Dank Boi Games’ Gay Nation: A Gay Game For Gays was originally supposed to be released back on May 21st, 2018. It was a visual novel that was about Russia attempting to destroy the United States by dropping the ultimate gay bomb on the nation, killing most straights and turning everyone else gay. The story followed a young man attempting to navigate a totalitarian police state where heterosexuals become outlawed. Valve approved the game’s store page within three days of having it submitted, but then refused to let Dank Boi Games sell the game on the store. Two months later Valve pulled the plug on the game and removed it from the storefront, citing that the game developer was “trolling”.
Dank Boi Games originally took the issue to the private Workshop forum for developers on July 17th, 2018 where he requested an answer about why Gay Nation wasn’t allowed to be released after sending in multiple tickets. Dank Boi shared the response from Valve’s Sean J., which was posted in the forum on July 23rd, 2018, where Sean stated…
“We’re right in the middle of building some features into Steam for customers to be able to choose the type of products they see in the store. Your game has content in it that needs these features to be completed and shipped first. You’ll have to do some additional store page work around describing the content in your game once we have completed those features. We don’t have an exact timeline for those features though, so please be patient as we complete the work.
“Sorry for the delay in getting your game in front of customers.”
According to Dank Boi, he pressed further for clarification on what exactly was in his game that required it to be behind the upcoming filters that Valve has plans on installing.
The lack of communication actually angered Dank Boi Games because they felt that the game was going to be buried behind a censorship filter but didn’t understand what would force the game behind the filter.
In an e-mail from Dank Boi Games, the developer explained that the game takes a satirical approach to persecution and discrimination, writing…
“One of the goals is the game is to expose and mock certain double standards that exist in our society, such as prejudice against majority groups being socially acceptable.
“Another goal is to bring light to REAL issues that effect persecuted minorities all over the world. An example in our game being a straight person who is thrown off the top of the building for being straight. This is obviously a reference to real world gay people who are subject to this sort of treatment in certain countries.
“The game is extreme satire and contains no hate against any group. In fact, the takeaway is that ALL types of persecution are wrong.”
Sean J., responded saying that the content in their game was equivalent to Dank Boi’s other game, Big Penis Hunter 2018, which was a parody Battle Royale game.
Sean J., stated…
“[Big Penis Hunter 2018] is in exactly the same situation. You’ve chosen topics and names that fall into the categories of products we want to add filtering to the store for.”
Dank Boi responded by questioning what made Gay Nation any different than the other gay games currently available on Steam, whether they were visual novels or dating simulators.
In the forum post, Dank Boi explained…
“In regards to […] [Gay Nation] I refer to Gay World […], per its store description…
‘2269, in the fictional country of Straightland the state was seized by gays and lesbians. The new government established strict regulations and laws – all straight people were sent to special prisons called GAYLAG, they were re-educated, squats on a bottle and made LGBT warriors from them. Also, special squads were formed to capture straights – Gaypolice, consisting of hot, big guys. But the straight decided not to leave it and went to the insurrection.’
“Which is a very, very similar premise to our game. This game also features depictions of forced sodomy. Our game has nothing nearly as graphic.
“To a lesser degree I would also refer to Coming Out on Top […], which is a gay romance dating sim featuring graphic sexual content. Mind you, our game has no such sexual content. But it is worth mentioning simply because, if this is allowed, then why isn’t ours?”
It was a question that seemed pertinent to the discussion regarding the use of filters for some games while other games are allowed on Steam without a filter. Gay World was even the subject of some think pieces by Left-leaning media outlets, where they criticized Valve for allowing Gay World on the service.
Dank Boi went on to mention in the letter to Valve that other games have also been allowed on Steam such as Genital Jousting, and it hasn’t been relegated to the new filtering system, despite being banned from livestreaming services like Twitch.tv.
They questioned Valve’s filtering policies, asking…
“As shown by the store page video [Genital Jousting] also has very detailed depictions of genitalia within the game – much more detailed than our game. Again, similar words as our game uses, but much, much more graphic subject matter. If this game is not an issue to be on your platform, then why is ours?
“And don’t even get me started on the literal pornographic games such as VR Kanojo etc which have found a home on Steam.
“It would seem to me that these ‘rules’ are being applied in a very erratic and non-transparent manner, and developers like me are only find this out AFTER you have already collected the publishing fee. All the games I mentioned above were published mere months before mine. The news about steam “store filtering” or whatever did not come out until June. At which point my problem getting published during this same time frame. So I’m sure you can understand why [I’m] extremely frustrated and confused by all of this. Treating all your customers equally and having [consistent] policies is a very basic element of running a business after all.”
According to Dank Boi, a few days after making the post on the developer’s forum, they received an e-mail from Valve’s product release manager, Jason Ruymen, who promptly declared that their publishing account had been closed for “trolling” and that their games would be removed from Steam.
In the e-mail that Dank Boi shared with us, Ruymen stated…
“My name is Jason Ruymen, from Valve. We recently removed all your titles from the Steam store, and disabled your Steamworks access for trolling. You will still be paid out for any copies sold, but we will not bring your games back or take any future titles from you.”
Back in June of 2018, Valve confirmed that the only games they would be removing from Steam henceforth would be games that fall into the category of “trolilng” or content that was “illegal”.
According to Dank Boi Games, they sent additional e-mails to inquire as to why their content was being labeled as “trolling”.
Dank Boi explained in the e-mail…
“At this point, we have paid $300 to Valve in publishing fees. In return, they have refused to publish our games, refuse to have a dialog with us, ban our account, and refuse to offer a refund. As I mentioned before, our game had 9051 wishlists before it was pulled down. There was significant interest in it.”
The question of filters and censorship has been a long-running issue with Steam, even more-so after the announcement of the new content filtering system, where the company proclaimed that they would not be the “taste police”.
Dank Boi Games aren’t the only ones who have been affected by the inconsistency in the new filtering system.
A number of other games have also been withheld from release at the twelfth hour, including HenTris, which was delayed just days before release after the developer was told that Valve would be withholding the release until the filtering system was in place. The developer later announced they had a release date of August 22nd, 2018, however it wasn’t clarified if this had been approved by Valve.
In other cases — and tying into what Dank Boi mentioned in his letter to Valve — games that could be considered “porn” have been allowed on Steam and were not withheld for release, including Mega Milk Story, Treasure Hunter Claire and Lilipalace, all of which launched recently and well before Valve’s activation of the filter.
I did reach out to Valve’s software release manager, Jason Ruymen, to further inquire about Gay Nation and what made the developer and that game in particular get labeled as “trolling”, even though it was initially accepted months ago on the store page, as chronicled by the software history on SteamDB. However, at the time of publishing this story, Ruymen has not responded.
[Update:] Dank Boy Games posted an open-letter to Valve on their official website.