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Papers, Please Censored by Apple for iPad Release

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[Editor’s Note: The removal of the nude body scans not only is patently absurd, it also essentially breaks that part of the game’s security gameplay mechanic, i.e. verifying a person’s gender in regards to their passport, or looking for hidden explosives.]

The censorship is strong right now. We’ve already seen the fiasco surrounding the banning of Grand Theft Auto in Australian Target stores and, now that the iPad release of indie hit Papers, Please is upon us, word is it will be censored for “pornographic content”.

According to the game’s developer, Lucas Pope, the game was submitted with a 17+ setting originally. That build was rejected, so he resubmitted a tamer version with a 12+ rating that was accepted.

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Oh, the pornography!

Papers, Please simulates a day in the life of an immigration inspector for the fictional country of Arstotzka. The player processes as many applicants as possible in real-time before the end of their day. If they feel an individual warrants further investigation, they may even take fingerprints or do a whole body scan.

The last is the option in question. The game features the ability to toggle nudity during body scans on and off. That’s something that Apple apparently would have none of. This forced Pope to alter the game, by removing the nudity option, so that it could be published on the app store. He has said he may appeal the decision but didn’t want to hold up the release any longer.

That’s a fair decision for the sake of his fans and himself, but one he shouldn’t have had to make. This is a well respected and loved game that was nominated for, and won, multiple Game Developers Choice Awards and the “pornographic content” it was rejected for was pretty mild at worst.

The makers of Starless: Nymphomaniac’s Paradise felt the need to tame down their game for Western censors.
The makers of Starless: Nymphomaniac’s Paradise felt the need to tame down their game for Western censors.

It is well known that Niche Gamer opposes any kind of censorship and embraces free speech, and when we see events like this transpire, which in some cases now compels developers to self-censor their work, we worry about the future for those that wish to create and publish their works.

If a person does not feel free to express themselves in art we all lose out.