Taiwanese studio Red Candle Games’ Devotion was removed from Steam last year after players found an in-game item that likened Chinese president Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh. Devotion’s remained inaccessible since then. A majority of players still don’t have access to the game, and likely won’t — but not all is lost. Devotion and Red Candle Games’ earlier release, Detention, will be preserved in the Harvard-Yenching Library, according to the studio.
Detention and Devotion will be the first two games added to the prestigious library’s Chinese collection, Harvard-Yenching librarian Ma Xiao-he told Polygon.
“It is an incredible honour which belongs to not only Red Candle but also our supporters/players worldwide,” the developer said in a Facebook post on Friday. “As game designers, never have we thought that our works could one day be added to [Harvard-Yenching’s] prestige collection. While we truly appreciate the recognition, we had also taken this opportunity to rethink the possibilities that our games could achieve.”
Red Candle Games pulled Devotion offline in February 2019, shortly after the game’s release date. The team apologized for its “critical and unprofessional error,” but has not re-released the critically-acclaimed horror game. Detention, a horror game set during Taiwain’s White Terror period in the 1960s, was released on Windows PC and PlayStation 4 in 2017. Detention was added to the Nintendo Switch games lineup in 2018.
So honored that both #Devotion and #Detention are now part of collection at the Harvard-Yenching Library. Meanwhile, for the past year we’re sorry for making you worried. Rest assured we’ll keep develop games with the same passion. And thank you to all who still believe in us. pic.twitter.com/qdGEODab8F
— redcandlegames (@redcandlegames) February 21, 2020
Like Detention before it, Devotion is set in Taiwan, though largely in the 1980s. The story is centered on a family of three, spanning years in an always-changing apartment steeped in trauma.
The Harvard-Yenching Library is part of the Harvard University Library system. It’s “one of the largest East Asian libraries in the Western world,” according to Harvard, with its collection dating back to 1979, where Chinese was “first offered as part of Harvard’s regular curriculum.” There are more than 1.5 million volumes in the Harvard-Yenching Library collection.
Games like Super Mario Land and Nintendogs are preserved in the Harvard-Yenching Library’s Japanese collection. Some of these games are preserved in original formats — like cartridges and disks — and sometimes with accompanying material, like booklets, according to the online catalog. Detention, however, is available for viewing on a single computer in a specific room at the library. Devotion is not yet listed in the online catalog.