Wednesday, March 6, 2019

What Rape Culture?

[TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE, RAPE CULTURE]

If you know much anything about me, you know that I am something of a player of the video games. In addition to playing console games for about as long as I can remember, I have owned a Steam account for years and enjoy using it to play smaller indie games, including and most recently Stardew Valley, which scratches almost every Harvest Moon itch.

If you are also a player of the video games, you're probably aware that Steam has come under criticism in recent years as it has become THE marketplace for PC games, particularly the kind of indie games made by like one or a couple people rather than a big studio that underpays, abuses, and fucks over its employees constantly. Unfortunately, Steam decided to deal with the massive amounts of games submitted to its marketplace by just allowing everything to go through and only actually looking at a game if people start freaking out about it.

Exhibit A: "Rape Day"

Yes, it's a game where you play a "sociopath" and rape women.

I wish I could be shocked by this, but I knew long before this happened that a Steam game where you could rape people was inevitable. This is not the first raping people game that has been made, and Steam has already come under fire for having games where you shoot up schools and beat up gay people appear on it.

Not only does Steam not do anything to moderate submitted games before they appear in the marketplace for everyone to see is that their policy is very permissive. The only games they'll remove are ones that contain illegal content, such as child porn, or that are "trolling," which is an entirely subjective term. The school shooting game and beating up gay people game were both removed for violating the trolling rule, but prior to Steam's decision on "Rape Day," it was unclear if this game was a troller due to language in the game's description saying that it was made specifically for sociopaths to play. For what purpose, I'm not sure. I really don't want to look into this more than I have.

Today the news came that Steam has removed "Rape Day" from the marketplace, not because of illegal content or trolling, but because something something "costs and risks."

Much of our policy around what we distribute is, and must be, reactionary—we simply have to wait and see what comes to us via Steam Direct. We then have to make a judgement call about any risk it puts to Valve, our developer partners, or our customers. After significant fact-finding and discussion, we think 'Rape Day' poses unknown costs and risks and therefore won't be on Steam.

So because it might cost you money, Steam? Awesome.

You could just make a rule that says "no games where you rape people because that's fucked up, you demons." But no. Wait until all women and survivors in general are reminded that there are people out there who would spent months or years making a game where you can rape big-boobed women, then delete it because not doing so would give you bad press and hurt your stock prices.

Gee, why do women consider gaming communities to be unsafe for them?

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