Warning: This article contains sensitive content that may upset sensitive readers.
Over the past few years, Valve has been grappling with what games should and should not be allowed on their digital sore Steam. Valve is once again set to be thrust into the spotlight as a recent listing on Steam suggests that a visual novel titled Rape Day will be heading to the store.
Rape Day, according to the description, is a visual novel in which the player controls a serial rapist during a zombie apocalypse.
According to Polygon, who first reported on the news, the visual novel will allow players to make a series of choices that will lead to their character verbally harassing, killing and raping women.
What is even more disturbing is that the visual novel seems to be pushing the boundaries just for the sake of being controversial. In a blog post on the game’s Steam page, the creator offers his defence for the novel saying that it is intended for all audiences, including sociopaths.
“Despite what people are saying in the discussion, the game is marked as adult. It’s for a niche audience; If it’s not your type of game you definitely don’t need to play it but as other’s [sic] have said I tried to make a game that I would enjoy playing, and there are other people like me. 4% of the general population are sociopaths and the type of people that would be entertained by a story like this is not even limited to pure sociopaths. I understand that it is, however, it is not the majority of people; again the game is for a niche audience.”
While there have been many discussions on the Steam forums asking for the game’s removal, it’s not clear whether Valve will actually take steps to remove it. In a 2018 blog post, Valve stated that they believe the right approach is to allow everything and only remove things that can be considered trolling or illegal.
At this stage, the game is only visible when opting to see “adult only” content and the Steam page does contain detailed warnings. But is this enough, and should Valve rather completely remove Rape Day from its store? Isn’t it time for Valve to take more of a responsibility for what it allows on Steam?