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 Sweatshop  game too controversial for Apple

Sweatshop game too controversial for Apple

March 21, 2013 | By Mike Rose

Apple has once again removed a mobile game from its iOS App Store on the grounds that its portrayal of an "uncomfortable" theme violates its review guidelines.

The iPhone and iPad company previously removed mobile game Phone Story from its App Store back in 2011, on the grounds that it depicted child abuse and "crude content."

Now Sweatshop HD, a tower defence game from UK developer Littleloud based around the theme of running a sweatshop, has been removed by Apple as the company "was uncomfortable selling a game based around the theme of running a sweatshop," says Littleloud's head of games (and Gamasutra contributor) Simon Parkin.

"Apple specifically cited references in the game to clothing factory managers 'blocking fire escapes', 'increasing work hours for labour', and issues around the child labour as reasons why the game was unsuitable for sale," he told Pocket Gamer.

He continued, "Littleloud amended the app to clarify that Sweatshop is a work of fiction and was created with the fact-checking input of charity Labor Behind the Label, and to emphasise that the game doesn't force players to play the game in one way or another. Rather, Sweatshop is a sympathetic examination of the pressures that all participants in the sweatshop system endure."

However, despite making these changes, Apple has refused to allow the game to be reinstated and sold on the App Store.

While both of these games have been refused entry to the App Store based on their depiction of real-world issues, another high-profile game Smuggle Truck -- which depicts helping immigrants across a fictional border -- managed to dip around Apple's guidelines by releasing a special edition called Snuggle Truck, complete with cuddly toys instead of people.

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