You Cannot Club Seals On The iPhone

Developer Matthew Smyth is upset that Apple rejected his seal clubbing game for the iPhone. PETA, on the other hand, is so overjoyed they sent Steve Jobs chocolates.

iSealClub is a game based on Canada's annual commercial seal hunt in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and around Newfoundland, Quebec and Nova Scotia. Taking place during the fishing off-season, the annual event sees thousands of fishermen hunting for mainly harp seals, selling the skins and seal oil for profit.

Smyth's take on the hunt features an accelerometer-controlled hand, with clubbing handled by sharply tilting the iPhone.

Some would say this is in very bad taste. Apple certainly agrees.

After a query to Apple three months previous resulted in a response indicating that the company could not pre-approve applications, Smyth went ahead with the game. Three days ago, after submitting the App for review, he received the following notice:

Thank you for submitting iSealClub to the App Store. We've reviewed iSealClub and determined that we cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store because it contains objectionable content and is in violation of Section 3.3.17 from the iPhone Developer Program licence Agreement which states:

"Applications may be rejected if they contain content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, sounds, etc.) that in Apple's reasonable judgment may be found objectionable, for example, materials that may be considered obscene, pornographic, or defamatory."

I'm not sure how I feel about the game myself. I mean, it doesn't feature blood or gore, doesn't allow you to kill baby seals (they run away, and you lose points for trying), and, as Smyth points out, there are plenty of other games on the App Store that feature hunting animals for sport. Hell, there are games about hunting humans for sport. After listing off several more objectionable titles, including Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, Smyth reaches his conclusion.

Given the "objectionableness" of the game's content compared to the above games, I can't help but think that Apple has taken a less then neutral position on the topic of the Seal Hunt. If Apple is truly against the seal hunt, I respect that. I wouldn't kill an animal (non-virtual of course) myself. But… I don't respect Apple for restricting content based these views(when the other side is still socially acceptable). I can understand not allowing games with the cold blooded murder of police officers….. oh wait…. They do.. never mind.

I'd say this is a particularly tough subject for Apple to handle. On one hand, freedom, creativity, etc, but on the other hand, you don't want to be the company associated with clubbing cute little seals to death.

Besides, if you reject an App like this one, PETA sends you candy. Candy is delicious.

iSealClub Rejected from App Store [iSealClub Rejected, via CBS News]


Comments

    I don't so much care about the game (not that I would want to play it), but the fact that it's actually based on a real, annual event is... disgusting.

      I know right. Fishermen hunting seals for a living. It's disgusting. It's almost as bad as farmers raising cattle, only to slaughter them!

        I KNOW!
        I cant believe people actually support this sick task of human life. Its disgusting to think that everyone actually needs to consume a certain level of meat to provide them with crucial nutrients that otherwise would have to be made synthetically using very un-efficient ways of processing done by big corporation to sell.

        Doesn't it just make you feel bad?

    Uh, PETA candy is not delicious. "Vegan chocolate" is about the least tasty thing I can imagine.

    Very poor taste by Apple. The guy makes some good points, you can kill police officers in cold blood, but as soon as a seal pops up it's a big no no.

    They are obviously trying to appease the 'Core' Apple consumers, you know what I'm talking about, the 20-something born-again environmentalist who still lives at home, and only leaves the house to visit starbucks for his soya decaffe latte and to write his blog on how global warming is a serious issue.

    These 'activists' would take great offence to this, and it may stop them spending their mum's money on apple products, so appeal banned the game. The hand that feeds you ect ect

    Every time I hear about PETA now, I'm reminded me of the fact sheet I read about how many animals they slaughter simply because they can't find them new homes. Kinda makes you wonder why they don't actually endorse apps like these...

    It's hard to know how to respond without playing the game. If the purpose of the app is solely to draw attention to harmful treatment of endangered species then it is just in doing so. To reject the app on the basis of abhorrent violent content is moral cowardice, given that it serves to draw attention to that which it parodies. I would regard this as an act of political censorship by Apple.

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