Apple Bans 'HappyPlayTime,' A Game About Female Masturbation

May 21, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

GamesIndustry International has an excellent article chronicling the plight of a female developer whose game was banned from Apple's App Store for depicting a sexual act. At first blush the game, HappyPlayTime, might sound like pornography, but it's more about education in a fun and entertaining way, according to its creator. In HappyPlayTime, gamers touch the animated character "Happy" as instructed by the game to make her happy, and learning about how the female body works in the process.

Looking at the screenshot of the character from the game to your left, you can see that the game is cute and whimsical, but Apple's censors don't see it that way at all. Apple rejected the app initially for its sexual nature, so developer Tina Gong appealed the decision and even raised the age rating to 17+. But that was not enough for Apple, who rejected the game again on two violations of its rules: "apps that present excessively objectionable content" and "apps containing pornographic material."

While Gong acknowledges that the idea of an app that teaches female masturbation would not sit well with some circles, that doesn't change the fact that this app - which presents the topic in a friendly and non-threatening way - is being censored.

"I admit, it's pretty far out there. You're using your touch screen to play with a vulva character to make her orgasm," creator Tina Gong tells GII. "It's something that has a huge potential of making certain groups angry. As a large company, I'm sure that they're trying to stay away from controversy. I get it, but it still makes me sad."

Ultimately Gong hopes to get the game on Google Play, but she has her doubts that it can survive the review process because that App Store has tightened up its guidelines too.

You can check out all of Gong's thoughts on Apple censoring here game in this GII article.


Comments

Re: Apple Bans 'HappyPlayTime,' A Game About Female ...

My question is, Would Apple ban a game about Male Masturbation? If yes, then this is legal. If no, then this is not legal.

Apple is a private company. First amendment and free-speech right do not apply to them. Only the government has to follow the Constitutional amendments.

That said, I understand, but disagree with them removing the game. The 17+ rating should have been more then enough.

I may be crazy, but I am not insane.

Re: Apple Bans 'HappyPlayTime,' A Game About Female ...

My question is, Would Apple ban a game about Male Masturbation? If yes, then this is legal. If no, then this is not legal.

It's legal either way.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Apple Bans 'HappyPlayTime,' A Game About Female ...

This has always been the problem with closed platforms, one company or person gets to decide what is and what isn't allowed. Make it a browser based app and you won't have to worry about it.

Though I suspect a lot of children figure out that touching certain places feels good at an early age, and assuming their parents and society didn't completely shame them out of it, probably continue to do so. Humans have likely been masturbating before we had language or technology.

Re: Apple Bans 'HappyPlayTime,' A Game About Female ...

Well of course a game that discusses human sexuality via metaphor is not welcome!

Now excuse me while I play one of these perfectly acceptable violent games: http://www.joystickdivision.com/2010/11/10_deliciously_violent_games_f.php

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Apple Bans 'HappyPlayTime,' A Game About Female ...

Granted, the Supreme Court has already ruled that sexually explicit material is one of the few things that can be censored from a free speech perspective.. Violence doesn't fit still..  soooo not sure what you're trying to imply, but Sexual content and Violence are not equal content.

I also think it's stupid that it was removed, but trying to compare it to violence is not applicable/valid as an argument in my opinion.  

If you have a problem with the amount of violent content ok.  If you have a problem with a specific game teaching things related to sex getting removed from an app store also Ok.  When you try to say that it's dumb that a sex related app gets removed BUT violent apps don't, you've just given us a non-sequiter. 

You might as well say It's sunny outside, so having the app removed is valid.

Edit: which you may not be doing here, but it seems heavily implied.

Edit: GII article link is broken.

Re: Apple Bans 'HappyPlayTime,' A Game About Female ...

The app was denied due to "excessively objectionable content."

My point is that a normal and healthy part of human sexuality is considered "excessively objectionable" while murdering the bloody shit out of people is not.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Apple Bans 'HappyPlayTime,' A Game About Female ...

I think the difference in my point and yours is that you're attempting to compare ethics, while I'm suggesting that you can't use the availability of violent media as an indicator that sexual based content should or shouldn't be available. They are in 2 different categories.  Now what might be more valid is finding instances where health/sex related apps are available that are just as explicit in material.

Re: Apple Bans 'HappyPlayTime,' A Game About Female ...

"I think the difference in my point and yours is that you're attempting to compare ethics..."

Not quite, I'm comparing them from a standpoint of "excessively objectionable content."

"I'm suggesting that you can't use the availability of violent media as an indicator that sexual based content should or shouldn't be available."

You can in the proper context but that's not what I'm doing anyway.  I'm using the availability of violent content to point out how silly it is to ban an educational title that promotes sexual health on the basis of "excessively objectionable content."

"Now what might be more valid is finding instances where health/sex related apps are available that are just as explicit in material."

That would be a stronger case for hypocrisy, sure, but that's not what I'm accusing Apple of.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Apple Bans 'HappyPlayTime,' A Game About Female ...

Who knows what horror society might face if women downloaded a mildly educational game about sexual agency! It would be the end of the civilization as we know it!

But boys will be boys, so violent games are ok.  Teaches them to be men damn it!  And how can they be men if women figure out they can masturbate!

Re: Apple Bans 'HappyPlayTime,' A Game About Female ...

Actually if we consider the state of sexual education in many places a game about male masturbation could also be a good idea.

 
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