Last month, Dab on 'em Haterz launched on Steam, an indie game that puts the player in charge of a YouTube creator who must sift through comments and presumably stay sane in the process. It's up to our hero to give negative feedback a good dabbing that banishes it from his queue and nets him some money. But it's in his head, of course. Forever scraping away at his self-confidence and belief in humanity. Yes, Dab on 'em Haterz seems a microcosm of living on the internet in 2018.
As Julia Alexander of Polygon described it, the game presents players with the unenviable task of ingesting YouTube-style comments and dabbing away the endless stream of hate. You have to purge a certain amount to progress to the next level, but naturally just keeping up with the rate of bilious and often bigoted and racist words is a physical and psychological stress. People don't need a reason to hate you -- they'll find one.
Per the historians of internet culture, Dab on 'em Haterz's title comes originally from the Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton, who said a similar phrase during a postgame press conference. YouTuber Jake Paul evolved it into an expression encouraging his fans to shake off hate. The game is about what it's like to create on the internet in 2018, about the unending struggle to deflect negativity and embrace the good feedback from fans, though the bad is what sticks around. Dab on 'em Haterz is available now on Steam for $2.