Apple brands slavery education game "slanderous, insulting", blocks Path to Freedom from App Store

Likely to cause "complaints from a large group of people"

Apple brands slavery education game "slanderous, insulting", blocks Path to Freedom from App Store

Apple has rejected a free educational game from the App Store called Weg naar Vrijheid (Path to Freedom) that's designed to teach children about slavery.

According to Dutch newspaper Volksrant, Apple rejected the game from the App Store due to claims that its "contents are slanderous and insulting and can count on complaints from a large group of people."

Path to Freedom takes place in 1723 and let's people play as a slave called Jacob or Amba. The player is taken to Elmina Castle in Ghana and put to work on a sugar plantation in Suriname.

From there, the player is able to escape slavery and live among a village of rebels, or they can remain at the plantation. The latter involves scenes in which the player is whipped by a black slave driver.

No matter what path you take, the slave gets married and has children. Both scenarios are considered a happy life and historically accurate by its developers.


Path to Freedom was developed by Dutch studio Pepergroen over a six-month period. Once finished, it was available to play on the website Slavernij & Jij (Slavery & You).

It had remained on the website since February until a backlash from the Afro-Surinamese community last Friday, reports Parool.

This sudden reaction incited the Dutch Institute for Slavery and Heritage (NiNsee) to order it to be taken down. NiNsee had commissioned the game for the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery. It was also paid for by Amsterdam city council subsidies.

NiNsee then issued a statement on its website to apologize to those offended by the game. 

"NiNsee itself is well aware that the history of slavery is sensitive and that there are differing opinions about interpretation and processing," details the relevant section of the statement, as translated by Google.

"NiNsee regrets the negative reactions to the game 'Journey to Freedom' but also feels encouraged by the encouragements to the history of slavery to the youth accessible."

NiNsee is now in talks with Pepergroen and those protesting Path to Freedom to find a solution to the problem. It seems that it won't be attempting to re-submit the game to Apple for now.

[source: Dutch Games]

With an affinity for eccentricity, as well as anything macabre or just plain weird, Chris searches for the games that fly under the radar. If you ask him, anything can be a game. Oh, and a game can be about anything, if you put enough thought into it. So, there.


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Simon Egenfeldt-Nielsen CEO at Serious Games Interactive
Well - most of our games that are used by schools in Nordic countries have or will probably be rejected. One is on Slave Trade and another on the Flooding of Pakistan (with the resulting turmoil following with insurgency). We are in dialogue with them so hope it will work out.
Curious you can see most of them here: