Mac Format - - APPLE OPINION -

Every­body’s get­ting angry about a work of art.

Have App Store re­view­ers gone in­sane?

Ev­ery gen­er­a­tion reck­ons that the world is go­ing to hell in a hand­cart, but we might be right this time: the world is clearly get­ting dumber and more dan­ger­ous. Just read the com­ments on any YouTube clip what­so­ever, search Twit­ter for “Kar­dashian” or look at the reviews on Ap­ple’s OS X and iOS app stores.

App stores are of­ten full of id­iocy, with apps get­ting slated be­cause they don’t work on the beta of an OS that won’t be re­leased for months. But some­thing even more sad is hap­pen­ing, and right now it’s hap­pen­ing to Mon­u­ment Val­ley.

If you’re not fa­mil­iar with Mon­u­ment Val­ley, it’s an as­ton­ish­ing thing: it’s a game with an in­cred­i­ble visual aes­thetic and an emo­tional heft that took me by sur­prise.

This game is a work of art, and it’s also the win­ner of a well-de­served Ap­ple de­sign award, and an ab­so­lute steal: the de­vel­oper was sell­ing it for just £2.49. And then some­thing ter­ri­ble hap­pened. The de­vel­oper added eight new lev­els as an in-app pur­chase and charged £1.49 for them.

I know what you’re think­ing. “One pound forty-nine for eight lev­els of beauty and truth and art and stuff? What a bunch of idiots!”


That’s what they’re say­ing on the App Store, where Mon­u­ment Val­ley is get­ting ham­mered with sin­gle-star reviews.

The re­view by Jared S – I think the S stands for “Stoopid” – is sadly typ­i­cal. “What was a 5-star rat­ing has been de­stroyed by the ridicu­lous prices smashed in the faces of the hope­ful,” he writes, con­ced­ing that while “I know they worked hard on th­ese lev­els” the ex­tras are “not worth of an ex­tra $2.” Jared says it’s “an all-time low” and that a game that was “beau­ti­ful and ef­fort­less… be­came one of the most dis­gust­ing things I have ever ex­pe­ri­enced.”

It’s easy to mock such hy­per­bole, but Jared isn’t un­usual. The var­i­ous on­line stores are packed with whiny reviews from peo­ple with an as­ton­ish­ing sense of en­ti­tle­ment, and that’s fright­en­ing for any­body who works or plans to work in any kind of cre­ative in­dus­try – and given the links be­tween Ap­ple and cre­ative in­dus­tries, that means a lot of us.

The prob­lem with peo­ple like Jared is that while they may be young and stoopid now, they’ll grow up and be­come older and stoopid – and there’s a good chance their con­tempt for cre­atives’ ef­forts will live on. We’re fac­ing a fu­ture that knows the price of ev­ery­thing and the value of noth­ing.

On­line stores are packed with whiny reviews from peo­ple with an as­ton­ish­ing sense of en­ti­tle­ment

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