So our dear colleague Great American Satan just put up a post on the failures of Valve to police its content and its vendors, creating headaches for its customers and sometimes even permitting scammers and/or abusive sellers to make customers feel worse than that. Go read, if you’re so inclined.
But, oh, the post was put up just hours too soon. PCGamer is reporting that the new Valve game to be sold through its Steam portal is getting calls for removal before it has been officially released. What kind of game could do that? Active Shooter, a game that, as far as I can tell, is Castle Wolfenstein where you get to choose to be the allies or the Nazis. There are two options for game play. In one, you’re a cop chasing down active shooters. In the other, the enemies are (on at least one level) fellow students in your imaginary high school and the cops that come to help rescue them. It looks like there may be additional, outside-of-school levels as well where your targets would not necessarily include high school students but would still include cops trying to do their jobs.
Yes, this is imaginary. Yes, there is a constitutional right in the US to design and attempt to sell such games. But no, people who create this type of content don’t get to be free from criticism, and the same right that protects the ability of dumb sociopaths to produce such a game also protects the rights of the rest of us to not only decline to buy the game, but also use our free expression to persuade other not to buy the game and even to persuade Valve/Steam to end their business relationship with the stupid-ass company (Acid) that produced this. Interestingly, even in places where speech is decidedly less free than the US, opposition is strong and vocal: PCGamer’s article leads with the news that a non-profit in the UK is calling for Valve to deep-six the game.
Despite correctly pointing out that other terrible games also exist, Acid deserves to take a major hit to its bottom line over this game, and if Valve continues to facilitate its wide release and to sell other games that encourage players to role-play malicious violence that simulates real-life situations, Valve deserves to lose money as well.