Friday, May 1, 2009

Crashing, Controversy and other Conundrums

This turned out to be a crazy week when I thought we'd be chilling a little. There are several things going on...let's break it down, why don't we?

Dave goes to NY, Pocket God update is delayed, We hire a PR firm
So Dave took a small vacation and also got the opportunity to visit the Howard Stern show (we are both fans, so I was super jealous). In the mean time, we needed to create a new demo video for Pocket God in order to enter a mobile game competition. Now I HATE video taping me playing the game because I am a fumble fingers and if I'm taping it, it gets even worse. Dave and I then brainstormed the idea of borrowing clips from miscellaneous fan/review videos on YouTube. I spent last weekend and this week creating it while Dave was gone. Then, we decided to hire a PR firm, Triple Point, because we felt we were doing a really bad job of getting mainstream media attention. It was then decided to take the demo and shorten it down for a media release. More details on that later....

Apple Surprises us with Approval then the Crash reports
Once Apple told us that it was a simple fix on our app description that was holding up our approval, instead of taking their time, they approve it right away. Soon after, we are bombarded with reports of our app crashing! Oh, the humanity! Dave is in NY with no way to look into the issue so we are forced to hold tight. Dave returns on Thursday and busts his butt trying to reproduce the crash. He jailbreaks it, adds random stuff to it, microwaves it, throws it in a mud puddle, puts a voodoo hex on it and still it won't crash. He then does some coder thingy and is able to reproduce it and then solve it. The update was submitted this morning. And yes...the T-Rex is coming!

>> Read Dave's State of the Island here <<

And finally, the Controversy!
Then, we start reading on the internet about how Pocket God is being called degrading and racist. Read iPhone Savior's article about it here. Now we have a slightly evil sense humor and watch too much South Park, but this accusation did not thrill us. This is so far from our reality and all we were trying to do was set up a funny fantasy scenario in a tropical environment and didn't think people would read any more into it than that. But we were probably being naive since we live in San Francisco, one of the most tolerant multi-cultural cities there is...other places, not so much. It turns out we made two really big blunders...first was the stone statue, also known as Moai. This is sacred to certain Pacific Island cultures. The second was calling them "Islanders" which we thought was generic enough, but was too similar to "Pacific Islanders".

Dave engaged Elaine Howard, one of the people that wrote up the controversy and discussed some fixes. They asked to to implement some pretty major (and costly) changes that Dave discusses in the thread above. However, together, we came up with some easier alternatives. First, we stop calling them Islanders or Pygmies and use a new fictional name: Oogs with the addition of a backstory. Then we remove the Moai and replace it with a fictional octopus (or qudrapus) god statue to be used in a future story. I eagerly await the stream of comments by people who hate these ideas...but I think we ended up creating new and interesting concepts to explore! We welcome an open discussion.

48 comments:

  1. Hmmm.... I kind of like the way you created the qudrapus but i still would perfer the Moai. Its great that you guys are coming up with these ideas to keep Pocket God online, but Oogs is one of the worst names i've ever heard. Oh well *sigh* at least your not giving up.

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  2. no why give in into censorship one thing i love of this game is the funny loking statue there just people wanting to get fame out of this game. why talk now when the app been out for months/weeks. I think you should not change the statue just to please some sensitive people and if you do well i will just have to deleted the app since giving you just in into those people that i even heard.

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  3. I wasn't so happy at first, but that statue looks really nice. I think having unlockable mini-stories that give you glimpses into this world would be nice. The game is definitely large enough to make a small story out of.

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  4. God, it really pissed me off that people see a simple humorous game as offensive. Please don't change the name, islanders or pygmies. How is pocket god offensive. I just don't get it. The pygmies are just generic desert islanders. They are in cartoons all the time. Damn, political correctness has gone too far.

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  5. i will certanly continue to call them pygmys.... but i do love the new statue:D it looks exactly like something you guys would make:) i love it:D

    screw those pipl who says that it's racist! they were, are, and will allways be pygmies!

    Pocket god rocks and i hope the new update does'nt take so long to aprove, and that it won't be as many bugs and crashes as the latest one...

    there's this wierd thing I allways check when i go see the blog; if you have updated the workart of the latest episodes at the right side of the website... you haven't done it... it is still the hurricane workart... please update them!!1!:P

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  6. I don't see why anyone would care that you guys are changing the statue I meanyou always make changes and improvements on the game and sorry but that statue since it was doing nothing started making the game less fun cuz the scene never really changed until your latest update so I think making this change is fine andcool but I really hope you guys have like an Easter egg app that have tons of Easter eggs (secret cool things) like by doing sole reaal complex thing you unlock an octopus or giant squid that grabs the oogs or something like that idk it's just an idea but I think that Easter eggs would be better now since you have 3 homes now

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  7. The unfortunate thing for you guys is that no matter what you do, some group of people will be pissed. That having been said, I'm quite upset at the notion that you'd give in to people who are simply too full of themselves to see a generic game as a generic game. However, in today's litigation-happy society, I can completely understand the need to keep yourselves on solid legal ground. What really burns me is that there was no getting around this. You guys could have stood your ground, but in the end you'd either get sued, or have Apple completely remove Pocket God to save their own asses.

    Honestly, I'm not too impressed with how you've managed to put a positive spin on all this, cause, quite frankly, I already figure you guys to be creative and marketing geniuses. =) So this whole "lemonade from lemons" thing is just your speed.

    All in all, congrats on turning a potentially bad situation around, and I look forward to the next update, as always!

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  8. Hello.
    I dowloaded Pocket God in the first days of having my iPod Touch... I thought it was realy funny and both my husband and daughter loved it.
    Yesterday we read about the racist comments on the internet. For me, it is just stupid. People don't have anything better to worry about or to do with their time. Not to diminuish your work, but Pocket God it's just a game... In real life racism exists, like many other social problems, they should be concerned about those and try to solve them instead.
    Don't change anything, if they don't like it don't play it. It's just sad...
    Keep up the good work and i'm hoping to meet the t-rex soon!
    Greetings from Lisbon, Portugal!
    Cíntia

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  9. Oh man! Some people find falts with everthing! Pocket isnt racist and it will never be, but i understand u guys changing the staue and names of pygmys as u dont want ur app to be deleted and they arent really major changes. Ill be happy if u will still do a cool pupose for the statue.

    And by the way dave, i was the only person to guess that the mysterious structure was a toilet, so im a bit peeved that u say "well done to everyone" :(.

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  10. Oh and i forgot... Could we see the artwork for the next episode?!? I really like them! And by the way the t-rex lost world picture is awesome!!! :D

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  11. I don’t think it really matters if they change a few things. Actually I think that the new statue is cool cause it looks really creative and it will also come in to play on a update in the future. It doesn't really matter if the islanders name get changed either. They’ll look exactly the same and do same stuff(or maybe more?).I think that it will put even more originality and uniqueness into the game. I’m not happy though that some people how think everything is racist one, but I guess that doesn't concern me. Well I love the new statue even the new name is kinda bad I think the story will be cool. This is a great game and you guys keep the updates come in strong.

    Signed,
    DBM METALLICA RULES!!!!!!

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  12. Please don't take those few people seriously they are just doing it to get their point out. The pigmis obvioulsy are not at all like any modern man and so can not be compared to them. Also I would really hate it if you decided to remove the moai thing. It makes that island.

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  13. meh, well now I c how it could be racist, I mean, you don't wanna offend anyone.... Either way, I like the new statue better. Plus, it's not like you reference the name whenever you play the game so..... I guess I don't really care about that. Anyway, can't wait for the t Rex

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  14. WWWhattttt theeeeee fffffcccckkkkk Those idoits go pygmes

    Ps. You know you like pocket god!

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  15. I read your whole post on TouchArcade and the whole "pull it off and donate all the funds" things is totally wrong. Don't give in.
    I don't mind the changes and the name "Oogs" is quite cute, in my opinion. Much easier to type it.
    Keep up the good work.

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  16. So I guess it will be Return of the Oogs?

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  17. I don't think you should of changed anything I mean it's like they have nothing better to do than to talk smack, I mean the game isn't offensive it's fun to play I think these people talking smack just need to get laid honestly cause if they did they wouldn't be complaining about the statue and what not, and all there trying to do is feel important probablly cause there parents didn't love them, so guys just do what ya do to keep this game the stuff cause it's awfully fun to play, keep up the good work guys

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  18. oh... man I didn't think about that... will it be called "the return of the oogh"??? that sucks

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  19. So is the t Rex do the thing with the outhouse from jurassic park?
    That would be hilarious!!!!!

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  20. I actually think the oogs and the statue and the backstory is pretty cool. One problem though. I don't really play on the old island anymore because u made the new one. So maybe u could put it on the new island or something. i really like the dino update.

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  21. i agree with bluntedinthenati, those guys need to chill

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  22. Refereneces of about 7 "islanders" and 1 "pygmie" are still in itunes. I Also can still see it in the appstore on my iphone. Isnt bolt creative more then anyone suppose to be using the new name? Maybe you should call them worshippers or island inhabitants instead?
    I cant wait till the next update. Crashing FIXED, Trex, and new statue. If the statue is the one pictured in the original post, then it will be good. But how is it an octopus statue? The only down side is that it wont be out until after next FRIDAY! Apple needs to stop using the I nap at work app and expand their approvers and approval process to approve more apps!

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  23. Perhaps you can call them pocket people?

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  24. This is ridiculous!!!People are just to sensitive. Political correctness is ruining everything.Why dont you stop whinning long enough to find some common sense. I would just ignore it if i was u guys. Dont give in to their crap. But i do like the idea of a backstory. Sounds cool

    P.S. Oogs is possibly the worst new name you could find. You guys have such great imaginations,im sure you could come up with something better

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  25. PLEASE KEEP MY BUD OOGACHAKA (STAUTE HEAD) or just make it so that we can apply whatever image we want there so we can get back OOGACHAKA.

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  26. Wow, you guys are saints! After reading all the hupla about Pocket God being racist, I nearly had a cow, and I only play the game. I can't imagine how you guys held it together and didn't blow a gasket!

    Well done. I'm really pleased that you were able to work out a solution that wouldn't kill your development timeline. I look forward to each update, dying to see what you guys will come up with next.

    Thanks for keeping the game alive and the hordes happy.

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  27. The new statue rocks!
    "international Pacific Women's Information Network" doesnt like it I see... wait.. I thought all the oogs are men? >>
    I personally would not care if the islanders where all white men(like me xD). I would actually think it's funny!
    I think the T-rex update might kill what they say about them being pacific islanders. T-rex+human-like-things=Fiction.
    Can't wait!(hopefully all the fuss will get pocket god more sales so we can get more updates :D)

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  28. Jeez louise people!! Ok well the comment someone made about deleting pg because of the statue change made me laugh. It does suck that people can't just see pg as a fun no-harm-done app but you both as the creators have to do what you have to do, even if it means making pg more unique (not conforming to the crazy people who get offened easily). The new statue is amazing btw. Ha ha the grass under the tenticals kinda makes it look like it has really crazy arm pit hairs. And the new name for the islanders is nice and simple. Good enough. If you guys do find time to think of smething better then yay.... but it's good enough.

    You guys are amazing and I can't wait for this next update!!! :) keep up the hard work.

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  29. The Oog name,the new quadrapus god, backstory sounds cool. but i have some ideas for that new statue: if you can rotate the head and point it at the left side of the island and tap the ruby in its forehead, goo will come from the mouth and cover an oog and that goo is acid so the oog will melt...
    i hope that the backstory is comic-like just what i have suggested before...

    to all people who are saying that they shouldnt change the statue and the name:
    if they dont change it pocket god will be erased from the app store for good.

    ps: you KNOW you like pocket god!

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  30. Oh and as a suggestion you guys should make the statue eat the islanders.... Sneak up behind one of them fishing or gazing in awe at the sun set and have the statue's tounge snatch them up and eat them and have the islanders closest to snatched islander look confused... Lol idk just an idea =)

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  31. Have a secret setting that you press some random spot on the name select screen, and you can toggle on and off between the quadrapus and the "Moai." The octopus looks cool, but I like the Moai better. Aren't they only on Easter Island, and how many people live on Easter Island?
    It's like animal rights speakers saying that it is bad to put in Pocket God that sharks attack people. (Which they usually don't) We don't see them complaining, do we? It's just an entertainment app! Not even a game! Why do these people see so many problems with just naming the islanders pygmies and having a stone statue? the statue doesn't even do anything yet! Make a back story for the statue! Say it washed up from halfway around the world, or something like that! Would they be happy then?

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  32. You know what I like the new statue and it would be better if you can make an earthquake 3 times and the statue would fall down causing Keaken to show up and eat all the Oogs

    And the name could be better

    Keep up the good work

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  33. Ok, so:

    Backstory: Good!

    New Statue: Good!

    New name: BAD!

    I really don't like Oogs. It's too bad "islander" and "pygmy" are offensive. I just got back from the dictionary, and I have some suggestions! Let's make it funny, something that refers to the island--oops, "Oog"'s personality or likeness.

    How about "Pipice?" or "Pipici? or "Pici?" It would be a play on PC, or Pollitically Correct. Hehehe!

    What about "Pipili?" or "Pili?" It would be a play on "Pili", meaning hair coming together, like at the top of the Pyg--I mean "Oog".

    Or maybe "Pipuny?" Obviously, a play on "puny".

    What do you guys think? I think we should find a word that counts as an inside joke, and sounds at least a little like "Pygmy".

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  34. @Simon Witton's quote, "
    And by the way dave, i was the only person to guess that the mysterious structure was a toilet, so im a bit peeved that u say "well done to everyone" :(."

    uhh... do you go on toucharcade? I and many, MANY other people guessed it was an outhouse. Please, do your research before making false claims.

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  35. guys, in the toucharcade post dave says it will stay "return of the pygmy" (not in original post, but after a bunch of comments)

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  36. @Simon Witton

    I knew it was an outhouse as well, because it said holding it in b4 the update was released. I was discussing it on Feint.

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  37. I'll certainly miss Tiki, which is my personal name for the statue. He was so cool, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I always thought of him as a counter god, much more benevolent than us. If you pissed him off, he could get angry, his eyes would glow red, and he'd kick you of the app. But that's just my idea.

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  38. omg!
    dont change anything
    i dont see how its racist!

    i mean what are people saying... "hey dont make fun of my great great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great greatgreat great great cave man islander pygmy grandfather!

    that is just stupid

    (but i do like the new statue)

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  39. Well, i was the only one who rote it on here! LOL. And no i don't look at the real arcade comments, just the reports!

    I guess i owe dave an apology. Sorry man! :)

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  40. Well


    Oogs= stupid

    Statue= alright 50%/50%

    Story= just plain ridiculos!
    I mean when pocket god started out it was simple and funny But adding a story line! Cmon u can do better. Im beginning to wonder why i bought the app in the first place. I am not hapy about this.

    P.s. Now you have to change it to return of the oog.

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  41. hey guys,

    Episode 16 has been leaked in touch arcarde! I wish i didnt see it... Now there is no more thrill because now i now yhe new icon and the trex whats going to look like...

    Its on page 14....

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  42. I wouldn't even bother changing anything if I were you. Some people just can't sit back and laugh. Giving into them is really harmful and allows them to march forward with their big mouths and anti-fun agendas.

    Sorry that you had such a rough week. I hope next week is better for you guys. Keep it up!

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  43. some people just suck some times and have to ruin everyone else's fun. i will miss the old island statue and will probably still call them islanders, but i will stand by Pocket God no matter what! you guys do what you have to do!!!

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  44. The only thing they proved by opting to change those 'racist' objects is that Pacific islanders don't have a sense of humor.

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  45. I think the islanders should be called Joojoops instead of oogs...

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  46. I can't beleive that people are saying pocket god is racist. People now a days have nothing better to do then to complain and ruin the good plain fun for the rest of us. Some people need to learn how to grow up. Anyway that's just my 2 cents

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  47. wow...looks like you got dragged into the baby shake fiasco after all. i guess these people think that if we flick pygmies into volcanoes on a game we'll be more inclined to flick people into volcanoes in real life....you know...if that was even possible. one of these days i'd like to see all these over sensitive people go out and solve some real issues... i applaud you for doing what needed to be done to keep pocket god out there while not completely changing the game. it just seems odd that even tho the obvious basis for the characters are long extinct ancient pygmy tribes you can still be racist...guess dead is a race now...have fun finding victims for a court case, i got a few at the museum but i think after 500 years you'll find them to be less than talkative. oh well, keep those updates coming but be carefull, the People Upholding Sapien Superiority in Evolutionary Science (i'll let you put the acronym together in your head) may take offence to you showing a T-Rex alive and well eating people.

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  48. Hi there while playing pocket god i came across not what you would call a crash but more of a glitch in the game. You see when ever i have the islanders on the new island and i have all 6 islanders alive (I'm saying 6 because it is much easier to happen with 6), when one goes in the bathroom and one is waiting out side ,if there is another islander standing next to the one waiting, when i make the one in the BR come out the one not waiting goes in first and then the one waiting goes in. and then when they come out the one that wasn't waiting doesn't come out instead he disappears and only his name tag is left next to the BR and this can be done multiple times until only 2 islanders are left. I'm not sure if this is just me but this may be some thing you and dave might want to look into so maybe you can get this fixed my the next update. Thanks for an awesome game and keep up the good work.

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