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Apple Removes Game ''Sweatshop HD'' from App Store

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.

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  • ttcboy
    So playing game about sweatshop on the device where is really come from is not cool huh.
    Reply
  • freggo
    To close to home, Apple ? :-)
    Reply
  • vmem
    Um, can you say irony?

    and how about removing ties to that RL sweatshop? :P
    Reply
  • DarkSable
    Right. Because blocking a fire escape is REALLY how apple has to worry about offending us.
    Reply
  • poohbear2005
    WTF? Thats stupid! If anyone finds it offensive they can simply not buy it.
    Reply
  • tokencode
    Remember, when you buy an Apple device, you only get the world according to Apple. Next you find out that safari is blocking websites with "unsuitable content". Thanks for protecting us from... whatever you don't approve of apple... but you're probably right, if I'm dumb enough to buy your product after this, I'm probably too dumb to make any decisions for myself.
    Reply
  • phatboe
    If owned an Apple device I would care but since I don't like wasting my money on crappy iDevices I don't care at all.
    Reply
  • madjimms
    They should just start putting "Made in Sweatshop" on the back of Apple products.
    Reply
  • razor512
    I bet apple would keep it in the app store if they made the game about building iphones and ipads instead :)
    Reply
  • bemused_fred
    freggoTo close to home, Apple ? :-)
    Damn, I was going to say that! Curse you, Mr. Ninja!
    Reply