Monday, June 3, 2013

Blips: Ban All the Things!

Source: Apple rejects the notion that games are the place for comment, but it's built right into the medium
Author: Steven Poole
Site: Edge

Apple's tenuous relationship with games soldiers on. With the recent removal of Sweatshop HD from the App Store, Apple has proven that they fundamentally do not understand games except the part where selling them is good for business. Steven Poole argues that this lack of comprehension isn't just that Apple fails to see that games can "mean something," but that any man-made interactive product implicitly conveys meaning through "procedural rhetoric." If Apple rejects a game for espousing political, social, or religious opinions, shouldn't the rest of the App Store be held to the same standards? In which case, Poole concludes, shouldn't everything else be banned too?

What Apple seems to be filtering, other than singling out games, is message explicitness. Both Sweatshop HD and the previously banned Phone Story get right to the heart of their chosen subject matter. Sweatshop HD is about running a sweatshop and what a horrible exploitive system it is. Likewise, Phone Story presented an interactive narrative of smartphone manufacturing and certain inhumane practices that have been purportedly implemented in those processes. In both cases, it's difficult to miss the point of what the developers are getting at.

Perhaps it's time for developers to go subliminal. Why struggle past Apple's gatekeepers when you can just hypnotize your way to the store front and deep into players' brains. Why, you could even make a game that's so fun to play, it's almost like people are addicted to it, like they have a gambling problem or some other detrimental condition. But who am I kidding, Apple would never let games like that through when they don't allow socially conscious "message" games, right?

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