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Steam Removes Viral Dating Sim That Does Your Taxes

That dreaded time of the year has arrived when all Americans must go through the arduous process of filing their taxes. Pretty much nobody enjoys it, yet it's a regular part of being an adult. To simplify the process, many Americans utilize programs such as TurboTax and H&R Block. But what if a cute anime girl was there to guide a person through the tax filing process instead of some boring software? Well, that's exactly what the upcoming visual romance novel "Tax Heaven 3000" aims to do.

The game started to go viral earlier this week, when screenshots from the title started making the rounds on Twitter. Like many romantic visual novels, "Tax Heaven 3000" features an adorable anime girl who flirts with the protagonist and says things like "stand a little closer" and "I'm filing singly this year." You know, classic romance stuff. It's a bizarre concept for a game, but a lot of people on social media seem to be enamored with it.

But as it turns out, Steam does not approve of "Tax Heaven 3000," and recently removed it from its platform. The game was previously approved on Steam and scheduled for release on April 4. But it seems Steam changed its mind about this unique tax filing game.

Although gamers will still be able to pick up "Tax Heaven 3000" on the game's official site and itch.io, removing the game from the popular, record-breaking platform will undoubtedly hurt the game's reach. And developer MSCHF, an art collective known for its pop culture riffs and social commentary, no doubt wanted to reach as many people as possible with this game. But the team behind "Tax Heaven 3000" is still unsure why the program was taken down, as Steam did not explain why it delisted the game.

Steam doesn't want an anime waifu to do gamers' taxes

Yesterday, "Tax Heaven 3000" developer MSCHF told The Verge that without warning or an explanation, Valve delisted the visual novel from Steam. Although no one except Valve knows why the game was removed, it could have something to do with the fact that the game asks the player to divulge confidential information.

That's right; as players romance anime cutie Iris, they are asked for their social security number and income information. This is because the program uses the information to actually help the player file their taxes. However, not everyone is comfortable giving out sensitive information to a Steam game. This specific function of the game was joked about by many gamers online, some of whom couldn't believe there was a game on the way that asks players for financial documents.

Others are fully on board with the idea of "Tax Heaven 3000," with some people expressing their regret at having already done their taxes before the game's launch. And as it turns out, the folks behind "Tax Heaven 3000" envision this game as having purely altruistic goals. Simply put, the game aims to make filing your taxes simpler and more enjoyable than other tax software. 

Tax Heaven 3000's manifesto

Despite some onlookers' misgivings about the game, developer MSCHF has stated time and time again that "Tax Heaven 3000" is no different from popular tax filing programs such as TurboTax. A manifesto on the official "Tax Heaven 3000" website states, "Videogames are, at the end of the day, pieces of software–ontologically akin to Microsoft Word. All of TurboTax's cutesy loading animations are fake graphics; 'TH3K' simply makes the fiction the point." And MSCHF has even gone as far as saying that its game is a way to fight back against TurboTax, a company that has been criticized for lobbying against simplifying the tax filing process. 

Lest you take the project too seriously, the manifesto ends with the joking promise, "if you file your taxes in the game, you file your taxes in real life," a reference to the meme-worthy film "Stay Alive" and its many parodies. Oh, also, the villain of the game is literally named Turbo — as in Turbo Tax. Some gamers are loving the satire, and are ready to declare "Tax Heaven 3000" as Game of the Year.

Because MSCHF is basically a free version of TurboTax with a cutesy pink coat of paint, it's perfectly legal. That being said, Steam has every right to take any game it wants off its digital store. Still, players can pick up "Tax Heaven 3000" – and even an Iris body pillow, if they order the Collector's Edition – elsewhere on April 4, just in time for the 2022 tax season.