Rejected again! "Specifically, we noticed your app displays a barely dressed couple kissing." Well, HOT MESS might be more like WARM MESS.— Secret Library (@Secret_Library) November 5, 2013
Hot Mess, an 8-bit style game about a defective firefighting robot that tries to extinguish the flames of passion, is still too sexy for Apple.
First and foremost, let us be clear that this is not a story about Hot Mess, but rather a story about silliness. We all know that Apple has some pretty strict policies regarding App Store content – “If you want to describe sex, write a book” and all that sort of thing – but even so, it’s hard to imagine an 8-bit top-down game with little tiny pixellated characters as crossing the line into “Too Much Sexy.” Right?
Apparently not. In Hot Mess, you play as a firefighting robot who goes haywire and mistakes the burning hotness of desire for the burning hotness of actual flames, and then does his best to put it out. Developer Secret Library initially submitted the game to Apple with naked couples – tiny and blocky couples, but naked nontheless – but it was quickly rejected for violating the company’s rules against “excessively objectionable or crude content.”
Undaunted, designer Nick Ralabate “added about 20 white pixels to simulate underwear,” he told Pocket Gamer, and sent it in again – and again, it was rejected, because it “displays a barely dressed couple kissing.” Which it does, to be sure, and yet I have a hard time imagining that anyone could possibly find the images even remotely sexy, much less “excessively objectionable or crude.”
Despite the setback, Secret Library isn’t giving up. “Our plan is to slowly and awkwardly clothe our 8-bit lovers in some bizarre digital re-enactment of the ‘walk of shame’,” Ralabate said. The studio also admitted on Twitter that it’s been a valuable learning experience, writing, “I guess the lesson is don’t design games based on puerile visual gags.”