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Friday, November 20, 2015

Oh, Steam, you are so completely hypocritical

This one's going to be brief, I promise, because not only am I thoroughly sick and tired of writing about hypocrisy in the games industry but... well, I'm just sick of doing it. It happens too frequently and it's becoming a serious drain on my interest in games in general.

So a few months ago a thoroughly repulsive game called Hatred was pulled from Steam. I'm not going to write about it, because I promised myself I wouldn't, but I need to mention it here for context. In basic terms, it was pulled on the grounds that it was utterly repulsive. But then it got put back up, because Valve's CEO, Gabe Newell, himself stepped in, championing free speech and apologising that it was ever taken down in the first place.

Now, I happen to agree with Newell there. I find Hatred repulsive, but I'm not about to suggest that a person or organisation's creative art should be denied to the world on account of my personal feelings towards it.

But then Yohjo Simulator happened.

Now, Yohjo Simulator looks utterly worthless as a game. It's about a girl in a gym uniform (not underwear, as I've seen others suggest) who runs around town. And... that's all that happens. There's nothing interesting about the game, it looks like it was built for about $20, and I can't imagine ever actually wanting to play it. Here's a trailer for your reference:

And it was just pulled from Steam. We don't know exactly why at this stage, but it's fairly easy to guess that moral outrage is involved. One assumes it was pulled on the argument that gym uniforms are a perversion on the world (and that is certainly what early pundits seem to be complaining about and are now celebrating that the game is gone over). That's the only possible answer; it certainly wasn't pulled because it was poor quality, because I can't open up Steam these days without having my eyeballs seared with an endless stream of worthless games built using free Unity assets and without the slightest hint that any thought going into them.

No. This game was pulled because a bunch of monkeys typing away at Valve decided to be offended, or, alternatively, respond to a bunch of angry emails from other monkeys that were offended by it. But it's not even offensive. Gym uniforms are just that - they're what kids in Japan wear for physical education classes, sports days, and so on. They only become something creepy or perverted, or whatever else you choose to see in them, if you choose to see them that way. And if you do, you are the problem.

But logic aside, somehow I am not expecting Newell to come out and personally stand behind this one and force it back on the store. Because that's how this industry works; it's okay to protect free speech, but only when it furthers the biases and ideologies that we happen to find palatable.

In other words, hypocrisy.

- Matt S. 
Oh, Steam, you are so completely hypocritical
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