Gran Text Auto (Redacted)
Gran Text Auto was an iOS game about an octogenarian texting while driving.
Gran was a firecracker. A Bea Arthur type who took no guff. Her conversations were witty and too cute by half. Like real texting and driving, every game eventually ends in disaster.
One day, while trying to maintain the nonstope dialog required for streaming on Twitch.tv, I flippantly joked that someone should make a mobile game about texting and driving so you could text and drive while you text and drive (if you recognize the meme format you can guess the year). I Googled around for that and was surprised no one had done anything like that. So I took it on myself.
The game was well received by those that found it and played it. It had 4+ stars on the App Store, and reviews said it was fun and funny. I even got praise from a couple of driving safety groups who saw it as educational about what could happen if you text and drive.
Written in SpriteKit and so full of puns and inside jokes that the end result was too cute by half, Gran Text Auto was released on the 4th of July, 2015. I did marketing by visiting ComicCon that weekend dressed as Gran, wearing a little car, and flushing money down the toilet of Facebook and Google Ads.
The game was designed and written as parody on multiple fronts. Because of the reckless and (misdemeanor) criminal outcomes to driving while texting, I styled the perspective and cars after Grand Theft Auto I & II, and made the crashes appropriately violent. All the rest of the graphics using Emojis, to try to tie even the visuals back to the idea of text messages.
Getting Sued (almost)
Unfortunately TakeTwo Interactive, parent company of Rockstar Games, did not find this amusing, nor did they think it constituted parody in any way. They also claimed that a layperson would be confused as to whether this was Grand Theft Auto or not… which is ridiculous, but they would have squashed me in court. So after a year of relative success the game was removed from the App Store.