Apple may allow you to download a virtual girlfriend, but its app store policies are notoriously stringent, and as a Norwegian developer recently found out, the company doesn’t care for games centered around satirizing North Korea–and killing people.
The App Store laid down the banhammer on a game called Joyful Executions, an app that’s described as a “parody game on North Korean propaganda for children and a satire on our willingness to accept morally questionable acts through gamification.” So much for masquerading behind spiffy buzzwords from a social media ninja’s diary because the app actually just tasks players with killing protestors on North Korean streets.
Joyful Executions was rejected within a month of its lengthy approval process because of a pesky App Store rule. According to paragraph 16.1 in the App Store manifesto, apps that exhibit “excessively objectionably or crude content” face rejection. The app remains for sale in Google Play.
According to the Guardian the game’s developer, Fredrik Nordstrom, said he’s not mad about the rejection, just a little disappointed:
“It’s Apple’s right to decide what they want and don’t want for whatever reason they fancy. However, as a developer, I would appreciate a more consequent and traceable implementation of their guidelines,” says Nordstrom.
He said the game is satirical in its intent and its ban from the store sends the message that we’re scared of North Korea’s ominous threats:
“I didn’t just want to make a funny parody of weird propaganda. I wanted to see if my game could be a little more than that. And so I tried my take on a topic that always baffled me with video games; how disturbingly easy we’re manipulated by morally questionable ultra violence in video games.”
Creating a game that itself is the paragon of “morally questionable ultra violence” somehow doesn’t seem like the right response.