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Brazil calls for removal of 'embarrassing' political game on Steam

Brazil's Public Ministry of the Federal District and Territories has called on Valve to remove the 2D beat-em-up Bolsomito 2K18 from Steam. The demand follows an investigation into Valve, Steam, and developer BS Studios over allegations that the game promotes hatred and violence against minorities and is intended to influence the country's presidential election. 

"Defeat the communistic evils in this politically incorrect game and be the hero that will free the nation from misery," the Steam description says. "Be prepared to face many kinds of enemies that intend to establish a criminal ideological dictatorship in the country." 

The problem, as reported by Correio Braziliense (via Eurogamer), is that the title and "hero" of the game are a thinly-veiled reference to Jair Bolsonaro, the leading candidate in Brazil's presidential election, who makes no secret of his far-right political stance and hostility toward women and minorities—and that the actual goal of the game is "killing gay, feminist, and landless activists."

The Correio Braziliense report led to the MPDFT investigation, which noted (Google translated from the original Portuguese) that Bolsomito 2K18 "was released on October 5, 2018, that is, two days before the first round of the Brazilian elections," that it "clearly intends to prejudice candidates for the Presidency of the Republic and thereby embarrass the 2018 elections," and—this one is kind of a head-scratcher—that the game "causes collective moral harms to social, gay and feminist movements." 

The investigation concluded with a call to Valve to remove Bolsomito 2K18 from its platform, but for now it remains available—including, according to SteamDB, in Brazil. (Somewhat more ominously, the report also calls on Brazilian authorities to "identify and qualify those responsible for BS Studios.") But the game doesn't seem to fit any of Steam's stated requirements for removal: I've played it for a few minutes and it's a terrible game, but it's legitimately playable and, gross politics aside, doesn't strike me as "straight-up trolling." 

I've reached out to Valve for more information and will update if I receive a reply. The not-very-subtle launch trailer is below.

Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.