Valve’s policies on what is acceptable on the Steam store are once again a hot-button issue. Brazil is calling for the removal of a game called Bolsomito 2K18, claiming it’s designed to influence their elections.
Not classy, but is it allowed?
The game in question is a 2D beat-’em-up called Bolsomito 2K18. It has players controlling a thinly-veiled reference to former army general and political candidate Jair Bolsonaro. Going by American politics, he’s a far-right candidate who promises to crack down on widespread corruption. However, he’s also known for praising the military dictatorship Brazil faced from 1964-1985 and his highly racist, sexist, and LGBT-phobic remarks (CW: Racism, Misogyny, Sexual Assault, Homophobic/Transphobic).
The game itself has players fight against “enemies that intend to establish a criminal ideological dictatorship in the country”. These include black protesters, LGBTQ people, and those with left-wing political views. The game’s also pretty bad gameplay-wise, not that folks would play it for the gameplay.
The game’s obvious parallels have led to an investigation by Brazil’s Public Ministry of the Federal District and Territories (MPDFT). The investigation into BS Studios, the game’s developer, led to a report (translated from Portuguese via Google Translate). Among the notable bits, it says that the game “was released on October 5, 2018, that is, two days before the first round of the Brazilian elections,” clearly intends to prejudice candidates for the Presidency of the Republic and thereby embarrass the 2018 elections,” and “causes collective moral harms to social, gay and feminist movements”. The document concludes that the MPDFT will contact Valve to “cease the availability of the game “Bolsomito 2k18″ on their gaming platform,” and “identify and qualify those responsible for BS Studios”.
This once again begs the question of what kinds of games Valve lets on Steam. The incident with the game Active Shooter is still relatively fresh in people’s minds, and the question on what’s allowed keeps popping up, like an overly catchy song you can’t forget.