In this modern world we have grown immensely separate from the means of production whether it be from where we get our coffee, our gasoline, our food, everything. A Macbook represents a deeply complex intersection of numerous workforces and cultures that is not always visible to the American public. Consumers today are not usually aware of the unethical and corrupt business practices of a huge corporation such as Apple and even consumers like me, who are somewhat aware, continue to purchase products that involve exploitation of resources/people due to superior functionality, price, and availability. These companies operate within a largely deregulated market and to maximize profit they minimize production costs, causing inhumane exploitation of marginalized cultures and resources. Public interest needs to spike to influence legislative action, action that enforces ethical business practices for the sake of the populations of developing countries. The production of the beloved iPhone fuels the decade long civil war in Congo that has claimed nearly 6 million lives, contributes to the exploitation of the Chinese youth, and adds to the 3.5 million metric ton of e-waste that the United States generates every year. However, year after year, Apple ships 85 million units from January to April in 2013.
Our project, Bad Apple, tracks the lifecycle of an Apple iPhone, a device that is not only fetishized by a pervasive consumerist mentality but an object that causes a massive systemic exploitation of marginalized cultures. We have decided to depict the exploitative process of iPhone production via three segments: the mining of raw materials in the Congo, the mechanical assembly in China, and the recycling process in Pakistan. To raise awareness about technology corporations’ exploitation of people and resources, our game will feature two distinct modes of gameplay that give a diverse perspective on this issue. In starting this project we wished to imbue these worshipped devices with a darker interior meaning. Our goal is ultimately to bring the consumer closer to these neocolonialist strategies to recognize Apple’s transgressions. We want to instill in the player a sense of uneasiness but also a feeling of empathy to hopefully inspire future action.