Online platform provider Endorphina has issued a statement and official apology after it was forced to withdraw its controversial Māori slot machine from the market less than two months after it was released.
Māori was released in December 2016 with Endorphina spruiking its “beautiful 3D animations of the Haka dance, authentic symbols and accurately portrayed face tattoos of the Māori people.”
But the game didn’t go down quite so well in New Zealand, with Māori public health advocacy organization Hapai Te Hauora claiming the game was offensive to Māori culture.
In a statement released this week, the Czech-based company said, “Unfortunately, the game was not received well by everyone. Some New Zealanders and the authorities of certain tribes were distressed by the theme of the game and the fact that their culture and symbols were depicted in such detail in an international online game without prior notice.
“Our main intention with the Māori game and with any other culture-oriented game is always to broaden the cultural knowledge, open-mindedness and understanding among people. Our games are made to entertain people and we want to give them an option to get on a journey to different worlds and realities without the need of leaving their homes. Also, we try to convey the experience of exploring and discovering new countries to a wide audience worldwide as not everyone is lucky enough to be given the privilege to travel and see the world himself.
“Endorphina’s team is whole-heartedly sorry for this unfortunate situation and our official apology has already been sent to Māori authorities. It was never our intention to insult Māoris or to cause any kind of cultural misinterpretation.
“After the negative feedback, the Māori game was temporarily withdrawn from our game portfolio and necessary changes in the design are being made to remove all elements that could evoke any connection to Māori people and their culture.”