Rape Day game challenges Valve's relaxed content policy

Valve has been in the business of letting its marketplace sort itself out, but Rape Day is challenging the publishing giant's relaxed content policy.

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Valve has taken a laissez faire attitude in regards to its Steam platform, allowing game developers to go their own way. But lord knows that there are developers that are looking to push Valve's buttons and push the envelope in a way that few were asking for. The latest challenge to Valve's policy comes in the form of a new game called Rape Day.

According to Eurogamer, Rape Day comes from developer Desk Plant and the game's content is as tasteless as one might assume from that title. The game is described as a visual novel, with the developer boasting over 500 images and 7,000 words that allows users to "verbally harass, kill, and rape women as [they] choose to progress the story."

Rape Day has been listed on the Steam marketplace since mid-February and is expected to release next month. And with the game not only containing, but actively flaunting, images containing and alluding to extreme violence, sexual assault, rape, necrophilia, and incest, it shouldn't surprise anyone that Valve's methods regarding developer guidelines for the Steamworks Distribution Program and its content policies are now under increased scrutiny.

For what it's worth, here are Valve's guidelines on what should not be published on its service:

  • Adult content that isn’t appropriately labeled and age-gated
  • Libelous or defamatory statements
  • Content you don't own or have adequate rights to
  • Content that violates the laws of any jurisdiction in which it will be available
  • Content that exploits children in any way
  • Applications that modify customer’s computers in unexpected or harmful ways, such as malware or viruses
  • Applications that fraudulently attempts to gather sensitive information, such as Steam credentials or financial data (e.g. credit card information)

Valve has been in the business of letting the marketplace sort itself out since last June, when it officially kicked off its current policy via a blog post.

A portion of Steam's statement regarding its relaxed policy guidelines
A portion of Steam's statement regarding its relaxed policy guidelines

"We've decided that the right approach is to allow everything onto the Steam Store, except for things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling," Valve's Erik Johnson said at the time. "Taking this approach allows us to focus less on trying to police what should be on Steam, and more on building those tools to give people control over what kinds of content they see."

It now remains to be seen whether Valve will take any action regarding this game. Shacknews will stay on top of this story and monitor whether Valve steps in to address this situation.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    March 4, 2019 5:50 PM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Rape Day game challenges Valve's relaxed content policy

    • reply
      March 4, 2019 6:47 PM

      Yikes. I really hope they think about revisiting the new let the market decide policy. Because this feels like the dev here is really trolling to see what they can 'get away with'.

      • reply
        March 4, 2019 7:04 PM

        Oh wait I see - you can’t see the game unless you’re logged in, have said your age is old enough, etc.

    • reply
      March 4, 2019 7:06 PM

      no more rape

    • reply
      March 4, 2019 8:10 PM

      What the fuck.

      • reply
        March 4, 2019 9:03 PM

        Some incels just want to watch the world burn, apparently. Fucking disgusting.

    • reply
      March 4, 2019 8:29 PM

      If they let this one actually come out, i'd say my respect for Steam will take a serious dive.

    • Zek legacy 10 years
      reply
      March 5, 2019 5:56 AM

      Another win for laissez-faire tech companies. Moderation is just so much work, and it makes people mad sometimes!

      • reply
        March 5, 2019 6:04 AM

        If only 1% of people complain, it's fine! But 1% of a huge amount of games is still alot of rape games they are going to allow

    • reply
      March 5, 2019 6:31 AM

      So let's say they ban this game. What is the difference between the mindless violent games where we murder countless people and zombie rape?

      Yeah I find this game disgusting but still? Wouldn't a ban on this specific violence type be a invitation to ban other violent games?

      Where do we draw the line..

      • reply
        March 5, 2019 6:43 AM

        It kinda sounds like rape is where we draw the line.

        • reply
          March 5, 2019 7:00 AM

          So fucking a whore and killing her afterwards just to steal her money is ok?

          The line went away years ago.

          • reply
            March 5, 2019 7:13 AM

            I think presentation and context are pretty important. Blowing apart a marauding demon's brains isn't the same thing as blowing apart a realistic innocent screaming woman's. Having consensual sex isn't the same thing as violent brutal rape.

            • reply
              March 5, 2019 7:55 AM

              https://youtu.be/FqVPootBNPU?t=276

              This is one of the most popular games..

              • reply
                March 5, 2019 7:57 AM

                And you think this is the same thing as zombie rape?

                • reply
                  March 5, 2019 8:04 AM

                  You want a discussion about what is worse? Murder or Rape?

                  • reply
                    March 5, 2019 9:42 AM

                    You want to defend a game that's sole purpose is graphic rape alongside your slippery slope and freedom of speech implications?

                  • reply
                    March 5, 2019 11:35 AM

                    I can drop nukes in civilization which murders lots of people therefore that's the worst game because

                    • reply
                      March 5, 2019 11:52 AM

                      Great argument, would you play CIV if you had the option to invade and rape?

              • reply
                March 5, 2019 8:14 AM

                I know you are just trolling, but the rape games whole point is rape. Gta gives you the option to shoot the prostitute, but the game isn't telling you to do that.

                • reply
                  March 5, 2019 10:59 AM

                  I am not sure that makes a difference, and i am not trolling, i am just using GTA5 as a perfect example of ultra violence in a popular game that no one is complaining about.

                • reply
                  March 5, 2019 11:04 AM

                  you'd be okay if GTA5 had the option to rape, but just didn't require that you do it?

                  • reply
                    March 5, 2019 11:10 AM

                    You ever wonder why there are no children in GTA?

                    • reply
                      March 5, 2019 11:16 AM

                      We got this though!

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjKUK0g6a1A

                    • reply
                      March 5, 2019 11:21 AM

                      right; you're just not going to find an intellectually consistent argument for these kinds of things. Moral disgust reactions are wrapped up in social conditioning, culture, peer group, politics, etc., and aren't going to be logically coherent.

                      • reply
                        March 5, 2019 11:23 AM

                        (and that's what this comes down to: the moral disgust reaction; no one is producing evidence that rape games increase the incidence of rape)

          • reply
            March 5, 2019 8:18 AM

            In the context of a video game? Yes, that's better. Why is this difficult to understand or surprising to you?

      • reply
        March 5, 2019 7:17 AM

        It's not a ban. People are free to develop slime and peddle it. That's a different question whether Steam should be hosting and profiting from this.

        No one (here) is saying to make it illegal for people to make sike rape games, just that Steam shouldn't be fostering it.

        • reply
          March 5, 2019 7:20 AM

          I would've assumed he meant 'lets say Steam bans this game' rather than a legal ban.

          • reply
            March 5, 2019 7:57 AM

            Correct, this game is a 2 parter, test the Steam review policy and test the media, somewhere i think there is another agenda with something else to prove.

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              March 5, 2019 10:03 AM

              So? Same point. No one is saying that people can't make this garbage. But it's a totally different idea to say Steam should support it.

      • reply
        March 5, 2019 7:59 AM

        maybe people think that video games can influence some behaviors (e.g, sexual violence) but not others (e.g., non-sexual violence). Or maybe moral attitudes are arbitrary and socially conditioned and looking for consistency is a mug's game.

      • reply
        March 5, 2019 8:00 AM

        what about a child porn game?

        • reply
          March 5, 2019 8:05 AM

          I think they are illegal by law?

          • reply
            March 5, 2019 8:43 AM

            let's put the legal aspect aside, should "let the market decide" also decide whether steam should have even more controversial content?

    • reply
      March 5, 2019 6:43 AM

      Uhhhhhh

    • reply
      March 5, 2019 7:40 AM

      Did they ever ban all of those pedo anime games?

    • reply
      March 5, 2019 7:52 AM

      what if the main char is a woman, raping the man? does that change anything?

      • reply
        March 5, 2019 7:58 AM

        No.

        • reply
          March 5, 2019 8:31 AM

          what was that movie where a lady mounts a guy, raping him, then shoots him if he ejacs too soon?

          It wasn't a porno it was an actual production. Couldn't have been the 1990s, it had to be between 2002 and 2007.

        • reply
          March 5, 2019 8:57 AM

          American Marry is a story about a med student who gets to exert her revenge on a doc rapist and its gritty and brutal. I like the movie because the asshole who raped her got destroyed in the most beautiful way to me. This is why I ask this question.

    • reply
      March 5, 2019 7:57 AM

      If Valve wants to be a cesspool and not do some base level moderation to remove rape/nazi/pedo games, I'll spend my money elsewhere.

      I've shifted all of my game purchases (where possible) to Humble, itch, and GOG, in response to these instances.

      • reply
        March 5, 2019 11:14 AM

        What do you think about the Netflix series on Ted Bundy? Making money of the killing of at least 30 woman, why even waste more time on him?

    • reply
      March 5, 2019 7:58 AM

      Japan:this is rape day?

      Japan:*laughs in rape*

    • reply
      March 5, 2019 8:12 AM

      Yeah, this sort of stuff will be the reason why I switch over to epic. Wtf valve.

    • reply
      March 5, 2019 8:26 AM

      I’m wondering if this game is really more of a litmus test to point out the flaws in Valve’s relaxed content policy.

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        March 5, 2019 8:35 AM

        I'm curious why you would consider it a flaw and not a feature of their content policy. The goal of their relaxed guidelines is to make publishing on their platform as permissive as legally and safely possible.

        There's no reason to engage with products you find objectionable. This game will probably sell a few dozen copies and quietly fade away.

        • reply
          March 5, 2019 8:40 AM

          It's gonna sell a lot more than a few dozen lol edgelords will buy the fuck out of it just like postal and that other game that was more recent where you just exercise terrorist killing normies fantasies.

        • reply
          March 5, 2019 8:55 AM

          If the success of Japanese developer Illusion is anything to go by I wouldn't discount it selling well.

          • reply
            March 5, 2019 10:41 AM

            Hey give the internet perverts a little credit here. Illusion makes actual games that, subject matter aside, are technically rather complex. Rape Day looks like some dude amateurishly posed some public-domain nude models, took screenshots, and then shoved them into RenPy. It's more akin to the Nekopara games, which do sell well, but those have custom artwork and VO and a very popular and well-known manga artist behind them. Maybe Rape Day will sell well, but I'd be very surprised.

            Ultimate, unless it's truly bizarre in an interesting way, the only really notable things about this game are its title and how upfront it is with its themes.

            You've got games on Steam already like Mirror ( https://store.steampowered.com/app/644560/Mirror/ ), which has 20,000 reviews, and is chock full of anime rape. But it flies under the radar because it puts that stuff behind match-3 games and an overall more respectable front.

            • reply
              March 5, 2019 10:52 AM

              I haven't actually looked at any media for it. That's probably not going to change.

              • reply
                March 5, 2019 11:06 AM

                it's comically absurd in just how hard it tries to be edgy

            • reply
              March 5, 2019 11:15 AM

              You sure know a lot about rape games

        • reply
          March 5, 2019 8:59 AM

          The goal of their relaxed guidelines is to make publishing on their platform as permissive as legally and safely possible.

          There's no reason to engage with products you find objectionable.


          That is literally why it is a flaw. Their "relaxed guidelines" mean the store is flooded with garbage, some of which is actively offensive, some of which is generally shitty, and some of which is of no interest to a given person. It's all-but impossible to sort through the trash to find games that are both of interest and of good quality.

          • reply
            March 5, 2019 10:47 AM

            It's a consequence of diverse tastes that a large percentage of Steam's library will probably not be something you're interested in. I disagree that that's a good reason to deny it to the people who are interested in it.

            • reply
              March 5, 2019 11:15 AM

              False dichotomy. You can have curation for quality and to weed out blatantly offensive content while still catering to diverse tastes. In fact, it can allow more effective catering to those tastes since categories won't be flooded with every game that can be squeezed in kinda-sorta-if-you-squint.

          • reply
            March 5, 2019 11:00 AM

            [deleted]

    • reply
      March 5, 2019 11:03 AM

      That? That is Rape Day.

      This? This is RapeLay. -> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RapeLay

    • reply
      March 5, 2019 11:25 AM

      I'm with Valve on this one:

      "There will be people throughout the Steam community who hate your games, and hope you fail to find an audience, and there will be people here at Valve who feel exactly the same way. However, offending someone shouldn't take away your game's voice. We believe you should be able to express yourself like everyone else, and to find others who want to play your game. But that's it."

      And honestly, when the new social climate is one where people are having pissing contents about who can become the most offended, or where it is more acceptable to mislabel someone to invalidate their opinion rather than to listen to it... Valve's policy is welcome.

      That said, that rape game looks like shit, and I hope it gets banned as a troll product. Because that's what it sounds like it is.

      But I'm also sad that Eurogamer even reported on it in an effort to gain clicks, most likely under the guise of social justice, than do the responsible thing and just ignore it and let it die.

      • reply
        March 5, 2019 11:41 AM

        Hold on... taking notes... ignoring reprehensible things is always the answer... thanks!

        • reply
          March 5, 2019 12:00 PM

          Nice try. Never said that.

          Allow me to reformulate your attempt at an argument, so that I may respond:

          "I disagree that offensive products on Steam should be ignored. They should instead be called out, because although doing so gives them a wider audience, we need to point out and sanction 'reprehensible things' in the world."

          And my response to... mostly myself:

          "I am happy to agree that 'reprehensible things' should be called out and sanctioned. Hate crime, oppression, mass murder, genocide, all reprehensible acts. But I don't consider some crazy "developer's" 7000-word mad ravings about rape, as a reprehensible thing. Just terribly poor taste, and not worth reporting on."

          • reply
            March 5, 2019 1:09 PM

            The shitbag author absolutely is in the right to create his shitbag game without legal penalty. We agree on that.

            Where we don't agree is that Valve permits this. You think it's valorous for them to defend this game under the guise of free speech, whereas I do not. You think it's not worth reporting that the largest software distribution platform in the world is giving carte blanche to sick shit like this, whereas I definitely see the benefit to it. The recent YouTube pedo-comment ring is a similar case where reporting and critique from the public forced Youtube's hand... solution might not be ideal (as per most Youtube decisions), but something happened.

            I fully understand why Valve is willing to die on this hill: money. It's an enormous profit generator with a hooked-for-life userbase and they don't care where the money comes from. They can dress it up as "defending free speech" as much as they want, and you are welcome to buy into that as much as you want, but it is all driven by dollars.

            A few years ago we'd be helpless in this situation. Where would we go for games? Origin? Uplay? Nowadays we have a dearth of platforms to choose from. Humble, GOG, itch, a vastly improved EA and Uplay, and now the Epic store.

            Valve is more than welcome to keep accepting money for rape/pedo/nazi games. I'm not even saying that anyone is a Bad Person if you buy stuff from them. I'm just deciding to vote with my wallet whenever I can, and definitely would encourage others to do the same.

            • reply
              March 5, 2019 1:17 PM

              The thread has expired, but thank you for a well reasoned response. I can see where you are coming from, even if we disagree.

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