A popular comedy sex game has been removed from Steam over 'pornography' complaints

After one month of being on sale in Early Access, House Party has been removed from Steam pending a 'watered down' version of the game, as stated by the developers at Eek! Games in a blog post on the take down. 

The devs don't have beef with Steam though, shifting the blame to aggressive, targeted complaints from groups bothered by House Party from day one:

"House Party was temporarily removed as a result of a number of complaints that were sent to Steam about the game. The game has been a target for a certain group of people since the day it launched, and said people were posting very aggressive, distasteful and hateful comments directed toward the game and its community of players."

But without a clear idea of what the offending content is, Eek! Games aren't exactly sure what to cut and what to keep.

"I asked Valve for clarification on the offending content, and they haven’t replied yet, but they’ve been very nice up this point and simply told me that they would re-enable the game after testing the modifications requested (forcefully enabling an in-game censor during certain scenes regardless of the user’s preference setting) to ensure there is no more offending content. I know there are many games with nudity, and there are also games with sex scenes as well, including really popular titles, so it’s all rather confusing and I don’t know exactly where the line is or what in particular I should be censoring."

House Party's depiction of nudity and sex is far from tasteful, but the sudden removal after weeks of being on sale points to flaws in Steam's verification process. If Steam has a rule about explicit content, why wasn't the content flagged before House Party was allowed on the store in the first place? And does its sudden removal mean simulated sex is a no-go, period? 

Yeesh.

The removal runs counter to what we saw earlier this year, when the "explicit visual novel" Ladykiller in a Bind was released on Steam "uncensored and unedited." And it too pulls no punches, promising players "six nights worth of explicit, consensual, kinky lesbian sex," plus four bonus sex scenes for people who like to "live dangerously." So why is one uncensored sex game acceptable, while another is not?   

Even though the reasons aren't clear, the studio said it "understands" Valve's position. "They are responding to an alarming societal perception of sex and nudity as something evil, even more so than murder, genocide, torture, and gore which is widely accepted and prevalent in most other video games that are offered up on Steam and many other gaming platforms," the post says. "I don’t agree with Steam’s decision, but I respect it." 

House Party remains available to anyone who bought it, and Eek! said that Valve is now testing a new version of the game, which will be put back online if it meets the necessary requirements—whatever they might be. We've reached out to Valve for more information about why the game was removed, and will update if and when I receive a reply. 

I played the first 20 minutes of House Party, and the overriding impression it left was one of horror rather than humor. Later, I learned you could get your dick out and put it on things, like a table or charcoal barbecue (don't do this). I won't miss it, but some consistency and clarification from Steam would be nice.  

And at the least, House Party does bring out the best in YouTube thumbnail faces.

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Thanks, Eurogamer