Life is not simple in Grumpville. Some want to build a wall. Some don’t. Two games in one. Play both, make your choice. Show your skill. Make a difference.
When you develop an app that you want to be downloaded by everyone, everywhere, the AppStore comes to mind! Having developed a couple of mobile games now, we’ve had some experience with submitting an app! Let’s dive right in!
Preparation for Submitting an App
Developing an app costs a lot of time and money – and a game even more so! Many people are involved before it even gets to being good enough to submit. So, before you submit your app to the AppStore, you prepare yourself!
There are a few great ways you can prepare. Firstly, read all the laws and guidelines on what apps are likely to be allowed and not allowed and ensure your app meets the criteria. You can also look for apps similar to yours to see if they are generally accepted. Wall or Nothing, for example, is not the only game that features Donald Trump or Mexicans. You can guess if a stupid quote was said by Donald Trump in Trump Card, poo on Trump in Trump Dump and jump off Trump Tower in Trump Jump. These were all approved, indicating that Wall or Nothing would be approved too.
The Problems with the Submission Process
The first problem with the AppStore submission process is that the submission guidelines are incredibly vague and ambiguous. For example, in general, it is not a good idea to have a political theme unless, of course, it’s funny! You can show plenty of violence but not politics. You can be rude and vulgar if it is comedic. It seems that it all comes down to opinion
The Human Touch
The AppStore submission process is human led, which, of course, leads to even more confusion. Each person evaluating a game will have had a different upbringing and different views and opinions on what’s funny, what’s too political, what’s rude and what’s going to be a hit with other people. It’s difficult for one person to hypothesise about what other people might go wild for! It leads to inconsistencies. For example, if you get the right person viewing your submission, you could be approved! If you get the wrong person, you could be rejected. What’s worse, an App approved today might be taken off the App store tomorrow. It’s difficult building a business when the rug can be pulled from under you at any minute.
Wall or Nothing, despite being quite conservative in comparison to some political games on the iOS market, was rejected by the App Store four different times. The game was designed to be funny, and it was well thought out to be balanced and not biased, to take a real and genuine political situation and to make light of it. As a Mexican, you could throw balls at American builders to prevent the wall from being built. As an American, you could throw tennis balls at Mexican trying to climb the wall. The scales of truth displayed the total scores of each side of the game across all players.
Apple continually rejected the game with the reason of ‘Objectionable content’, never providing any specifics, even though the game was seriously funny – with loads of Hollywood one liners and voiceovers. ‘Make my day’, ‘say hello to my little friend’, and so on. The game was only accepted on the App Store after all Mexican references had been removed from the game. We even had to remove Pedro Libre, the Mexican superhero. By the time Wall or Nothing was accepted by the App Store, it was so watered down that there’s not much left of the original game. 90% had to be discarded. It’s still fun to play – but nowhere near the original title.
Was it a political decision? Who reviewed Trump Dump, Feel The Bern, Drump: The Wall, Trumpoji and Trump’s Wall – Build it Huuuge?
Were the rejections due to the public outcry to the effects of Trump’s zero tolerance on immigration at the time of submission?
We’ll never know the real reasons behind the rejections, but it seems like the rules are inconsistently applied. Any trends in these inconsistencies will invariably reveal parts of their inner culture.
If you have submitted an app, or are going to submit an app, to the iOS AppStore we’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences!