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Apple rejects iOS version of The Binding of Isaac

Cites the game's depictions of, "violence towards, or abuse of, children"

Apple has rejected the iOS version of Edmund McMillen's celebrated The Binding of Isaac, according to a tweet from its publisher, Nicalis.

The Binding of Isaac was co-developed by Super Meat Boy creator Edmund McMillen and Florian Himsl. It was first released for PC in November 2011, receiving good reviews at launch and surpassing 2 million units sold within 18 months.

The iOS version has taken a long time to arrive, but Apple has taken a stand against the game's content. In a tweet published yesterday, Nicalis founder Tyrone Rodriguez exclaimed, "C'mon wtf... Apple," alongside a screenshot of the rejection.

Apple's reasoning? "Your app contains content or features that depict violence towards, or abuse of, children, which is not allowed on the App [Store]."

The Binding of Isaac is loosely based on the biblical story of Isaac. In the game, the player character is a young boy whose fanatically religious mother is convinced she need to kill her son by a voice in her head, which she believes to be the voice of God. Isaac manages to escape into the basement, with the actual game effectively a fight against monsters conjured by his own fear and anxiety.

This is presumably why Apple saw fit to reject the game, though Rodriguez was quick to highlight an example of what he saw as a similar case: Telltale's The Walking Dead, which has been available through the App Store for more than three years.

As with so many examples of Apple rejecting games from the App Store, the problem is not so much the content guideline as its application. In December 2014, Lucas Pope's Papers Please was rejected over depictions of nudity, the ruling completely disregarding the non-sexualised context in which the nudity is shown. The sex education game HappyPlayTime was also rejected on similar grounds.

The App Store's rule about the depiction of violence towards and abuse of children was also invoked in the case of Molleindustria's Phone Story, a game about the dubious practices involved in the manufacturing of smartphones. It showed children put to work in Coltan mines, and the working conditions in factories run by companies like Foxconn.

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Latest comments (7)

Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 3 years ago
[Deleted by editor. ]

Edited 2 times. Last edit by a moderator on 8th February 2016 8:08pm

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Nicholas Lovell Founder, Gamesbrief3 years ago
It's obviously Apple's right to do this, but it is also sad when the medium is constrained by one enormous player's perception about what a game can be.
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Alex Bunch Proof Reader, ZiCorp Studios3 years ago
Appalling conditions for Chinese workers = fine. Cartoon violence against cartoon characters = not fine. Apple's hypocrisy clearly knows no bounds.
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Show all comments (7)
Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises3 years ago
Apple has the best app store, it's open to shovelware but closed to anything good that is even slightly offensive.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 3 years ago
Consistency always seems to be a major issue with game ratings and outright rejections. Rodriguez's example of The Walking Dead was a good one but most likely not the only example. And the same can be said with many games getting rated "M" for certain content while other games with similar content only get a "T" rating.
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Gordon Van Dyke CCO, Raw Fury3 years ago
@Alex Bunch: It says they also rejected that game from the App Store for abuse against children. Regardless, someone at Apple is clearly not being consistent with their rulings and potentially using their position to censor content.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Gordon Van Dyke on 9th February 2016 9:09am

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Marty Howe Director, Figurehead Studios3 years ago
lol. Apple are just a large, money making corporation, protecting its brand, and staying well clear of anything seemingly objectionable.

They want money, and consumers, rather than artistic expression.
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