10 per cent discount on a game about killing minorities, women, LGBTQ people and those with left wing opinions? I think I’ll pass.
Over the past few days, trouble has been stirring online over a Brazilian-made game called Bolsomito 2k18. Released via Steam on 6th October, it’s a pixel art beat ’em up which tasks players with purging the country of “the evils of communism” and “the growing corruption and inversion of values that plages [sic] his society”.
Those who have played the game report Bolsomito 2k18 is “an obvious incitation of violence against black, women, LGBT and left-wing people”. “It’s a shame that Steam allowed such a travesty to be released in the first place,” writes user Cyberpunk. “Remember Hatred and Ethnic Cleansing? This is just as bad, if not even worse. Try to imagine Postal without sarcasm. There it is.”
As if the minority-killing wasn’t enough, the game is also inspired by “the current Brazilian political climate,” and even the most cursory research explains why. Bolsomito 2k18’s name is inspired by right-wing politician Jair Bolsonaro, who is currently looking likely to win Brazil’s ongoing presidential election. Described by some as “Trump on steroids,” Bolsonaro has frequently used misogynistic, homophobic and racist rhetoric to sell his political agenda. Bolsomito 2k18’s playable character, by the way, is Bolsonaro as Brazilian president.
Given the current political context, Brazil’s Public Ministry of the Federal District and Territories (MPDFT) has now opened an investigation into Bolsomito 2k18’s developer, BS Studios, along with Steam and Valve. The purpose of the investigation (via Google Translate) is to “investigate the availability of the game “Bolsomito 2k18″, created by BS Studios and distributed by Valve Corporation (Steam).”
According to the document, the investigation was triggered due to the game’s release “(two) days before the first round of the Brazilian elections,” and the game’s content, which “clearly intends to harm [the] Presidency of the Republic and thereby embarrass the 2018 elections” and “cause collective moral damages to the movements social, gays and feminists”.
“On tense days with an election extremely polarised in progress, a game developer has created a game that promises controversy,” the document continues. “In the animation, the player places himself in the skin of the PSL to the Presidency of the Republic, Jair Bolsonaro, and earn[s] points by killing militants, gays, feminists and members of landless movements.”
The document states the MPDFT will notify Valve to “cease the availability of the
game “Bolsomito 2k18″ on their gaming platform,” and “identify and qualify those responsible for BS Studios”.
Eurogamer has contacted Valve for comment on Bolsomito 2k18.
Valve has come under fire in recent months for allowing most games to be sold on the platform, following a policy change which relaxed barriers of entry. Even in this regard, it’s surprising Bolsomito 2k18 was not banned under the category of “trolling” – although, despite Valve’s attempts to clarify the term, the definition remains pretty vague. This also begs the question: just how bad does a game have to be for Valve to reject it?