Indie Jeff's Weekly Picks: September 12-16

I've got a bit of indie controversy to report this week. Italian developer Molleindustria's latest game--Phone Story--was recently released for Android devices, hot on the heels of Apple's decision to pull the game shortly after it launched and ban it from its App Store. Apple told the developer that the game violated four separate app store review guidelines that say iOS games cannot: "depict violence or child abuse," "present objectionable or crude content," "contain false, fraudulent of misleading representations" or fail to "comply with all legal requirements."


While it's not unusual for Apple to prohibit content from appearing within its walled garden of apps, the reasons behind Phone Story's prohibition seem a bit more ironic than usual. You see, Phone Story is billed as an "educational title about the dark side of your favorite smart phone." Through a series of mini-games with voice-over narration, players oversee and learn about various aspects of smart-phone production, from mining the rare metal coltan in the Congo using child labor, to dealing with things like "outsourced labor in China, e-waste in Pakistan and gadget consumerism in the West." Personally, I think the idea of a smart-phone game that teaches players about the real human and environmental cost of making smart-phones is subversive genius. It's a bit like making someone watch the documentary Super-Size Me while they eat a Double Quarter Pounder with cheese.

Gamasutra's interview with Molleindustria's Paolo Pedercini about Phone Story's development and eventual rejection by Apple is also worth a look.

In the indie links department this week, Indie Games Channel chats with William Sworin of Exalt Studios about his upcoming kart-racing shooter called Silas (see top image), and rounds up trailers for the featured indies at this years Fantastic Arcade.

My favorite bit of indie media really needs to be seen to be believed. Even then, you're bound to have some unanswered questions about Swiss developer Mario von Rickenbach's upcoming game, called Mirage. According to von Rickenbach, Mirage begins when a "lonely subaquatic top hat" appropriates a human foot and begins exploring a strange and surreal world. The creature has the ability to add more body parts, which "allow it to perceive the environment differently."

I don't fully understand it, but I sure as heck want to play it. Enjoy!

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