Bring the Entry "Hatred" Back to Steam Greenlight
This petition made change with 45 supporters!
In October of 2006, the developers of the video games Braid, flOw, Once Upon A Time, Toblo, Everyday Shooter, and Book and Volume withdrew from the Guerilla Gamemaker Competition in protest of what they viewed as unwarranted censorship. The Competition had forcibly banned the entry "Super Columbine Massacre RPG" despite its selection as a finalist. It was a decision that Jonathan Blow, Jenova Chen, and other notable developers couldn't accept as a matter of principle. Among several reasons he had to defend the work's inclusion, Jonathan Blow stated that "[Super Columbine Massacre] does push the boundaries of what games are about. It is composed with more of an eye toward art than most games."
Recently, Valve has forcibly removed a video game called Hatred from its Steam Greenlight service. Greenlight is, in the words of Valve, "a system that enlists the community's help in picking some of the new games to be released on Steam." Greenlight serves as an online tool used by the public community to inform Valve on what sort of titles should be introduced to their Steam digital distribution service. Greenlight is intended to allow the public to voice their support of certain titles, without undue interference from Valve. Among several notable titles sold on Steam are Manhunt, where the protagonist is forced to engage in acts of murder in a fictional "snuff film," and the various Grand Theft Auto titles, which include optional "Rampage" segments where a certain number of gang members or unarmed civilians must be killed by the player in a given time limit.
Hatred is similar in content to Super Columbine Massacre RPG where the protagonist assumes the role of a spree killer engaging in acts of violence against unarmed civilians. The content was considered by Valve to be too offensive for Steam, leading to its ban.
This petition is not designed to support the content of Hatred. This petition is not necessarily designed to show solidarity with the developers, though that's unavoidable when it comes to its goal.
This petition is designed to send a message to Valve that we should be allowed to decide for ourselves what to purchase and what to ignore. Valve should not make that decision for us.
We acknowledge that Valve, as a private entity, has a right to curate what sort of products it can sell on its own services. However, this petition also acknowledges that decisions of "good taste" and "moral offense" should not be decided for us by Valve. Rational human beings should be allowed to make that judgment for themselves. We should be allowed to either purchase or ignore Hatred as we choose. This decision should not be taken away from us by Valve. Our choice to refuse is just as important as theirs.
Valve has a right to curate its list of products on Steam. Valve has a right to curate based on standards of quality and whether or not the developer of a product has been honest towards its customers. Valve's decision to temporarily remove WarZ (now known as Infestation: Survivor Stories) was not based on the content of the work. It was based on its quality and the developers' failed responsibilities to their customers. Valve should exercise greater quality control when it comes to those issues. It shouldn't curate based on arbitrary standards of "good taste" or "moral offense." Valve's decision to forcibly remove an entry in a COMMUNITY service has forcibly deprived any choice or agency from the consumer.
Valve should not tell you what to be offended by.
This creates a more troubling precedent than anything specific to video games or Hatred. The deprivation of choice or agency from the members of the Greenlight community by Valve invalidates its entire purpose. It sends a message that the community's voice no longer matters as much as it used to.
We may not realistically believe that Valve will change their mind. We only hope that it will send a message to Valve that we, as rational consumers, should decide for ourselves what to be offended by.
Many of us may not support Hatred. We support our right to choose or refuse it. That matters more.
Reason is but choosing.
- John Milton, Areopagitica (in protest of Parliament's forcible regulation of literature)
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