Valve has removed Seemingly Pointless’ You Must Be 18 or Older to Enter from Steam, after the company decided the game, a text adventure with ASCII art, was pornographic.
Seemingly Pointless found out about the game’s delisting from the Steam marketplace not from Valve themselves, but from a potential player who was unable to find it on the store, according to a Gamasutra post by co-founder James Cox. Cox emailed Valve who responded, with Cox paraphrasing: "informing us they had decided that they view our game as porn."
Valve had banned You Must Be 18 or Older to Enter, two months after it had hit Steam’s glorious shores.
You Must Be 18 or Older to Enter is, in Cox’s words, a tangible horror game, and while it isn’t porn: some of the ASCII art potentially was porn, before it became an indecipherable mass of characters, it’s a game about porn. You’re a teenager in the 1990’s, trying to look at pornography on the family PC, jumping at every door opening, every crunch of gravel on the driveway, every ecstatic moan through the PC speakers.
Cox says that the decision to delist the free game "bruised my ego, but not my wallet" although he does talk about the inherent issues with removing a game like this from Steam, the PC’s largest marketplace by a significant margin.
"If a game like You Must be 18 or Older to Enter is considered porn by a platform, then players lose a non-violent alternative horror. If anyone trying to expand the palate of experiences is being treated poorly on account of untempered yet taught player behavior, that developer is liable to leave the community."
The game is still available on Gamejolt and Itch.io. The full post is available on Gamasutra, and it’s compelling stuff.