Kill the F*ggot Video Game Killed on Steam — Right Move or Hypocrisy?
There’s a game the whole point of which is the murder of innocents. There’s also a game called Kill the F*ggot.
That first game, called Hatred, passed Steam Greenlight, and is going to be sold on Steam. The other one was just removed from Greenlight and I am pretty certain it will never be allowed to come back.
Is this an example of Valve’s hypocrisy?
Not really, but I think the reason why is not what most people think it is.
Let’s start by saying that Valve reserves the right to not sell basically any game they don’t want to sell:
“Offensive content” is a phrase that is incredibly vague. Anything controversial is “offensive” to someone. So if Valve wanted to remove a game from Steam, it would be very easy for them to justify that move.
Worth noting that Valve has never abused that power. All I am saying is that technically Valve has the right to ban any game they want from their store.
But how come not only Hatred is sold on Steam, but also we had the boss of Valve personally apologizing to the developers of Hatred…
Yesterday I heard that we were taking Hatred down from Greenlight. Since I wasn’t up to speed, I asked around internally to find out why we had done that. It turns out that it wasn’t a good decision, and we’ll be putting Hatred back up. My apologies to you and your team. Steam is about creating tools for content creators and customers.
Good luck with your game.
…while Kill the F*ggot, basically a Hatred Lite, gets banned? Didn’t the quote above show that Valve is not interested in censorship?
My suspicion — which is, by definition, nothing but a speculation — is that Valve chooses the battles they want to fight.
While personally I despise Hatred, there’s certain weight to it, bordering on actual meaningful artistic provocation, and there’s certain skill involved in its creation. Also, Valve must have seen and felt the reaction of thousands of gamers, ready to defend Hatred’s right to exist.
Meanwhile, Kill the F*ggot is pure garbage, both from the moral and technical point of view. It’s also probably illegal in too many countries to count. And speaking of counting, you can count people ready to defend it on one hand. And that’s including the game’s developers themselves.
I’d prefer — and my aforementioned suspicion is that Valve would too — if Kill the F*ggot never sold a single copy, but that it was available for purchase on Steam (for a moment let’s forget that Steam tries to avoid low quality games). But that assumes a society that deeply understands what a freedom of speech and freedom of expression and freedom to fantasize are. And we are certainly not at that point of history. On the contrary, we are in the middle of yet another moral panic. Apparently there always needs to be one per generation.
Imagine Valve trying to explain to concerned citizens that Kill the F*ggot has the right to exist. Imagine the protests and boycotts. Imagine both gaming and mainstream press writing about it. Imagine Valve saying “Yes, we believe in the freedom of expression, and that is why we’re selling a game in which the whole point is to murder homosexuals and transsexuals.”
Yeah, that’s not going to happen. One Hatred at a time.
Note that, again, Kill the F*ggot is not just repulsive; it’s also extremely low quality. I am sure that played a part, too.
The way I got to know about the game was through a Jim Sterling video.
He condemns the game but does not refuse its right to exist expressis verbis, only indirectly (e.g. at 3:11). This restraint exists possibly due to Sterling’s article from 2009, in which he talks about the infamous RapeLay game:
Those who believe that RapeLay should be banned are what I like to call hypocrites-in-waiting, because you know that as soon as something they value comes under fire for being “tasteless” and “offensive,” they will jump right in to defend it. The point is, if you value freedom of expression and of speech, you have to be prepared to defend every form of expression and speech, not just the parts you like. Being a true believer in free speech means having the integrity to stand up for the rights of that which you don’t agree with.
No one person or entity should be deciding what we can and cannot enjoy. That is for us to decide, providing it does not involve the harm of real people. […]
Rape disgusts me. Rape games disgust me. But they have a right to be here, and I’ll defend that right.
It’s an excellent article, and I agree wholeheartedly.
But that was six years ago. Instead of the focus on progressing the debate on free speech and the right to fantasize, we had to spend the last few years — and we’re still not done yet — to defend the basic truths and rights that are suddenly questioned again. We cannot engage on all fronts, and we need to choose the battles we need to fight. In result, this is simply not the time to defend a game like Kill the F*ggot, especially when — to basically everybody — it’s clearly nothing but ultimately meaningless, incompetent garbage.