from the oh-god dept
Apple has a long and annoying history of trying to keep the content within its app store as pure as the driven snow. To do this, Apple employs an arbitrary and downright stupid sense of morality. That's how you end up with Apple banning a VR representation of the Ferguson shooting, for instance, despite the fact that it was non-graphic. Or that time the company killed off a Civil War simulation because the game contained historically accurate representations of the Confederate flag. Or when it removed an image-searching app from the store because, hey, somebody somewhere might use it to see naughty-bits.
But to really see Apple's morality turned on its head, we can now point to its rejection of a mobile version of the popular game The Binding of Isaac because it contains violence towards children. And, on the face of it, you can see Apple's point. The game, after all, does indeed have some themes that would normally raise eyebrows over at Apple.
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth's console and platform editions are rated M by the ESRB. Promotional images for The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth have frequently shown cartoon representations of children, including the protagonist, naked and weeping, curled up on the floor in a dungeon, or otherwise mistreated.The reason the player is crawling through those dungeons is because the mother in the story is attempting to capture him and sacrifice him as an offering to the God she is hearing in her head. And, if that particular bit sounds incredibly familiar to you, it's because it's a variance on the age-old biblical story on which the game is based.
The game itself is a procedurally generated dungeon crawler that does feature violence, but only in the sense of basic gameplay where combat is an option. Some of the dungeon's inhabitants are deformed, but again, they're rendered in a stylized, cartoonish way.
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is inspired by the Old Testament story of Isaac, the son of Abraham, whom God had asked to sacrifice on Mount Moriah. He is stopped at the last moment by an angel. Interpretations of it among the Abrahamic faiths vary but it is, broadly speaking, a test-of-faith story that in the United States has been taught in Sunday school for decades.Truth be told, it's a horrible story that I'm not and never was particularly fond of, even when I was in Sunday School. Still, Apple's rejection of the app on the grounds that it contains "violence against children" would be on much more solid ground if the god damn source material, known as the various iterations of the Bible, didn't have an entire section on Apple's book store dedicated to it. Anyone really want to suggest that those holy books don't also contain violence against children?
The point, of course, isn't that Apple should also take down the bible from the app store. That would be stupid. As stupid as, say, Apple's arbitrary application of Apple Morality in a way that is equally ham-fisted and incoherent. It would be better if Apple tempted fate by taking down Eden's walls to let the public apply its own morality, whatever serpents might be found in wait.