Steam Language Woes

Off to a good start into the new year…

I guess my reading comprehension is not as good as I thought it was. I failed on this sentence:

Low Violence: German low violence version only available with German language

The way I interpreted it was “there exists a low-violence version, which you’ll get if you install the game in German”. Which isn’t a problem, because I play all my games in their original language if at all possible. Typically it is, because that means English. However, the way the sentence was meant was “if you buy this game in Germany, you’ll get a version that is low-violence, AND it will only be playable in German”. That is a problem. (The game in question is Fallout 3, by the way.)

I’m not even arguing for or against low-violence versions. I personally find them silly; just slap a higher age limit on it, and you’re done. However, this discussion, and the fabrication of special low-violence versions for the German market has been around for more than 15 years by now, probably more than 20. I’m just utterly tired of this debate, ground to exhaustion if you will, and have decided that if I find a cut unacceptable, I’ll just drive the 10 kilometers to the next game shop on the Dutch side of the border.

I fell into a trap I should’ve known better, too. I knew Steam had a very obedient (almost anticipatory) attitude to German game violence rules. Incidentally, that was one of the reasons I boycotted them for the longest time. I though they had gotten better over recently, though. Especially since these days, more games seem to pass through the cut process without any cutting at all, and still make it onto Steam. Past are the days where all enemy soldiers were replaced by robots, and people didn’t die, but just sat down because they were “exhausted”. I foolishly thought that these days, they figured if you are German and understand English well enough to follow the game, you’re mature enough to not be scarred for life by game violence. I guess the wheels don’t turn that fast.

So now I’m stuck with a language version I don’t want. The reason for this is that, while for books and to a certain degree for movies, the German translation industry is really good, it totally sucks when it comes to games. I guess most game companies try to get translation for as cheap as possible, and it shows. After several bad impressions, I decided I’ll never play a game again that has been localized.

I wrote a mail to Steam support, explaining myself, and asking for a refund. Let’s see how this plays out.

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