Afghanistan '11 Is Great Enough For Its Own Thread


I’m not familiar with the market - are there other digital distribution platforms Slitherine could use? I thought Steam carried some Mac products, but I guess this isn’t one of them.

If the Apple Store is the only digital distribution arm available to game developers for IOS, this really does smack of censorship.


Unless you jailbreak (root) your device, all iOS software must be obtained through the Apple Store. And AFAIK, there is no publicly available method to jailbreak the current version of iOS.


In popular usage, yes, censorship can be any restriction of speech, I will definitely and gladly concede your point there. In my daily work, though, the term is not used that loosely, so I am probably guilty of being too focused on my own particular milieu.


If Apple was even competent enough to formulate an actual policy that implemented some intent, then perhaps, using Navaronegun’s definition of censorship, you would be correct. Here, the real offense is that it’s totally disconnected from any real understanding, knowledge, or awareness of, well, anything. It’s infuriating mostly (to me) because it’s so clearly the product of lazy and disconnected bean counters. Hell, if it was a pure ideological position, I could actually respect, if not agree with, it. But it’s not, it’s pretty much the opposite.

As much as I don’t like companies trying to tell me what I can and cannot see or play or whatever, I dislike rank incompetence even more.


On the contrary; they profess to have a policy…that they don’t show to anyone. And that if you showed glimpses of this so-called policy to others (say screenshots or emails) it would constitute a violation of terms of service for using their platform. This seems, to me, to be almost exactly like trying to get a film, novel, or piece of art through the Commisariat of Social Arts. Though knowing a Party Member (Apple Employee) might speed things up. And if you talk about detailed committee deliberations regarding your film publicly, Comrade McNeill, you won’t direct a film in the ASSR again!

I mean, it’s supposed to be a market-driven store. And this game has nothing objectionable (other than a laughably gross oversimplification of Counterinsurgency, roundly praised by those who know nothing of Counterinsurgency becuase it is a laughably gross oversimplification) in it content-wise (exploding kittens, nazi propaganda) so what they hell are they doing?

Government? Company?


My friend, this is the market doing exactly what the market is supposed to do.


Heh, I rather like your narrative, but I don’t think it’s accurate. I really don’t think Apple has an agenda, or even a policy, beyond “whatever the lawyers tell us will be the least likely to end up in litigation.”

But of course, who knows?

As to government/company, we can agree to disagree, but I find a very significant difference between a company doing stuff to protect its bottom line (however ill-advised or odious those actions may be, while still being legal) and the government doing the same thing.


Eh, their behavior is sensible and explicable from a certain viewpoint.

  1. Don’t have a clear and concrete policy, since ambiguity helps you avoid lawsuits and also lets you avoid dealing with rules-lawyering from app developers. Instead just have a general, nebulous cloud of a policy that lets you do what you want and hopefully keeps developers away from any subject matter which might result in a ban.

  2. Spend the minimum possible enforcing the rules and get the most out of it. If an app looks controversial or like it might become controversial, just get rid of it. The money they will make from a small app isn’t worth any amount of legal hassle or PR trouble. They could literally ban a thousand AF11’s without it showing up as a blip in their bottom line.

It’s not nice but I can see why Apple would go down this route. Fortunately there are a number of smaller, more nimble, insurgent app stores which are even now taking over the country side.


I also tend towards the “they are just incompetent” side of the argument.

Apple feels like an old persons company to me. Out of touch and living in the past. Quite an impressive feat for a tech company.


I’m about pro capitalist person as there is on the forum, but I agree with @Navarongun. The gatekeepers in general, and Apple in particular have a dangerous amount of power. The lack of transparency in Apple’s case is most disturbing. I can think of no reason why Afghanistan 11 shouldn’t be the apps store.

I’d say the government should require Apple to publish their criteria for rejected a game, and also have an appeal process.


Anyone who calls this censorship doesn’t understand the meaning of the word. Dictionary definitions appealing to common usage are the last refuge of a weak argument.

Furthermore, it buries the more important point about what’s going on here. It’s dumb. At least censorship has a sense of purpose. This is just collateral damage from Apple’s clueless application of whatever policy is supposed to keep hate speech out of the Apple store.

Yikes. I think I’ve previously mistaken you for a conservative! :)



How would appealing to a words common usage make an argument weak? To its rare dictionary usage maybe but not to its common one. Regardless, I think it’s Apple’s rather arbitrary and sorta secret ‘rules’ that I find ridiculous. Especially in this case.


Because censorship is a thing that is almost always terrible, and it should be opposed with every fiber of your being. Clumsy business decisions, not so much.



I don’t oppose anti-trust laws, as long as they aren’t overly zealously enforced. Frankly, I expect that Europeans will do this at some point, and while I generally disagree with European regulation of American companies, in this case. I wouldn’t mind.

I agree it is not censorship, but I don’t think that just because it is private company we should turn a blind eye to the chilling effect Apple’s policies have on free speech.


Oh, I’m quite opposed to censorship. Vehemently to government censorship and a bit less so towards private entities that at least pretend to be any sort of common carrier or walled garden in this case. Don’t think big G should force Apple or anything but I do want Apple to be more consistent and open.

I think I see where you’re coming from anyway and probably agree mostly. If I weren’t being contrarian.


I think you are automatically giving them the benefit of the doubt as being “dumb” or “incompetent”, claiming that as some saving grace.

The use of censorship usually is. I think they are indeed censoring, because they fear controversy. Not to uphold some agenda. Yes that is dumb, and a sign of incompetence. So?

It’s Kafka-esque in application because they don’t want to provide any answers.

The example I used above was merely to show that the end results of politically motivated and fear-based corporatist censorship , and the bureaucratic desire for opaqueness (and intimidation tactics in using that process) are both the same, regardless. Not to imply Apple has some Political Agenda.

This I agree with in total. I think Google should as well. The same way I believed in a higher standard of FCC regulation when only 3 Networks provided content over the airways.


Ah, right, you’re a European conservative. Here in the US, I think we call those moderate liberals. :)

It’s a marketplace issue, not a free speech issue. Slitherine and ESS are welcome to sell their game however they like, and with whichever willing partners they like. Afghanistan 11 still up on Steam. If there’s an Android version, I’m sure it’s still up on, uh, wherever you get Android games. They can freely sell it as a direct download, or from the front door of their offices.

Invoking anti-trust laws is another matter entirely, and that’s actually an interesting discussion. But as far as I can tell, it’s not related to free speech or government censorship (a.k.a. censorship) at all.



Right now Apple effective policy is you aren’t allowed to create content that will offend people. It is certainly easy to imagine that could change to things that will offend liberals and who knows in the feature if Tim Cook screws up and is replaced by a conservative CEO maybe it will shift to offend conservatives.

I good easily be wrong, but my impression is if I want to develop content for the iOS I have no choice but to submit it to Apple for verification. Even if there are workarounds, for all intensive purposes if you want to sell an app, you have to get Apple’s permission.

The world is slightly better for the Android world, but if Google reject your app in the Playstore, you’ve lost a huge 90%?? of the potential market for Android phones. Last I looked despite there being many more Android phones, than iPhones, for mobile developers the sales dollars is similar for both platforms.

In effect Apple and Google have a duopoly that controls the vast majority of content available for mobile devices.The US government and even more so the EU have determine that if you are monopoly or duopoly, many special rules apply to your business practices, that don’t apply to companies operating in competitive marketplace. As you point in the game market there are many other distribution options, consoles, Steam direct sales etc. so maybe the damage isn’t so severe in the case of Slitherine.

But if Apple decide to ban rap music on iTunes, or music that celebrated nationalism, or advocated killing cops. Given their immense market power, I’d argue it becomes a free speech issue. And the distance for banning music based on content isn’t that far away from banning games based on content.


Right out of the gate, you’ve rolled a critical fumble. I get what you’re trying to say, but what you’ve said is the 100% wrong way to express it. Apple has no say in what I create. Instead, they only have a say in what they distribute on their proprietary platform. Which is as it should be.

Sure, but at this point, we’re well beyond discussing censorship and I don’t take any issue with what you’re saying.



The broad consensus in the US and Europe in general is that there’s absolutely no threat in unaccountable, unelected entities being allowed to accumulate vast amounts of wealth(and thusly power) so long as they’re not called ‘governments’ due to our worship at the altar of markets. Welcome to the world of 2018, the world we’ve wrought.