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Baby Shaker was the hottest new video game for the iPhone, until Apple changed its mind and deigned it offensive, removing it from the App Store.  (Source: YouTube)
Apple appears very confused when it comes to baby shaking

When it comes to iPhone apps, Apple has received bad press aplenty for its policy of strictly regulating the application market.  From competitive browsers to "offensive" apps like a South Park app, the iPhone App Store may have millions of apps, but is still relatively closed.

However, Apple is in the unusual situation this time around for being in hot water for an app it approved.  Apple approved an interesting title -- Baby Shaker -- on the App Store Monday.  This video game, authored by Sikalosoft, looked to channel the inner English au pair in some people, making shaking a baby (as the name implies) into a videogame.

The game consisted of multiple levels.  Each level had a drawing of a baby, which crying loudly.  You would shake the phone until the baby stopped crying and red X's appeared over its eyes (apparently signifying the baby's death).  The app was available from Monday to Wednesday night for $0.99.

Child advocacy groups pitched a fit, demanding Apple remove the app and stating unequivocally that killing babies was unacceptable.  Apple caved in, ruling that there is no longer a place in the world for Baby Shaker.  However, many are noting the curiousness that the company, which is usually so strict with offensive content (like the South Park app) would approve the app in the first place.

As some are pointing out, Apple's iTunes store sells some music which could be designed as highly offensive, with lyrics featuring sexually explicit content, violence, racism, homophobic remarks, strong language, and stories of criminal behavior.

However, as in the past, while other mediums like music and art may deal in the same themes, video games receive the most controversy.  From Wii Beer Pong to the Columbine video game, video game developers' creative licenses have often led to confrontations with the moral opinions of many in society.

You can view a video of Baby Shaker here, and decide for yourself whether it should have be banned.

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By Moishe on 4/23/2009 9:28:10 AM , Rating: -1
I'm torn on this one. Sure shaking actual babies or killing people, babies, even animals for fun or rage... well that's all bad stuff.

But this is a frakin video game for peessake! It mgiht be sick humor, but some of the best stuff is sick humor. Hell, how do the Tarantino movies become so popular? It's because some of us love the twisted dialog and violence.


RE: geeez
By Fanon on 4/23/2009 11:15:13 AM , Rating: 3
I don't see the humor.

How about an app where you hang black people, shoot Mexicans crossing the border, beat gays with a bat, shove Jews into gas chambers, or feed Christians to lions? I guess those could be labeled as "sick humor" too, and thus would be just fine to you. It's just a frakkin video game, after all.

RE: geeez
By HackSacken on 4/23/2009 11:37:17 AM , Rating: 3
The humor isn't there for me either.

However, you can beat prostitutes in GTA (humorous for me). Maybe a bad comparison, but either way, still a fine line nonetheless.

RE: geeez
By Moishe on 4/23/2009 2:18:48 PM , Rating: 4
I don't see the humor in beating prostitutes... The problem is that it's harmless. Shaking a phone that has a picture of a 3D baby on it is not evil or wrong. We can't equate it to race (hanging blacks, etc) because general violence doesn't hold the same taboo.

If you're gonna say it's sick to shake a video game baby til it dies, then it's EQUALLY as sick to beat a video game hooker. Wanton violence is wanton violence. Apple better remove ALL violent video games so that they're fair.

RE: geeez
By AstroCreep on 4/23/2009 5:54:23 PM , Rating: 2
Hookers are people too, ya know...

RE: geeez
By peritusONE on 4/23/09, Rating: -1
RE: geeez
By Fanon on 4/23/2009 12:17:19 PM , Rating: 2
Last time I checked, babies aren't in their own race or sexual preference classification.

Correct, but babies are a group of people who are completely and totally dependent on other people to survive. Shaking a baby for the expressed reason of killing her is no different than killing someone of a specific race or creed for the same reason.

But let me guess, you don't use the ol' "jews and gas chambers" analogy when it comes to shooting adults in GTA.

Nope. Adults are only slightly different than babies.

What if the game was centered around shaking teenagers? Would you be as upset?

Nope. See reason above.

RE: geeez
By adiposity on 4/23/2009 1:13:53 PM , Rating: 2
Correct, but babies are a group of people who are completely and totally dependent on other people to survive.


Shaking a baby for the expressed reason of killing her is no different than killing someone of a specific race or creed for the same reason.


I'm having trouble following your logic--babies are the equivalent to racial/religious groups because they are helpless?

If anything, baby shaking is universal. We were all babies, most people will have babies, and babies are a necessary part of our existence as a species. None of these things can be said about specific racial or religious groups. Additionally, babies are one of the most cared-for and protected groups in almost all societies. So a game that mistreats them is pretty different from one that encourages hate against a certain race or religion, which might play into biases that already cause crimes and mistreatment.


RE: geeez
By phxfreddy on 4/23/2009 5:45:00 PM , Rating: 1
GeeSuss more believers in THOUGHT CRIMES.

Let's see...we should give people lighter sentences because they really liked who they kilt !

You see you bought the premises all of you on "hate crimes"....generally people hate who the freakin kill. So give em death 2 times!

RE: geeez
By ayat101 on 4/24/2009 4:03:15 AM , Rating: 2
Nah... not really... sometimes it is just business :)

RE: geeez
By adiposity on 4/24/09, Rating: 0
RE: geeez
By omnicronx on 4/23/09, Rating: 0
RE: geeez
By Moishe on 4/23/2009 2:21:43 PM , Rating: 2
So it's be wrong to make a video game where you shake crippled or old people until they die because they are helpless?

Now you're splitting hairs. If video game killing is bad, then it's bad. No more Doom, BattleField, or any other violent video games for you!

RE: geeez
By Moishe on 4/23/2009 2:19:23 PM , Rating: 2
Oh no, don't bring up logical comparisons... none of that.

hush you! :)

RE: geeez
By munky on 4/23/09, Rating: 0
RE: geeez
By nvalhalla on 4/23/2009 1:34:43 PM , Rating: 1
Those would be fine by me. It doesn't hurt real people so I don't care. It's a video game. If it is tasteless, so be it, I won't play it. I find lots of things to be tasteless, MTV for example, so I don't consume those media. If it's so tasteless no one likes it then it won't sell. I'm not about to tell people what is ok to make a video game/movie/book/song about.

RE: geeez
By nvalhalla on 4/23/2009 1:36:35 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, Munky and I had the same opinion. We even used similar examples. Kinda creepy...

RE: geeez
By omnicronx on 4/23/2009 1:35:42 PM , Rating: 2
I find it kind of funny, but its not something I would continually play (or pay for in the first place), but if someone showed it to me, I would probably laugh a bit.

Its not like you see the babies neck or back break onscreen, or anything happen to the baby at all for that matter. That I would find offensive, but red x's around the eye's is not exactly the worst thing in the world, I see worse on TV during prime time every night...

RE: geeez
By mattclary on 4/23/2009 2:25:31 PM , Rating: 2
Those are all hate crimes, thus legally protected from being humorous. Babies aren't an officially recognized minority, so killing them, while frowned upon, can be the source for much humor.

This was an attempt at humor.

RE: geeez
By TBottch on 4/23/2009 4:07:43 PM , Rating: 2
Well there goes 5 of my six ideas for apps.... Just kidding personally I think this is in very poor taste.

RE: geeez
By AstroCreep on 4/23/2009 6:01:47 PM , Rating: 2
You should pitch those ideas to the creators of Postal.

RE: geeez
By callmeroy on 4/23/2009 1:42:16 PM , Rating: 2
This is wrong and Apple is stupid for ever even allowing it temporarily.

Here's why --

Short Version: Babies and young kids are off limits, as they have not yet grasped the reasoning ability to make their own decisions based on moral guidance. In short - they are completely innocent.

Long Version: First for me my own sense of moral values is all I need to tell the difference between a computer game with shaking a baby isn't right while at the same time I can play a game where I blow adults up (see short version for part of "why" I think this way).

In your average game there is some kind of mission or intended storyline which provides for the "fantasy" of the game world... Be in you are playing a wanna be gangster trying to build your reputation and power, a soldier on some top secret mission, a race car driver, a space explorer, etc. etc. They are clear goals that take us away from our real life (unless you are a gangster who kills people, a soldier on a top secret mission, race car driver, etc...) and allow us to pretend to be something we never would do in the real world because of things like KNOWING IT WOULD BE WRONG, it would be against the law or something we just wouldn't cut it doing (like being a secret agent). However, the illusion is created and therefore we clearly know it doesn't mimic our actual life or most people's actual lives for that matter.

Conversely, what's the goal or story to a baby shaker game? There is none -- its simply....shake the baby. There's no fantasy world there's no escape from reality -- there's no disconnect from something being fake or real.

This is just how I rationalize these things....just like I wouldn't play a game where you shoved Jews into ovens, or lynch Black Americans....but I'd have no problem blow the head off a terrorist in a game, and no moral conscience of kill baddies trying to take over the world.

If you really need this much explaination to know right and wrong - you are a very disturbed individual.

RE: geeez
By Jcfili on 4/23/09, Rating: 0
RE: geeez
By callmeroy on 4/23/2009 3:30:17 PM , Rating: 1
This is just RETARDED!!! .... It's just a game and the game its not even realistic!!! just X's on the babies face!!! Whats going on with the world ??

Oh the irony in your expressed view point there....for you to end with "What's going on with the world??".....

Its not retarded --- of course its just a game, but that is EXACTLY the point at least I was making and I assumed others were making who are against the app as well --- today there are no lines drawn more, everyone is just "do whatever you want....." --- there is no shock value anymore, nothing offends the majority -- less and less is off topic or out of bounds.

Complete de-sensitization is one of the key down falls of modern society.

I wash things off my shoulder too --- but its always with perspective. The whole mindset and everyone who shares the mindset of -- "do whatever you want, its cool...its not real after all..." Is what's wrong with the world.

It has nothing to do with being uptight, it has nothing to do with folks being "retarded", etc. It has everything to do with a healthy perspective on right and wrong. In this case maybe I should say tasteful and tasteless.

Easiest way to get the feeling I'm talking about --- picture your child looking over your shoulder while you are playing this game? If your honest answer is "so what"....then please reply that its so what -- then I'll know to never ever bother to put any weight into any comment you ever make again. On any subject.

RE: geeez
By ClownPuncher on 4/23/2009 3:51:30 PM , Rating: 2
How do you know what the downfall of modern society is? I think EVERYONE agrees that the game is tastless, but being tastless is a choice that people can make if they want. I personally think the downfall of modern society will be from people imposing their own set of morals on others.

If you think it is going to make people go out and harm children, then I dont know what to tell you, other than WTF?? People who shake babies are already effed up in the head, a cartoony game is not going to indoctrinate a generation of people into baby murdering wack jobs.

RE: geeez
By smackababy on 4/23/2009 4:19:11 PM , Rating: 2
You can't be serious. You are advocating censorship. Just because you don't like it, doesn't mean it should be banned. I don't like gay porn, but I don't cry that it exists.

Do I respond "so what" to your question? Nope. I respond with "Learn to be a parent and enforce some morals and guidence."

What's going on in this world when you have to force me to not enjoy things you don't like because you can't be responsible enough to keep it away from your children or simply explain why it is "bad" or "wrong"?

Everyone against this game might as well be against every book, movie, song, video game that has ever dealt with violence towards children. Go ahead and burn down the library and board up the internet while you're at it.

RE: geeez
By mindless1 on 4/24/2009 6:31:59 PM , Rating: 2
If you can't discern the difference between this game and burning down a library and boarding up the internet, odds are good you can't discern the difference between play-acting violence against children and the real thing.

The reason why we frown upon trash like this is there are too many people in the world who, despite what you or I /think/ they should and shouldn't do, are going to act irresponsibly then place the blame on someone else. Like it or not that does effect other people, innocent people.

It's easy to throw around the word censorship but there are worse things than your ideal of 0% censorship. This game is not an important idea being suppressed, not a statement of rights or individuality, it has no useful purpose whatsoever.

Yell "fire" in a crowded theater when there isn't one and find out why a minimal level of restraint is needed.

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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