[Update: House Party has been censored and is now back on Steam.]
[Original story:] The comedic, raunchy adult adventure game House Party was recently removed from Steam. We originally didn’t know what the reasons were for the removal of the game, only that some people had “complained” to Valve and that Valve responded by removing the title from their storefront.
We now learned that it was a concerted effort by a group of people who specifically targeted House Party. According to the developer, it was the same sort of complaints he received from a certain group of people while the game was on Steam Greenlight. He made a post on the official Eek! Games website explaining why the game was taken off of Steam…
“House Party was temporarily removed as a result of a number of complaints that were sent to Steam about the game. The game has been a target for a certain group of people since the day it launched, and said people were posting very aggressive, distasteful and hateful comments directed toward the game and its community of players. I suspect the complaints about the game that Steam received were originating from the same groups. Steam agreed to let the game back on the site after some modifications (which we are working on now). They have generously offered me the opportunity to modify the game for re-admission to their service.”
While typically we associate Social Justice Warriors with those on the Left, sometimes Social Justice can take form in groups from those on the Right as well. In fact, it was the Puritanical Right that used to lead the charge against video games back in the 1980s and 1990s, whether it was labeling them as devil worship or going after them for being violent towards women, like the game Night Trap, as reported by Den of Geek. The Conservatives were no less shy about getting games censored as the Liberals are today.
In fact, some of our readers linked us to articles from those on the Right who attacked House Party and advocated for gamers not to play it, including articles from No Fap and Life Site News, both of whom published articles back in the early part of July claiming that Valve and the Steam store was promoting pornography to “35 million” children.
Dawn Hawkins, executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation told Life Site News…
“Steam, a popular videogame distribution platform that could be likened to the ‘Walmart of online videogame distribution,’ is selling games that normalize and promote sexual coercion and exploitation. These games, House Party and Porno Studio Tycoon, are easily available to an estimated 35 million children who buy video games off of Steam”
[Update: Additionally, it appears as if the United Kingdom’s Christian Institute also advocated for the removal of the game after publishing an article on July 13th, 2017]
However, it wasn’t just the Puritanical/Evangelical/Conservative Right that were attacking House Party, the traditional Social Justice Warriors on the Left were also advocating for gamers not to play House Party as well.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun penned a piece on July 14th, a few days after the Conservatives attacked the game, except instead of claiming that we should “think of the children” they used the angle that we should “think of the ladies”. John Walker, the author of the piece, doesn’t claim that the game is “misogynistic” in the article, but he subversively sets up the piece to focus on the talking points so that the comment section is led to that natural conclusion: You shouldn’t be playing a game on Steam that is misogynistic.
Eek! Games, however, isn’t too worried about the detractors. It’s mentioned in the post that they will have to censor the game if they want it back on Steam. It’s also mentioned that Valve was fairly cordial about the whole ordeal, but also quite vague on what parts needed to be censored exactly. They’re currently undergoing some testing and methods in order to add censorship while also affording for players to apply patches to uncensor the game if they choose.
Many of our own readers have suggested that games like House Party should have a SJW toggle switch so people can play the safe mode if they want. However, Eeek! Games mentioned that this wasn’t going to be doable and that regardless of the user’s preference there would need to be some application of censorship.
Valve at the moment doesn’t have an ID check in place to ensure the people accessing some games are over the age of 18, and they may be extra cautious to avoid coming under any sort of institutional thumb. The U.K., wants to implement their ID check by April, 2018 and services offering “adult” or “pornographic” material will need the necessary tools in place, otherwise they will be fined or blocked by ISPs.
Eek! Games further states that the game was meant to be funny and comical and that the sex and nudity is only a small part of the overall puzzle and adventure aspects, but that certain groups, such as Social Justice Warriors, have been intent on getting the game removed from Steam…
“The game is meant to be funny, and I advertise it as a “raunchy comedy adventure”. The amount of on-screen sex and nudity is very small in comparison to the rest of the game-play. Unfortunately, because I chose to write a game about sex, this set off a few alarms with some groups.”
This isn’t the only game that has encountered SJWs on Steam. Various other erotic, ecchi, or sexually-themed games have also encountered roadblocks either during the Steam Greenlight process or while actually making it to the Steam store. One game in particular, Princess Edge, had SJWs quite riled up, asking for it to be removed from Steam Greenlight.
Another game, Hatred, also encountered fierce opposition from Social Justice Warriors, claiming that it was a murder simulator and should have been removed from Steam. It was briefly taken off Steam before being returned by Gabe Newell himself, as reported by Game Rant.
For now, there’s no estimated time on when House Party will make its way back to Steam, but Eek! Games is looking into censoring the content and providing an option for others to re-enable the uncensored bits, much like how ecchi and other 18+ visual novels are operated on Steam.
The developers were a bit miffed that Valve seems to have an inconsistent application of games being removed due to sexual content, though. He doesn’t name names, but GTA V, The Witcher series, and Ladykiller In a Bind have all been allowed on Steam without censorship, the latter game even featuring a full-on uncensored rape scene with full penetration. Valve never responded as to why Ladykiller In A Bind was allowed on the service in uncensored fashion but other games weren’t; some people concluded that because the developer was trans, and heavily promoted by SJW gaming media, it was socially progressive to allow the game on the service without censorship.