What a difference a letter makes: change “smuggle” to “snuggle” and the game about taking clandestine immigrants across the border becomes…a game about cuddly creatures escaping the wilderness for the comfort of a zoo, where they are provided plenty of food, shelter and “state of the art healthcare.”
The developers of Smuggle Truck changed the name and graphics to Snuggle Truck to gain Apple approval for sale in iTunes.
This is the absurd journey of game “Smuggle Truck: Operation Immigration” from Boston company Owlchemy Labs which had tongues wagging for months before it was even ready for submission into the iTunes store.
In the original, players navigate through what looks like the U.S.-Mexican border. As the truck drives over cliffs, mountains and dead animals, immigrants fall off the truck bed. Scores were calculated by the number of immigrants helped into the U.S.
This may be one case where too much press proved to be bad press, there were over 500 articles about Smuggle Truck in just a few weeks.
The developers are making the best of it by offering the original Smuggle Truck for sale in Mac and PC versions, as they explain in the video below.
The real problem? Once again, Apple’s lack of a clear policy about what is suitable for sale in iTunes and what isn’t.
As a few of our readers pointed out, a similar game called “Jose Comes to USA” has been available since January. It’s a more light-hearted take but the premise is similar:
Jose, a good Mexican kid, meets the love of his life Penny, a beautiful gringuita, on the Internet.. But when Penny invites Jose to her prom, the love story goes south as Jose decides to go north! The immigration officer in charge turns out to be none other than Penny’s father and he unjustly denies Jose entrance to USA…
Should Apple have approved the original Smuggle Truck?