Meet HoboHunt, the app that encourages you to take photographs of homeless people and "hunt" them with virtual weapons. Made by developer Synventus, the app was rejected three times by Apple, but is available on Google's Android. Synventus warns consumers that the game "is not for the delicate or faint-hearted," but the caveat has done little to quell criticism. Here, a guide to the controversy:
How does it work?
HoboHunt is essentially an image editor. The photo-sharing app encourages users to "hunt" and photograph "real hobos," as well as friends and family. Players can purchase bundles of weapons within the app and add them to their images, aiming knives or guns at the people in their photos.
Who would make such a game?
The head of Synventus, Joel Usher, told Vice that the idea "came about as a friend of mine, who commutes through Washington, D.C., was constantly sending me camera phone pictures of hobos along his route, and making jokes about 'hunting' them as he drove."
How are people reacting?
HoboHunt is "appalling," says Jamie Lee Curtis Taete at Vice. Making "bad jokes about killing other human beings" isn't very funny. And not only is the game "evil," but the interface is "really, really, really crap." In response, Google says it's investigating the game. Other controversial or offensive apps have been yanked from the Android Market (remember "Is My Son Gay?"), says Robert Leedham at LifeOfAndroid. "We expect a similar fate will soon befall this distasteful app."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The amazing resurrection of Mitt Romney
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- The dangers of our passionless American life
- The essential techniques that every home cook should know
- 4 strategies for organizing your money, based on your personality
- This week I learned that alcohol boosts your sense of smell, and more
Subscribe to the Week