On May 5th, Manitoba Games released a smartphone app by the name of Weed Firm. Less than three weeks later, the app had received over 5000 reviews on iTunes, with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, and had shot to the top of the charts on Apple’s App Store.
An indie game developer finds success in the market, iTunes receives a flood of customers downloading the wildly popular app – win/win, right? Apparently not, since just yesterday Apple pulled Weed Firm from its App Store with no explanation to its fans, or its developers.
The same game was also pulled from the Android networks and the Google Play market, though Manitoba is confident that with a few minor adjustments, Weed Firm will resurface on all platforms.
The game is admittedly pushing the boundaries of entertainment, and is clearly marked for a 17+ year old audience. In Weed Firm, you take on the role of the neighborhood cannabis grower and/or dealer. Stereotypical characters come and go, offering everything from cash for grass, threats of violence, or overboard sexual innuendo. Leveling up offers the user a happy rasta-fied lion head saying “Level Complete Bro”, along with a lit joint at the bottom of the screen.
A developer’s disclaimer attached to the game states, “The creators of this game do not encourage the cultivation or use of cannabis. The plot of this game is solely a work of fiction and should be viewed only as such.”
Additionally, the Apple Store initially justified its 17+ rating for the App due to “frequent/intense alcohol, tobacco or drug use or references” and “frequent/intense mature/suggestive themes”.
So, apparently Apple had previewed the game when originally rating it, but only after its immediate success did they somehow deem it unfit for the Store. Further confusing the matter is the fact that other weed-selling simulators and weed-related apps exist, and are still available on the App Store.
The game’s developer, Manitoba Games, released a hilarious statement yesterday in response to the sudden ghosting of their #1 game, saying, “As you might have noticed the game is no longer available on the Apple App Store. This was entirely Apple’s decision, not ours. We guess the problem was that the game was just too good and got to number one in All Categories, since there are certainly a great number of weed based apps still available, as well as games promoting other so-called ‘illegal activities’ such as shooting people, crashing cars and throwing birds at buildings.”
Their hilarious Angry Birds smack down at the end perfectly underscores the petty and discriminatory scrutiny that is given to all things marijuana-related in our society while ignoring, or even applauding, the glorification of truly sociopathic behavior.