The Removal of ‘Kill the F*gg*t’ Shows That Steam Greenlight Is Working
Valve's online store has twitched before, taking games down without reason enough. But this time, they're absolutely right.
Yesterday, a new game landed on Steam Greenlight, the community set up to allow players to vote for titles that they want to see offered for sale, in full, through Valve's popular digital distribution channel. The name of this game was Kill the Faggot. Seriously. And, sensibly, expectedly, essentially, it's already been pulled from the site.
The game itself is a simple, Operation Wolf-style (sorry, I'm old) target-on-the-screen shooter, where the aim, to quote from its own instructions, is to "murder as many gays as you can under the time limit". If you want to see it in action, Jim Sterling's made a video expressing his complete disbelief at the situation.
Its developers, Skaldic Games (which is really just one guy, California-based Randall Herman, who used to sell shoes), have issued a statement, which apparently was posted on their website, but I can't find it now. (Update! It's here.) But the whole thing is up on GayGamer.net, right here. I'll slice you off some choice highlights:
"Our upcoming game, The Shelter: A Survival Story is a large scale post-apocalyptic survival. In that game the character can collect inventory items, one being a cell phone. On the in-game cell phone the player can play mini games. One of the games that the character can play is Kill the Faggot. Originally this was only going to be a part of the other game, but I decided to release it on Greenlight to see people's reactions. The reason behind this particular game is because of how tired I am of people being overly sensitive and how easily offended people are by every little thing, especially with LGBT issues. I didn't make this game to attack LGBT people personally, but I made this game just to piss off those people that are way too sensitive, which includes straight people.
"Of course we don't endorse killing or murder of any kind. This game was not meant to be taken seriously. As for an apology. Ain't gonna happen. To everyone that got overly offended, good, that's what we were going for. Just wait for our next game we are working on, it's gonna be way more offensive [than] this one."
If I'm reading that right, while Herman didn't want people to take his game that quite clearly doesn't represent any kind of attack on LGBT people whatsoever seriously, he's seriously happy that it did piss people off. A lot of people. Like, the entire games press, for starters, judging by a cursory scan of Google right now. But I'm slightly worried for Herman, too, and not just because he seems to think this game is satirical. Look how he switches from "our" to "I" in his first few words, and to "we" by the end. Could this be the sign of a split personality, responsible for the decision to upload this awful, awful "game" onto Greenlight? No, probably not. More likely it's an indication that this guy hasn't the first clue what he's talking about even with regard to his own terrible creation, but credit to the man, I suppose, for generating himself more column inches with one instantly banned Greenlight effort than most other solo developers manage with a dozen legitimate ones.
Last year, the despicable nothing-but-murder-on-its-mind shooter Hatred got itself torn down from Greenlight, only to be reinstated fairly instantly. I've been quite clear on what I think about the game even existing, but that it doesn't actively promote hate against human beings who already find themselves targets for an infinite amount of online abuse does make it, at least, a marginally more sensitive proposition than Kill the Faggot. Which will now serve as a case study for Greenlight's entire point: let the players decide what they want.
And when even Reddit's KotakuInAction forum users are saying things like "This guy was trying to be an outright dick" and "I'm gonna go ahead and say that there is a line and that game crossed it", you know nobody in the world wants shit like this. Perhaps Herman would be wise to return to the footwear game – there are plenty of openings right now.
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