Dog Wars
Dog Wars by Kage Games, LLC

The Humane Society of the United States and NFL star and convicted dog fighter Michael Vick have weighed in on the "Dog Wars" Android app that we first told you about last week (and has since been picked up the likes of the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, and the Washington Post, among others). Styled after such simulation games as the popular "Dope Wars," "Dog Wars" touts itself as "A GAME THAT WILL NEVER BE IN THE iPHONE APP STORE!!!" in which you "feed, water, train and FIGHT your virtual dog against other player's." [sic]

Vick, the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback who currently is with the Philadelphia Eagles, pleaded guilty to state felony dog fighting charges in 2007 and 2008 and was released from prison in the spring of 2009. In his statement Monday to the Humane Society of the United States, Vick said:

“I’ve come to learn the hard way that dogfighting is a dead-end street. Now, I am on the right side of this issue, and I think it’s important to send the smart message to kids, and not glorify this form of animal cruelty, even in an Android app.”

Humane Society president and CEO Wayne Pacelle added:

“Android should drop 'Dog Wars' from its online market and join the national movement to save dogs from this violent practice. Because 'Dog Wars' actually instructs players on how to condition a dog using methods that are standard in organized dogfighting, this game may be a virtual training ground for would-be dogfighters. Its timing and message are all wrong.”

Since we first brought you this story on Saturday, developer Kage Games LLC has significantly softened the Dog Wars app description on the Android Market. Gone is the "If you have a bug up your butt about the game concept ..." line that precedes a six-point reasoning of the application. The description has since added:

We appreciate everyone's thoughts about our app as we are firm believers in the right to free speech and the free exchange of ideas.

These freedoms are the building blocks of the Google Android operating system and the very reason so many users choose Google Android over the alternative.

We've heard thoughts from many dog and animal lovers about our app and first we, as dog owners and dog lovers ourselves, would like to thank you for your thoughts and for the work many of you do on behalf of our canine friends. We DO NOT CONDONE violence towards animals or humans, and we are confident in humankind's ability to distinguish between a rudimentary game and the consequences of real life.

We are confident this game will be a net benefit to dogs as it has been in our operating agreement from the start of this project that a portion of the proceeds go to animal rescue organizations. Further, this is a satire about the ridiculousness of dogfighting and we believe in the power of a modern media tool to educate and raise awareness of the real horrors.

There's another paragraph about how a portion of the proceeds from the app (it's a free app, but there are advertisements in it) are "being appropriated for catastrophic human tragedies, the first of which is the Japan Tsunami relief effort." You can read the entire revised description in the Android Market. [Humane Society, Android Market]

 

Reader comments

Michael Vick weighs in on Dog Wars Android app; developer softens app description

70 Comments

I can't believe this shit is still being argued about. It's well within the developer's rights to make an app as long as it doesn't violate the Market's T&C. Let the people decide if apps like this are successful, if you don't like it don't buy it.

video games about people fighting and killing each other are okay but the second we make it dogs its wrong??? Come on! If you don't like it don't download it... simple as that.

I agree. I don't agree with dog fighting, but I think there are a lot more disturbing games out there when people pretend to kill other people ( I play some by the way, just like almost everyone else). In my opinion killing other people is worse than fighting dogs, although neither are good behaviors for a person to practice.

Maybe I am getting a little cynical, or maybe I've just been on the Internet for far too long, but quite frankly I liked the original description better. It seemed like obvious troll speak to me, I got a kick out of it. I personally would have used "bug up your ass" but I'm guessing Android Market doesn't like curse words in descriptions.

While nothing shocks me anymore, by no means am I jaded to things like animal abuse and cruelty. Nothing pisses me off more than hearing about people doing ungodly things to animals, and dogfighting is one of them. But I grew up with Drug Wars, Dope Wars, Postal...games that glorify drugs, violence and everything that's wrong humanity in general, and nowadays I can't see it as anything but satire or over-the-top parody of how society views itself and just how messed up it is.

In my opinion, people only see games like these as advocating this kind of behavior because they apparently grew up with no moral code or ability to identify right from wrong or social acceptance, etc. The mindset of "if the video game shows it then kids are going to do it" just reinforces the tragic truth that parents apparently don't give a crap about what their kids do and are making ZERO effort to raise them or educate them anymore. Games like these are NOT for kids, and the only reason kids play them is because their parents let them.

Instead of bashing video game creators (who may or may not have had poor childhoods...that's another issue), why not get off your[sic] ass and teach your kids why animal cruelty is wrong yourself rather than letting the media or video games do it. It seems pretty damn simple to me.

And yes, I am a parent, and do what I can to involve myself in what my daughter does, when I can.

I was going to write something, but you said it all. Wonderfully put. I am standing on my chair and applauding. And no, I don't condone unsafe office practices. I do not think everyone should stand on their chairs at work. It is a figure of speech. :)

The same rules apply here as to any other online forum. Don't feed the trolls. I'm not so naive as to believe that ignoring this app will make it go away, but publicizing it by talking about it here surely doesn't help.

It's the only reason myself, my son and like six of his friends all installed the app and have been playing it for a couple of days.... Thanks for bringing it to our attention!!!

I know! I think it's some of the best advertisement for a game! Tell me enough to pique my intrest, but nothing more. If i still had an android phone, I'd have downloaded after i read the origonal article.

So it's ok to steal cars, beat people up, run em over, shoot hookers and all the joy that is GTA? but this is an issue? WTF, seriouly this is nothing more than a chance for activists to get some air time on TV and in the news. They need to worry about more pressing issues and let the video game about some virtual fido go. I don't think it's much of a challenge to list off 10 or so violent shoot em up games that kill humans as the primary goal.

This is blown so far out of per portion is borderline retarded. The Dev's could have made this Rabbit, Chicken, Cat, Horse or Cow fighting and everything laughs it off, but because dog fighting happens to be recent news they jump on the bandwagon for press time.

Guess what your little precious doggy is the main course at the dinner table in parts of the world. Get over it. If your kids grow up to abuse dogs because they played this game, once again the lazy a$$ parents makes excuses that video games ruined their kids vs taking any sort of responsibility for raising them without shoving a damn gadget or TV in front of them to act as a baby sitter.

You are an idiot! Animal abuse and dog fighting in general is not a laughing matter! There is strong evidence that what kids see as acceptable behavior at a young age stays as "acceptable behavior" as they become adults. Maybe you don't care but I do!

So, Kill people, it's okay, Kill deer, it's okay.. Kill dogs? Unacceptable behavior..!

I mean, in Mafia Wars.. yu're killing PEOPLE... Actual human beings. In drug wars, you're selling drugs.. or whatever.. How are these games considered... acceptable games for children.. but you replace the concept with dogs, and it's a shocking thing and disguesting.

You know what I think? What I think is more dangerous and offensive than this game, is the idea that a dogs life is more important than a person. I think that concept is much more dangerous to our socioty than a silly game.

That, and people use one form or another of "think of the children", once I see that, even if I agree or somewhat agree with that point of view. I'm on the other side.

I do think the people who put this app out are sick puppies (no pun intended). There is no reason to ban this app. Just don't download it, simple as that.

There is strong evidence that people who start their argument off by calling the other person an idiot usually doesn't have a valuable response.

Just because someone has different beliefs than you doesn't mean they are an idiot. I don't remember reading anything where he stated that he didn't care how childern learned "acceptable behavior". You injected the belief into your understanding of what he wrote.

Maybe you want to calm down a little and try and read it again?

Of course, go to the Humane Society (like they could ever be allowed to agree with this app) and the guy who went to jail for comment... Biased much?

The following is quoted from the description of DEER HUNTER 3D by Glu Mobile on the Android Market:

"...you can view bullet trajectory, the exact position of your animal when killed, and any relevant bonus points earned for vitals, antler points, and cover."

"Different types of animals with true-to-life senses and behaviors"

"Use your scope to zoom in for more precise and devastating kills"

"...Deer Hunter 3D is as real as it gets."

Wow. A game where you're *rewarded* for being the best at killing an animal. Heaven forbid they be domesticated.

Now I'm being led to believe the Humane Society, Michael Vick, and our dear Mr. Nickinson needed to address the issue of a photo and a health bar corrupting society and its youth let alone the sanctity of the Android Market while training "would-be dogfighters?" I don't think so.

Xero you and so many keep comparing apples to oranges. There is obviously a difference in hunting and dog fighting. Hunting in it's purest form is about providing food, ya know that whole food chain thing.This game glorifies sick human entertainment bottom line.

1. How many people who hunt deer or Quail or anything like that actually eat the animal. 2. Hows is it apples to oranges when both things are games rather than real life. You are in no way eating your virtual deer.

Hunting in its purest form is about necessity. Hunting today is nowhere near about providing food. If anything its main benefit is wildlife management, but that's getting off-topic.

I'm pointing out the hypocrisy of how Dog Wars is deemed offensive, violent, and unsuitable for any who dare browse the bowels of the Android Market when there are much worse games available for download in terms of violence, such as the example of Deer Hunter 3D's "real as it gets" gameplay.

I would go so far as to say that neither game is encouraging animal cruelty no more than a random Pokemon battle that pits your Pikachu against my Sandshrew (I'd win, btw).

No apples and oranges here. Not even apples and apples, but I'd say it's comparing lemons to limes. One is more sour than the other it seems.

What I find funny is people who comment on the developers right to design and publish it and everyone should just deal with it, yet the same will make snide remarks about Phil posting the article and his opinion. does he not have the right to lean one way or another? This is not world news noir should you expect totally unbiased reporting. Writers are allowed to put on paper their opinions or let those feelings guide their writing.

He does but this should clearly say "Opinion" in the title rather than posting this just as any other article on the site. That's why respected news organizations will always title the story [opinion] when an article is heavily opinionated.

I appreciate what you are saying Onix, but I don't believe this is news source. It is a tech review and support source, and by nature, it is all opinion unless it is covering releases (then they link/site the source).

I don't agree with Phil's take on this issue (if it is regarding the banning of this game), but I think it is totally appropriate for him to share it here and open it for discussion.

That's my two cents on a day when everyone is dropping a dime.

If you don't like what Phil is writing about this, don't read the article. I mean isn't thatcessentially what you all have been telling people who want the game removed from the Android Market?

No one here is saying Phil doesnt have a right to his opinion. But if his opinion is hypocritical, he deserves to be called out for it. You cant say "open platforms are awesome because we have choice" and then support denying people choice simply because you personally dont like the content. And that is what he is doing here.

I'm an atheist...should I start a campaign to get all those bible apps removed from the Market? Where does it stop.

The platform is open, the Android Market isn't. There is nothing hypocritical in recognizing what is blatently obvious in Google's developers terms and conditions as agreed to by the developers. For example, even if Google kicks the app out of the Android Market,there is nothing that prevents you from sideloading it. Open does not mean you are entitled to access to the market. If Google decides that the app is racist, sexually explicit, or gratuitously violent, Google has the right to remove the app as per its agreement with developers.

Oh and one other thing, people were in fact complaining that he posted his opinion on the subject.

Oh look, more garbage from Phil.....keep your trash editorials like this to yourself

This is a site for Android news, not see you crying about your views on a GAME, this is your VIEW, not your REVIEW of it....cry baby lib

Man people these days really, really pathetic. Quit being so damn politically correct all the time. First off Michael Vick, fuck him, he's not truly sorry for what he did, so anything he says, who gives a damn. Noone is ever truly sorry for what they do, they are sorry thy got caught.

In all honesty, if people get offended over video games depicting animal fights, its quite sad. The sad thing in this country it seems we value animal lives over the lives of HUMANS. We kill and slaughter animals for food and you are only concerned about dogs because we domesticate them. You do realize what the animals like chicken and cows go through? That doesn't upset you does it? Long as you get your chicken wings and burgers right? So why be so upset about a dog fight game? In some Asian countries they eat dogs.

People are just so "sensitive" these days anymore or just fake it to sue people. Its so sad that our country has become what it has become. I hate political correctness so damn much. It just makes me sick.

You make no sense at all. No one is valuing the lives of animals over humans. The amount of dogs slain in dog fighting proves that. Whether you choose to admit it or not, dog fighting is cruel. You're bringing up the slaughtering of pigs and cows but those animals are killed for a NEED such as umm...FOOD. Not for some sick creep's entertainment and/or gambling habit. Everyone knows in some Asian countries dogs and cats are more cuisine than pet, but I don't give a damn about what they do in other countries because I don't live there. That's their business. If it is embedded in Asian culture to treat dogs as food, then so be it. Who are we to judge their cultural practices? But in American culture, animal cruelty is wrong and illegal and people need to get their heads out their asses and see that.

It appears to me that you just validated his statement. You had an over sensitive response to what he wrote. I haven't seen anyone, including the person you commented to, state that animal cruelty was right. Through your own hypersensitivity you drew that conclusion.

Convictions are a great thing, but I don't think they are at the cost of reason and lucidity. You are entitled to your opinion, and I believe it has strong merit. But in my opinion, he does too.

This is why communication is breaking down in this country. There are too many people talking and not enough listening.

I'm not being hypersensitive. I'm stating my opinion just as he did. He brought up some things that appeared to justify the app and what it stood for and usually that's what people do when they're trying to defend their position in a debate. You wrongfully assumed I was being overly sensitive just like I may have wrongfully assumed that he condoned dog fighting.

You see my friend, this is why communication is breaking down in this country. There are too many people talking and not enough listening.

Yes you are stating your opion, and I gave you credit for it, but I think you missed that because of taking a stance of being defensive and responsive. If you marked my comment as spam instead of dislike, that just reinforces the defensiveness.

So I will correct my statement. I do not feel you are sensitive. I feel you are defensive. Now the question; is that better or worse?

Next, I will wait for you to respond back that I am the one being defensive...blah blah blah. I think our point and counterpoints have reached the "I know what you are, but what am I" phase. So, I will say good game and hit the showers.

I was just making the general reference about how animals are slaughtered for food. It makes no difference whether that animal is meant to be food or its a domesticated animal. You are still killing an animal. Regardless of whether we eat cow or pigs etc, humans are still killing them for our needs. Also you think those animals enjoy being born and raised to be killed for food. Hell even some people who slaughter the animals show no compassion for them, they treat them bad before they get killed. Im not a crazy vegetarian. I am just saying, in the end this is just a video game, we make games killing people and stuff all the time, whether its a virtual human, dog, cat, etc you are still virtually killing something.

This is a cell phone game, so most likely won't be played by young kids, it will be teens - adults. If your teenager doesn't understand the difference between illegal and legal, notice I didn't say right or wrong because each person has different beliefs of whats right and wrong based on their culture and such, but if parents teach their kids better then we really wouldn't have these problems. Also I quite honestly think that parents use video games as scape goats to blame their child's misbehavior. Also it isn't an everyday occurrence when someone goes and kills people in the name of GTA, so I think these "children are influenced to do wrong" because of video games are pure bullshit. I'm sure it can happen, but its also called poor parenting.

I agree COMPLETELY with the whole kid thing which is why I didn't go into that. People rely too heavily on factors outside the home influencing their children rather than parents properly raising their children.

I also agree that killing animals altogether is wrong, but if an animal has to be slain I would rather prefer it be for a basic need than mindless and tasteless entertainment.

Lynch the black guy!!!! Chase him out of Roscoes chicken and waffles and throw watermelon at him. It would be a great game!

Phil. We don't want any more Dog Wars news. I've read all the responses thus far and that's what people are telling you. Its passed debate, it's pissing people off.

A great deal of the users on this site come off extremely ignorant. Yes, this is a country that practices free speech and Android is a open platform so I can't agree with the decision to ban. However, I do feel that this app is wrong. People want to go on and on about how society overlooks games that glorify violence and drugs, but let's be realistic. Human beings are free willed to speak and act as we please whereas animals aren't. I don't care about games based on violence and drugs because the people in the game and those playing the game have the ability to refuse or agree to engage. Animals don't. People work dogs like slaves from puppy to adult to be greatly injured and potentially killed for money and entertainment. That is SICK and if it was a human baby being stripped of its right to live a healthy, normal life to fight other children people would be up in arms. I understand the whole hunting argument and I agree that hunting is wrong, but when people are hunting they aren't hunting PETS. They're hunting WILD ANIMALS. Sometimes the same kind of wild animals we eat. That by no means make it right but trying to compare the two is like comparing apples and oranges. And whoever said that people don't eat whst they kill is misinformed. You'd be surprised how many people live by the "you kill it, you eat it" motto. Back on topic, the app shouldn't be banned but people really need to stop parading around like this app isn't morally wrong. It is.

nice comment. However one correction. The Android Market is not an open market. If one would look at the developers terms and conditions for distribution, applications that depict gratuitous violence violate the terms and conditions and can be removed. There are other constraints as well, applications of a sexually explicit nature are banned, applications advocating racism and bigotry are banned...

One other thing, for those of you who advocate strongly that the free market demands that this application be made available, I assure you the free market demands no such thing. It is Google's decision whether to allow this application to remain in their marketplace. What the free market dictates is that users of Google's services can choose to use or not use Google market.

You're confusing an app with real life.

If the app is pulled, every war & hunting app should be too...including TankRecon. After all, in the real world those tanks are operated by humans.

Yes that is his connection, but there was no need for him to comment on this game. We all know he is not truly sorry for what he did. No one is ever sincerely sorry for what they do, its the fact they are sorry they got caught doing what they did. Him making a comment on this is completely irrelevant as he is just full of shit.

Therefore what...the app is ok if he approves of it? Or it is bad if his shows his disapproval? Tell me BigCrisco, how exactly does his opinion affect the validity of the app either way?

Should we consult the Pope on all all those Bible apps to see if they need to be pulled? Or ask Pamela Anderson to weigh in on the iBoobies app to determine if it needs to be removed too?

PITA and the humane society still have vick by the short and curleys. He probably didnt even know this app was out there. Safe to assume they contacted him. Deep down i think i gives a shit but have to say something politicaly correct per his NFL contract. (Speculating)

I would like to thank this site for keeping up the debate. Without it I would have never heard of this game! Just downloaded it for lulz. Thanks again!

I also love everyone being mad about the dogfighting, but ignoring all of the ignorant stereotypes in this game. I want to thank animal lovers for being stereotypical; obviously dogs are on a higher level than black people haha.

I'm a developer, and an animal lover, and an occasional gamer.

And I think this game is sh*t. And not in a good way.

Anyone that would throw their talent into this kind of role-playing game should be ashamed - this isn't cool, it's a grotesque perversion of what gaming is about.

For all of you who think I have a sanctimonious rod up my arse, here are a few future projects for you to flex your coding skills on:

- Pedophile Pac-Man

- Nazi Concentration Campers

- Tsunami Touchdown

- BTK Serial Killer Vacation

D*uchebags.

You need to chill man, geez its just a game.

People are acting like its an app that tells you where to meet up with people to dog fight. Its NOT REAL, ITS IMAGINARY.

I'm glad they removed this app from the market. I cannot believe, wait I guess I do, how many brazen snide comments there are for people who care about the welfare of animals. This app glorified the idea of dog fighting.

I have been a pet owner my whole life. I enjoy games and I enjoy my android. I find it hilarious like the zombie apocolypes has started if they remove this app from the market. They have already removed stuff before that had already been in the market? You can just go and download the .apk and run it from dev. Nobody is stopping you from running it on your android. Nobody is censoring you and taking away your free speech-->dumbest argument by the way. It's not as if you ever played the damn game anyways. It was a shitty designed software anyways, like 80% of the poorly designed garbage out there.

I wish they would bring back rom gripper++, damn I miss that app (I know go download the .apk).

If it wasn't for this publication then I wouldn't even know about this 'issue'. Good thing I still don't care...

The difference between a game like this and GTA is that everyone knows that killing people is wrong and there are serious reprecusions. A lot of people don't seem to look at dog fighting the same way. They think they can get away with it, and they have the advantage of controlling the dogs and taking advantage of them. If Michael Vick was killing people and hanging people from trees, I am pretty sure he would have gotten caught and thrown in jail much sooner, but since it was dog fighting, he got away with it for far too long. Look at all of the disgusting people involved in his dog fighting group of friends that also thought it was "ok".

And actually Angry Birds is VERY different. How often in life do you launch birds at pigs using a slingshot? And even more so, how often do the birds have the abilities of bombs or boomerangs? The answer is, probably never. But how often are dogs raise and trained to fit to the death? Far too often.