Monday, September 25, 2017

what ya gonna do when the panic’s free?

Culling my email of all the unnecessary things that have been flooding in over the last few months, I had to stop and read, then reread, the title of one email.
STOP The Satanic Pornification Of Children
Wait, what?

Even better, it came with this banner:

First of all, the three puir wee bairns in that photograph? Those are Lucia Santos, Francisco Marto, and Jacinta Marto, who in 1917 first saw the Apparition of Mary at Fatima, Portugal. They wouldn't know a video game if you held it in front of them framed by a Switch.

Though I will say, they could not have picked an image with more perfect expressions. Here's the full image so you can revel in the lip curling:

I had to read on.
This is absolutely appalling.
Only if you're convinced that all video games are made solely for the under-thirteen set.
Steam video game distributors [have] made two pornographic themed video games available to children of all ages through the simple click of a button. Steam is a digital distribution platform developed by Valve Corporation.
Yes, it is, but I'm admittedly more curious about the 'available to children of all ages' line. So I did a simple search. Came into Steam as an unregistered user. I was instantly hit with a request to verify my age. Okay, gatekeeping systems do very little towards actual prevention of access, but there is an age barrier in place. So they're wrong about House Party at least.

This is from the game's description on Steam:
"In the game, you'll experience the usual debauchery found at these types of parties in the form of foul language, party games, nudity, fighting, sex, and more, and believe me, it doesn't pull any punches! Each character has their own personality, story and quests for the player. You can enjoy this alongside full immersive 3D gameplay, gorgeous models, and a very sarcastic and dry sense of humor. The AI is very robust, and the characters respond to a large number of stimuli and player choices. There are multiple story-paths and different outcomes based on your decisions."
Translation: it's a party simulator where you're trying to have sex with girls, play tricks on other girls, and either avoid or get into fights with drunken frat guys. Is it a game I'd play? Hells, no--there's a segment where the 'gag' is to spill a drink on someone, get her to take off her clothes for you to wash, then make her walk around in bra and panties the rest of the night. Oh, yeah, mass fun for all, I'm sure.

But they aren't done.
The video games Party House and Porno Studio Tycoon have serious graphic and suggestive content that is accessible to computer users of all ages.
Really? Are they really? Because I also checked Porno Studio Tycoon and ran into an age-check page. Granted, it's not the same level of age verification needed:

but we'll get into the why of that later. How'ver, this means neither game is being offered up to "innocent children" just looking for some cutesy Candyland knockoff.

This next was in bright red text in the original email:
WARNING: Read with caution; very disturbing
Sure, sure, I'm duly warned. Carry on with the deeply disturbing content.
According to press reports:
  • "The House Party 'hook up' game is literally training its users in predatory tactics for sexual assault, and even sex trafficking...

  • "The game includes disturbing features that allow users to increase their odds of 'having sex' with a woman in the game if they manipulate and coerce women into sex acts...
  • "The sexual encounters are blatant animated pornography, featuring genitalia, ejaculation, and more."
All right, let's break this down, shall we? The best review I've found of the general tackiness level of House Party was posted on Rock Paper Shotgun (a great gaming blog if you haven't heard of it before). And I don't disagree with anything he says. It's not just a deeply misogynistic game, it's a badly coded game, badly textured game, written by a company apparently full of drunk college guys who lost track of sober five years ago. All of this seems to be true.

But a training manual for sexual assault? Only if the girl in question is very, very dim, and the assaulter in question is very, very lucky. The only way this will train anyone is in how to guess the most stupid responses on very short lists of stupid responses. So, I guess, it's a sub-par simulator for your standard high school or college party with jocks, maybe. Eminently forgettable, and by far not the worst game out there imaginable.

Then they take on the other 'Satanic' game:
And just as bad...
  • "The game Porno Studio Tycoon centers on sexual themes where the user acts as the pornographer.

  • "It includes sexual sounds, hypersexualized characters, and generic depictions of sex acts...
  • "This game promotes and glamorizes the exploitative industry of pornography."
Really? Read this before you wrangle your local parents' group into complaining to Steam. This is a basic resource management game for the most part, with a little bit of lingerie thrown in to 'spice up' the dry mergers and acquisitions data tracks. There may be 'sexual sounds', but there's no actual depictions of sex acts. You'll definitely see more skin in Hunie Pop than you ever will in Porno Studio Tycoon.

Anything left to say, strange pleading piece of spam? Why yes:
  1. "Steam sells and promotes these games to users of all ages and requires only a simple click of a button to pass through a tepid warning that the material may not be suitable for all ages.

  1. "These games are in direct violation of Steam's own policies against pornographic or patently offensive content."
Well, in point of fact, that's the one thing this bit of faux-ham has been right on: I'd say House Party (and Hunie Pop) do violate their policies (while Porno Studio Tycoon really doesn't), but you know what an easy way to get those off Steam would be? Flag them for offensive or inappropriate content. It's a built-in system that Steam will actually pay attention to, whereas they generally won't bother even looking at an email campaign or a petition.

There's a petition if you feel morally outraged, but...seriously, this is so hyperbolically overblown it's ludicrous.

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