Puzzle game

Ukraine-Russia conflict: Users of online puzzle game take to Twitter after spate of ‘pro-Russian’ replies

Nonagram, which asks players to reveal an image by solving number-based puzzles, recently produced a series of Russian-themed answers, including “Coat of arms of Russia”, as well as “Kremlin” – referring to the Russian government – and “The Fatherland Calls”.

The game’s programmers, Easy Brain Team, are based in Minsk, Belarus, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, Swedish parent company Embracer Group has pledged $1 million [£760,000] to help the humanitarian effort in Ukraine, while its managing director Lars Wingefors matched this funding to specifically help employees affected by the crisis.

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Now the company has revealed it removed ‘sensitive’ content in its latest update, but insisted that answers have been part of the game ‘for years’ and that the time for answers to come during the Ukraine-Russia conflict was a “coincidence”. .

A Scottish Twitter user showed her answers in the puzzle game, which had a Russian theme.

A Scottish Twitter user wrote: “So here’s a weird thing. I’m playing a phone game called Nonagram, made by @EasyBrainTeam who are part of @embracergroup. Over the past two weeks, Every. Single. Answer. has was something Russian.”

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The user said she investigated the company and found that the developers were based in Belarus, but it was owned by a company headquartered in Sweden.

She said: “So now I can’t decide – a rogue pro-Russian programmer doing his part for the Russian war effort via the support of super pixelated game responses, or total coincidence, these were scheduled well in advance and I happen to have reached this stage of the game as Russia enters the war?”

Another response showed an image of the Kremlin.

She added that she thought an answer, titled “Cruiser Aurora,” was bucking the Russia-themed trend, until she looked it up.

The user said: “I thought ‘Cruiser Aurora’ sounded good and bucked the trend, but turns out it’s a Russian warship, now a museum, in St Petersburg. “

“The Motherland Calls” is also believed to refer to a statue of the same name commemorating those who fell in the Battle of Stalingrad, located in the Russian city of Volgograd.

On February 28, EmbracerGroup wrote: “Millions of people are experiencing unimaginable hardship in Ukraine. The Embracer Group has decided to donate US$1 million for humanitarian aid to help support those affected through reputable organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, SOS Villages d ‘Children and the ACT Alliance, among others.

One of Nonagram’s answers was titled “The Motherland Calls”.

“In addition, our Group CEO, Lars Wingefors, will match this donation with another pledge of US$1 million to support our employees and contractors who are directly impacted by this crisis.”

Embracer Group did not respond to a request for comment. However, in a response to the user on Twitter, Easy Brain Team said, “Content related to various countries has been in the game for years, so it’s just a coincidence that you’ve progressed through certain game levels. with images mentioned. To avoid any possible misunderstanding, we have replaced potentially sensitive content in the recent update.”

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