A confused iOS developer has been forced to make changes to his family friendly tower defense game Childhood’s End after Apple became concerned that it might in fact be a clandestine recruiting tool for paedophiles.

Pixel Brain’s finished game made it through the submission process last month, but after about a week the developer submitted a bug fix, which is when things took a turn for the weird.

A few days later, Apple emailed the developer to explain the game “needed additional time for review”, and then followed up with a phone call.

The problem? It deemed that one of the enemies in the game bore an uncanny resemblance to a certain popular internet meme.

“The Apple rep at first asked me what the purpose of the app was supposed to be,” Pixel Brain’s Steve Hunn told Eurogamer in an email. “I didn’t understand what she was getting at and said something along the lines of ‘its just a game – I want people to play it’.

“She then asked me if I knew about Pedobear. I quickly put two and two together but played dumb so I could hear her explain it to me. She basically said that the combination of the game’s (original) icon and one of the submitted screenshots plus the title ‘Childhood’s End’ made someone along the review chain think that the game might be a recruiting tool for paedophiles(!).”

The game’s title is rather ominous, though.

  1. McCullough says:

    “The game’s title is rather ominous, though.’

    Except for anyone who has read Childhoods End by Arthur C. Clark. The book however, is very ominous.

    Good video BTW.

  2. Peppeddu says:

    It sounds so idiotic that the only possible explanation I can give is that this thing is a publicity stunt.

    • msbpodcast says:

      You don’t know how fucking stupid and destructive lawyers and accountants can be.

      This is no stunt. Some ass-wipe was racking up billable hours thinking up this shit.

  3. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    I’m confused. What again are we supposed to think about?

    Ha, ha. All I can think of is Pedro riding his donkey. Would PedoBear approve?

    Nice little history lesson though. I thought of PedoBear as a “warning” that pron was present–missing the context that it was somehow “approved” by the deviant sub culture and more specifically about under age pron? I still don’t apply that to Hentai images. What “age” is a cartoon? How old is Pedro? His donkey?????

    Details………not necessary.

    Whats wrong with attractive pedophiles to a game that has nothing to do with pedophilia??? Let them waste their time.

  4. sargasso_c says:

    Parents can rest in the confidence that Apple has invested in their child’s well being and safety. Little Johnny can chase zombies with a chainsaw and drive cars into pedestrians, in complete safety.

    • Cursor_ says:

      And best of all while their little suburban urchins are safe and warm the third world ones can loot through mountains of computer hazardous waste by Apple and others risking their own lives for a bit of this and that to eek out enough money for some food.



  5. Cap'nKangaroo says:

    “And sometimes a cigar is just a good smoke”

  6. Anonymous says:

    This could be another great example of how the “Nanny State” mentality is increasing everywhere. It’s a good example of how not just government but how big business also wants to impose more stupid rules (laws).

    Here we have a stupid cartoon or cartoon-like character. It had a questionable past that was the result of ONE PERSON! This person or small group of people took a cartoon character and used it to do something revolting/disgusting, possibly even illegal with regard to pedophilia. So, do we as a society punish that person or group of people for what they did? Answer: No! (You can thank liberal thinking for this perversion of common sense too, but that’s another argument). Instead, we outlaw the CARTOON! We ban anyone wanting to use that cartoon or even something that looks similar to it because we have been BRAINWASHED! And our collective brainwashing has mostly been done by the elitist LAWYERS!

    Apple is just one more quasi authority who feels they have to also be our Nanny. They obviously think they know what’s best for society and claim it in the name of what’s best for their product(s). Of course, Apple has the right to do what they want with regard to their computers/software so it really shouldn’t surprise anyone when “they decide” what a developer or even a consumer can or can’t do. But if you look at it from a government perspective, this is nothing less than a dictatorship! Fortunately, Apple is no government.

    If anything, Apple should put a disclaimer on the product. They should INFORM us of any/all known negatives or potential negative consequences. But they should NOT ban it. That’s what a reasonable and responsible authority should do. A ban should only be necessary if it ACTUALLY endangers a persons health – not potentially.

    From day one, Apple has always been based on a dictator-like principle. Steve Jobs virtually embodied it! “You do what I / we say, or else…” is the ringing order I always hear from Apple. (Microsoft too, although it’s probably not as loud.) And it’s a damn curious thing for a company that got it’s start in a free society.

    It’s also probably no coincidence that Apple choose a “red” fruit as their logo! That logo has only been perverted with pretty colors probably to help hide the fact that it’s still “red”!

  7. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Anonymous says to punish the people using the cartoon not the cartoon.

    Cartoon images are symbols. Even “labels” if you will. Like words–we think with these images.

    We can think of other symbols that convey information. Skull and Crossbones for poison, triangle for hazmat, Cross for Jebus Walks here, fish for christians there be, and PedoBear for hardcore kiddie porn.

    At the first association of kiddie porn with the PedoBear I agree it was the people that should be punished. But once the symbol gains a secondary and well understood symbolic meaning, the reality is represents should be understood and dealt with. Nothing wrong with that. If you want child porn, you seek the label. If you want to avoid child porn, you avoid the label.

    Free people making free informed choices.

    Just the way it should be.

  8. Glenn E. says:

    This is totally asinine. It’s just a cartoon image. And not even a very good one. It’s missing a foot. What’s that about? Are they saying one footed persons are pedophiles. Why would a bear even be a pedophile? Let alone a cartoon one? It’s the stupid, exploitative media that perpetuates this garbage. Making some obscure symbol, into the next “War On..” symbol. Like some modern day swastika or hammer & sickle. The pedophiles only got this symbol, because the media attributed it to them. And without the media, it would have vanished into obscurity. But Tv ratings and sponsor money, dictates there be an exploitable cause to run with. Along with symbols to identify. So now, ANY small bear symbol is demonized as child abuse. I guess that means Hanna Barbera’s Booboo bear is forever banned too.

    This world has gone completely insane! And I use to think the 21th century would be the next Renaissance. But it’s looking more like a return to Medieval times. Spanish Inquisition anyone?


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