October 21, 2018
I’ve been a customer of Steam for 14 years. It’s a great number for a great community. I have always been a faithful supporter of the platform, as it has shown a tendency for fairness and decency to all gamers that is unparalleled. I have been a loyal Steam customer to a fault. When all my friends wanted to pre-order Fallout 76, I said I would not purchase the title because they refused to release it on Steam and I refuse to reward any publisher who wants to install yet another purposeless launcher and retail shop on my computer with poorer terms and no social graph.
So it was very alarming when my profile name was disabled by Steam moderators this week. For years now I have had two Unicode high voltage signs in my nickname on the platform: ⚡⚡. This was, of course, to honor the Vice President of the United States, Mike “Electric” Pence. I was informed by a moderator that it had a “rather problematic” meaning.
When I inquired further, I was informed it was associated with Nazi Germany. I of course was unfamiliar with this and assumed that it would most commonly be associated with the rock band KISS, beloved by boomers and homosexuals everywhere.
However, when confronted with this I decided to illustrate a key point: that Valve’s Steam in itself is actually the largest distributor of Nazi propaganda in the world. Steam games drop trading cards which can be consumed to craft badges. The process of badge crafting drops background images for your profile, and emoticons that can also be displayed on your profile or used in Steam’s chat. Background images and emoticons can be bought and sold on the community marketplace, typically for a few pennies, or gifted and traded with your friends. In defense of the First Amendment of our divinely inspired Constitution, I went on a quest to display as much official Valve Nazi paraphernalia on my profile as possible.
I started with the “German Reich” profile background from a game called “Supreme Ruler 1936.” While it does not display a swastika (obviously these games need to be distributed in many European countries) any flag intending to represent the German Reich in 1936 is Nazi paraphernalia. This is the most expensive item of the lot, currently trading at 51 cents. Then I found a number of other good emotes fit for profile display using the “item showcase” feature. Company of Heroes 2’s :german:, World War II: Panzer Claws’s :wehrmacht:, Putrefaction 2: Void Walker’s :crossnazis:, Banner Saga 2’s :BlackSun:, Burgers’s :Erwind: (a cute little guy in a stahlhelm), and Day of Defeat’s :ironcross: (which is an emoticon drop actually created by Valve itself) cost about a nickel. For 11 cents I also bought :luger:, which is my favorite of the bunch.
I could have used 111 additional items though.
After changing my public profile to display all this official, Valve-distributed Nazi paraphernalia (it took less than a dollar, if if you don’t count the value of my time) and explaining it to Steam support, they changed their tune, and are telling me I can put the double high voltage warnings back in my Steam name if I please.
However, I am pretty happy with my new profile displaying all this official Steam Nazi paraphernalia, but if any of you fellow gamers have problems rocking the double bolts (a lot of people amongst my Steam friends seem to have similar appreciation for our Vice President!) you can refer Steam to ticket number HT-4Q8P-9XVH-59PK where their support staff decided that they were not against the rules.
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