Gamers Rise Up!

Hordes of brainwashed right-wing extremists have become infected with the Trump Zombie Plague and threaten the free world with fake-news-propagating hate speech. But there is one force that can stop them – anti-fascism! Gamers, rise up and confront the infectious, indoctrinated mobs in Smash MAGA!

Defend vaccination sites against diseased MAGA zealots! Disrupt white supremacist speaking events and dismantle symbols of colonization! And slap masks on science-denying fools right in their uncovered faces with a triple crossbow!

Unapologetically anti-fascist, Smash MAGA! Trump Zombie Apocalypse is a politically-charged smash-and-run retro action adventure game (in the style of Smash TV) where you fight right-wing zombies at scenes like the Capitol Hill Riots and other historic events of our time.

Play Smash MAGA! on your iPhone through Alternative App Stores Signulous, Buildstore and Appdb

Although we have been banned by all the major app stores including Apple’s App Store and Google Play, we have still been able to make our game available to play on all major mobile devices through alternative app stores.

  • Signulous – this commercial service costs $20 a year and easily allows you to sign and install any app to your phone from their extensive app library or any IPA file of your choosing. Most importantly, you can do this from your iPhone without needing to connect it to a computer or jailbreaking.
  • BuildStore – this is another service that allows you to download and install apps from their library or any IPA file of your choosing to your iPhone. $20 / month
  • appdb – this community-run alternative app library has a huge database of apps you can install to your iPhone. You can download and install any app on their database for free using Rickpactor, but they also offer a pro version for €22 a year.

These services make it really easy for iPhone users to download and install our game (as well as thousands of other apps that are not available on the “official” app stores, including game console emulators and unlocked, pro, and + versions of major apps). But you don’t necessarily need to use any of of these services: you can also just download our IPA file and install it to your iPhone using AltStore or AppCake.

Android users can always just download and install the game’s APK file manually.

Play Smash MAGA! Trump Zombie Apocalypse, the Game Banned from All Major App Stores

We are pleased to announce the release of our game Smash MAGA! Trump Zombie Apocalypse!

Smash MAGA! is a politically-charged loot-and-riot action adventure game where you fight hordes of brainwashed right-wing extremists who have become infected with the Trump Zombie Plague. Fight the fascist disease at vaccination sites, counter-protests, autonomous zones, and more! Smash MAGA! is the first video game that features the January 6 right-wing coup attempt – confront frenzied fake-news-fed fascists as they storm the Capitol!

Smash MAGA! is free to play and available on all major operating systems including Linux, Mac OS, Windows, Android, and iOS. We are also on the itch.io gaming platform, the Samsung Galaxy Store, and APKPure.

We are also releasing the soundtrack to the game for free on Bandcamp and are selling a limited run of cassettes and game pamphlets for ten dollars (the proceeds going to support BLM and antifascist causes)

Our game has met censorship from all major app platforms, having been banned from Apple’s App Store, Google Play, Huawei AppGallery, and Steam, in addition to our initial Twitter account being restricted. The official reasoning has ranged from “inappropriate political content”(Huawei), “political violence”(Google), “copyright infringement”(Steam), to “offensive references to targeted groups such as MAGA”(Apple). We refute these justifications as overly broad and restrictive interpretations of the law and their own terms of service agreements. We have appealed these rejections and publicly deconstructed their bogus arguments in a series of articles posted to our website.

These suppressions demonstrate hypocritical double standards as to what these giants consider to be acceptable in the gaming industry: they will reject anything they deem “political” (especially left-leaning), but will accept any amount of indiscriminate GTA-style violence or state-sanctioned political violence like Call of Duty and other games that glorify the military and police.

Furthermore, one of the game’s developers, Jeremy Hammond, who is on federal probation after having been released from prison for computer hacking charges, is now facing a possible probation violation due to the development and release of this game. Jeremy’s probation officer is seeking clarification from federal court as to whether “antifa” is considered a “civil disobedience organization” and whether the release of Smash MAGA would be a violation of his special release conditions that prohibit “involvement or contact with civil disobedience organizations”.

Although Trump demonized antifascists and attempted to label them as “domestic terrorists”, the importance of taking action against the rise of fascism has become abundantly clear. We are living through a dark-age of heightened white-supremacist ultra-right wing violent extremism that was incited by Trump, but had always been present and systemic in the imperialist colonial project of America. Smash MAGA! is both social commentary and a call to action, challenging players to reflect on the true gravity of this moment in history.

We oppose these reactionary arguments that both reject political games and vilify antifascism. We must Smash MAGA!

We invite gamers and streamers to play Smash MAGA! and offer their opinions on whether this is a game that should be banned. Please use the hashtags #SmashMaga #SmashMagaGame  #SmashMagaBan #PlaySmashMaga

Smash MAGA! was developed by twins Jeremy Hammond and Jason Hammond using the Godot Engine and is released under the MIT License.

Steam Bans Antifascist Game Smash MAGA Citing Bogus “Copyright Infringement” Claims

We had planned to release Smash MAGA! Trump Zombie Apocalypse on September 9th to honor the 50th year anniversary of the Attica prison uprising. The public beta release of our game Smash MAGA! had already been listed and playable on Steam for more than a month by the time we submitted our final release builds in advance of our release date. Unfortunately, Steam took longer than usual to review our submissions and allowed our release date to pass by, ultimately deciding to ban Smash MAGA! from their gaming platform.

In a perplexing harshly-worded rejection notice, Steam’s reason for the ban was that “this title contains copyrighted content”, and that “we are not interested in working with partners that dance around the edges of what’s legal. This app has been banned and cannot be reused. Re-submissions of this app, even with modifications, will not be accepted”.

Steam has refused to point to any examples of copyrighted content that we are supposedly infringing on. We deny that there are any copyright violations in our game, and any reference to an individual, institution, or corporation that may exist is obvious parody and protected by well-settled court precedent based on the Fair Use Doctrine and the First Amendment. We believe Steam‘s claim of copyright infringement is a false pretense to ban our game because they were afraid of any potential political controversy and reactionary blowback or perhaps simply because the reviewers personally disagreed with the message of our game.

Steam’s rejection of Smash MAGA! was also unexpected as they had previously approved both our Store Page and our Playtest Build through their review process: the game had already been playable on Steam for a month, and they had ample opportunity to give us an indication they weren’t going to allow us on their platform.

The rejection was also surprising because Steam has a supposed reputation for having a relaxed attitude about content restrictions. A statement on their website explains their policy is to allow “everything” except for “things we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling”. Very few games are banned from Steam; for example, in 2015 they reversed their prior ban on the game “Hatred” which features a “mass murderer” on a “genocide crusade”.

Previously, Smash MAGA! had been banned from other app platforms including the Apple App Store, Google Play, and Huawei AppGallery. Although they all have upheld the ban throughout several appeals, Steam is not offering any type of appeal process or the opportunity to modify and resubmit our game. Nevertheless, we will continue to lobby Valve Corporation to make Smash MAGA! available to gamers on Steam.

We are working to ensure that Smash MAGA! is playable on as many platforms as possible. It is currently available to play for free on Linux, Mac OS, Windows, Android, and iOS through direct download and manual installation.

Huawei Bans Antifascist game Smash MAGA! from AppGallery for “Inappropriate Politically Contents”

After submitting our game Smash MAGA! Trump Zombie Apocalypse to the Huawei AppGallery, we have been notified that our game was rejected.

The stated reason for the rejection was “your App contains inappropriate politically contents”. However, nowhere in the App Review Guidelines does it mention any restriction on political content or give any indication as to what they would consider “inappropriate”.

Huawei cited App Review Guidelines 4.7 which prohibits “content that propagates cults and/or feudal superstition or is offensive to a religious or racial group, sexual orientation, gender, or other group to which individuals self-identify”. As examples, they provided screenshots of our title screen and of our introduction montage.

We understand the need to prevent hate-speech, bigotry, and other legitimate forms of discrimination, which is why it is puzzling that Huawei would consider the zombified right-wing extremists depicted in our game a part of these targeted groups. It is insulting and false to equate historically oppressed groups that regularly experience horrific hate crimes to groups such as MAGA who hold power and privilege in the US, have never experienced any form of discrimination, have always positioned themselves against what they see as “political correctness”, and have themselves been the major perpetrators of such hate crimes.

We have appealed this rejection and will continue to work to bring Smash MAGA! To Huawei users around the world.

Smash MAGA! has previously been banned from Apple’s App Store, Google Play, and Steam game platforms. However, the game is free to download and play on all major operating systems from our website.

 

Google Bans Antifascist Game Smash MAGA! from Play Store

It is still possible to play the Public Beta of Smash MAGA on Android! Although Google has banned Smash MAGA from the Play Store, you can manually download and install the game’s APK file (you may have to allow Installation of Unknown or Other Apps inside of “Settings -> Security -> Apps and Notifications” (more detailed instructions)

Update: On September 2nd, Google responded to our appeal, claiming that Smash MAGA was rejected because it “currently depicts political violence”

In an era of growing fascist violence, tech monopolies like Google and Apple continue to deplatform antifascist voices.

After submitting the Public Beta of our upcoming game Smash MAGA! Trump Zombie Apocalypse to Google Play’s Open Testing program, Google has suspended and removed our game citing their “Sensitive Events” policy: “We don’t allow apps that lack reasonable sensitivity towards or capitalize on a natural disaster, atrocity, health crisis, conflict, death, or tragic event”. We believe our game is in full compliance with their policies as explained below, and we are in the process of appealing this decision.

Apple had also previously banned Smash MAGA! from their App Store, claiming that MAGA is part of a “targeted group” and that they would never accept any application or game that features the January 6 Capitol Hill right-wing coup attempt. Unlike Android phones, in which you can still download and install applications outside of the official Play Store, Apple’s App Store monopoly effectively prevents any iPhone or iPad users from playing our game (although provide the .IPA download link to people who jailbreak their devices).

Additionally, Twitter has also “temporarily restricted” and “shadowbanned” the official @SmashMAGAGame account, most likely due to right-wing trolls mass-reporting our tweets.

Google did not provide any evidence or supplemental information pointing to where our game violates their Sensitive Events policy beyond attaching a screenshot of our title screen. Even without any specificity, we can speculate that the “sensitive event” they are referring to is either the COVID-19 pandemic or the January 6 Capitol Hill riots.

Google’s “Requirements for Coronavirus Disease 2019 Apps” has restrictions on apps that “provide medical treatment, vaccine, testing, or other related information”, “support COVID-19-related response, containment, research, or education/training efforts”, or “support services used to respond specifically to COVID-19”. These rules purportedly are designed to prevent the spread of fake news and misinformation about COVID-19 from non-official applications. Smash MAGA! does not explicitly refer to COVID-19; instead, we portray a generalized zombie plague associated with the spreading of disinformation and the rise of fascism. As our game does not present itself as an official source of news, information or medical treatment for COVID-19, we are confident we are not violating any of these rules.

Google Play’s Sensitive Events policy provides examples of violations, including “lacking sensitivity regarding the death of a real person or group of people due to suicide, overdose, natural causes, etc”, “denying a major tragic event”, and “appearing to profit from a trafic event with no discernible benefit to the victims”. Our game is not lacking sensitivity regarding any deaths from, or denying the events of, or making any profit from portraying January 6 or the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, their policy states that apps are “generally allowed if that content has … artistic value”, which we believe would include clear satirical and artistic value and thus does not violate any of these policies.

If the Sensitive Events rejection is in reference to the January 6 riots, then Google joins Apple in banning games and applications that illustrate one of the most historic events of our era, one that highlights the dangers of the increasingly militant fascist movement incited by Trump and others in the GOP including Proud Boys and Oathkeepers who acted as paramilitaries in the attempted coup and the ongoing war on democracy. Furthermore, there are plenty of applications available on Google Play that platform these ultra-right wingers to spread their disinformation and hateful rhetoric which has directly led to violence on the street. Currently available for download on Google Play is MeWe, Gettr, Frank, Right Side Broadcasting Network, MAGA Chat, Newsmax, and others. You can download a hundred different apps that will feed you Trumpian lies and disinformation about the 2020 election as well as denial of the science behind essential health services like vaccinations and masks. People coordinated the Jan 6th insurrection in plain sight on some of these social media platforms, yet they are allowed to continue downloading and interacting with one another thanks to Google Play.

Additionally, there are plenty of games on the Google Play store that glorify violence or otherwise show a “lack of sensitivity”, particularly games that support military adventurism and imperialism. None of these games face censorship or scrutiny for their content, highlighting a double standard in what kind of violence is accepted. Are these also not insensitive, considering the millions of innocent casualties and the refugee crisis created by these useless and widely unpopular US-led wars?

It’s been established that the most dangerous domestic terrorist threat in the US are white supremacist groups, yet since January 6th there has been such little recourse against the fascist MAGA movement that the Proud Boys are once again regular features at far-right actions, instigating extreme and potentially deadly violence at nearly every incident. As covered recently in Democracy Now, stabbings, mace, paintball guns and other violent misogynistic attacks occur frequently at anti-vaccination and anti-mask rallies, including targeting journalists, counter-protesters, and random passersby alike. Police provide them protection while brutally suppressing antifascists and counter-protesters, making the State active participants in this ongoing and seemingly endless fascist insurrection. In fact, Proud Boys are returning to rally in DC for their ‘political prisoners’ on September 18th. The worst is yet to come.

Antifascists are the only ones who are actively working to stop these fascists beyond performative activism and symbolic condemnations. Yet liberal politicians and tech monopolies are undermining antifascist efforts through a misguided commitment to the false ideologies of “non-violence” and “free speech absolutism”. They often condemn “both sides” as if the conflict between freedom and fascism is simply a matter of everybody having a right to their opinion – a dangerous argument that has utterly failed in holding these white supremacists accountable which is why they continue to proliferate today. As history and experience has shown, fascism – much like a zombie apocalypse – will not die away on its own. It cannot be reasoned with, it must be confronted and uprooted before it is allowed to spread. Furthermore, who wouldn’t want to fight zombified Trump supporters invading and attacking the Capitol?

Smash MAGA – the first game to depict the January 6 Capitol Hill riots – is a legitimate artistic and satirical reflection of the alarming times we live in. We believe that not only is our game in compliance with the policies of Google Play and Apple’s App Store, but it is also on the right side of history. Despite big tech monopolies attempts to repress us, we will continue to make Smash MAGA! free available on a variety of platforms including Android, Linux, Mac OS, Windows, and iOS.

Smash MAGA! Trump Zombie Apocalypse is currently in Public Beta and is expected to be released for free on September 9 2021. Play the Public Beta of Smash MAGA! now!

Apple App Store Will Not Accept Any Game that Features the Capitol Hill Coup Attempt, Claims MAGA is a “Targeted Group”

Apple has rejected a second appeal regarding the ban of our upcoming game “Smash MAGA!” from the App Store. Apple has previously rejected our game because it had supposedly “inappropriately referenced the COVID-19 pandemic”. After resubmitting our game having verified that the game has absolutely zero references to COVID-19, they rejected our game for a second time using new reasoning claiming that there is “content that some users may find upsetting, offensive, or otherwise objectionable”.

Specifically, Apple claims our game contains “offensive references to targeted groups such as MAGA supporters”. Furthermore, Apple told us on the phone that they would never accept a game that features the January 6 Capitol Hill coup attempt, even in a satirical or artistic interpretation, because “leveraging a current event to attract users is not appropriate”.

Excerpt from Apple’s App Review Guidelines:

1.1.1 Defamatory, discriminatory, or mean-spirited content, including references or commentary about religion, race, sexual orientation, gender, national/ethnic origin, or other targeted groups, particularly if the app is likely to humiliate, intimidate, or harm a targeted individual or group. Professional political satirists and humorists are generally exempt from this requirement.

We believe it is ridiculous and offensive that Apple falsely equates the right-wing MAGA extremists that stormed the capitol on January 6 to actual historically and currently oppressed groups. To parrot right-wing talking points to defend fascist extremists using language that was ostensibly meant to protect actual targeted groups based on religion, race, sexual orientation, gender, or national/ethnic origin is an insult to these groups that actually experience discrimination, hate crimes and violence.

Please read our previous press release regarding the rejection of our game from the App Store.

Full rejection:

Hello Jeremy,

Call Ticket: 2928969

Thank you for your time on the phone today.

As we discussed, your app is out of compliance with guideline 1.1, as it includes content or concepts that are not appropriate for the App Store.

While your app’s current content or concept is not appropriate for the App Store, we would welcome a new app from you in alignment with our App Store Review Guidelines that is not focused on or related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, your app includes offensive references to targeted groups such as MAGA supporters or other groups, and it references or includes content or features related to a sensitive, ongoing or recent event. Apps on the App Store should be useful and relevant, but leveraging a current event to attract users is not appropriate.

To resolve these issues, please remove all potentially objectionable content from your app and please remove all potentially offensive content regarding any targeted groups.

Please feel free to reach me at +1-669-276-9401 on Monday – Friday between 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time if you would like additional clarification.

Best Regards,
Bohdan
App Store Review

Guideline 1.1 – Safety – Objectionable Content

We found that your app includes content that some users may find upsetting, offensive, or otherwise objectionable.

Next Steps
To resolve this issue, please remove all potentially objectionable content from your app and submit your revised binary for review.

For app design information, check out the following videos: “Essential Design Principles” and “Designing Intuitive User Experiences,” available on the Apple Developer website.

You may also want to review the iOS Human Interface Guidelines for more information on how to create a great user experience in your app.

Apple Bans Anti-Fascist Game “Smash MAGA: Trump Zombie Apocalypse” from App Store

Our upcoming game “Smash MAGA: Trump Zombie Apocalypse” was rejected from Apple’s App Store. The purported reason for rejection was “Inappropriately Referencing the COVID-19 Pandemic”. The rejection came during the App Review process after submitting a beta test version through Apple’s TestFlight software.

Smash MAGA! depicts a dystopian society ravaged by police brutality, political corruption and the rise of the “Trump Zombie Plague” in which right-wing extremists are becoming zombified: “All the Toxic MAGA Propaganda had Rotted out their Brains: These Rotten Husks of Fascist Flesh Feasted on Fake News”.

There are no explicit references to COVID-19 in Smash MAGA. Although many scenes in the game are recreations of real-world events, such as vaccine conspiracists attacking a hospital and the Capitol Hill coup attempt, and one of the weapons is a gun that launches masks, the game is political satire and should be considered a legitimate form of free speech. As we do not present ourselves as official sources of science-based information concerning COVID-19, we do not believe our game should be banned from the App Store.

The ostensible purpose of Apple’s COVID-19 content restrictions is to restrict the dissemination of false COVID-19 information by limiting apps to only official sources, but it’s overly broad and inconsistent application, especially as it relates to entertainment apps, amounts to censorship.

This is not the first time Apple has banned games from the App Store for COVID-19 themes. Florian Mueller filed anti-trust complaints with the European Union and the US Department of Justice over the rejection of his game, “Corona Control”. Eventually the game was rebranded as “Viral Days” without specifically referencing the coronavirus and was approved for both Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

There are other “plague” games on the App Store, including “Plague Inc”, in which the object of the game is to spread an deadly infectious disease and “bring about the end of human history”. Other games based around viruses and plagues include “Infection Bio War”, “Virus Plague: Survival Wars”, “Bio Inc. – Biomedical Plague”, “Biotix: Phage Genesis”, “Survival: Wasteland Zombie”, and others.

Additionally, it was announced a few weeks ago that Apple has decided to allow Parler, the right-wing social network where users have exchanged COVID-19 conspiracy theories and white supremacist hate speech, back on the App Store. Parler users have been tied to hate crimes and the platform was instrumental in orchestrating the Capitol Hill coup attempt last January.

This rejection takes place as the App Review process is under close legal scrutiny during the trial hearing Epic’s lawsuit against Apple for refusing to allow Fortnite on the App Store or from releasing their own app store on the iPhone. Apple’s refusal to allow iPhone owners the ability to run the software of their own choice on their own devices is an extension of their monopolist ambitions based on outdated ideologies such as intellectual property and proprietary hardware.

We demand that Apple stop censoring app submissions based on political content, that they allow iPhone users to install Smash MAGA! and all other apps of their choosing without being restricted to the overly sterilized milquetoast walled-garden App Store.

We plan on attempting negotiations with Apple’s App Review team, but we refuse to fundamentally change the core concept of the game. If Apple continues to reject us, we will still provide iPhone users the ability to play our game by providing detailed instructions on sideloading or downloading our game through alternative app stores.

We also plan on submitting the game to Google Play, Steam, and providing direct downloads for Mac OS X / Windows / Linux platforms.

We are currently inviting people to play a limited beta version of the Smash MAGA! If you would like to test the game please sign the subscription form at https://www.smashmaga.com and specify what platforms you would like to test it on.

The official rejection from Apple:

“Guideline 1.1 – Safety – Objectionable Content

We found that your app includes content or concepts that are not appropriate for the App Store.

Specifically, your entertainment or gaming app inappropriately references the COVID-19 pandemic in the metadata or binary. Users rely on the App Store to find apps providing essential medical services and safety information. To help users easily locate this content, entertainment or gaming apps that directly or indirectly reference the COVID-19 pandemic are not appropriate for the App Store at this time.

Next Steps
While your app’s current content or concept is not appropriate for the App Store, we would welcome a new app from you in alignment with our App Store Review Guidelines that is not focused on or related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Resources
For additional information regarding Apple’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please refer to the Ensuring the Credibility of Health & Safety Information update on the Apple Developer website.”

Test the Limited Beta of Smash Maga!

We are inviting you to test the limited beta version of Smash MAGA! Currently only the first level (Vaccination Site) is available but we would like your comments and bug reports so that we can incorporate your suggestions into the final version of the game. If you would like to participate, please send an email to twins at twintrouble dot net, specifying which platforms you would like to test it on: Android, Windows/Mac/Linux, iPhone (must sideload through AltStore because Apple has rejected us from the App Store)

Intro Video Montage on YouTube: