Super Seducer is pick-up artistry edutainment, teaching single men the do’s and don’ts of flirting with metropolitan women. It doesn’t contain any nudity or sex. Even still, many feminists claimed that the game advocated for sexist attitudes toward women and helped encourage sexism in real life. Sony decided to ban the release of Richard La Ruina’s dating sim Super Seducer from being published on the PlayStation 4, even though Valve allowed the game on Steam. After Sony barred the title from release on the PS4, various feminists (both male and female) rejoiced and celebrated the decision.
Most surprising out of the bunch to celebrate Super Seducer’s demise on PS4 is Forbes contributor, Erik Kain, who is usually considered to be gaming’s “voice of reason”. Kain carved out a notable reputation during the Mass Effect 3 consumer wars, and he was one of the only few writers from larger outlets to partially give #GamerGate a platform that didn’t include deriding everyone as “rapists”, “misogynists”, “transphobes”, and “racists”. However, here Kain has drawn a line in the sand with the pick-up artistry community, calling it “sad”.
Kain writes that this isn’t so much censorship on Sony’s part but “curation”…
“Naturally, the blocking of the game’s release on PS4 is bound to be controversial. Some are crying censorship, even though Sony has every right to release or not release whatever games it chooses on its own platform.
“I say good riddance, not merely because I find the pick-up artist community to be incredibly vapid and everything I’ve seen about this game looks equally so, but because I don’t want the PSN Store to start looking like Steam. I want curation. I want actual human beings to say ‘No, this game is awful and we won’t carry it’ because otherwise we get the situation we have right now on Steam where thousands of games release every year and far too many of them are garbage.”
Can you really call it “curation” when games like Skylight Freerange 2: Gachduine is available on the PS4 when it looks like it wouldn’t even cut the custard on Steam Greenlight? It’s available right now on the PlayStation Store.
Kain rounds out the piece by stating that if people really wanted to date they “be themselves”. Although maybe someone should inform Kain that some people who are “themselves” aren’t very good people, and this is why the pick-up artistry community exists.
Anyway, managing editor Emanuel Maiberg at Motherboard, gloated about Sony pulling the game from PS4 via a tweet.
wow I can see the future: https://t.co/F6LdtZmbH3
— Emanuel E Cheeseberg (@emanuelmaiberg) March 6, 2018
Hollaback!, a media organization set about “ending harassment”, also chimed in to gleefully celebrate the censorship of Super Seducer on the PlayStation 4.
“When we give mainstream access to #sexism, we allow it to proliferate and grow,” Emily May our executive director @Hollaback says of game “SUPER SEDUCER” during an interview with @Motherboard, which Playstation announced will no longer be released! A win! https://t.co/cPJX5RCgQG pic.twitter.com/HV4YbUXYKR
— Hollaback! (@iHollaback) March 7, 2018
Former California state CFO and Democrat, Steve Westly, also applauded Sony for the censorship applied to Super Seducer, barring it from appearing on the PlayStation Store.
Sony is blocking a game titled ‘Super Seducer’, a dating advice game that it says promotes toxic behavior. It’s amazing to see companies take the lead in putting a stop to the spread of inappropriate behaviors that can lead to assault and harassment. https://t.co/hvjQY5YG5G
— Steve Westly (@SteveWestly) March 7, 2018
The Verge’s Megan Farokmanesh claimed that Super Seducer was “the last game we need in the #MeToo era” stating that the game approaches dating wrong, and that some of the proper solutions is men just not being able to approach women at all, despite the fact that it’s a dating simulator designed to teach men how to talk to hot women…
“Yes, flirting is a little awkward by nature, and giving men better tools for how to appropriately date or talk to women is a noble goal. But the conversations we need to have most right now about sex and dating are the ones Super Seducer specifically ignores: ones about power dynamics, the complexities of non-verbal consent, and how easily flirting slips into manipulation. There is one lesson above all that men seeking women need to learn, and that is knowing when to fuck off. As a game that claims to have any regard for women’s wishes, Super Seducer fails on the most basic level by refusing to let its players retreat when women resist or recoil, and promising that any woman can be yours if you can only figure out what to say, or how to say it.”
Despite feminists gloating about the game being pulled from the PlayStation Store and preventing PS4 gamers from even having the option to play the game, even Seth Barton, editor of MCV, noted to the BBC that Sony has allowed some “ropey” games on the PS4 in the past so it seems odd that they would ban this game…
“Without further details from Sony, we can’t tell if the game has been removed as a moral decision or whether it was down to the quality of the title – though it has published some pretty ropey games in the past,”
“While it’s an unappealing title, I’m uncertain whether PS4 owners would be happy with Sony censoring the games they can play, especially as they can’t go elsewhere to buy software.”
Barton is right both about Sony’s walled garden and the “ropey” games available on the PS4. For instance, you can buy games like My Name Is Mayo available on the PlayStation Store for $0.99 but not Super Seducer.
Feminists had previously petitioned Sony and Valve to remove Super Seducer from launching on the PS4 and Steam. Motherboard also made it a mission to attempt to get Super Seducer from appearing on PS4 by staying in the ear of Sony about the game.
While there was controversy over Richard La Ruina using a DMCA claim to take down negative reviews of Super Seducer, the issue has taken a backseat to the more pertinent question of asking whether or not platform holders should be opening the floodgates to allowing interest groups and political lobbyists to have games removed from the platform that they don’t approve of?
Does this mean that Conservative lobbyists can have games like Far Cry 5 removed if they don’t approve of how Christians are portrayed in the game? Or should Liberals be able to have the game barred from release on the Xbox One or PS4 because Conservatives are portrayed as heroes? Likewise, should feminists be able to get a game pulled because they claim a game like Super Seducer can make gamers sexist? Does that mean that every politician who believes that video games can make you violent are justified in getting “ultra-violent” games removed from gaming platforms as well?