Apple Initially Rejected Papers, Please for "Pornographic Content" - Update 2

Apple Initially Rejected Papers, Please for "Pornographic Content" - Update 2

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The iPad version of dystopian document thriller Papers, Please has no nudity option for the scanner photos.

Update 2: Apple has accepted the version of Papers, Please with nudity present. The game is on the app store with a 17+ rating.

Update: Developer Lucas Pope tweeted good news today about Papers, Please with the nudity option for the scanner being present on iPad. Pope has spoken with Apple and says the initial rejection, which believed the nudity option was pornographic, was a misunderstanding on Apple's part. Apple has suggested Pope resubmit with the nudity option.

Pope added this decision is not a result of Apple bowing to pressure but admitting it had made a mistake in the review.

Hopefully Apple will also examine how it reviews apps compared to other media.

Original story: Last year's praised indie game Papers, Please will be on iPad starting tomorrow, developer Lucas Pope announced on Twitter. However, missing from the iPad version is the nudity option for the scanner in the game due to Apple's restrictions.

Pope said Apple rejected the build with the nudity option on grounds for containing "pornographic content."

In Papers, Please, the player is an immigration inspector at a border checkpoint. The player must decide whether or not to let individuals into the country based on whether there are discrepancies in paperwork. One way of discovering discrepancies is the full body scanner. One option in the game for the scanner presents the individuals scanned nude.

Apple's guidelines for developers state it will reject apps that contain material that has "explicit descriptions or displays of sexual organs or activities intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings." Apple also states it reviews apps different from books or songs because it does not curate books or songs.

"If you want to criticize a religion, write a book. If you want to describe sex, write a book or song, or create a medical App," the guidelines state. "It can get complicated, but we have decided to not allow certain kinds of content in the App Store."

Developers can appeal to a review board if an app is rejected.

Papers, Please has won several awards for encouraging players to grapple with tough decisions and bleak gameplay. The nudity in Papers, Please is uncomfortable on purpose and framed in a way that is certainly not erotic.

Source: Lucas Pope (Twitter)

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It was hardly erotic, or particularly stimulating at all. It was another clinical, detached task carried out to please the faceless bureaucracy under which both me, the nakee and the papershed were trapped.

But then again, perhaps someone on the Apple decency board gets off to that general atmosphere, you never know.

I highly, highly doubt it was intended to be erotic. I didn't even know the game had a body scanner in it, so it's not like "scan your citizens and see them naked" is a major selling point of the game.

"Apple's guidelines for developers state it will reject apps that contain material that has "explicit descriptions or displays of sexual organs or activities intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings."

So what happened with Papers, Please then? Did the Apple's People's Review Board for Censorship take things out of context and/or just get lazy again and deny it as soon as they saw something funny? Are they, themselves, admitting to enjoying the game in a way the creator did not intend? Do they have their own body scanning game coming out and they don't want to see any competition? /jk

Just idiots not taking gaming as an art form :P

They said it right there - a book or a song does not get curated :( ...

Meh, such people are thankfully a dying breed. And one that has already lost.

Still. Nudity in Papers, Please is ... not erotic at all id say. It is.. cold, oppressive and mechanical. Part of the game's very emotional core.

Yeah, because Apple is completely guilty of over-curation of their content. And they have people working that process that just don't give a shit and will just follow a set of arbitrary rules even if they don't ethically apply.

Ok, that was my rant. Boobs is porn (according to Apple). That is amazingly puritanical.

Their platform, their rules. Still makes them censoring jackasses though. If they have a review process that's supposed to weed out pornographic material then that process failed. What you do in Papers, Please is clearly not pornographic in nature.

If you get turned on by the naked images in "Paper's Please" then you really need to get laid.

Besides I'm pretty sure there's an option to turn the nudity off, it wouldn't be that hard to make that mandatory (if you wanted to be insanely prudish about it).

Well...I'm not going to get pissed about this, but I will say that I think it was a rather dumb decision.

"If you want to criticize a religion, write a book. If you want to describe sex, write a book or song, or create a medical App," the guidelines state. "It can get complicated, but we have decided to not allow certain kinds of content in the App Store."

Look I'm not denying them their right to sell what they don't want, but what the fuck does that even mean?

erttheking:
Well...I'm not going to get pissed about this, but I will say that I think it was a rather dumb decision.

"If you want to criticize a religion, write a book. If you want to describe sex, write a book or song, or create a medical App," the guidelines state. "It can get complicated, but we have decided to not allow certain kinds of content in the App Store."

Look I'm not denying them their right to sell what they don't want, but what the fuck does that even mean?

There are a bunch of guidelines. Basicly content-wise it boils down to following: Don't offend anyone(religion, person, company etc), don't portray graphical violence or animal cruelty, and no nudity. In theory it is a pretty cencored environment, but I don't really know how much of those rules can be bend.

"We will reject Apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line. What line, you ask? Well, as a Supreme Court Justice once said, "I'll know it when I see it". And we think that you will also know it when you cross it." <- direct quote

And there are a lot more minor rules. The list of what you should not do covers multiple pages.

I think the Appstore is still very much focused on casual games. When a game starts to ask difficult questions and display uncomfortable images they don't like it. I honestly don't think they see games as an art form yet, because as they said, they'll sell books and music about that stuff, but of course when they think of games they imagine a 6 year-old playing Angry Birds. It's not that hard to set up age restrictions on games, so the "family values" excuse doesn't work here, besides one could argue letting children spend £100s on freemium games is far more damaging than letting them see nipples in a completely unsexual context.

UPDATE: Never mind.

Shows that Apple doesn't know what pornography means. If they mean nudity, they should fucking say so, because they two aren't the fucking same, most nudity is weird, awkward, ugly and offputting. Those make quality pornography actually wokr hard to make it look appealing, it's not fucking easy.

Hubblignush:
Shows that Apple doesn't know what pornography means. If they mean nudity, they should fucking say so, because they two aren't the fucking same, most nudity is weird, awkward, ugly and offputting. Those make quality pornography actually wokr hard to make it look appealing, it's not fucking easy.

Exactly. Ever been to a nude beach, Apple? It is NOT erotic *shudder*

Gorrath:
What you do in Papers, Please is clearly not pornographic in nature.

It can be if you close your eyes and wish hard enough, just like how GTA V is a violence-against-women-simulator.

With enough help, I think we can trick TV media into thinking that Papers, Please is a game about a border security man that gets points for undressing women.

Then everyone who knows it's a lie will collectively go, "WTF?!?!" While everyone who hasn't played the game, feminist watch-dog groups, Anita Sarkesian, or anyone who dubs themselves an 'expert in something' will throw in their ten seconds of verbal garbage and agree that this game needs to be taken down.

So rules are rules. You adhere to the Escapist Posting guidelines (I hope), so it's only reasonable that if you want to publicly distribute what you have produced (such as this comment) on someone else's medium, then you follow their rules.

Apple has a strict set of rules when it comes to publishing content and on top of that, they enforce an annual fee, as well as verification (Quality assurance by humans, not machines), something that is not widely done. Rules are put in place for a reason, to be honest, I'm surprised I have to explain why it's fair to play by some one else's rules when your round their house. This gives a barrier to entry that is a necessary deterrent to sub par developers that want to exploit the user base.

On the side of Apple being some sort of pure evil against games as an art form, there are three main factors that you should consider in your argument:

1. Audience

Like it or not, this a mobile platform, and can be compared to other portable game media such as the Vita and 3DS to some degree. As such, what's the longest period you spend on your phone/tablet/portable games device playing games? Games for mobile platforms are inherently designed for burst style play. You rarely see gourmet chiefs preparing meal deals outside of supermarkets.
Games like Papers Please on iOS are for a very specific audience. Is there really a need to feel angry about a game that you clearly support, and is obviously not in jeopardy following rules that mean you can enjoy it elsewhere.

2. Screen Real Estate

Although PP is coming out on the iPad, people seem to be railing against Apple in general, as such, I feel I can generalise the 'war on Game Art' argument to all iOS products. Angry birds sold well because it was designed for the platform. 'Art Games' are not primarily targeted at mobile platforms because of both the audience wanting something with rapid response, and the screen to display such an expierence on being sub par.

3. Battery life

If you actually have an iThingy, if yours last to the end of the day, please tell me your black magic secrete, because the things leak battery quicker than my sink at the moment.

TLDR; If you feel that the boobs are the difference between a good game or not, then you are clearly the person who is getting off on this and are projecting your own insecurities, so grow up you (hopefully) teenager and learn that life is following someone else's rules until you are big enough to make your own.

pornographic content? More like morbid content.

Ed James:

TLDR; If you feel that the boobs are the difference between a good game or not, then you are clearly the person who is getting off on this and are projecting your own insecurities, so grow up you (hopefully) teenager and learn that life is following someone else's rules until you are big enough to make your own.

or perhaps we are grown up enough to see when rules are moronic and are willing to call them out as such?

Does apple has a right to make thier own rules? sure.

should apple have this right? Nope.

Ed James:

TLDR; If you feel that the boobs are the difference between a good game or not, then you are clearly the person who is getting off on this and are projecting your own insecurities, so grow up you (hopefully) teenager and learn that life is following someone else's rules until you are big enough to make your own.

Nice of you to include this smugly incendiary statement at the end of your post in a most thinly veiled attempt to shame any dissenting voices. Is there a particular reason you are being so hostile towards the rather mild discussion taking place here?

OT: While it is true that this isn't really a big deal, and that Apple is well within their rights to put any rules in place. That doesn't mean people aren't allowed to disagree with those rules. But no, who would have thought that people would discuss gaming related news on a gaming forum. Madness, i know.

This is another highly negative light shining in Apples face, and maybe that's a good thing. It should provide an added push in to solidifying a view that games are an art form, just like other media are.

This context-free judgement of a particular aspect of a highly-praised game shames Apple.

Apple is in all likelihood viewed once again as either being stupid, lazy or :) perverted. Curation of content is difficult, and the curators are judged as well. More work for the App Store team, or just their PR team if Apple chooses to be crap.

Even by their own guidelines it doesn't break the rules, the nudity isn't sexualised at all.

Papers Please is excellent and the nudity does add to the game. I liked the scanning mechanic, especially when you scan for gender instead of contraband. It made me feel uncomfortable gendering people like that. "You don't look like the gender you claim to be, you must lying." It really reinforced how cold, uncaring and inhuman the whole system was. They could be Trans, they could be that sex and just not look it (which is why you scan), they could have just gotten a shitty fake passport. I don't know, I'm a huge part of these people's lives and they're a tiny part of mine. Regardless if their sex isn't their gender then I'm meant to deny them and I kind of need to, me and my family need to not die and if I don't do it they'll just get someone who will. And that someone won't be secretly working with EZIC. The whole thing was great.

Hubblignush:
Shows that Apple doesn't know what pornography means. If they mean nudity, they should fucking say so, because they two aren't the fucking same, most nudity is weird, awkward, ugly and offputting. Those make quality pornography actually wokr hard to make it look appealing, it's not fucking easy.

And you know something? This whole argument was made and, arguably, solved about 25 years ago.

Most importantly I now know that Papers Please is on the App Store, I hope to see an Android release as well. Its a great game for mobile devices, sorting papers while sorting papers would be great.

So with the latest update, it seems to me this was a mountain made out of a molehill.

Glad the game made it to the App Store uncensored. This is a great game.

I love how when such scanners are implemented into real life, its normal, nothing to worry about, move along citizen.
But in games, it is downright pornography! It demeans the virtual people! How could you do such horrible thing to virtual people!

Its almost some kind of social commentary...

neonit:
I love how when such scanners are implemented into real life, its normal, nothing to worry about, move along citizen.
But in games, it is downright pornography! It demeans the virtual people! How could you do such horrible thing to virtual people!

Its almost some kind of social commentary...

Actually, I thought there were some stories about the operators saving the pictures or just enjoying their jobs way too much. The stories may have been false, but the Apple censors, being idiots and/or over thinkers, may have seen that as an implied way to enjoy the game.

OT: "Pope added this decision is not a result of Apple bowing to pressure but admitting it had made a mistake in the review."

I won't say this isn't a possibility and that they already were talking with him before the original news story hit the internet. But, I have a good feeling that after all the OKed fart button apps and denied encyclopedia apps that had passages that apparently violated Apple's rules, Apple probably felt the pressure of an impending outrage against the original decision and got the ball rolling to reverse the rejection before things got too tense.

Maybe Apple should reeducate their review board members? Or stop getting them from the same place the MPAA get's its members (read: upper-middle class old white people with no connection or understanding to most of the things they review).(That last part is mostly a joke. I have no idea what backgrounds their review board has.)

These people have not seen the nudity in papers please. It's not erotic, it's not sexy, it's just another part of the job of the border officer we follow.

Or, more likely, they don't care.

Ed James:
So rules are rules. You adhere to the Escapist Posting guidelines (I hope), so it's only reasonable that if you want to publicly distribute what you have produced (such as this comment) on someone else's medium, then you follow their rules.

Apple has a strict set of rules when it comes to publishing content and on top of that, they enforce an annual fee, as well as verification (Quality assurance by humans, not machines), something that is not widely done. Rules are put in place for a reason, to be honest, I'm surprised I have to explain why it's fair to play by some one else's rules when your round their house. This gives a barrier to entry that is a necessary deterrent to sub par developers that want to exploit the user base.

On the side of Apple being some sort of pure evil against games as an art form, there are three main factors that you should consider in your argument:

1. Audience

Like it or not, this a mobile platform, and can be compared to other portable game media such as the Vita and 3DS to some degree. As such, what's the longest period you spend on your phone/tablet/portable games device playing games? Games for mobile platforms are inherently designed for burst style play. You rarely see gourmet chiefs preparing meal deals outside of supermarkets.
Games like Papers Please on iOS are for a very specific audience. Is there really a need to feel angry about a game that you clearly support, and is obviously not in jeopardy following rules that mean you can enjoy it elsewhere.

2. Screen Real Estate

Although PP is coming out on the iPad, people seem to be railing against Apple in general, as such, I feel I can generalise the 'war on Game Art' argument to all iOS products. Angry birds sold well because it was designed for the platform. 'Art Games' are not primarily targeted at mobile platforms because of both the audience wanting something with rapid response, and the screen to display such an expierence on being sub par.

3. Battery life

If you actually have an iThingy, if yours last to the end of the day, please tell me your black magic secrete, because the things leak battery quicker than my sink at the moment.

TLDR; If you feel that the boobs are the difference between a good game or not, then you are clearly the person who is getting off on this and are projecting your own insecurities, so grow up you (hopefully) teenager and learn that life is following someone else's rules until you are big enough to make your own.

Except as has already been said, even by their own rules there's nothing wrong with this. Nudity does not make a game porn or even erotic, and even if they really wanted to be harsh they could have simply asked for the devs to make the "turn off boobs" option mandatory.

Anyway, as the update states they've realized that their curation process failed and they're letting the game in.

Strazdas:

Ed James:

TLDR; If you feel that the boobs are the difference between a good game or not, then you are clearly the person who is getting off on this and are projecting your own insecurities, so grow up you (hopefully) teenager and learn that life is following someone else's rules until you are big enough to make your own.

or perhaps we are grown up enough to see when rules are moronic and are willing to call them out as such?

Does apple has a right to make thier own rules? sure.

should apple have this right? Nope.

You my friend are a gem. I completely agree with you

"not a result of Apple bowing to pressure" err sure whatever you say apple.

In all seriousness its good they have looked again and admitted it was a mistake however it is a shame that a game is not treated the same as a book or song as it can be art just the same as they can, i think its something we need to get past and i am glad apple have seen sense and taken another look.

Whist the mobile market is usually not known for quality games that tell a story ( not saying there are not good games but its not common for something like this to be on there), anything that advances the idea that games can be art is a good thing in my book.

I also don't like the term "art game" to me that misses the point of games as art, traditional "art" games are more a interactive art installation than a game that is art in itself.

alj:
"not a result of Apple bowing to pressure" err sure whatever you say apple.

In all seriousness its good they have looked again and admitted it was a mistake however it is a shame that a game is not treated the same as a book or song as it can be art just the same as they can, i think its something we need to get past and i am glad apple have seen sense and taken another look.

Whist the mobile market is usually not known for quality games that tell a story ( not saying there are not good games but its not common for something like this to be on there), anything that advances the idea that games can be art is a good thing in my book.

I also don't like the term "art game" to me that misses the point of games as art, traditional "art" games are more a interactive art installation than a game that is art in itself.

How is calling an game a "art game" different then calling a film a "art film?"

I'm guessing this comment is aimed for me, my comment came a bit harsher than I intended so apologies for that.

Ed James:
So rules are rules. You adhere to the Escapist Posting guidelines (I hope), so it's only reasonable that if you want to publicly distribute what you have produced (such as this comment) on someone else's medium, then you follow their rules.

Apple has a strict set of rules when it comes to publishing content and on top of that, they enforce an annual fee, as well as verification (Quality assurance by humans, not machines), something that is not widely done. Rules are put in place for a reason, to be honest, I'm surprised I have to explain why it's fair to play by some one else's rules when your round their house. This gives a barrier to entry that is a necessary deterrent to sub par developers that want to exploit the user base.

On the side of Apple being some sort of pure evil against games as an art form, there are three main factors that you should consider in your argument:

My comment was based on a publicly available document that is actually linked in the article and as far as I'm aware, I did not break any rules. I was mainly trying to condense the main content restrictions.

And what I meant with bending the rules was that because the review process is made game by game basis you might be able to sell slightly more controversial/artsy/morally grey games than what the rules usually allow.

I'm not really against Apple. I don't enjoy OS X, mostly because it is very different user experience and I hated XCode when i tried it during my studies in University of applied sciences. They also have to my knowledge the strictest policy regarding both computer and phone/tablet applications. Which is both good and bad, It's great for overall user experience, but less so for those who want to tinker around with their hardware and software (again to my knowledge, not much experience on the platform)

Ed James:

Rules are put in place for a reason, to be honest, I'm surprised I have to explain why it's fair to play by some one else's rules when your round their house. This gives a barrier to entry that is a necessary deterrent to sub par developers that want to exploit the user base.

Rules are a two edged sword. I agree that they are useful and often mandatory. But if they are set in stone and never challenged, they will always limit what can be done. In this case stagnating the market eventually. It is fair to play by their rules, it's also okay to ask if rules can be changed provided there is merit for it.

Ed James:

1. Audience

Like it or not, this a mobile platform, and can be compared to other portable game media such as the Vita and 3DS to some degree. As such, what's the longest period you spend on your phone/tablet/portable games device playing games? Games for mobile platforms are inherently designed for burst style play. You rarely see gourmet chiefs preparing meal deals outside of supermarkets.
Games like Papers Please on iOS are for a very specific audience. Is there really a need to feel angry about a game that you clearly support, and is obviously not in jeopardy following rules that mean you can enjoy it elsewhere.

Personally i feel there is room for many different types of games even on mobile platforms. I'm not really a part of the core mobile audience as I usually play at least half and hour and more often multiple hours on any given platform. Unless I'm sampling through games that i might want to try later. Longest periods would probably be anywhere from 4 to 8 hours on DS/PSP and 3DS but they are very different from phones. I think it's great that Papers Please was released on iOS as the gameplay should work really well on those devices, and I think more good games available is only a positive thing.

Ed James:

2. Screen Real Estate

Although PP is coming out on the iPad, people seem to be railing against Apple in general, as such, I feel I can generalise the 'war on Game Art' argument to all iOS products. Angry birds sold well because it was designed for the platform. 'Art Games' are not primarily targeted at mobile platforms because of both the audience wanting something with rapid response, and the screen to display such an experience on being sub par.

People often rail against everything popular. Apple is an easy target as it is kind of a niche at least where I'm from. But from what I've seen, iPad has a great screen and you could do a lot with tablet devices. I do agree that the market probably is not quite there yet for games that need more time dedicated for them. I can see them working on tablets but not really on mobile phones, though I hope to be proven wrong.

Ed James:

3. Battery life

If you actually have an iThingy, if yours last to the end of the day, please tell me your black magic secrete, because the things leak battery quicker than my sink at the moment.

Can't help you there. I don't have one, but smartphones in general are pretty good at emptying their batteries. My phone is empty after three hours of semi heavy usage(usually gaming) though it can last about 3 days in standby. I really hope they'd improve this over getting few more pixels into a little smaller device than the last one.

Ed James:

TLDR; If you feel that the boobs are the difference between a good game or not, then you are clearly the person who is getting off on this and are projecting your own insecurities, so grow up you (hopefully) teenager and learn that life is following someone else's rules until you are big enough to make your own.

I really don't have an answer for this. Honestly it feels like that was an accidental copy paste from another discussion. I'd like there to be more variety available in types of games and characters. And often "cheap" sex appeal feels really tacked on and can drive me away from even trying the game. I kind of feel guilty ignoring skullgirls based on panty shots and cleavage and then recently hearing that the characters are actually good? Still have not tried it.

Its good to see Apple admitting they stuffed up and asked the dev to resubmit. Bravo Apple, there may be hope for you yet.

 

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