Serious About Games

I've been meaning to post a link to this article on Polygon for the last few days, but the more I read it, the more I didn't know where to start.  

Most people who use iOS devices aren't privy to Apple's curation process for its App Store, and very few are aware of the rejections that have taken place. The developers Polygon spoke to believe that the removal of serious games from the App Store is an unfair act of censorship, of sanitizing the App Store and denying video games their cultural status as a medium that can tackle serious issues. They believe it needs to change. And they're not alone.

It's undeniable that Apple curates the apps that it allows into the App Store, for some very good reasons. It's also undeniable that they sometimes get it wrong, both letting things through that they later see fit to remove, and blocking apps for confused or spurious reasons and sometimes reversing those decisions. It's also clear that no single individual will agree with all of the decisions that Apple takes.

What bothers me about this article is the sense of developer entitlement that comes over, unchallenged by the writer. I'd take issue also with the blanket use of the term 'serious', seemingly used to elevate the games that Apple's blocked from run-of-the-mill entertainment games. It's highly subjective and implies a moral right not just to exist, but to be carried in Apple's store (primarily because it's hard to make any money from jail breakers, or from Android users). I know educational developers who'd contest whether these games qualify as Serious Gaming at all.

The implication is also that only games with a contentious political/social point to make are worthy of being deemed "culture". Should we ask whether Nintendo takes gaming seriously, since none of the Mario games were–to my knowledge–about low paid immigrants working in the plumbing trade?