Apple Reverses Rejection of Kim Jong-Un Parody Game

Game depicting North Korea's leader straddling a rocket is approved for release.

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A smartphone game that depicts a cartoon version of North Korea's supreme leader, Kim Jong-Un, straddling a nuclear missile as it flies to the United States, has been approved by Apple for release.

Early in February, Apple initially blocked the game--called Little Dictator--due to an apparent contravention of its app review policy. The rejection notice cited Apple's App Store guideline 14.1, which explains: "Any App that is defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited, or likely to place the targeted individual or group in harm's way will be rejected."

However, following an appeal from developer Built Games, the App Store custodian has now reversed its decision.

Apple's call to publish the game comes amid a wider debate on whether deliberately inflammatory commercial products should be protected by freedom of speech. This subject caught national attention when Sony Pictures, just weeks before it was due to air the North Korea parody movie The Interview, was hacked by people believed to be working in Pyongyang.

Following a spate of embarrassing news articles, based on information leaked from the hack, Sony decided to cancel The Interview's planned cinema screenings. This in itself drew national criticism, even from President Barack Obama, which collectively spurred Sony to reverse its decision.

Amid this extraordinary string of events, some enterprising game developers have decided to capitalize on the brouhaha with various anti-North Korean games. Little Dictator, which is free to play on both iOS and Android devices, is a Flappy Bird clone with a North Korean-themed re-skin. It's available on Google Play and the App Store now.

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