The indie gladiator management sim Domina made many friends when it was released in 2017. Players around the world found pleasure in training gladiators and then pitting them against other gladiators. While there were a few negative voices criticizing the first DLC, for example, the title had almost achieved indie darling status overall. However, public perception of Domina and developer Dolphin Barn changed in March of this year, and the title received a barrage of negative reviews. How so? In the patch notes for Beta update 1.3.18 the developer spread a little tirade about the mask requirement:
Domina: From indie darling to steam ban
“TAKE THE FUCKING MASKS OFF – Next time you’re at the grocery store, try showing your face to a woman. Be confident, don’t be afraid of the LIES – you might get a girlfriend. Women like confidence. Women don’t like guys, covering their faces in fear. What are you afraid of? Getting laid? Growing up.”
Indeed, this tirade wasn’t the first time developer Dolphin Barn spoke a bit about his unique worldview in the game’s patch notes. To patch 2/1/89 in May 2021 For example, he wrote about “Succubus Tiddy” (succubus breast… succubus breast?) and “weak men”. Over time, Dolphin Barn has complained and compared LGTBQ people, among other things, in the game’s patch notes and on various social media sites Supporting transgender youth with pedophilia. This got Domina’s official Twitter account banned from Twitter.
Valve was also fed up with the developer’s hate speech, which is why they banned him from his game’s Steam forums. However, he was still able to publish patch notes for Domina. Here he named the employees at Valve at the beginning of last month “cowards”. Dolphin Barn continues to complain that Domina’s “fraudulent reviews” are not being removed, even though the developer flagged them as such. Dolphin Barn also refers to reviews that criticize the Domina DLC. Namely, the new features and classes of the DLC were available completely free in the beta versions of the game, but were sold as DLC in the live version.
The situation came to a head when non-binary YouTuber and journalist James Stephanie Sterling a few days ago Video released about femdom developer’s antics. Like sterling in one belated video explained, Dolphin Barn probably felt personally attacked and discussed with people on Twitter for several hours. Sterling himself didn’t respond to the developer’s taunts, which apparently infuriated the developer even more. The Twitter debacle eventually ended with Dolphin Barn’s personal account being suspended.
Instead of giving up, he released another update for Domina. With version 1.3.25 he explained that his game will be called “Dominus” from now on, so “Domina” is the so-called dead name of the title. A dead name is, roughly speaking, the old name of a person who has adopted a new given name. This is especially the case for trans and non-binary people. In the patch notes, Dolphin Barn writes:
“We’re out of ideas, mentally unstable, totally degenerate and desperate for attention – let’s pretend we’re a completely different game to regain some importance!”
“Deadname: Domina Please don’t mention it again. We’re only mentioning it here to say don’t mention it again. Changing the gender of a video game is perfectly normal and doesn’t confuse anyone. Please don’t be fanatics. If you’re confused , please just stop being confused and remember Domina doesn’t exist and never has existed but Dominus exists and always has existed, you just didn’t know you were playing a man disguised as a woman.But now , where we reveal it to you, you have no right to feel deceived, just as the poor drunken dudes that transvestites like Keffals had intercourse with without revealing that they were a man have no right to be treated unfairly feel, and you’re fanatics if you’re confused about it or even mentioning it happening, let alone having an opinion about it.”
Incidentally, Clara “Keffals” Sorrenti is a trans streamer and political commentator. The streamer was the victim of a swatting attack on August 5 of this year, as shown in a YouTube video explained in more detail. at “swatting” an emergency is faked by calling 911, which sends the police or a special unit to another person. In Keffal’s case, she appears to have had police guns pressed in her face, which is without a doubt an extremely traumatic experience. After this, the streamer moved into a hotel with her fiancé, but continued to be attacked by members of the highly transphobic forum Kiwi Farms. You can find out more about the current situation of Keffals in a few articles from kotaku and PC gamers to find out .
The streamer herself was of course anything but enthusiastic about the new patch notes. “Can I please have just one day without the craziest weirdos on the internet projecting their insecurities onto me?”, writes Keffals on Twitter.
After those final patch notes, Valve itself has finally stepped in, and Domina removed from Steam. Noisy SteamDB Valve threw the title with all DLCs out of the range about 16 hours ago. Developer Dolphin Barn shared the reason for his ban Gave, a social media platform especially popular with neo-Nazis, QAnon conspiracy theorists and other right-wing slobs. Valve is actually naming the new “Dominus” patch notes here because in them he directly attacked another person. So Valve terminated all business relationships and it is very unlikely that they will ever be resumed.
Ideally, this would mark the end of this far too long story. Domina was once a fairly popular indie title with good user reviews, but the developer’s constant tirades cost it some social media accounts, its fans, and the actual game. It seems unlikely that Dolphin Barn will keep its feet still from now on.