Video games are, by far, the largest entertainment industry on the planet. As with most entertainment industries, a subset of these games are focused on adult themes, many of which have a subtle or downright overt sexual tone to them. Whether you play them in secret or don't mind letting your freak flag fly, a particular problem exists with this medium of entertainment: the largest digital games distributors universally have policies in place against explicit sexual content on their platforms. Enter UncensorPat.ch [NSFW], a website dedicated to hosting uncensor patches for these games. We spoke with the site's operator "Pat" about their site and the industry in general.
In mid-May of 2018, a number of adult games on Steam were simultaneously sent messages warning them that they had to tone down the adult content in their games or they would be removed from the platform. This miniature crisis caused a lot of panic in the industry, and sites like MangaGamer, Nutaku, and others that focus on selling explicit adult games took the opportunity to offer these devs a platform to sell their wares. (Disclosure: Nutaku provides perks for TechRaptor members, and TechRaptor participates with an affiliate linking program with Nutaku.)
"I believe that it's important to allow adults to do what they want. One of the things many adults have decided they want to do is to play adult games, and I don't believe it's the place of game companies to say that that's not okay. As long as everyone's being safe and everyone's having fun, what's the harm? I do not believe sexuality and sexual acts are nearly as offensive as horrific, gruesome, or violent media, and it disturbs me that game companies seem to have this mentality switched." —Pat, UncensorPat.ch site operatorThere are currently over 150 titles listed on UncensorPat.ch, all of which are hosted on the Steam platform. Pat has minimal interaction with the game's developers; the site simply acts as a service for people to find these patches and install them. Most patches come with installation instructions. Users install said patches at their own risk, although Pat makes an effort to verify that the patches work when and where they can.
"[The] onus is, and always will be, on the user of the site to ensure they're being safe and smart on the internet, and I accept no responsibility for what lies on the other side of that download link," Pat began. "Originally I was re-uploading everything so that I can control what is downloaded better, however some developers requested that I link directly to their patch, as they didn't want me to potentially be altering their patch maliciously. Once I was made aware that [it was difficult to prove my intent to developers], I [realized] the safest thing would be to give the link the developers gave and so if something goes wrong with the link, that's on the developers, not me."
Some games, like KAGAMI WORKs & SakuraGame's Mirror [NSFW], are listed as "Verified" [NSFW] on the site. This means that Pat has personally tested the patch themselves to the best of their ability to ensure that it works without anything malicious going on behind the scenes. UncensorPat.ch is a big project with just one person behind it, and Pat relies on the help of others [NSFW] to get the job done.
Pat had a good bit to say on this particular point: "Lately I've been lucky enough to get a few helpful people sending me [games and links to their patches or patch information], which greatly helps me out as I can spend more time adding content and less time hunting for it," the site's operator began. "I greatly appreciate every piece of information sent through to me, and it's great to have these community contributions and know that not only is the site helping people, but it's something others want to contribute as well."
As with most passion projects, there are a few outstanding people who step up and work hard in order to help out with the task at hand. Pat took the time to talk about one in particular, stating, "I'd also like to make a special mention to Kimchi Tea, one of my contributors who has done an amazing job of helping me out in regards to adding content to the site, as well as providing the resources so that I can verify a number of games, which went a long distance to help clarify some of the otherwise incorrect information on the site." A number of other contributors and developers have helped in their own way, doing what they can in order to help ensure that everything at UncensorPat.ch runs smoothly.
Of course, censorship in gaming extends to more than just sexual themes. While Valve sensibly walked back their e-mails to developers of games with sexual content, a number of nations have stringent rules in place relating to certain content in video games. We Happy Few was effectively banned in Australia by being refused classification due to drug use in the game, a decision that was later successfully appealed by the game's developer and publisher.
I asked Pat about whether or not they would look into focusing on other types of censorship, and for the moment the site will focus on games with adult themes that are censored on Steam due to the platform's rules. Pat was sympathetic to this particular plight as they have friends in countries like Germany and Australia where gamers typically receive inferior versions of games like South Park: The Stick of Truth with cut content due to local or national censorship laws. Still, Pat believes that communities already exist to handle this problem, whereas Pat intended to fill a gap in service for the adult gaming community when the site was started in November of 2017.
Pat believes that the decision to view adult content ought to rest exclusively on the shoulders of the adult gamer who wishes to play it. While obstacles to that content may exist, Pat is one of many people out there trying to fill in the gaps for people who like these particular kinds of games. If you'd like to learn more about the site, you can head on over to UncensorPat.ch [NSFW] and see what they have to offer. Interested parties can help out with the site [NSFW] through contributing games or their efforts, and particularly generous people can donate to UncensorPat.ch's Patreon [NSFW] to help out with the site's operating expenses.
What do you think of UncensorPat.ch? Do you think Steam ought to natively offer adult content to its users or are uncensor patches a necessary compromise? Let us know in the comments below!