Recently I was surprised and somewhat touched to learn that Apple vigilantly protects even the most reviled individuals and groups from virtual attack. Although the Apple App store is loaded with seemingly every type of violent and potential offensive game one could dream up, it turns out that they have standards. And perhaps a soft spot in their hearts for that most hated and feared of minorities, lawyers. Somehow Apple got it into its trillion-dollar head that a cute little mobile app game called “Murdering Lawyers™” could conceivably be the last straw to break the camel’s back and open the floodgates onto a slippery slope of Shakespeare-justified civil unrest.
And so it came to be that my “Murdering Lawyers™” mobile game app was rejected by the people and computers at Apple at least 2 times (not sure how many of the negative messages to count as outright rejections, but some of them did contain the word “rejection”). Eventually some explanation was offered; the specific internal rule which caused Apple to reject the game was this:
14. Personal Attacks
14.1 Any App that is defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited, or likely to place the targeted individual or group in harm’s way will be rejected
Obviously the rule must have been intended to block racist or otherwise offensive games that inappropriately target groups of people who warrant protection. I don’t think that most people would consider “lawyers” to be a group which requires or warrants protection; quite the contrary, as readers of my book know better than most (although perhaps lawyer-on-lawyer crime is the fastest rising danger)…
Fascinatingly, Google Play, the platform for Android mobile apps, had no similar compunctions or concerns. Evidently as far as Google is concerned, lawyers (and all other humans for that matter) are fair game and it’s always open season. Here is a link to the listing on Google Play: game
I finally got Apple to approve my Murdering Lawyers™ mobile app game app for sale, after I made several changes, all primarily aimed at emphasizing the literary roots of the game as opposed to its apparent polemical message. Here is a link to the listing on the Apple app store: Applegame
I think it’s interesting and illuminating to take a minute to look at the two different listings on the two different game app platforms. The contrasts start with the icons (Apple thought that the original icon, which was accepted by Google, was too violent, so we went with a subtler and more mysterious icon for Apple) and continuing with the titles (the Google Play listing of “Murdering Lawyers™: Get Them Before They Get You!” was changed for Apple to “Murdering Lawyers™: A Fictional Adventure Inspired by the Novel”). The game descriptions are also pretty different; with Apple requiring me to tone down the gleefully violent tone of the original text (accepted by Google) and wanting me to make much clearer that the game was connected to a novel.
So now I have 2 slightly different games available on two different mobile app platforms. But the game play is exactly the same. And either version can be downloaded for free and played for a pretty long time before the potential need arises to purchase additional lives.
I hope that everyone reading this will read the novel and play the game (compulsively); but PLEASE, for my sake and for Apple’s, do NOT actually murder lawyers. That’s what the game is supposed to be for.