The Youth and Sports Ministry has prepared a list of digital games that contain “harmful” elements for youngsters, raising eyebrows for including popular games like Guitar Hero, Call of Duty and Pacman, daily Milliyet reported on June 26.
The ministry reportedly established a special team to determine criteria, including whether the games contained “content that can harm the youth,” adding that many include “Islamophobia, drug use, pornography and violence.”
The head of the ministry’s Education, Culture and Research Commission, Hüzeyfe Yılmaz, informed parliament on the issue, saying the digital gaming sector in Turkey has been expanding rapidly.
Yılmaz said the digital gaming sector had reached a business volume worth $100 billion, growing between 8 and 10 percent annually and even surpassing the Hollywood movie business.
There are 1 billion gamers worldwide, Yılmaz said, adding that there are 25 million gamers in Turkey, where the digital gaming sector amounts to $600 million. According to the ministry, Turkish gamers spend a total of 39 million hours playing games every day.
Yılmaz said Turkey has “successful game developers,” many of whom sell their products abroad, but he warned of “harmful effects” from some foreign games.
“’Nusrat’ is a game developed by our ministry and it has been downloaded over 2.5 million times. However, foreign games including Islamophobia, sexuality and violence are among the harmful material in the sector. We are trying to raise awareness on the issue among families, youngsters, teachers and students. We also have to go beyond raising awareness, and that is why further development of [approved] games should increase,” she told parliament.
The ministry has been focusing on the issue of Islamophobia in games, she said, claiming that many games are used to spread negative perceptions against Islam.
“The goal [of many games] is to give people a negative perception about Islam. Digital games are used as a tool to spread Islamophobia ... Often the player is put in the role of a soldier and they gain points by killing Muslims, who are shown to them as terrorists. The main goal is creating enmity towards Islam,” she said, adding that the ministry had opened a website called “oyunlardaislamofobi.com” in order for users to report games involving Islamophobia.
Among the games listed as being Islamophobic are Guitar Hero III, Devil May Cry – Dante’s Awakening, Resident Evil, Call of Duty, Hitman, Counter-Strike, Serious Sam, Muslim Massacre, Bomb Gaza, Pacman and Tekken.
The ministry previously prompted ridicule among some in Turkey for claiming that the classic game Pacman is based around the idea of the central character “collecting veiled Muslim women.”