It’s one thing for a game to game to be removed from Steam due to legal reasons, such as a license expiring or containing offensive content, but what about when a game is a massive scam and harmful to computers? Sounds crazy, right? I wish I were that naive.
If you never heard of the game Abstractism, consider yourself lucky. If you had, you might have been suckered in by its pitch. For only a buck, Abstractism seemed like a pretty sweet deal. It was nothing more than a bare-bones (although even using that term is a bit generous) platformer where players controlled a black square and wall jumped between white platforms. And occasionally, for the sake of variety, players would control a white square and wall jump between black platforms. It’s the kind of stuff that elicits flashbacks of Digital Homicide’s sins against gaming, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg of evil that is Abstractism.
According various sources, especially YouTuber user SidAlpha, Abstractism’s developer, Okalo Union, scammed people with fake Team Fortress 2 items. Take, for example, Steam user PoorAsianBoy’s experience buying what he thought was the Strange Australium Rocket Launcher. It looks like the regular rocket launcher used by the Soldier in Team Fortress 2 except plated in gold. He bought the item from Okalo Union for $100, but upon arrival the item turned out to be the Strange Professional Killstreak Australium Rocket Launcher.
What’s the difference between a regular Australium Rocket Launcher and a Professional Killstreak one? The Strange Professional Killstreak Australium Rocket Launcher is attached to Abstractism, not Team Fortress 2, which means PoorAsianBoy spent $100 on a thumbnail picture, because he can’t use an item attached to Abstractism in Team Fortress 2. Okalo Union has tried to delete all evidence it tried to sell the item, and it would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling URLs that refuse to change and indeed confirm the studio tried to sell a fake item. Now, if this were the end of Abstractism’s con, I probably might not have written this article. But it gets worse. It gets much, much, much worse.
According to many gamers, Abstractism isn’t a game. Well, technically, it is a game, but hiding under the unassuming, if bland, facade of Abstractism is a PC gamer’s two worst fears: a computer virus and a cryptocurrency miner. A Steam user by the name of CrowZero started a thread showing his copy of Malwarebytes flagged an executable that came with Abstractism. This executable was purportedly designed to let the program reward gamers with free items, and Malwarebytes labeled it as a generic malware. When SidAlpha scanned the executable for himself, he discovered it wasn’t just any generic malware but instead a Trojan virus, and when two antivirus programs agree on a diagnosis, that’s cause for concern.
As for the accusations of cryptomining, well, they were just that: accusations —accusations made by Steam users when they saw the game, which has the graphical fidelity of Super Mario Bros. on a TI-83 Plus calculator, used too many CPU and GPU resources. But (and this is a big but), Okalo Union responded to those accusations by stating the game doesn’t mine any kind of cryptocurrency, right after the studio stated (in the same response, no less) the game mines Monero coins, which is a form of cryptocurrency. Either the studio lied, or it genuinely doesn’t know Monero coins are cryptocurrency.
Now, you may have noticed that you can’t buy Abstractism anymore. That’s because the game is no longer available. Thank whatever god you wish to thank, but Valve has since removed the game from the Steam marketplace. Users made enough noise, and Valve responded with the swift and unforgiving vengeance of the Banhammer.
Only time will tell if this is the end of Okalo Union saga or if it will return with a vengeance.