Phonestory is an iPhone game that shows the "troubling supply chain" of how the minerals are mined in Coltran, the suicides at the factory in China and the fanboydom of getting the latest gadget whetherr you really need it or not. The plan of the game creators, molleindustria, was to redirect the money earned on the game to the organizations that are fighting corporate abuses.
Phone Story is a game for smartphone devices that attempts to provoke a critical reflection on its own technological platform. Under the shiny surface of our electronic gadgets, behind its polished interface, hides the product of a troubling supply chain that stretches across the globe. Phone Story represents this process with four educational games that make the player symbolically complicit in coltan extraction in Congo, outsourced labor in China, e-waste in Pakistan and gadget consumerism in the West.
But no more, as Apple bans satirical iPhone game Phone Story from its App Store. Ouch.
Apple's disapproval comes as no surprise, but in an interview with Gamasutra, Molleindustria's Paolo Pedercini says that in itself is a comment on the iOS ecosystem.
"Here's the problem: the unanimous reaction from developers community has been, 'Wow, it's incredible Phone Story made through Apple's review process'. To me, this signals a full acceptance of a regime of censorship, the equivalent, for developers, of what journalists call the 'chilling effect'. I'm sure that Apple doesn't spend that much time in policing its marketplace, because the developers are already censoring themselves."