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:

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.