Apple gets contradictory about political app restrictions

3 min read

Chipotle scarecrowApple has been clear that they do not want to allow games on the app store that explore complicated social or political themes, leading to some frustration by conscientious developers. Now, they have allowed a game about factory farming and processed food – but it’s okay because it’s sponsored by a ‘healthy’ fast food chain!

First of all, you have to check out this video. Chipotle, a fast food chain in the US that prides itself on delivering fresh food, sponsored this short film featuring Fiona Apple singing a haunting rendition of “Pure Imagination”. I think the video is fantastic and very well done:

Yes, it is an incredible short film about how artificial our food – and by extension, lives – have become. Well produced and put together, it certainly is an amazing promotion for their free iOS adver-game. Even though the Scarecrow is pure advertising, it still looks like it could have some playability, with features like:


  • DODGE obstacles to save your veggies in Crow Foods Factory
  • FLY animals out of confinement in Downtown Plenty
  • PLANT diverse crops in Scarecrow Farms
  • FEED wholesome food to the hungry citizens at Plentyfull Plaza


  • Tilt-based physics with optional touch control
  • Four unique worlds totaling 20 dynamic levels
  • Achieving goals transforms the City of Plenty
  • Rich musical score unique to each world

All in all, doesn’t seem like a thing of controversy, until you consider all the games that have been rejected from the app store because they were deemed too political. In fact, Apple makes the following statement in their guidelines:

We view Apps different than books or songs, which we do not curate. If you want to criticize a religion, write a book. If you want to describe sex, write a book or a song, or create a medical app. It can get complicated, but we have decided to not allow certain kinds of content in the App Store.

Alright, but then why was the Scarecrow accepted? Does it have enough game play to separate it from the social comment it makes about factory farming vs local farming? Or is it simply because a large enough company was behind it? Or, has the issue of food production moved to far into the mainstream consciousness that it is no longer considered controversial or political?

I think the promo is impressive; if they spent a fraction of the cost of the short film on the game, it should be a pretty fun game. I also don’t actually have a problem with adver-games, as long as they are primarily games that advertise something rather than an interactive advertisement. However, I think Apple needs to look at their guidelines and determine how they want to deal with games that push social boundaries.

Last Updated: September 16, 2013

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