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Steam now has an endless supply of hentai puzzle games

Really? This is your game icon?

Really? This is your game icon?

When Valve decided to allow virtually anything on Steam starting in June 2018, short of games that are "illegal or straight up trolling," we knew it would have a big effect on the kinds of games, particularly adult games, that appeared on the store. But here's a specific look at how that policy plays out when combined with Steam Direct, which allows anyone to publish on Steam with a simple $100 fee. In December, 19 games were listed on Steam with "hentai" in the title, and you'd be hard pressed to tell most of them apart.

I'll be honest: Scrolling through the names of these hentai games gives me a chuckle. I find them mostly inoffensive and silly, because they're almost universally variations of the same theme: a puzzle game with bad art that lets you look at some naked drawings. They're either mosaic puzzles where you put the pieces in the right place to create an image, or match three-style games, or actual traditional puzzles. The names are, for the most part, impressively uncreative (shout out to "Hentai University 2: Biology course" for breaking the mould). The most expensive one costs $4.

I don't point these out to draw attention to an epidemic ruining Steam. You can set filters to ignore 'adult' content on Steam if you don't want to see it, and I don't think many people discover new games by scrolling through the dozens or hundreds of new releases in a given week. Although Hentai Hot Puzzles is currently sitting at the top of the puzzle genre's new and trending list.

I'm curious who the audience for these games is, when there's a lot of free, actual porn out there on the internet. But clearly there's some money in it. While most of these games cost only $1 and have few or no user reviews, there's the occasional exception, like Hentai Girl Linda, which has accrued more than 900 reviews in less than a month. If there's that kind of money in derivative anime porn games, we'll almost certainly be seeing more of them in 2019.

Here's December's list. January 2019 is already off to a strong start: Two more were listed on New Year's day.

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