Apple Bans Anti-Apple App

Apple Bans Anti-Apple App

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Apple has pulled Phone Story, a game which attempts to satirize the human cost of phone production, from the App Store.

Although many technology consumers have a basic understanding of the environmental and human costs incurred in the production of a wallet-friendly smartphone, we're not often asked to consider what these "costs" mean for workers on the ground. To this end, developer Molleindustria released Phone Story, a mobile game which attempted to satirize much of the scandal surrounding Apple's iPhone production practices. The game was quickly pulled from the App Store, with Apple citing "objectionable" content and depictions of child abuse as reasons for its removal.

Phone Story attempted to satirize Apple's production scandals by offering the consumer the chance to play a series of narrated mini-games, each aimed at illustrating a particular problem. One level involved ensuring that armed security men kept a group of children mining coltan in Africa (one of the most prized rare earth elements (REEs), coltan is mined in large quantities in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Third-party mining operations in the DRC have contributed directly to a war which has become the deadliest human conflict since World War 2). Another level involved catching employees in a trampoline net as they fall from a tall building, a direct poke at the high rate of employee suicide at Foxconn, an Apple partner.

Speaking to Gamasutra, Molleindustria's Paolo Pedercini explained that "a lot of tech-aware people heard about the story of the Foxconn suicides or about the issue of electronic waste. But with Phone Story, we wanted to connect all these aspects and present them in the larger frame of technological consumerism."

"We don't want people to stop buying smartphones," continued Pedercini, "but maybe we can make a little contribution in terms of shifting the perception of technological lust from cool to not-that-cool. This happened before with fur coats, diamonds, cigarettes and SUVs -- I can't see why it can't happen with iPads." He also stressed what Apple's ban of the game meant for the games industry specifically, asking us to question "what kind of reaction iTunes would provoke if they banned all the songs with "excessive objectionable" content."

Molleindustria is no stranger to controversy. Its previous politicized titles have included Oiligarchy and Operation Pedopriest, both of which attracted the levels of criticism you'd expect for games with subject matter such as theirs (the latter featured simulated child rape). Molleindustria browser game Faith Fighters had to be removed after offending the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.

Phone Story was after something clever - the chance to be among the first to ask people to consider Apple's supply side operations through the medium of their products. Sadly (or perhaps not so, depending on how you feel about it) Phone Story for iPhone seems to be dead for good. However, it may still be able to find a home on the Android market; Apple's iPhone may be the most popular form of mineral-hungry smartphone, but it is by no means the only one.

Source: Gamasutra

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So typical of Apple. They can't and won't assume their responsibilities and can't be made fun of in any way, shape or form.

And they say Steam has a monopoly? Of course one would be hard pressed to find a major fault in Steam's and Valve's commercial practices. But that's another story. At least Valve has a sense of humor, something that is totally alien to Apple.

I understood phone story and the message it was trying to send, but after seeing their other games these people seem to be in only for shcok value. It kinda feels like those games PETA puts out.

Hevva:
The game was quickly pulled from the App Store, with Apple citing "objectionable" content and depictions of child abuse as reasons for its removal.

So, hang on... depicting child abuse on an iPhone is not allowed, yet real child abuse used to help mae an iPhone is A-ok?

Welcome to the wonderful world of 21st Century corporatism. Be sure to leave your morals at the door...

"We don't want people to stop buying smartphones," continued Pedercini, "but maybe we can make a little contribution in terms of shifting the perception of technological lust from cool to not-that-cool. This happened before with fur coats, diamonds, cigarettes and SUVs -- I can't see why it can't happen with iPads."

Uh, the point of making fur coats, blood diamonds, cigarettes and SUVs less cool was to stop people from buying them. Unless he just means they don't want to physically restrain someone attempting to buy a smartphone.

He also stressed what Apple's ban of the game meant for the games industry specifically, asking us to question "what kind of reaction iTunes would provoke if they banned all the songs with "excessive objectionable" content."

Yeah. And why doesn't Gamestop sell air conditioners, and why can't I buy a tuba at a Ford dealership.

4173:

He also stressed what Apple's ban of the game meant for the games industry specifically, asking us to question "what kind of reaction iTunes would provoke if they banned all the songs with "excessive objectionable" content."

Yeah. And why doesn't Gamestop sell air conditioners, and why can't I buy a tuba at a Ford dealership.

I'll help you out on this one.

GAmestop doesn't sell aircon units because they don't deal in home appliances. Ford dealers don't sell tubas for the same reason, they're in the car sales biz.

Better analogies would be "Why doesn't Walmart sell air conditioners?" and "Why doesn't Bob's Used Auto Emporium sell Fords?", as they're examples of businesses that deal in a wide variety of items, yet wouldn't be dealing with one they would normally be expected to carry. Walmart does, in fact, carry air cons, though admittedly only window units, and Bob's used car dealer would be expected to carry all makes and models. So these two stores not selling those items would be analogous to Apple censoring the App Store.

I'm sure this could find a welcome home on the Android Marketplace. They are pretty fast and loose with what they allow.

That's actually a really interesting app...

Banning the product will be better for the company's message than just publishing the game itself. The ban will provoke outrage and questions towards Apple's business practices, in addition to increased public exposure. If the game weren't banned, it would be nothing more than a trite, obscure, and (possibly) mediocre app in a sea of similar items. Apple just lost this round.

TestECull:

4173:

He also stressed what Apple's ban of the game meant for the games industry specifically, asking us to question "what kind of reaction iTunes would provoke if they banned all the songs with "excessive objectionable" content."

Yeah. And why doesn't Gamestop sell air conditioners, and why can't I buy a tuba at a Ford dealership.

I'll help you out on this one.

GAmestop doesn't sell aircon units because they don't deal in home appliances. Ford dealers don't sell tubas for the same reason, they're in the car sales biz.

Better analogies would be "Why doesn't Walmart sell air conditioners?" and "Why doesn't Bob's Used Auto Emporium sell Fords?", as they're examples of businesses that deal in a wide variety of items, yet wouldn't be dealing with one they would normally be expected to carry. Walmart does, in fact, carry air cons, though admittedly only window units, and Bob's used car dealer would be expected to carry all makes and models. So these two stores not selling those items would be analogous to Apple censoring the App Store.

On one level, you are of course completely right. But that word (expected) bugs me. Certainly I would expect them to carry them (in an anticipatory sense; I would be surprised if they did not), but I don't think they are expected to carry them (in the sense of an obligation).

If, as in the example, Apple censored music that they make them less useful of a vendor, annoy customers and artists etc.

But somehow I don't think that the implication is Apple may annoy/anger/drive away customers by censoring their store. I think he is quite clearly saying Apple, by virtue of selling music, is obligated to sell ALL music. It is silly to think one should be able to dictate to a private enterprise in that fashion. If Gamestop can choose not to sell A/C units, then Apple can choose what music they sell, it's that simple.

As far as the except is concerned, it doesn't even appear Apple is trying to block the the App from existing, or being distributed (in a general sense). They are simply choosing not to sell it in their store.

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You were watching the left hand, while the right hand was doing all the neat tricks.

TheMadJack:

And they say Steam has a monopoly?

I'm pretty sure you don't understand the term monopoly.

On the bright side, this game is now available on Android:
https://market.android.com/details?id=air.org.molleindustria.phonestory2

I also couldn't see Google banning it. Since you aren't limited to Google's Android market when getting Android apps, all they'd end up doing would be to make themselves look bad and raise the profile of the game another notch.

Just a consideration: The title of this article could've been 20% cooler if Hevva had given in to the alliterative impulse and written "Apple Axes Anti-Apple App".

Also, completely unsurprising that Apple would nix an App that criticizes it. Sort of like how Borders would probably refuse to carry a book entitled "101 Ways Borders Sucks".

The Rogue Wolf:
Just a consideration: The title of this article could've been 20% cooler if Hevva had given in to the alliterative impulse and written "Apple Axes Anti-Apple App".

Also, completely unsurprising that Apple would nix an App that criticizes it. Sort of like how Borders would probably refuse to carry a book entitled "101 Ways Borders Sucks".

Yeah, way to go Hevva. Phone Story could have been an AAAAA-title.

Shame. I'd have put it as:
"Apple abandons Anti-Apple App"

For the sake of alitteration :D

OT: If you want to satirize something you probably shouldn't do it directly in their face. Especially not when they're such spoil-sports.

4173:

As far as the except is concerned, it doesn't even appear Apple is trying to block the the App from existing, or being distributed (in a general sense). They are simply choosing not to sell it in their store.

Except for the fact that there isn't a legal alternative to getting applications on the iPhone without going through the AppStore. (Ok, you could jailbreak your phone, but not everyone is willing to do that).

By "choosing not to sell it in their store", they are blocking most of the consumer base of iPhones from ever using the App.

Apple needs to man up and eat the criticism.

If someone made a game called "ESRB Totally Sucks Monkey Balls", the ESRB would rate the shit out of it. Hell, they'd probably throw a T on there.

well....the important thing is

was this game actually fun

the main reason why PETA games didn't work was because they weren't fun...AND THEN THEY SLAM YOU WITH RHETORIC AND SHOCK PICTURES AND QUOTES AND STATISTICS

then they show you cute animals

THEN THOSE ANIMALS ARE MURDERED

then they show a cutesy caricature of the person they don't like performing those murders, and the cute animals win, for some reason

there's no composition at all, and even one of their most recent games, while actually more fun, with thought given to level design and game mechanics, still has the rhetoric, but now they sandwich it into extremely long tooltip like hotspots...which do not pause the ingame timer. yep. really long blocks of text....in the middle of a timed level. way to logic there.

 

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