RedSquare Studios’ Vaping Simulator was taken off of the Steam store for 14 days. The two week hiatus wasn’t intentional but rather a deliberate ploy by Pepe the Frog creator Matt Furie and his lawyers to discourage the meme community from using Pepe. Furie and his lawyers DMCA’d RedSquare’s Vaping Simulator for using a character that looked very similar to Pepe. Well, RedSquare made some changes to Vaping Simulator and now it’s back… and Papi isn’t so green anymore.
A news post was made over on the Steam community thread by the lead developer at RedSquare, where he explains the situation about how Furie sent out the DMCA but didn’t do any follow-ups. In the meantime he made a counter-claim that went unchallenged, and also decided to change Papi a bit to not resemble Pepe quite as much, writing…
“As far as our game character goes, it did also get changes. We are currently thinking about customization of Papi, where player can set any color he or she wants. I will think more about it and see what I can do.
“That’s being said, DMCA strike is now dropped. It’s been 14 days since I have sent counter-reply and literally lost all 14 days of sales due to this situation. Most importantly, this seems like a big “troll” from Matt and his lawyears; I’m saying that because within those 14 days since I sent counter-claim, they haven’t got back to me. But “just in case”, I had to make changes to characters look and branding of the Vaping Simulator.”
The changes he’s talking about is in the form of Papi, the now metallic turquoise-looking frog who has red eyes. Previously, Papi looked exactly like Pepe the Frog. Both were green and had the sullen face expression of a male feminist when he finds out the only way he’s getting into the tank of a whale is by forcing himself inside.
Anyway, Matt Furie has been on a tear lately, sending out DMCA claims and suing people for using Pepe the Frog in their media. He’s been specifically attempting to target Conservative pundits, authors, and creators.
It appears as if RedSquare was able to overcome the DMCA roadblock, but lost two weeks worth of sales in the process.
After a slight alteration to Papi’s look, and some minor tweaks to the branding of the game, Vaping Simulator is now back up on the Steam store for $0.99.
(Thanks for the news tip PickleDick)