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Steam Censored a Four-Pixel Penis

Steam doesn't allow nudity in game marketing images, but because the graphics are so simple, the “nudity” is comically innocuous.
July 31, 2015, 8:35pm
Screengrab: YouTube

Steam has a bit of a reputation for attracting pretty much every game imaginable, from the creepy to the uncanny. So it's not surprising that a game about little kids hopping in the shower with their dads popped up on Steam's community hub earlier this year.

What was surprising was that a site with games advertising bloody decapitations and animated erotica would insist that Shower with Your Dad Simulator 2015 (SWYD) blur out the four pixels' worth of barely-distinguishable nudity in the game's promotional images before it would let the developer add it to the Steam store.

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SWYD is a 2D, pixelated game that basically boils down to the player quickly matching up a little kid with his showering dad. A lot of kids shower with their parents when they're little because it's efficient and safer (and because kids are always getting into shit whenever you walk out of the room for one second), so it's pretty natural to expect some nudity in the game. But because the graphics are so simple, the "nudity" is comically innocuous:

Screengrab: YouTube

Yet when the developer, Ben M, was adding the game to the Steam store, he received a message from Steam that read, "We don't allow any nudity in the marketing images, description or trailer. You will need to update the screenshots and trailers before resubmitting."

He tweeted the notification along with some screengrabs of violent Steam games and a close up of the "nudity" from SWYD, with the caption "four pixels of nudity." Steam only asked Ben to remove the nudity in the promotional materials for the store page, not from the game itself, but it still seems like a bit of stretch to call a flesh-toned, 8-bit wang nudity.

Ben joked on Twitter that he would add massive, distracting mosaics to blur out the nudity:

guys, i think i have a solution to this problem pic.twitter.com/YVEie4ahdh
— yeah, rip (@bonerman_inc) July 18, 2015

But he ultimately went with simple black blocks on his Steam store page, where the game will soon be available for download. He also made sure to poke lots of fun at the rule, including a note before the newly-censored trailer indicating it has been "updated to suit American audiences," and a disclaimer in the description that "the censored version shown in the above screenshots and trailers are for public marketing images only. Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015 in-game genitalia remains 100% uncut."

There has been lots of debate in the Steam community over these kinds of rules. Steam doesn't generally allow adult content in the games on its site, and users have petitioned to change this, while developers have found loopholes to help gamers access uncensored content. As a growing platform, it still has a few kinks to iron out and where to draw the line on nudity, graphic images, and adult content is just one. Still, this case seems particularly extreme. That peen doesn't even qualify as NSFW.