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App Store Rejects "Uncomfortable" Sweatshop Game

| 21 Mar 2013 16:23

Sweatshop HD, a game that "challenges young people to think about the origin of the clothes we buy," is the latest app to fall afoul of Apple's content rules.

"Sweatshop challenges players to manage an off-shore clothing factory, producing the latest in cheap designer fashions for Britain's high streets," says the Sweatshop page on developer Littleloud's website. But it's not a conventional management game; if you want to turn a profit you'll have to turn a blind eye to the less savory aspects of the business. Te idea is to make players think about how the apparel they love so much is actually made, but that critical eye goes a little too far for the comfort of Apple censors.

The game was originally released in November 2012 but was pulled from the App Store earlier this year. Apple told Littleloud that it was "uncomfortable selling a game based around the theme of running a sweatshop" in which players could boost their scores by blocking fire escapes, forcing laborers to work long hours and hiring low-cost child labor.

In response, the developer updated the game to clarify that it is a work of fiction created in conjunction with the Labor Behind the Label charity and that players aren't forced to do anything they do want to do. "Sadly, these clarifications and changes weren't enough to see the game reinstated for sale," Littleloud's Simon Parkin said.

It's an unfortunate omission, but not a terribly surprising one. Apple has a history of keeping controversial content off the App Store and made it clear in January that it intends to maintain its role of content gatekeeper, stating succinctly, "If you want to criticize religion, write a book." Fortunately, thanks to the miracle of modern internet, you can still sample the "fun" of Sweatshop online at playsweatshop.com.

Source: Pocket Gamer

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