar Sadiqque Jan 18, 2016 10:06pm

In poor taste but should be allowed to stay. If you start banning everything that anyone feels objectionable there would be nothing left.

Super Chachee Jan 18, 2016 10:29pm

game to remind us who the enemies are. Taliban need to be destroyed. This game will help spread the news & give warning to those rural parts of Pakistan where these taliban terrorists exist and their indian-afghan financers

Hello world Jan 19, 2016 12:18am

Game building takes some serious efforts, says experience

Arisha G Jan 19, 2016 01:50am

Any games based on such scenarios/any kind of killings/shootings shouldn't exist. period.

Kyoorius Jan 19, 2016 02:34am

Who in the right frame of mind can even think of coming up with this venture? Must be a very sick mind. The person responsible should be taken to task and he or she should apologize to the people. The game should be BANNED. Also make it illegal to even own it so that people who already are in its possession should either return or destroy it. Thanks

Adam Jan 19, 2016 06:00am

This is horrible, disgusting and in bad taste. Get rid of it ASAP.

Farooq anwar Jan 19, 2016 06:14am

What kind of society we r extreme callasnaous

Sohail Munir Jan 19, 2016 07:21am

Are the officials at PITB out of their mind.....

JJ Jan 19, 2016 07:49am

Guys this is just a TEST to see you the PUBLIC reacts...and I am glad that sanity prevailed.

Waqass Jan 19, 2016 09:05am

@Amir EXACTLY!!!......nepotism in every field of government is clearly reflected when general public events take place.

Irteza Jan 19, 2016 09:27am

Completely insensitive. I cannot comprehend how the developers did not think about the implications of this App.

Azmat Shah Jan 19, 2016 09:42am

What sick mentality

Bozdar Jan 19, 2016 09:44am

144 kids Dead that day and people are making jokes and wants to make money out of it really shame. such games should be banned

Harmony-2 Jan 19, 2016 10:13am

I read this article and found myself in a huge tub of tears of all the affected parents. Are we so insensitive to take pleasure by remembering a ghastly tragedy of human history in such a condemnable way ?

Einstein Babar Jan 19, 2016 10:39am

though their intention was not bad but still "No" for this game

Shumaila Jan 19, 2016 11:31am

In this era of commercialization, any thing, event, or personality could be made a commodity to sell... Unfortunately, this time it is the gruesome APS incident.

SAQIB UK Jan 19, 2016 11:51am

this is so offensive and sickening on so many levels. Game should be pulled down and the developers sued. blithering dimwits. Can you imagine how the world would have reacted if a game was made based on 911 events or the paris attacks.

ksmob Jan 19, 2016 12:10pm

some one is trying to cash in on a tragedy

Indian Jan 19, 2016 12:53pm

@muhammad There is a difference in making a Documentary or a serious movie having a point of view. This is equivalent of making a cartoon or a caricature of the tragedy.

rehan Jan 19, 2016 01:20pm

@Sarah What sort of logic is this?

Saurav Jan 19, 2016 01:28pm

This is bizarre. At least the game developers must have thought about family members of those children.

imran Jan 19, 2016 02:10pm

the fools have designed it..!

Shyam Jan 19, 2016 05:58pm

wow - what an insensitive concept!

Khalid ( UK) Jan 20, 2016 01:13am

"Pathetic & in very bad taste"

concerned citizen Jan 20, 2016 02:26am

@Jamal : With this, I am sure we can be certain that we are worst than animals.

Sajj Jan 20, 2016 03:38am

What a despicable notion!!! Amazing how someone can even consider this!!!

ak4pk Jan 20, 2016 05:45am

An Android game to remember such a horrific and tragic event, all I can say is that it is in bad taste. The Punjab IT Board should hang its head in shame. Disgusting people.

Shehzad Jan 20, 2016 11:57am

Extremely distasteful.

Afsana Jan 20, 2016 10:32pm

I think , this game is good..and I'm glad that pakistan is making games, i always wished to play pakistani games..we should have to be proudful not to discourage them... I don't know what's the bad thing in it ..they are killing terrorists ..ok if you are talking about that children families would be remembering them but the truth is that they had never forget them...