TELL US ABOUT LEIGH ANN AND ANITA?
Anita-Marie was always into technology and computers. She loved playing with code and figuring out how things worked. Like a lot of other people, the interest started with MySpace. Being very creative on social media platforms and being into challenging games made it easy to decide to be a part of all of this.
Leigh Ann started in the fitness industry and ended up in the web and technology industry. All accidental, but not. Sometimes you fall into a job you love. I owned an adult cam house. I know when to leave a party. You can’t keep up with the free sites. So you move with the flow of the river. What is it that people need? Entertainment. What is it that people never put down? A mobile device, a tablet. Then you meet the right people to make everything that you are thinking part of an even bigger creation. Because they believe in you and they have the same vision with added extras. That’s what we have here.
What prompted u to create this app?
We started talking with a couple other friends about how bad the situation with the border is and how more people should get involved. If anything donate something and help that way. But to be aware that it is happening. And that snowballed into, What about a game of a Trump like figure from above? As if he were a God or Super Hero? Because that is how he see’s himself, in our opinion. We added coyote’s because that is exactly what happens. We added a female coyote also because there are more and more popping up. It’s not just the men that are helping. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that these aren’t all nice people. But in our game they are, and in our game no one gets hurt with weapons. We made sure of that. At first when we started showing people we were asked about the idea of users being able to choose to play as the Donald character or the coyote characters? I don’t want the option to hurt these characters. That is happening in real life and we want this to be fun, not promote hate or violence towards immigrants. In our game coyotes are helping get people across the border, but they aren’t violent or out to hurt anyone. That’s the whole point. The focus is all on taking down a wall. Not a person.
What’s the app about? Walk us thru the game?
When you first start playing Donalds Border game it will take you to a coyote character. The character will introduce him or her self. The character changes after each turn. Then under each character you will have the option to choose the artillery you want to start putting a hole in the wall. It’s the same movement as slingshot when shooting at the wall. There are other options to distract the Donald character. Such as a taco and chili pepper. He loses his turn by eating the taco and going to the bathroom with the chili pepper. You do get coins here and there for certain parts of the wall being down. Each level you need to earn coins and green cards, which you can use to buy extra life or artillery. You will be buying everything from a Russian character in the coyote shop. Also, a Russian plane will fly over and drop care packages. Each one is different, from extra energy to a cluster bomb. It will go turn for turn, and each coyote character get a chance to shoot at the wall. Also the wall is being hit from a different spot each time. The Donald character stays in one position but fires different artillery.
All of the voices are paid actors, but Trump has said the things that are said in the game. I took things I have heard him say. I took things from real life. When the female coyote character, Rosa Maria, throws the chili pepper at him she says, I have something hot you can grab. I wanted the innuendo’s and small references in there. It made it funnier as the game went on and the levels become more difficult. When he wins he says, I’m too great to lose, loser. And when you win he says, But we’re not gonna talk about it. So, like I said, I took things from real life.
What kind of push back have u recurved trying to get this app off the ground and published?
We submitted everything into Apple and Google, later on Amazon. We had the beta version on Apple, no problem. Same with Google. We tested and tested. Finally we are ready for the launch. More excited than I have ever been in my life. We submitted it to Apple for the final review. We submit to Google for the final review. I was beaming with pride.
We were live on Google in 3 hours! I couldn’t play yet, I have iOS. Still waiting to blast it because we were waiting on Apple. Days go by, nothing. A week goes by and still nothing. So I write to them. Within four hours I got a rejection letter. My heart sunk. It broke on the way down. How could this be? We have an amazing app. We are giving back to the community it involves. I didn’t understand. None of us did. I’m sure you don’t understand either. I see a box where you can appeal. I of course appeal. Their reasoning for rejection was we were being ‘mean spirited’ and ‘defamatory’. This confused me because there are so many other apps on their platform that are very mean spirited. They carry Grand Theft Auto. They carry Punch Trump. I was told they couldn’t discuss those apps. So then I requested a phone appeal. Which I did get, and the guy who I spoke with was very nice and seemed if it were up to him he would have allowed it to pass through. During the phone appeal I was told I need to take out the definition of coyote. Because it uses the word smuggling, and that is a no no. Then the actual word coyote. I would have to take out any reference using that term within the game. So change the coyote characters to what, soldier? Then the word, border. That is a problem. Well, the name of the game has the word border in it so what do I do about that? And that we spent money to have everything trademarked and had to have a copyright. Then was told the word, amigos, and that we are using the term, Mexican people. I wanted to fly off the handle but kept my composure, and said, I can’t change the Spanish language. Thats what it means, that’s who they are. He said well if you change all of those things we can review it again and go from there. I said very bluntly, So what you are telling me is our game as a whole is unacceptable because the premise is a ‘Mexican person’, an ‘amigo’, is crossing a ‘border’? There was silence, and then he reluctantly said, Yes. So I was silent. So much so that he thought I hung up. He said, Hello? I answered with, I don’t know what else to say. I wish it was a different answer. But I stand behind what we have created. Why we created it. I stand beside my team and am proud of what we have. If I change everything that you say is wrong, it’s not our game. It’s not what our vision is. He couldn’t say much, but did say a few times, Give me a few days. So we wait a few days. I call back. Nothing. No call back. No email. Just ignored.
Then we try Amazon. I was once again excited for things to start moving. I saw the political apps that Amazon carried and was excited to be able to get more people involved with the game. Send it in for review. Again, my heart sunk. First it was, We were using Donald J Trumps voice, full name, and picture. I appealed with stating I have licenses from paid actors. Also these are cartoon characters. And the the word President, let alone his name was never used. I stated that this is for fun and for entertainment. Then we get another rejection stating it was defamatory. No number or a way of getting in touch with someone to go over this.
Believe me, I asked friends who are Mexican if they thought it was negative, or racist in any way toward them? All of them said, No. Also they know I would never do anything to intentionally hurt someone or make fun a horrible situation. You will never make everyone happy, but if the ones around you are supportive and think its done with good intentions, then that’s enough for me. So I know it has to be something else. I have no idea what it is.
We’ve also sent out many emails and made phone calls to charities. We wanted to give 50% of the merchandise sales to a charity that helps with legal fees or any help for families affected by all of this. When we did get an email or a call back it was a no. And my favorite is, We will take the money, but you can’t use our name or say the money is going to us. It is even hard to give money away. Why? I even offered 100% of merchandise sales, and meant it. Still, it was almost like we got a pat on the head, like, how cute these women think they can do this. Some of the younger women who delivered the message back to me seemed sad to give me the news.
I have reached out to guy I know and asked if they could help with getting a charity and to help with getting the word out about the game. I know some guys that are in the media industry. This one guy had the gall to say that our graphics were ‘grotesque’ Which I know is a lie. We have amazing graphics. These are the same men who had me build adult websites for them. And as soon as this starts getting attention these same guys will come back with ‘ I knew you could do it, you’re such a smart and determined woman.’ This time I will reply with, No. No you didn’t. Then they will see us making it without them and they try harder to get a part of what we are doing. And there is so much more we want to do. You don’t need to be a man to send a strong message. Or create a game that sends a strong political message. We have been treated like we aren’t serious or we couldn’t do it. We are getting treated how most women are in the tech and political world. They are not received well. When someone thinks of games they never think a woman may be behind it. Well, we are here to prove women can be behind it.
For each game we make we would like to give 50% or more of the merchandise sales to the charity we feel is within the subject of the game.
We want to create game apps for other people. We are always up for collaborating. Epic things happen when brilliant minds put away ego’s, and focus on how their strength’s can enhance the process of a solid end result.
Leigh Ann Cyr
LISTEN TO THE IHEART INTERVIEW!