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Chinese Phrase Results in Review Bombing of Kerbal Space Program

Kerbal Space Program is one the most positively reviewed indie games on Steam, holding at "Overwhelmingly Positive" currently, and has maintained such for a couple years since releasing in April 2015. Review bombing, a practice used to protest a game or company for whatever reason, is when a large collection of users tank a game's rating with low scores and Valve implemented a new tool to combat this poor practice. It hasn't stopped some from trying anyway, as Kerbal Space Program has found itself in the crosshairs because of a change to a line of Chinese text.

Reported by PCGamesN, the phrase "without reaching Mun you are not a good male" was changed back in June when complaints pointed it out as sexist. The issue here is that specific Chinese characters in the phrase are used in a gender-neutral manner in China. Meaning "brave or strong hero", the characters can apply to males or females and the nuance of this was ignored or misunderstood when criticizing the full phrase. Better yet, the original phrase was a reference to a Chinese proverb that embraces the gender-neutral way to use the characters: "you’re not a [hero/true man] if you never got to the Great Wall".

Language is complex enough for native speakers so there's no surprise when nuance and subtleties such as this are lost in translation. Not saying this is the string of events that led to this, but when you snatch up some text foreign to yourself and use some tool like Google Translate, you will likely miss out on a lot of details. Is this worth a review bomb? Maybe. Maybe not. The new tool put in place by Valve will show exactly what happened for anyone looking to see what the game's true merits are, but this review bombing will also bring the concern to the forefront. We'll update this story if the developers decide to act on this.

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