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Garry’s Mod considering bans for “Nazis”

Garry’s Mod, the Source engine creation game and pillar of the Half-Life modding scene, is considering banning servers purported to celebrate Nazi ideology.

Garry’s Mod considering bans for “Nazis”: G Man from Half Life in FPS game Garry's Mod

The home to Half-Life mods and fan creations, as well as custom servers and homebrew games based around Counter-Strike, Portal, Left 4 Dead, and other Valve works, Garry’s Mod is considering banning servers and players that celebrate Nazi ideals. Part FPS game, part builder, Garry’s Mod is host to many online roleplay communities. But eponymous creator Garry Newman says there is a problem, as “lurking in some of these games are a bunch of guys that really seem to love the Nazis,” and he issues a poll asking fans if these kinds of players should be banned outright.

Garry’s Mod hosts a range of different roleplay servers, including community-driven games based on World War 2 and its history. In many cases, this serves as traditional, historical reenactment. Some Garry’s Mod communities, however, use the game to celebrate the Nazis, with Newman now saying that the G-Mod development team is considering “outright banning” various activities and material.

“The problem for us is that lurking in some of these games are a bunch of guys that really seem to love the Nazis,” Newman says. “It seems like a few of them really love the Nazis outside of the game, too. The question for us is, ‘how do we keep the good stuff and get rid of the bad stuff?’

“We obviously don’t want to ban all WW2-themed games, but we do want to get rid of the celebration of Nazis. Maybe outright banning swastikas, heil Hilters, and other Nazi symbolism is the way to go? Banning symbols and stuff sounds like they’d just use another symbol, but in my opinion, these people are so fragile that one concession would be too much for them, and they’d find somewhere else.”

Garry’s Mod considering bans for “Nazis”: The Team Fortress 2 Heavy and Mossman from Half-Life in FPS game Garry's Mod

Newman also posts a Twitter poll, asking followers for their response with regard to outright banning Nazi game modes in Garry’s Mod. “Might be an obvious question,” Newman writes, “but these Nazi game modes in Garry’s Mod, we should be banning them right? There’s no legit reason for them to exist, right?” As of this writing, the poll has 40,995 votes. 73.1 percent of respondents vote that yes, the Nazi game modes should be banned, while 26.9% vote that they should not.

“I can see merit in the games here where you roleplay survival and war scenarios,” Newman continues. “It’s engaging, interesting, compelling, [and] educational. Humanity’s lows are always gonna be a rich seam for games, movies, TV, books, etc.

“The huge majority of the RP communities are that. No more harmful than DoD [Day of Defeat] or CoD. In fact, in a lot of ways they’re much more interesting than that. They explore the politics, diplomacy, humanity, infighting, [and] suffering in ways that other types of FPS can’t. We don’t really want to police these games. I don’t want to be told what I can and can’t put in my games, so why should we tell anyone else?”

Newman poses a series of issues regarding the moderation of Garry’s Mod games and communities, in a style that mirrors a question-and-answer interview. In response to some of these issues, Newman provides a very straightforward answer.

“‘They [Garry’s Mod players who use the game to celebrate Nazism] should be allowed to do whatever they want?,” Newman asks themselves. “Nope.” “‘Freedom of expression?,” Newman asks, as another hypothetical question, again replying with an emphatic “nope.”

“This isn’t a loss of freedom. This isn’t an attack on your free will. This isn’t mind control. This is nothing new,” Newman says. “We have taken servers down before, we have blocked unsavoury activities, and we’re going to keep doing that.”

Garry's Mod considering ban for "Nazis": A scientist zaps two Valve characters in FPS game Garry's Mod

The Garry’s Mod creator also says that they are willing to work together with relevant server owners in order to avoid resorting to outright bans. “This is really a notification to the server owners,” Newman concludes. “We’ve had this grey area for a while, and now we’re keeping more of an eye on it. How can we work together to stop it becoming something we have to ban?”

Garry’s Mod was originally launched in 2006. Its success bolstered Newman’s own studio, Facepunch, which later released the survival game Rust. A pseudo sequel to G-Mod, named S&box (as in, ‘sandbox’) is currently in development based on Valve’s Source 2 engine. Check out our full history on the making of Garry’s Mod.

If you’re a big Valve fan, you might also want to know whatever happened to Half-Life 3, or keep up to date with the latest on the Counter-Strike 2 release date, which we’re hoping will arrive sooner rather than later.