Steam Pulls 'Suicide Simulator' Game and Others For Trolling
Valve’s new policy to remain neutral on Steam’s gaming content is showing no tolerance for suspected trolling. On Thursday the digital store dropped AIDS Simulator, ISIS Simulator and Suicide Simulator —all of them shoddy-looking games with controversial titles.
“This was a case where the developer’s only goal was trolling,” Valve told PCMag in an email.
The company banned them a day after Valve announced it would no longer censor any games for controversial content. “We’ve decided that the right approach is to allow everything onto the Steam Store,” it said at the time.
However, the new policy isn’t an “anything goes” approach either. The company did mention an important caveat: games believed to be “straight up trolling” or offering illegal content will not be allowed.
On Thursday, Valve decided that the controversial games from the developer “BunchOD00dz” qualified. The Twitter user @RobotBrush noticed the removals. The affected titles included AIDS Simulator, which lets players “kill all Africans” in revenge for infecting the player with the AIDS virus.
“AIDS Simulator is a very short first-person shooter with boring gameplay, bad graphics and generic assets,” the description for the game said. Another $ 2.99 title, called Suicide Simulator, was marketed with the words: “End your life using a variety of different tools and methods.”
The removals suggest that Valve is taking a hard line against content that deliberately seeks to anger the public. On Thursday, the company also told PCMag that another game called Active Shooter would remain banned on the platform, despite Valve’s new policy to refrain from censoring content.
“We rejected Active Shooter because it was a troll, designed to do nothing but generate outrage and cause conflict through its existence,” the company said, alluding to how the game can let you carry out a school shooting.
“We’d reject Active Shooter if it had been submitted by any other developer,” Valve added. (The developer disagrees about the trolling.)
The takedowns also occur as some critics fear games with sexual violence and hate speech will flourish over the digital store. “Gabe Newell, the President of Valve which owns Steam, has decided to respond to our climate of sexual harassment and abuse by profiting off of gamified sexual violence,” the National Center on Sexual Exploitation claimed on Thursday.
Valve is well-aware that not everyone will support its new policy on content. But the company explained on Wednesday that it doesn’t want to decide what people can or can’t buy, or what developers can and can’t create. (Aside from deliberate trolling.)
“The Steam Store is going to contain something that you hate, and don’t think should exist,” Valve executive Erik Johnson wrote in a blog post. “But you’re also going to see something on the Store that you believe should be there, and some other people will hate it and want it not to exist.”