Open Thread: Should Apple code their OSes to block video games that glorify guns and murder?

Now that Apple has removed the rifle and handgun emoji from iOS (they have offered up a green plastic toy squirt gun), an interesting question has been raised via email by multiple MacDailyNews readers who mentioned such games as Hatred, among many others.

Basically, the question boils down to this:

Following their emoji changes, should Apple next code their operating systems (macOS, iOS, tvOS) to block their ability to run video games that glorify guns and murder?

HATRED Gameplay Trailer (NSFW, Contains Content Inappropriate for Children):


Apple jumps the shark by removing the handgun emoji; Gun owners might want to reconsider buying Apple’s products – August 3, 2016
Apple removes handgun emoji, replaces it with a squirt gun – August 1, 2016
Apple’s politics may be hurting its brand – June 29, 2016
Apple quashes rifle Emoji – June 20, 2016
Apple CEO Steve Jobs: ‘I’m going to just stay away from all that political stuff’ – August 25, 2004


    1. That game trailer.

      wow. Sick shit. Why the hell would someone make a game like that? I mean obviously, no, Apple shouldn’t be censoring anything. They’re completely out of line with the stupid emoji, but censoring entire games, that might actually end Apple.

      I know that I would move to PC at that point and encourage others to do so. Never mind all the facts that show guns do not cause violence, nor pictures of guns, nor pictures and so on, Apple would have crossed the line they’re standing on now.

      1. I agree with everything you stated above. I am mildly disturbed by Apple’s political and social activism of late, but would have to seriously consider changing platforms if Apple decided it was in the Nanny business. The emoji editing is a stupid step in that direction. Let’s hope it ends there.

  1. Learn to be a parent, don’t want a game like hatred on your Mac? Don’t buy it…
    Don’t rely on others to make choices for you. Or your children.

    Games don’t make people want to go out and kill others, people that desire to kill others… Go out and kill others.

    1. The thing is, an emoji can be part of a message to threaten or intimidate someone. A gun oriented video game is pretty much in your own space that should be under your own control.

      That said, Apple is inconsistent, but they always have been and have seemed to err on the side of over-control. Remember how useless EWorld was. It was Empty because it was over-controlled and no fun.

      1. What about the RACIAL emojis? They can be used for racial comments… Apple needs to just ban all emojis except smiley faces. Wait they are all yellow… They can be used as a racist attack also.

        They put in gay emojis… They can be used both ways as well. Apple needs to remove them as well.

        Apple just went down a “moral” path they can’t win. Whatever argument they use for removing the pistol emoji (I didn’t even know there is a rifle one?) can be turned against them for allowing other emojis to stay that can also be used for racial/bigoted/sexual/violent/etc attacks.

        And as others have said, zero connection between violent games and actual violence.
        There have been videos of prominent anti violent game people.. Sit down and play games like GTA on camera after bashing the game… Having a BLAST playing it, randomly shooting people, cops, running over people etc. laughing and having a great time saying that it was fun, then saying nobody should be able to play games like that. (While grabbing the controller for another round) none of those people went on to kill anyone.

        I’ve seen nasty on screen deaths in horror/action movies that are way worse than anything in a game… Ban violent movies from being viewed on apple devices first…

  2. Should they then also block racially charged lyrics in rap music? Guns in movies?

    Matt Damon thinks guns are bad. His movies? Guns.
    Leo DiCaprio flies private planes around the world to talk about climate change.

    __________ is a mental disorder.

    1. Interesting points.

      Presumably DiCaprio buys carbon credits which is a perfectly good (capitalistic market) solution to any pollution problem. Emitting CO2 is not harmful, its emitting without some balanced reduction.

      Also, we have rape, guns, murders, family abuse, wars, and all kinds of abhorrent things in the stories we tell in movies, books, etc. I don’t think a story that includes bad things is the same thing as being for/against something in real life.

      1. There are certain cultures where their lives mimic their art – leaps and bounds beyond what we would call normal or average.

        I’ll leave it at that. Fill in your own blanks.

      2. Carbon credits are a con game. Only a knucklehead buys those. And only a self-righteous douchebag thinks carbon credits can cancel out his flagrant hypocrisy on the environment and CO2.

        1. I have to agree. Your cynical take is exactly right. Still, TAKE the goddamn money, which helps somebody somewhere, and let the douchebags think whatever they want. This system works better than doing absolutely nothing. So what if some hypocrites get to brag that they helped the environment? They helped the environment.

      1. No there isn’t there ether, and as I said on that thread it might actually be a bug. Don’t jump to conclusions without complete information and never assign malice what can be explained by incompetence.

  3. Well, from Apple’s POV, if a cartoon emoji is so bad, obviously things like Hatred are far, far worse and must also now be banned from view.

    Now, about iTunes Store movies and music… Ooh, wait, that’s sacred Hollywood Liberal ground and there’s a lot more money in movies and music than in emoji so the hypocrite Tim Cook would never, ever tread there.

    Tim Cook is a hypocrite.

    1. Not defending Apple’s decision but:

      Violence in a story (movie or book or music) is not the same as promoting it.

      And high levels of realistic violence in movies are restricted from children or marked explicit, whereas children have free access to all emoji.

      So your arguments don’t make sense.

      However, I agree which your conclusion that removing the gun seems uncalled for. The real gun emoji has not been identified with any problem in any circumstance I am aware of.

  4. There’s a real question here that goes way beyond the obvious hatred here of Tim Cook. We went through this in the 1950s with the ban on “immoral” comic books and the creation of the Comics Code. We went through this in the 1970s with the creation of the voluntary movie ratings system (to forestall government censorship).

    You either believe in free speech, or you don’t.
    You either believe in artistic expression, or you don’t.
    You either believe in personal responsibility, or you don’t.

    That said, there need to be SOME limits (the classic, “You can’t shout FIRE in a crowded theater”).

    Banning emojis is silly, and Apple deserves the bad press, if it was their call, and not the international emoji commission (or whatever it’s called). Banning books and movies is far more serious, and should never be done. But banning hate speech and online threats? That’s far more of a gray area.

    What about violent video games? And violent virtual reality scenarios (where the violence will look and sound ultra real)? For every person who gets a thrill out of Grand Theft Auto, how will you feel about an ultra-real game of “Kill the Cop”? Or “Assassinate The President”? Or a videogame version of the movie “Saw”, where you get to be the torturer??

    These sorts of questions are WAY beyond my pay grade, but someone will have to figure it out sooner or later.

    1. To some this might seem like a tempest in a teacup but it isn’t, not really. It’s healthy to talk openly about matters of social control. That’s the gift of democracy, and is something to cherish even though it taxes our emotional restraint.

      My input – videogames and comic books and movies and books and songs are fundamentally the same. Banning any of them abridges free speech.

      They may, however, be regulated through some form of social compact, to keep certain things out of the hands of children and wrongdoers.

      Here, we are debating whether a single cartoon symbol carries as much weight as the “unhealthy” horror comics of the 1950s, or “obscene” books like Tropic of Cancer, or “immoral” games like Grand Theft Auto.

      I think yes. They all convey a “dangerous” message. 🌪☕️

    2. So you argued both sides, in the end you agree that limits are necessary? One who believes in democracy would say those limits should be established by democratic process and clearly documented in law that can be taught and objectively enforced. A capitalist with no scruples would demand the freedom to race to the bottom.

      I think Apple’s inconsistent moves show internal struggle to allow profitable violence while pandering to Cook’s personal lib friends. In doing so Apple annoys both camps as well as the world of potential Apple customers who long for the day when Apple implements comprehensive parental controls and leaves it to them to police what their children see and do.

      1. Honey Badger – Limits ARE necessary. Banning books, music, movies, video games and other sorts of artistic expression is ALWAYS wrong. But limiting access based on age is a workable compromise.

        But new technologies — particularly immersive, “virtual” realms — are a fundamental shift from passive to active participation. How, or if, to control this content is a question I can’t begin to answer.

  5. No they should not, Apple is not the ‘moral police’ and if they go down that road I’ll dump the entire platform and I’m sure I’m not alone in that line of thinking.

  6. What about the majority of the Hip-Hop music on iTunes/Apple Music?

    The violence, misogyny and homophobia can stay because iTunes/Apple Music profits heavily from it?

    It’s ok to hire Dr. Dre as a senior executive following the Beats acquisition because his past criminal record and battery charges against women pale in comparison to the profits he’ll bring in?

  7. I think Roy Rogers should have had his guns taken away. That insidious Leonard Slye with his singin’ cowboys while shootin’ up bad guys…and that whöre of his, Dale on ol’ Buttermilk…SPCA should have saved Bullet and Trigger (TRIGGER!, my God!) too.

    Don’t even get me started on that rat bastard, John Wayne.

    1. I beg your pardon, Dale Evans was not a whore. She was the brains of the bunch. She wrote the theme song Happy Trails. Roy spent most of his time driving Nellybelle because he had hemorrhoids and couldn’t sit on a horse for long.

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