Why my games are disappearing from the AppStore

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To start you can play all my games (free) here: http://tetrageddon.com
They are only disappearing from mobile. Not everywhere.

They will be FREE and available to download on the AppStore until removal, or until my account expires February next year. Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/developer/nathalie-lawhead/id618430407

It’s been a long time coming, I guess. Yesterday I got another message stating: “Your app, Offender 2 (World War B: War on Rabbits), does not comply with the App Review Guidelines”. Basically the App will be removed if I don’t comply. This looks like it’s going to happen to all my games, because of policy changes.

Why I’m no longer interested in “complying”:

I basically don’t have the energy to put up with them anymore. It’s not a worthwhile place for my games. I’m not saying this AT ALL because they “don’t sell” or lack exposure. I’m saying this because I feel like major policy changes need to take place for that ever to be a reality.
In short: My stuff is weird. Art is not welcome here.

Before anybody jumps up, ready to defend Apple, let me be clear also that I don’t want to rail on them. The AppStore is THEIR store. It’s been made very clear that this will run according to THEIR rules. I respect that, and that’s why I’m letting my games “go away” on that platform.

To give people an idea of how it’s been for me, and hopefully help other avoid these mistakes (if there even are lessons to be learned)… I’m going to provide a case study, using one of my games (Haxed By Megahurtz) as an example of how it’s been for me…

How my stuff was going to “work out” on the AppStore should have been made apparent the first time one of my games (Haxed By Megahurtz) repeatedly got rejected for things like the “BlueScreen of Death” infringing on Microsoft property and simulating error (very illegal), and it having a tiny icon in the main menu where you could vaguely make out the name iCacahuetes, which infringed on Apple intellectual property (iSomething). It was an upside down exclamation mark, not “i”!
The game got rejected quite a few times for (what seems to me) silly little things like that.

So the thing about AppStore rejections (at the time, I really don’t know or care if it’s gotten better but…) is that if you get rejected, you get sent back in waiting line. Which can be about a week. They also don’t make a long list of reasons for rejection, they’ll just see one and you get sent back, and it’s a matter of luck if the rest of your stuff pans out. Rejection + rejection + rejection, can end up taking weeks.

Mind you, I did read the guidelines, pretty carefully, and didn’t think there would be problems. There where (mostly with the aesthetic). I think it really depends on what reviewer you get and how trigger happy they are with hitting you with the law.

Long story short, after many a rejections, and working those “problems” out of my game it got accepted. When I looked at the end result, I was very unhappy with how the game ended up. This was not MY game anymore. It was hacked apart, and roughly sewn back together again, just to fit into some Orwellian marketplace. That’s how I see them now. Sorry.

The wind was taken out of my sails then. With each game I went through lots of paranoia if “is this blood splat too much?” “shit, here’s a rude joke that uses bad language…” “omg no! that character is basically naked and nudity is ILLEGAL!…” “i love errors in my stuff and alluding back to old computer culture but I can’t do that because it infringes on shit…”
You get the idea. My games are weird. Net Art, and computer art… specifically my art, needs to allude back to old systems and pay homage to our computer past. I can’t do that here. It infringes, and simulates bad things.

This is also why I didn’t add much more to the AppStore. I can’t afford to pour a lot of work into this art game just to have it rejected because an icon in the corner says “iCacahuetes”. This stuff also adds up, and before I know it, it’s not my game anymore.

I think the new policy changes are (this time) about old games (that haven’t been updated in a while) not being allowed. You have to keep updating now. I find this very self-serving because I do want my games to work on the older phones(?)… Jesus, there is nothing wrong with them now. I’d only be uploading new builds to see the date change, and maybe not work on older devices? I don’t know. I haven’t poured any resources into investigating the implications of all of this, or if this is really a good thing in disguise…
What I do know is that I DO NOT want to go through that review process anymore. It’s too much of a gamble if anything will be approved (even a second time through).

All this also costs me a little over $100 a year. It’s kind of painful to pay them after all that.

Where I will go from here with mobile?

I don’t think people fully realize how hard of a thing it is to work with the Stores (GooglePlay and AppStore). These are heavily controlled and often censored platforms. I wrote about one of my experience (complications) working with GooglePlay here: Monkey Fortunetell on Google Play (Free for Android) – Or How The Humans Won Their First Victory Over Skynet
Which gives you a pretty good idea how mobile is like. I’m not a fan anymore. I really wanted to be.

I don’t know. A thing or two could be said about these platforms pushing content out of the browsers and forcing them into the stores (bullying with new “browser standards”), but to make my case clear I’d have to invest more time into writing a blog post… even provide cases… and links… no… I don’t have time.

Sorry for the negativity! :s

Good news tho! :D

I’m making a new desktop game! It’s going to be great and weird and unconventional and I love that freedom!

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