Vagina Video Game Devs: Apple Asked Us To Change Everything For App Store [NSFW]

La Petite Mort is a game about touching a pixelated vulva. There is technically no nudity in the game since everything is rather abstracted, but the general gist was still enough to get the game taken down from the app store. (NSFW warning.) Developers Loveable Hat Cult created La Petite Mort with the intention of creating an erotic experience that encourages players to savour the sensation of pleasuring someone else. The player can't just rub the screen quickly to make the vagina orgasm as fast as possible. Instead, the player has to take it slow, paying close attention to how the vagina is reacting to the touch:

For a short while, La Petite Mort did indeed make it onto the iOS app store, passing the review test in a couple of countries. Then, the developers had to update the game, which meant undergoing the review process once more -- and that's when the game got shut down on that platform.

The problem? Everything, basically.

Loveable Hat Cult said they spoke to a European Apple representative, who reportedly told them that the app needed to be more family friendly.

"'For me, and for you as Europeans, we don't find it objectionable,' he said. 'We are probably very open-minded. But the application needs to be available for a very wide audience.'"

Apple also allegedly laid out what Loveable Hat Cult would need to do to get La Petite Mort on the app store:

He went on to explain what would be needed to make the application accepted, which was; the name (he was French and understood the meaning of the "La Petite Mort", "the little death"), the 20x30 pixeled images should be changed, the sounds should be modified, so well, basically the whole game. 'You are actually touching a sexual organ in the app. It's not what you show, but it's what it is. Even if you are not showing it directly. It's what is simulated, and that is the issue,' he concluded. So asking us to basically make a different game is what my takeaway was.

The developers didn't want to compromise the artistic vision at the heart of La Petite Mort, however, so they have not reworked the game to meet Apple's so-called standards. Instead, the game is only available on Google Play right now.

Loveable Hat Cult of course understands that Apple has a right to choose what is released on the iOS platform, but to them, the situation is not necessarily black and white.

"First and foremost, the touch devices have become such a prevalent force in our life," the developers said in an email. "More and more of our life is happening through these devices, and more and more culture is also consumed here.

"Right now there is almost exclusively two powers in play, Apple and Google. Two American profit oriented commercial businesses that stand as gatekeepers of our new media culture. This is problematic for multiple reasons, first, why have we given so much power to these capitalist enterprises to be able to censor art and culture, and secondly, what ethics and morals should they, if any, try to enforce upon the whole world? Right now it is (seen from our perspective) typical American viewpoints that are being enforced in each country, where 'cutesy' games about killing and bombing Palestinians is accepted, while being able to address sex is a no-go."

The situation here is not particularly surprising: Apple has a reputation for being skittish about apps that tackle more serious or controversial subjects -- earlier this year, for example, Apple rejected The Binding of Isaac due to violence against children. In this specific case, guidelines for apps on iOS outright tell developers that "If you want to describe sex, write a book or a song, or create a medical app."

Apple's stance on sex games still manages to be disappointing however, because La Petite Mort offers something of genuine artistic value in a world that seems to care very little about women's pleasure. Even talking about it feels a little taboo still: I've known people that have never even seen their own vaginas. Hell, I've known cis women who have never gotten an orgasm because our sex education is that shitty.

We reached out to Apple about the decision to take down La Petite Mort, but they declined to comment.


Comments

    Did the game have an appropriate age rating on the Apple Store, and did it say exactly what you would be doing in the game?

      As the article says, there is no age rating you can pick such that Apple would let you distribute a game like this.

      It also doesn't matter what classification the game would get if it was rated by the Australian Classification Board, ESRB, PEGI, etc, since you also need to meet Apple's guidelines in order to make your game available to iOS users.

      While there is the potential for the same sort of thing to happen with Google Play, there are other ways to get games/apps onto an Android device.

        Yeah I know that but does Apple have age ratings or are all apps suitable for all ages?

          Yes, they do have an age rating system. For example, here is a game rated 9+:

          https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/crossy-road-endless-arcade/id924373886?mt=8

          Despite having a rating system and the ability to block access to younger users, they simply don't allow games of this type to be listed on the store.

        Apple: we're basically the Christian Church.
        That should be their tag line. Or maybe "21st century book burners". Either or.

          Islam and Judaism (and many other religions) take a dim view of vaginal close-ups as entertainment as well ;-)

          Yes, because a game about touching a vagina is the same thing as burning books. How do you even come up with that comparison?

            Because it is the same, it's just a different medium. Also theyve done it to a ton of books in the past as well, including saga.

    We didn't give them the powers of censorship, they gain them from having complete control over their own platform.
    You can send me as much art as you like, but I say what gets hung on my gallery wall.

    I don't agree with it, but such is the nature of private platforms.
    I would like to see better maintained age restrictions and education on ratings provided to users, a system based on choice with all the info.

    Selling everything to everyone is fine in theory, but awful in practice.

    It amazes me that Apple don't face the same anti-trust police that constantly pick on Microsoft.

    Microsoft: that (on desktop) allow any app to be installed from any publisher, freely, without having to fit into any of MS's rules, dares to ship windows preloaded with IE and gets massive fines from the EU and the ultimatum that they have to instead preload all competing products on their OS as well.

    Yet apple here, with an equally ubiquitous platform, is allowed to not only preload their own software, but have a monopoly over retail of software for the device, and allowed to decide which software is, and is not allowed on it.

      Apple's app store is for its own little devices - Microsoft's antitrust case involved [i]any[/i] Intel-based PC. It was a product of the late 90s where Internet access was taking off - not a lot of people understood it or how it worked, and Microsoft allegedly took advantage of their market share in the OS sector by pushing Internet Explorer. The two aren't comparable beyond a casual glance.

      Even then the iOS App Store features plenty of apps (and associated services) that directly compete with Apple's own offerings.

        lol 'little devices' like they are just some little niche toy.. global PC sales for 2015 were 300 mil. global sales for *just* Apple's iphone was 230mil. Don't try and act like they are just some little player. People need phones these days more than they need PCs. Apple has destroyed the openness that PCs created, and locked everything down. What the developer states in the third last paragraph of this article is spot on, and a disturbing problem. Its reasonable to lock down the platform to the point of security and scam concerns, but Apple is going way beyond that here.

          iPhone sales are still tiny compared to android sales, meaning there isn't a real danger of monopoly or anti competitive issues. Just realise if you buy an apple your voting with your money in favour of censorship.

      Yeah, that's not all there was to the case. The first was that Microsoft at the time was basically a monopoly. They had a 90% market share in 1998. Even Android at the moment only has a 70% market share of mobile devices. Apple has less than a 25% market share. Quite frankly Apple isn't even nearly big enough market-share wise to have the same restrictions as Microsoft.

      Furthermore, it wasn't just about Microsoft bundling IE with Windows, it was about the fact that they built IE and bundled it specifically to "cut off Netscape's air supply" and kill Netscape. They also specifically made it harder to download and install Netscape. Trying to do so would take a longer and more complicated process than intended, and then Windows would purposefully hide the icon of Netscape from the desktop. It was about the fact that Microsoft had pretty much the entire desktop market share and then tried to use that power to purposefully destroy one specific company.

      Not really the same situation

    What are cis women? And what does sex ed have to do with an orgasm? And are you suggesting that this app is an instruction manual of sorts for getting yourself or your partner off? lol...

    Anyway, unfortunately for this developer it's Apple's platform and they can do as they please

      "cis" means someone who identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth, so I was assigned male and I AM male so I'm "cisgender". It's a term that was popularised by the trans* community to fill the lexical gap created by "transgender" (otherwise it would be "trans* people and the rest").

      also, sex ed taught boys how their orgasm occurs but I never heard anything about the female orgasm in school, and I think it's an important part of sex.

      Last edited 08/06/16 1:07 pm

        Your sex ed was only half done then. Mine taught us about both.

        As much as they can teach in school anyway. The rest you learn in a much more fun manner.

          I agree, but then that leads to the question of how many people's sex education in school is "half done"? I went to a pretty run of the mill public high school in a fairly affluent suburb so it's not like I was in a rural area that's understaffed and underequipped, so really there was no reason for me to not have learned about it.

            Could be down to the state you live in and even public/private school as the curriculum can vary.

            Mine was a South Australian public school for primary where they covered it in years 5/6/7 and then high school...that was catholic and I don't actually recall any sex ed about how it's done, just drugs, STI's and contraception.

            Last edited 08/06/16 3:23 pm

          Like roberotful I also wasn't taught anything about orgasms except in the context of delivering sperm and the teachers were so hilariously uncomfortable with that that they barely managed to even explain that properly. When our class was told to submit anonymous questions I asked whether a woman would need to achieve orgasm to allow the sperm to fertilize the egg. It seemed as though orgasms were purely functional and it didn't make sense that only the man's would perform any purpose. Sex ed for me was not only less educational in high school than it was in primary school (my primary school was bloody fantastic) but also remarkably useless outside of the usual preventative stuff about condoms and STIs (the best prevention is abstinence!).

            Fun fact - ejaculation delivers sperm and can be independent of orgasm.

              I do actually know that, but I certainly didn't learn that from sex ed which totally conflated the two haha.

              I've never experienced that ever, when have you ever ejaculated without an orgasm? How?
              I've also never met anyone in my entire life that has had that experience.
              Where did you find this fact?

        It's an important part of sex but not required biologically.

          Haha, do you tell that to your partner when you're done and they're not?

          :-)

            "Haha! He brought up a valid and factual point! I should make fun of his sexual performance!"

              I'm just reading the comment in a different context and questioning whether they would make that statement to a sexual partner directly regarding their orgasm (under the assumption Zamb is male). I'm pretty sure Zamb knows I'm playing.

              We learn a lot of stuff in school that isn't completely necessary for us as adults - how come the female orgasm isn't one of them? Where do we learn about how to interact with people? Why isn't that taught in school yet we do it every day? Why don't we learn about love and how to love someone in school? We learn stuff that keeps us functioning within our political and economic system. We learn to be cogs. We don't learn how to be human while in school at all - should mention I am talking public schools not private because religion BARELY touches on it. If you did, you had a pretty good teacher I think.

                of those things they did actually teach us in school, like Pythagoras and SOHCAHTOA and F=ma and particle and wavelength nature of light, and adding sulphuric acid to sugar, how much did we use later in life (assuming non specialised fields in engineering and science)?
                But then we go back to the earlier argument this week of teaching people about sex and gender which might have been much more useful for some of us (a lot of us) to be more educated about how wonderfully varied our society is and more open to ourselves, our bodies and those around us where there isn't a societal pressured and censored norm.

                  Why the heck are we not taught how to do taxes? That is something that nearly everyone has to do. Surely a single lesson spent on that, how deductions work and an example tax sheet to fill out.
                  The best we got was maths problems involving tax brackets.

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