It’s safe to say that despite removing the highly controversial zombie apocalypse visual novel Rape Day from their store, people aren’t happy with how Valve allowed it onto the store in the first place. In fact, a couple of members of Scotland’s parliament have criticized Valve and are calling for government review of Steam and other digital storefronts.
According to Gamesindustry.biz, Scottish National Party MP Hannah Bardell released a statement yesterday. She called the content of Rape Day “utterly perverted,” criticized Valve’s “culture to seek forgiveness rather than permission,” and called for the UK government to “undertake a full review into how tech companies and gaming platforms — specifically Steam — are able to get away with this kind of stupidity.”
Video of her statement can be seen below on a tweet she made:
At #DCMS Q’s I raised the issue of the game ‘Rape Day’.
The content of this game is utterly sickening – it’s time for the UK government to undertake a full review into development and hosting of such abhorrent content.
Rape & sexual violence should never feature in ‘games’. pic.twitter.com/JMheJs1N8J
— Hannah Bardell MP 🏴🏳️🌈 (@HannahB4LiviMP) March 7, 2019
Her comments also prompted Rape Crisis Scotland, a national organization for rape crisis centers, to speak up:
We have to ask ourselves what kind of society we want to live in. Games like this cannot be tolerated in any society that values fairness and equality. This normalisation of rape is incompatible with a society where women and girls can live free from fear and violence.
— Rape Crisis Scotland (@rapecrisisscot) March 7, 2019
Hannah’s concerns were also echoed by Shona Robinson, First Minister of the Scottish Parliament. She said that it would be “disgusting and deeply offensive” for an online gaming platform to allow the publishing of a video game that blatantly glorifies the killing and raping of women, and was “delighted” to hear that the game was removed from Steam.
Given that Steam is a privately-owned American company, it’s uncertain just what a review by the United Kingdom would look like and what measurements they could enact as a result.
Rape Day is/was a visual novel developed by indie developer Desk Lamp that takes place in a zombie apocalypse. It reportedly contains 500 images and over 7,000 words enabling the player to “verbally harass, kill, and rape women as [they] choose to progress the story.” When it was still on Steam, its ‘Mature Content Description’ included “violence, sexual assault, non-consensual sex, obscene language, necrophilia, and incest.” Valve removed it from Steam due to the “unknown costs and risks” it posed.