Apple removes an indie game that criticizes sweatshop labor.
Recently, Apple removed SweatshopHD, a game by indie developer Littleloud that's a game about—you guessed it—managing a sweatshop.
Sweatshop HD parodies the tower defense genre. The player's goal is to put together a production line to mass produce goods. Naturally, the optimal strategy for the game is to pay low wages and ignore basic human rights.
In an interview with Pocket Gamer, Littleloud's head of games, Simon Parkin, explained that Sweatshop HD was removed on the grounds that "it was uncomfortable selling a game based around the theme of running a sweatshop."
"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."
Obviously, Littleloud put out the game as social commentary and to raise awareness "about the origin of the clothes we buy." An admirable goal for a games developer to have.
Apple pulled the game based off of the App Store developer guidelines, which state "we view apps different [sic] than books or songs, which we do not curate… if you want to criticise a religion, write a book. If you want to describe sex, write a book or a song, or create a medical app."
Littleloud and Sweatshop HD aren't alone. Apple's set a precedent by removing other games like Smuggle Truck and Endgame: Syria.
Apparently, to Apple, games on the app store simply cannot be deep or meaningful, lest they offend buyers of any sort.
You can still play Sweatshop as a Flash game, here.