An online game called Slave Tetris in which players try to stack as many African slaves as possible on top of one another has been pulled following an angry reaction online.
The game was part of project called Playing History: Slave Trade and is aimed at educating people about slavery.
It replaced the different shaped blocks of Tetris with chained black figures arranged into various awkward shapes. Players would have to stack them on top of one another in the hold of a slave ship, arranging them so they all fit together without gaps, as in the original game.
The Daily Mail reports that the game was created by Serious Games Interactive, a Danish firm who specialise in educational computer games. Their CEO, Simon Egenfeldt-Nielsen, was strongly criticised on Twitter by users calling him a “clueless white Dane” and describing the game as “dehumanizing and anti-black.”
The Tetris game has now been removed, but the rest of the Slave Trade project remains online. He defended the game, saying the “point [was] to disgust people so they understand how inhumane [the] slave trade was.”
He admitted, however, that he “should of course [have] know[n] how this would have played out,” adding: “My naivety will be my doom.”
“This overshadowed the educational goal of the game. The goal was to enlighten and educate people — not to get sidetracked discussing a small 15 secs part of the game.
“I have sa[i]d earlier that I was sorry that the game harmed some people, and that wasn’t the intention.”
The game is based around the experiences of a slave called Tim who is sent to help his owner find new slaves, only to find his own sister enslaved. The two the hatch a plot to help all the slaves escape.