Apple deems seal hunt iPhone app objectionable

Steve
Steve Bartlett
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Game over

A local video game based on the seal hunt has been rejected by Apple.

The computer giant has chosen not to post "iSealClub" - where players use a cartoon club to hunt cartoon seals - on its App Store because it contains objectionable content.

Matt Smyth, the St. John's software engineer who designed the game for a laugh, can't understand the decision.

St. John's resident Matt Smyth invented a video game for the Apple iPhone called "iSealClub" where players use a cartoon to hunt cartoon seals. However, Apple refused to post the game on its App Store because they said it contains objectionable content.

A local video game based on the seal hunt has been rejected by Apple.

The computer giant has chosen not to post "iSealClub" - where players use a cartoon club to hunt cartoon seals - on its App Store because it contains objectionable content.

Matt Smyth, the St. John's software engineer who designed the game for a laugh, can't understand the decision.

He says his game uses satirical graphics - there is no blood, and baby seals are off limits.

There are more violent apps available, he stresses, including "Grand Theft Auto."

"I have that on my iPhone. You can walk around, shoot cops in cold blood, and watch them sort of fall down in their own pool of blood."

Objectionable content

Smyth uploaded "iSealClub" to the App Store last week.

He says he received a message from Apple Tuesday saying the game was reviewed and judged to contain objectionable content, citing a section of its developer licensing agreement.

Smyth feels "iSealClub," which would have sold for 99 cents, was panned because the company is against the seal hunt.

That's unfair, he says, because the hunt is socially acceptable in this province and sanctioned by the federal government.

"They allow other apps, like 'Trophy Hunt' for bear and deer and whatnot. I don't see the difference between killing a seal ... and killing a deer. But Apple decides to impose their morals, that they don't agree with the hunt."

"iSealClub" is the first game Smyth has designed and he says the game play - players make a clubbing motion with their hand - was unique.

He selected the topic because it was local and would attract attention.

He says he e-mailed Apple three months ago asking if the game's content would be a problem.

The company sent him a message saying it couldn't pre-approve games, and asking him to review the program licence agreement.

A message left with Apple's phone line for reporters at deadline was not returned.

sbartlett@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Apple, App Store

Geographic location: St. John's

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Recent comments

  • Jon
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Port the game to Google's Android and release it to the Android market... no worries about it being rejected there.

    With all the Android phones coming out lately it won't be long until Android app sales eclipse iPhone app sales.

  • Billy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Wonder how PETA's campaign to have cod renamed Sea Kittens is going!

    Think of it: going into Ches's for a Large kit 'n chips , please!

    (I know, I know, off topic..)

  • Toph Mittens
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Give me a break... NL'ers are trying to stop this stigmatism of seal clubbing and then someone is trying to get a seal clubbing game on an Apple app??? And we wonder why they make jokes of us NL'ers.

    Matt.. Your 5 mins of fame is now over. Get back to work.. Cut out the the pic on the front page and pin it next to your desk so you can see how stupid this was a couple of months down the road.

    NL'er 4 life

  • Heidi
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    I just think since this issue has stirred up so many people it is probably in poor taste. Do not get me wrong, I am a Newfie and support the seal hunt, perhaps it is not a good idea to show something that used to happen as clubbing no longer occurs. Maybe the time has come for these games to end...like one where you would bat the penguin to see how far you could send him..how much of this stuff do we really need?

  • Tim
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    The point of the seal hunt isn't to have fun clubbing seals. Its a viable, sustainable industry which supplies a range of useful products. Apple is doing the hunt a service by not putting something like this out. Killing isn't the goal, its the necessary means to an end. Making a game out of the killing sends the wrong message and helps the anti-sealers create the case that we are blood-thirsty goons out for the joy of the slaughter.

  • Busy Bayman
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Waste of the front page , dude you're a waste of fresh air.

  • ricky
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    For those of you who say he should grow up and get over himself, you really can't appreciate the amount time it takes to create such a simple little game. I have to say, I understand him bringing it up to the media. As well, for those who fundamentally disagree with the game and seek to defame it, well this is the same ignorant bias on which apple has made it's decision. The seal hunt is still performed with hakapiks (depicted in the game, it seems, as a wooden club) and it is quite humane, the game itself is a harmless representation of an industry with a lot of history in the province, one only needs to get past the controversy to see the unfairness of this decision.

  • John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    This on front page? Telegram get a grip.

    I agree with prufock comments.
    hunting a deer with a rifle and clubbing a seal is not the same, didn't we switch to rifles when hunting seals and drop the clubs. Either way this front page news? *turn* sarcasm on* awsome reporting job!

  • David
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Where was this outrage when all tohse beautiful, innocent Pacmen were devoured?! Oh, the humanity!

  • prufock
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    This is front page news?

    He complains that other games exist where you can hunt deer - unless you're clubbing the deer to death, it isn't a valid comparison.

    He complains that it should be allowed because the seal hunt is socially acceptable here - but clubbing them to death isn't.

    You made a game, it got rejected. Get over it. Apple is a private company, and it can accept or reject whatever applications it wants.

  • Jon
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    This isn't a real seal hunt, its a game. The point of a game is to have fun or simulate an activity that may be difficult or impossible to most people to participate in. I think its very hypocritical of Apple to ban this considering the other types of games they allow. The seal hunt is perfectly legal in Canada and simulating it in a game should be just fine.

  • bill
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Bottom line: you must not kill cute things.
    Denis Leary will tell you all about it. If it were cows and you picked up baseball gloves and hamburgers you would have no problem.

  • Audacity
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    I eat seal.

    Obviously I support a humane rifle hunt.

    That app: NOT COOL, MAN!

    World public image nightmare for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians!

    WE DON'T CLUB SEALS HERE, MAN!

    Leave the bashing brains in of animals to the Canadians and Yanks in their overcrowded cattle slaughterhouses. We like our food free-range.

    It tastes better when it's had a good long natural life, eating a wide, varied and natural diet and it's not stressed out!

    Peace!

  • Waste of
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    No kidding buddy, you just found out this? People like you are the reason the industry is looked at in a negative light. Now your out crying to the Telegram that the big bad Apple shot you down! Grow up.

  • Mr. Soundoff
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    We'er only giving the animal rights nutters more to aim at when we get on like this. I am all for the harvest no problem but we don't have to get stupid with these apps etc.

  • Seumas
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    What ever happened to using phones for talking? These so called smart phones are creating a generation of idiots with 5 second attention spans! (Hope I wasn't over my allowed 140 characters!)

  • Rebecca
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    I do not think the point here is for us to criticize how we feel this application might affect the opinion of the seal hunt, but to look at Apple's decision making. They are allowing applications that essentially promote the same thing (animal hunting games) or things even worse. If the game had been for sale, received complaints, and then removed, this would be understandable. Not allowing it in the first place isn't fair.

    I think how Mr. Smyth has utilized the iPhone for his game is great.

  • Joey
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    the kid has a point. games where you can run over pedestrians, murder hookers and shoot down police helicopters are OK but you can't simulate killing a seal to make a living.

  • Shannon
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    It was panned . Are you being punny, Tely?!!

  • Keepin' It Real
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Funny that people perceive it to be perfectly acceptable for Apple to tell you what you can and cannot run on the iPhone. If Microsoft did the same thing they'd be looking for Bill Gates head!

  • linda
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    THE THOUGHT IS AS BAD AS THE DEED! MONEY MAKING B------D.AM GLAD THAT APPLE REJECTED IT.

  • san
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Of course this doesnt' make any sence. Sure kids can have video games where they can kill people, or other animals, like fox hunts. But seals,,,

    Its a sad day when games that kill cops are ok, but games that kill a seal, way off limits.

    We are a #$%@# up society.

  • Brian
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    Objectionable content?? Give me a break. The majority of video games on the market contain ojectionable content . What a joke. Very hiprocritical of Apple but I shouldn't be surprised that anyone or any group involved with PETA is hyprocritical.

  • Mark
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    seriously? they refused it but allowed a game where you shake babies? come on! that's totally stupid! I know any newfoundlander with an i-phone may end up buying it to see what it's about, but to allow one or two hunting apps and decline this one? that's just a total crock of garbage.

  • TJ
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    why not just make this game avail for free, i know the time and effort he must have put in to this game but if Apple rejected this, make another way for iphone users to get it. Its a game people, its ment to be fun not for pages and pages of foolishness if this is right or wrong. Opinions are like A-Holes, everyone has one and no one likes them! get over it if you dont like it dont buy/download it.

  • David
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Matt! I'd suggest you make a game that involves clubbing seal hunters and submit it to the app store just as an experiment to see if that gets approved.

    Also, could you make a version of the seal clubbing app for the Blackberry Storm 2?

    :)

  • your kidding
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    The only people that would even think of buying this would be newfoundlanders.If there are 50000 phones here , he would not make much money.This is nothing but an attention grab. Shouldn't have made front page.This only draws bad attention to the hunt.

  • Frank M
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Is this guy on dope?

    A Newfie reinforces a negative and false stereotype that we as a people have been fighting for years.
    WE DON'T CLUB SEALS.

  • Tammy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    While it would contribute to the already negative view the world has on Newfoundland and the seal hunt, I do agree that it's quite hypocritical for other violent and even more gruesome games to be allowed.

    I think Matt should look into other ways of selling this app to the public...because despite those that disagree with it, there are those that would buy it.

    Good luck Matt :)

  • just me
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Who cares if it's acceptable in the province ? You really think Apple gets much of their revenue from Newfoundland?? It's about public image, and selling, and this would impact their bottom line.

    He should grow up and get over himself.

  • Joey
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Stupid idea anyway, the only success here is iGotOnTheCoverOfTheTelegram.

  • Rich
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    CLUBBING SEALS.............don't you realise this is the image we are trying to shake. Don't you live here?...Duh.........

  • bdover
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    change the clubbing to a petting and the game will make a fortune among PETA members...Call it IPetaseal!

  • Frank
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Sometimes we are our own worst enemies.

  • Tim
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    My heart goes out to you Matt.

    You've exposed a double standard, and hopefully the press will help fuel your career.

    There's no such thing as bad publicity.

  • what were you thinking?
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    I am pro seal hunt, hunting animals in a sustainable manner is completely acceptable. But your game sends a bad message to everyone it fuels stereotypes that were club wielding barbarians at best. Why would you want to draw such negative attention to the hunt like that?! Are you secretly working for PETA?

  • Gouldigan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    It's not that big of a brain buster why it got rejected, and I bet realistically (news coverage aside) he isn't surprised it didn't make the cut. But I'm not going to lie, I would have downloaded it for a peek.

  • Saucy Face
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Matt Smyth can't understand the decision. Therein lies your problem Matty boy, therein lies your poblem.

  • Hobbit
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Get over it. I wouldn't pay 99 cents for it. Or any other killing game. No pun intended.

  • Shannon
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    I think he should trademark his own iCowBrand. See if they would object to ugly virtual cows being injured and killed. Doubt it.

  • Wade
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    I think it is probably pretty funny, cartoonish. I think any caricature of any event is open for this sort of electronic application.

    Its not killing police. Why allow an app that lets you hunt with weapons - not all weapons are allowed in all jurisdictions.

    I just think Apple is picking and choosing an app based on some geo-political statement.

    Do I have an iPhone or iPod? Nope
    If I did would I buy it? Probably not, but I see no reason why noone else could.

    At least he even makes it incorrect to hit a baby seal...

  • Newfie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    If they won't approve a little seal hunt game, why would they approve games where players have to kill other players. Isn't that worse, killing a person!?

  • Derek
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    I support the Newfoundland Seal Fishery 100%. Any opposition has only been built on sentiment (i.e: weepy seal pup eyes). This is the kind of story I like seeing!

  • Kelly
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    Okay, Matt - you've had your two seconds of fame....next!

  • Jon
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Port the game to Google's Android and release it to the Android market... no worries about it being rejected there.

    With all the Android phones coming out lately it won't be long until Android app sales eclipse iPhone app sales.

  • Billy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Wonder how PETA's campaign to have cod renamed Sea Kittens is going!

    Think of it: going into Ches's for a Large kit 'n chips , please!

    (I know, I know, off topic..)

  • Toph Mittens
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    Give me a break... NL'ers are trying to stop this stigmatism of seal clubbing and then someone is trying to get a seal clubbing game on an Apple app??? And we wonder why they make jokes of us NL'ers.

    Matt.. Your 5 mins of fame is now over. Get back to work.. Cut out the the pic on the front page and pin it next to your desk so you can see how stupid this was a couple of months down the road.

    NL'er 4 life

  • Heidi
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    I just think since this issue has stirred up so many people it is probably in poor taste. Do not get me wrong, I am a Newfie and support the seal hunt, perhaps it is not a good idea to show something that used to happen as clubbing no longer occurs. Maybe the time has come for these games to end...like one where you would bat the penguin to see how far you could send him..how much of this stuff do we really need?

  • Tim
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    The point of the seal hunt isn't to have fun clubbing seals. Its a viable, sustainable industry which supplies a range of useful products. Apple is doing the hunt a service by not putting something like this out. Killing isn't the goal, its the necessary means to an end. Making a game out of the killing sends the wrong message and helps the anti-sealers create the case that we are blood-thirsty goons out for the joy of the slaughter.

  • Busy Bayman
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    Waste of the front page , dude you're a waste of fresh air.

  • ricky
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    For those of you who say he should grow up and get over himself, you really can't appreciate the amount time it takes to create such a simple little game. I have to say, I understand him bringing it up to the media. As well, for those who fundamentally disagree with the game and seek to defame it, well this is the same ignorant bias on which apple has made it's decision. The seal hunt is still performed with hakapiks (depicted in the game, it seems, as a wooden club) and it is quite humane, the game itself is a harmless representation of an industry with a lot of history in the province, one only needs to get past the controversy to see the unfairness of this decision.

  • John
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    This on front page? Telegram get a grip.

    I agree with prufock comments.
    hunting a deer with a rifle and clubbing a seal is not the same, didn't we switch to rifles when hunting seals and drop the clubs. Either way this front page news? *turn* sarcasm on* awsome reporting job!

  • David
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    Where was this outrage when all tohse beautiful, innocent Pacmen were devoured?! Oh, the humanity!

  • prufock
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    This is front page news?

    He complains that other games exist where you can hunt deer - unless you're clubbing the deer to death, it isn't a valid comparison.

    He complains that it should be allowed because the seal hunt is socially acceptable here - but clubbing them to death isn't.

    You made a game, it got rejected. Get over it. Apple is a private company, and it can accept or reject whatever applications it wants.

  • Jon
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    This isn't a real seal hunt, its a game. The point of a game is to have fun or simulate an activity that may be difficult or impossible to most people to participate in. I think its very hypocritical of Apple to ban this considering the other types of games they allow. The seal hunt is perfectly legal in Canada and simulating it in a game should be just fine.

  • bill
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Bottom line: you must not kill cute things.
    Denis Leary will tell you all about it. If it were cows and you picked up baseball gloves and hamburgers you would have no problem.

  • Audacity
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    I eat seal.

    Obviously I support a humane rifle hunt.

    That app: NOT COOL, MAN!

    World public image nightmare for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians!

    WE DON'T CLUB SEALS HERE, MAN!

    Leave the bashing brains in of animals to the Canadians and Yanks in their overcrowded cattle slaughterhouses. We like our food free-range.

    It tastes better when it's had a good long natural life, eating a wide, varied and natural diet and it's not stressed out!

    Peace!

  • Waste of
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    No kidding buddy, you just found out this? People like you are the reason the industry is looked at in a negative light. Now your out crying to the Telegram that the big bad Apple shot you down! Grow up.

  • Mr. Soundoff
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    We'er only giving the animal rights nutters more to aim at when we get on like this. I am all for the harvest no problem but we don't have to get stupid with these apps etc.

  • Seumas
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    What ever happened to using phones for talking? These so called smart phones are creating a generation of idiots with 5 second attention spans! (Hope I wasn't over my allowed 140 characters!)

  • Rebecca
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    I do not think the point here is for us to criticize how we feel this application might affect the opinion of the seal hunt, but to look at Apple's decision making. They are allowing applications that essentially promote the same thing (animal hunting games) or things even worse. If the game had been for sale, received complaints, and then removed, this would be understandable. Not allowing it in the first place isn't fair.

    I think how Mr. Smyth has utilized the iPhone for his game is great.

  • Joey
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    the kid has a point. games where you can run over pedestrians, murder hookers and shoot down police helicopters are OK but you can't simulate killing a seal to make a living.

  • Shannon
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    It was panned . Are you being punny, Tely?!!

  • Keepin' It Real
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    Funny that people perceive it to be perfectly acceptable for Apple to tell you what you can and cannot run on the iPhone. If Microsoft did the same thing they'd be looking for Bill Gates head!

  • linda
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    THE THOUGHT IS AS BAD AS THE DEED! MONEY MAKING B------D.AM GLAD THAT APPLE REJECTED IT.

  • san
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    Of course this doesnt' make any sence. Sure kids can have video games where they can kill people, or other animals, like fox hunts. But seals,,,

    Its a sad day when games that kill cops are ok, but games that kill a seal, way off limits.

    We are a #$%@# up society.

  • Brian
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    Objectionable content?? Give me a break. The majority of video games on the market contain ojectionable content . What a joke. Very hiprocritical of Apple but I shouldn't be surprised that anyone or any group involved with PETA is hyprocritical.

  • Mark
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    seriously? they refused it but allowed a game where you shake babies? come on! that's totally stupid! I know any newfoundlander with an i-phone may end up buying it to see what it's about, but to allow one or two hunting apps and decline this one? that's just a total crock of garbage.

  • TJ
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    why not just make this game avail for free, i know the time and effort he must have put in to this game but if Apple rejected this, make another way for iphone users to get it. Its a game people, its ment to be fun not for pages and pages of foolishness if this is right or wrong. Opinions are like A-Holes, everyone has one and no one likes them! get over it if you dont like it dont buy/download it.

  • David
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    Matt! I'd suggest you make a game that involves clubbing seal hunters and submit it to the app store just as an experiment to see if that gets approved.

    Also, could you make a version of the seal clubbing app for the Blackberry Storm 2?

    :)

  • your kidding
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    The only people that would even think of buying this would be newfoundlanders.If there are 50000 phones here , he would not make much money.This is nothing but an attention grab. Shouldn't have made front page.This only draws bad attention to the hunt.

  • Frank M
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    Is this guy on dope?

    A Newfie reinforces a negative and false stereotype that we as a people have been fighting for years.
    WE DON'T CLUB SEALS.

  • Tammy
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    While it would contribute to the already negative view the world has on Newfoundland and the seal hunt, I do agree that it's quite hypocritical for other violent and even more gruesome games to be allowed.

    I think Matt should look into other ways of selling this app to the public...because despite those that disagree with it, there are those that would buy it.

    Good luck Matt :)

  • just me
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Who cares if it's acceptable in the province ? You really think Apple gets much of their revenue from Newfoundland?? It's about public image, and selling, and this would impact their bottom line.

    He should grow up and get over himself.

  • Joey
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    Stupid idea anyway, the only success here is iGotOnTheCoverOfTheTelegram.

  • Rich
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    CLUBBING SEALS.............don't you realise this is the image we are trying to shake. Don't you live here?...Duh.........

  • bdover
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    change the clubbing to a petting and the game will make a fortune among PETA members...Call it IPetaseal!

  • Frank
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    Sometimes we are our own worst enemies.

  • Tim
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    My heart goes out to you Matt.

    You've exposed a double standard, and hopefully the press will help fuel your career.

    There's no such thing as bad publicity.

  • what were you thinking?
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    I am pro seal hunt, hunting animals in a sustainable manner is completely acceptable. But your game sends a bad message to everyone it fuels stereotypes that were club wielding barbarians at best. Why would you want to draw such negative attention to the hunt like that?! Are you secretly working for PETA?

  • Gouldigan
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    It's not that big of a brain buster why it got rejected, and I bet realistically (news coverage aside) he isn't surprised it didn't make the cut. But I'm not going to lie, I would have downloaded it for a peek.

  • Saucy Face
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Matt Smyth can't understand the decision. Therein lies your problem Matty boy, therein lies your poblem.

  • Hobbit
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    Get over it. I wouldn't pay 99 cents for it. Or any other killing game. No pun intended.

  • Shannon
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    I think he should trademark his own iCowBrand. See if they would object to ugly virtual cows being injured and killed. Doubt it.

  • Wade
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    I think it is probably pretty funny, cartoonish. I think any caricature of any event is open for this sort of electronic application.

    Its not killing police. Why allow an app that lets you hunt with weapons - not all weapons are allowed in all jurisdictions.

    I just think Apple is picking and choosing an app based on some geo-political statement.

    Do I have an iPhone or iPod? Nope
    If I did would I buy it? Probably not, but I see no reason why noone else could.

    At least he even makes it incorrect to hit a baby seal...

  • Newfie
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    If they won't approve a little seal hunt game, why would they approve games where players have to kill other players. Isn't that worse, killing a person!?

  • Derek
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    I support the Newfoundland Seal Fishery 100%. Any opposition has only been built on sentiment (i.e: weepy seal pup eyes). This is the kind of story I like seeing!

  • Kelly
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    Okay, Matt - you've had your two seconds of fame....next!