Steam’s Greenlight initiative, aimed at giving smaller developers a chance to develop on the platform, has not been without its problems. Valve instituted a $100 fee in order to “cut down on the noise” of joke submissions. That level of oversight did not prevent Randall Herman, Christian skateboarding shoe cobbler from trying his hand at making a game and successfully releasing it Monday morning (before Valve took it down a few hours later).
As a heads up, all the warnings about the content of this game. It’s not pleasant.
Being a man who made skateboarding about Jesus, you may or may not wonder how he manages to have a heart so full of hate. The game, simply titled Kill the Faggot, contains its entire premise and gameplay in the title. You are a gunman, and in front of you are a passing array of straight people, trans people, and gay men. There are no lesbians, which is not entirely surprising - homophobic men seem to often have a bias in their homophobia that makes an exception for lesbians they deem attractive (probably out of a misguided belief that they could convert them if only they experienced the righteous straight penis).
Jim Sterling managed to get in a round of the game, noting that perhaps having “absolutely zero vetting process on Steam isn’t the best idea.”
As the figures (one hesitates to call anything in this game a character) move across the screen, they say things like “You wanna chomp my weiner?”, “Ever visit the city of Butte Montana? I hear there’s a lot of buttholes.” and “I just dropped the soap!” These juvenile attempts at humor reveal what we’ve long suspected.
The homophobe’s impression of queer people is actually born in fear - they truly are afraid of gay people. They’re afraid that someone who shares their gender might come on to them; and the sophistication of the come ons they imagine is about on par with those utilized by the most boorish of straight men. This lack of imagination suggests an overlap between the boorish straight man demographic and the homophobe demographic. As if that’s surprising.
Every kill comes with a pretty horrible line, probably intended to make players laugh or something. “Eliminated” figures heavily into the vernacular of the game, with “AIDS carrier eliminated” being one of the more glaring variations - homophobic Christians apparently still live in the 80s and think AIDS is the “Gay disease.” “Straight Pride” is another one that stands out.
You get a siren sound if you accidentally kill a straight person and you lose points for it. You get points for killing gay men, and more points for killing trans people. According to the game “Fag homo queers” are worth 100 points, “Transgenders” are worth 150 points, and killing a “straight person” subtracts 100 points.
The hierarchy of hate here is worth pondering, if only as a reminder of the homophobic mindset. Straight people are people, everyone else boils down to how they deviate from “straightness” (never mind that trans people can be of any sexuality or none). Trans people are more hateworthy than gay men, and gay men appear to be the inverse of straight men (borrowing from 19th century terminology, which labeled gays and lesbians as sexual inverts). Bisexual people are absent entirely.
I wonder if this might provide some insight into some people’s difficulty in understanding trans people and their sexualities. There seems to be a conflation of gender and sexuality here, such that your gender determines your sexuality. It likely ties into the highly outmoded idea of trans people as “super gays.” Whatever the case may be, it seems clear that homophobes’ issues are driven by fear-based hatred fed by ignorance (willful or otherwise).
Sterling asks those who raise the possibility that this game is satire to answer two questions: “What is it satirizing?” and “Where is the fucking satire?” This, he says, is just the thing itself. The game is homophobia. There’s no satire.
Herman, the developer, has this to say about the game:
“These people that think if you are even remotely homophobic, you are ‘hateful’ and a ‘bigot,’ and do everything they can to destroy you in every vicious way possible,” Herman wrote. “So I decided to go down a path that most developers are afraid to go down: to piss these people off by making the most overly offensive game possible to these idiots to prove a point.”
Ah, to prove a point. What point does this game prove? It proves that homophobes might fantasize about mass murder. It proves that having no checks in place to prevent games that are hate speech from getting published is a bad idea. Basically, it proves any point other than the point Herman thinks it proves. He thinks this proves that homophobes are under attack.
No, Herman, no. You’re not under attack. You’re just an asshole.