Video game based on Peshawar school attack pulled

A screengrab from the video game "Pakistan Army Retribution," set during the 2014 attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Story highlights

  • Video game based on harrowing episode of Pakistan's fight against terror removed Monday
  • Online critics call it "distasteful" and said that the attack was "no game"
  • Attack on Army School left 145, including 132 children, dead

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN)A video game based on the Pakistani Taliban's 2014 attacks on a military school in the country's Peshawar province has been removed from the Google Play store following a barrage of online criticism.

The first-person shooter (FPS) game, called "Pakistan Army Retribution," invited gamers to play the role of a Pakistani soldier ridding a school of insurgents. It was removed from circulation Monday.
    It begins with a rousing rendition of the Pakistan national anthem, before recreating in nine levels the terrible events that comprised Pakistan's worst-ever insurgent attack, in which 145 people, including 132 children, were killed.
    A review by the English-language Pakistani news outlet Dawn called the decision by developer Punjab Information Technology Board, a government agency, to base the game on the infamous attack "odd," and said it "fail(ed) on every front." The bulk of the review, however, focuses on the gameplay of the mobile app rather than the poor taste of its setting.
    The video game has been pulled from circulation following complaints that it is in poor taste.
    Following the review, commentators took to social media to condemn the game, which led to its removal.
    One Twitter user, Shaheryar Mirza, called it "bizarre and distasteful."
    Another, Yusra Askari, said: "The attack on #APSPeshawar ain't no game."

    Admission of poor taste

    The Punjab IT Board's chairman. Umar Saif, later took to Twitter to acknowledge that the game was "in poor taste," and said that by removing it the company had made "amends."
    He later told CNN that the government had run a campaign around the first anniversary of the attacks, which the game was part of, to unite the nation in "peace and harmony."
    However he admitted that the game was inappropriate and its release poorly handled -- adding that it had opened a Pandora's box of issues surrounding radicalization and that the game's release was also causing security issues, but declined to elaborate.
    Google, which hosts the online app marketplace for Android devices, declined to comment when contacted by CNN.