I frequently see that my friends on Steam are playing Hello Kitty: Island Adventure. I know that this is not accurate. Why is Steam reporting that they're playing a game that isn't on Steam? Is Steam lying?

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    Do they have children or girlfriends? – John Gietzen Jul 9 '10 at 14:33
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    How would kids or girlfriends be in the picture? They're gamers. @joh – Eight Days of Malaise Jul 9 '10 at 14:42
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    Friends dont let friends play Hello Kitty games. – Fredrik Jan 4 '11 at 9:05
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    you can also change the name of a game, my friend plays a lot of "what what in ze but", but I don't think that's a game either :p – Sir Ksilem May 26 '11 at 5:59
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    A few times I've seen a friend playing "with himself" – SaintWacko Dec 21 '11 at 19:24

As Gnoupi said, it's possible to report any game you want to play as a non-Steam game.

In this case, it's a joke reference to the episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft" of South Park, in which Butters prefers Hello Kitty Island Adventure over World of Warcraft.

As far as I know no such game exists.

By the way, there's a similar exploit where it is possible to show yourself playing a game which you have pre-loaded, but is not yet released, by using a utility that reports the AppID to Steam. This means you can't even trust the regular in-game titles either. I've been known to "play" Left 4 Dead 2 and Portal 2 prior to its release.

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    While there is no Hello Kitty Island Adventure, there is a Hello Kitty Online. – user2974 Mar 11 '11 at 13:46
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    @Powerlord: I was almost certain that was going to be a NSFW link... – Stu Pegg May 8 '11 at 17:32
  • WafflesAreAwesome is now playing: Team Fortress 3 – Joe the Person Dec 19 '11 at 23:30

You can make Steam say you're playing anything. All you have to do is add a non-Steam game shortcut and rename it. I heard about a fantastic April Fool's prank where someone did this and named the shortcut "Half-Life 2: Episode Three." All of his friends freaked out! Pretty classic.

To add a non-Steam game to your games library, select Add Game at the bottom left of Steam and select the corresponding menu item:

Add a Non-Steam Game

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  • I've 'played' EP3 often enough. ;-) – user56 Jul 9 '10 at 18:59
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    It doesn't have to be a game. Add calc.exe as "Half-Life 2: Episode Three" and leave the calculator running to rack up serious friend envy. – Chris Nava Aug 4 '10 at 18:59
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    The confusion I sowed by doing this and idling in the Team Fortress 2 chat room just before the game was released was hilarious. – Brant Mar 16 '11 at 17:31

Steam is not lying on such reporting, for games in their library.

It is possible to be shown as playing just about anything, since you can add a third party game to your game list, and give it the name you want. It will be written as "In a non-steam game" under, though.

Since there is no "hello kitty" game in the Steam store, I assume that this is what is done there.

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    This isn't technically true, since Steam can be made to lie about Steam games. – user56 May 8 '11 at 16:40
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    Really? how? I could not rename, say Portal 2 – Joe the Person Dec 20 '11 at 0:26

You can hook up games (or really anything) in your Steam UI. In fact, as a joke, I made it so that when I am programming it will say "Melanie Shebel is now playing Vim."

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As others have said, it is possible to add any game to steam and rename it to whatever you want.

It is also possible to fake that you are playing games that aren't yet released by changing the App id in the config files. So, if you see that your friend is playing example brink before it's released, it is faked. This method also counts time towards the game.

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  • I already noted this in my answer. It isn't necessary to modify configuration, you can also just run a lightweight app that does the false reporting for you. – user56 May 8 '11 at 16:40
  • I would not install any EXE stuff that interfaces with my Steam. I would rather not lose my account or get vac-banned with shady stuff :P But yeah, didn't read all answers. – Lauri May 8 '11 at 17:41
  • @k00pa People keep saying that... It's not VAC bannable. At all. Not even close. I think we need a question on what VAC is, since nobody seems to understand. – user56 May 8 '11 at 17:49
  • Well yeah. The program itself is not VAC-bannable if it only does the faking. However, if the creator is evil. He can make it attach itself to TF2 next time you play, causing VAC-ban. I understand what VAC is and what it does. My account is worth of over 1500e, so I am not taking any risks. (and its easy to fake the appid manually.) – Lauri May 8 '11 at 18:45
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    @k00pa No, it doesn't. The program (which I wrote, by the way) reports to Steam like a game, so that it thinks a game is started when it isn't. The advantage is that I can also fake invites, for example. Your method requires you to start up a game. The program replaces the game, and therefore also the need to have a game started up (which costs more CPU). – user56 May 9 '11 at 13:29

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