Ban These Evil Games?

I was reading an article about pornography recently and it got me thinking about rape games. Hey, put down the pitchfork and flaming torch, I’m talking about the rape simulators that are so popular in Japan – more on that in a moment. The article I was reading (which you can read yourself by following this link) is from 2006 and discusses the correlation between internet access and the sexual crime figures in the United States during the internet rollout. In short it assesses that in states where people had ready access to internet pornography the rape figures fell by a noticable percentage.

This got me thinking about a game called Rapelay, unsurprisingly a Japanese rape simulator, that has been in the headlines recently. You see, despite being released three years ago and available worldwide for that long, anti-rape activist groups have started to lodge complaints against that particular game in an attempt to get it banned. As it’s such an old game I can only imagine that someone high up in one of these groups found a family member playing the game, which sparked the recent singling out of this title. After all, having looked up the reviews, it seems that Rapelay is quite tame compared to most of the games in this rather disturbing genre, so I can’t see any other reason it would be singled out when so many worse games aren’t. Something else you may find of interest is that the developer of this game only created it for the over 18 market in Japan and doesn’t export to other countries. The only way this has shown up in western countries is through individuals who have purchased multiple copies and are selling on the web, or through hackers who have translated the game and removed the mosaic cubing effect that obscures the genitals in the game, an effect that is required by Japanese law. At the time of writing this Rapelay has been banned from most online retailers as well as several countries starting with my own and swiftly followed by the United States. Furthermore, it seems that the United States government has put pressure on Japan to ban the game there as well, pressure that has paid off in this case as the game is no longer listed on the publisher’s website and the developer has been forced to recall copies from shops.

Now I wont get into the moral argument of whether the US had any right to interfere with the workings of a Japanese company over a product that was legally released in that country and that they haven’t even attempted to bring to the United States themselves, but I will return to the actual point of this post – the correlation between access to pornography and rape crime figures. If we’re to believe the article I was reading Japan, with the hundreds of rape simulators that get legally released there every year, should have a slightly lower rape crime figure than my own country or America as these countries have banned these games. However, if the politicians and activist groups are right, Japan will have a much higher amount of rapes. Considering this I hunted down the crime figures. These are presented as the number of reported rapes per 100,000 people who live in the country so the ratio stays the same no matter how big the country is.

USA – 32.05 rapes per 100,000 people. Now that’s not actually a bad number if you think about it. Still about 32 rapes too many in my opinion, but a lot better than I thought it would be.
UK – 16.23 rapes per 100,000 people. Again better than I thought it would be, even after seeing the US statistics. Again too many to feel comfortable about.
Japan– Aha, the moment of truth. Will it be higher, lower or somewhere in between? My gut instinct says that Japan will probably have a rape crime statistic of somewhere around the same as the UK. And the magic number is… 1.78. Less than two people per 100,000 get raped there despite rape simulations and rape anime being so prolific in that country and culture! Could it be that women in Japan simply don’t report rapes? Maybe so, but the same can be said about women in other countries too and it wouldn’t account for such a high statistical anomaly. Is it possible that this statistic is really down to potential rapists living out their sick little fantasies with simulators rather than taking a victim in real life? It seems so (although I believe that culture has a lot to do with it as well) but that raises some rather unsanitary questions about just how far these things should be allowed to go, questions that I wont even bother to talk about here. It just seems that, in the right context and as part of an entire culture, these “games” are actually doing the country some good. Think about that next time a politician launches a campaign to ban the latest game as too violent, too sexual or “a paedophile training ground” (as Hilary Clinton famously called The Sims).

One final thought. Australia is infamous in the gaming world for having the strictest ratings board. Many games get content cut because the Australian board deems it unacceptable and some games are even denied release at all. The Australian rape reports list 77.79 rapes per 100,000 people. You do the maths.

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25 thoughts on “Ban These Evil Games?

  1. To claim that a rape simulator keeps the rape ratio down in a country is maybe over-interpreting a bit, don't you think? Culture, as you mention yourself, has a large part in this, but also the fact that the punishments for crimes in that part of the world are often so hard, that it works preventively. Anyway – making a rape simulator is … in my opinion … ridiculous. I don't think a game like that will neither create rapists nor the opposite. But I do not like to think of the opinions that the creators have about women. It's degrading.But that's just my opinion of course.

  2. I am not sure that a game is the reason for such a low rape rate in Japan, I am not too much in games at all to claim anything connected to them, but being in Japan twice, I can tell you that Tokyo and Yokohama were parts of world where I felt safe as if I was at home. Even during night. I had to return to my hotel by feet several times during night, through empty small streets with no much light and never felt afraid. And there was no police at sight at all. But, there was on the news last time about some murder commited in an suburb, no one saw murderer and there were no security cams. But it was solved in less than a week. In most parts of city there are interests of yakuza clans and they don`t like those things to happen if it can ruin their business. It is not public, but some of the things they hold tight in their grip and no one want to mess with them. I guess there is a certain level of cooperation between them and the police. On the other hand I have never seen a police that are so strict in their duty as police in Japan. They are very polite but no way you can make a "deal" with them.Japan has about 130 million people in few small islands. I don`t even want to think about Chinese ways to control their billion :insane:This is maybe a bit off topic. Didn`t think it will be so long :whistle:

  3. My argument is that these things are so much a part of the culture along with some other very taboo things that the people who would likely commit such offences in other countries have a different outlet for their "passions". Of course there are many other contributing factors, involved in this, but these things do have a positive effect on the country simply because they're not as hidden as they are in other countries.Darko mentioned the combination of police and organised crime threats to common criminals. These will have an effect on all crime rates but they're more likely to clear up crimes faster as the families deliver criminals to the police simply for committing a crime without express permission from the head.These games are disturbing. They romanticise rape. The story is all about rape yet the sex scenes are basically consensual sex with kissing and the woman climaxing according to the reviews. I don't live in a culture like that, so this is very disturbing to me, yet it does seem to contribute towards keeping the rates down. Of course this probably wouldn't work outside of that culture, in the same way that 24 hour opening times for pubs over here caused an increase in the crime rates because the culture and way people drink is different. Yet in cultures where taboo things like this have naturally grown instead of being artificially introduced the effect on the culture seems to be a positive one.

  4. I've never even heard of such a game. It sounds absolutely disgusting.But… would this apply to other crimes as well? Would a game about killing make the number of real killings go down?

  5. And there's the point of the post. While so many people like to blame violent video games for the violence in our society, they're more likely helping prevent such situations from arising. Sure, there will be some people who play these violent games and go out in real life and commit these acts to emulate the game. The fact is, these people are the sort that would do this anyway, with the game just giving them ideas of method rather than making innocents act like that. The majority of people who play violent videogames actually find them to be an amazing stress relief, cutting the possibility of them committing violent crimes because they have an outlet for their feelings. These are regular people pushed to the edge by a society of violence, a much higher number than those who commit violence upon others for fun, who now have some way to get that outrage and frustration out rather than joining the mob. Unfortunately the only people who actually voice this opinion are the game designers and they're obviously biased according to the public eye. Their friendly neighbourhood politicians and the media however shout out about the evil games and how they're wrecking our children. A game called Manhunt was banned from most shops here because a child was murdered and the mother had screamed abuse about the game. What the media failed to mention was that the victim owned the game not the murderer, and that the murderer hadn't even played the game. The mother having something easy to blame for her son's death, started a crusade in an effort to keep him alive, and is still trying to ban all violent games. Using her thinking patterns, her own son should be a psychopathic killer in prison for someone else's murder. He's not. He's a victim of a murder. He's not however, a victim of videogames.It became the latest thing to blame videogames for all the troubles in our society recently. Like video nastys (most of which are tame compared to some of their better known contemporaries), rap music, heavy metal and everything else that the older generations find threatening because they don't understand it, videogames became the perfect defence for horrendous actions. A babysitter and her boyfriend murder a child by beating it to death in America. It's happened before, and sadly it will happen again. Except these two got a lighter sentence because they claimed they were emulating Mortal Kombat. Those of us who play games note that the console mentioned in the news report as owned by the murderers doesn't actually have a Mortal Kombat game available for it. The rest of the world calls out for a ban on the game despite no copy having been found in their possession, the last game having come out three years previous to that and none of the local arcades having any of the games.When a new Grand Theft Auto game is released every journalist tries to tie in almost any crime to the game so they can make headlines. The fact is these games are some of the absolute largest games out there. You can literally just explore the city for hours on end, doing nothing else that the game has programmed. The latest one had me turning the camera to cinematic view, turning the radio on to a decent station and setting a cab journey from one side of the city to the next just to enjoy the view. I did that more than anything else in that game. The games are so large that the players spend more time in their own houses playing them. That alone would constitute a drop in the overall crime rates. Combine that with the feeling of elation that comes from passing a difficult mission, or finding a secret, and you've got a happier populace who aren't as inclined to beat the hell out of each other for fun.The problem, as I mentioned in the post, is where to draw the line and it's something developers address every time they make a game. None of the GTA games have any children present in the cities for example and everyone that you have to kill in the crime missions is a bad guy. Everyone else is down to personal choice. Why killing virtual children is considered wrong yet killing virtual adults is left up to the player's discretion is something the developers had to come up with themselves as a way to draw a line about where they wouldn't go and it's one that most developers follow. Fable 2 on the other hand allows you to have children of your own, and allows you to treat them as you would any other virtual character in the game, with the exception that the flirting options are closed off, for obvious reasons not least of which is the massive stink over the first game on the forums when a character moved and a child was behind her so we accidentally flirted with the child. This time they're turned off whenever children are around and the parents even start hating you if you give their kids a gift (even the autograph they've been begging for) plus the children can't be hit by weapons or spells. The line was drawn there for that game, even though you could taunt your child by starving the family and eating in front of them (raising your corruption/cruelty rating and making characters like you less). Fable 1, where we could accidentally flirt with children due to a flaw in the design, tried to protect the children by taking your weapons away whenever you enter any town with children in it.

  6. Well, that turned out a little longer than expected. The point is that videogames are a valid form of entertainment and should be able to depict the same sort of activities as one would find in a similarly rated movie. Game designers however, usually produce something worth a much lesser rating due to it's content, and they make a conscious choice to do that. It is perfectly legal for a game to be released without rating in most countries yet they submit their games to be rated. People make the argument that supermarkets wont stock games that are unrated, yet the majority of games are sold from gaming shops with only a tiny percentage being lost if they don't get rated. A percentage they can easily make up on online sales being boosted by word spreading of an unrated game. So money isn't the reason these designers make limits to what the player can do or send their games in for age ratings.

  7. Ah, the problem there lies in cheapness. Characters in one on one fighters have really cheap AI on some difficulties where they'll be able to react to most of you moves with the perfect counter-attack almost every time unless you follow an exact attack pattern. Things like that frustrate you and increase your adrenaline levels. :irked: It also doesn't help that you have training. Your fighting instinct gets riled by the game because it's so close to what you know. A shooter or horror game would be a different matter for you. More violence yet it wouldn't rile the instincts you've built in your training and you'd get the good type of adrenaline.

  8. Originally posted by Mik:

    The majority of people who play violent videogames actually find them to be an amazing stress relief

    You should see me after an hour of Tekken… Believe me, it hasn't brought my stress level down one bit, far from it! (It is funny, really. I usually say to myself: "I think I'll relax with a game of Tekken for half an hour, and after half an hour I am absolutely furious about all the hits the opponents get in!) šŸ˜†

  9. Oh, there is another very simple method to get the number of rapes in a country down: start a war, draft all young man and send them to another country. Works perfect, but for one reason or another nobody wants to do so.

  10. Well, it's also a good way to get rid of a number of notorious jobless people who tend to drink to much beer and howl indecent songs. When you would have asked me where I would like to have these Brits after my Mallorca-vacation in 1992, Afghanistan would be on my list.

  11. I ran a club over here for a number of years, working the scene for many more. If there's one thing British culture isn't good for, it's alcohol. The majority go out solely to get drunk and will keep going far beyond their limits. I can't comment on other countries, but here the 24 hour bars just don't work.

  12. Well, I tend to blame the viking genes for it. Having them one has simply to go out, drink as much as he can, have a fight and shag someone he doesn't know. Works even with a certain american lady of scandinavian descent I know.

  13. But aren't most simulation games based on what some people actually do? It seems that these games just echo what's happening in society anyway. :left:.As for reducing crime, it's not likely to have much affect here. Most offenders here are illiterate and poor. So they don't even know what a video game is. Although they do seem to like watching kung-fu movies. :left:

  14. Well, we are now to ban paintball here. To violent, could influence people to a rampage or something like that. Alternatively you can join the Bundeswehr for an exciting trip to wonderful Afghanistan with lots of fun and the possibility to shoot on living persons with real ammo.

  15. That certainly sounds like a normal healthy reaction, being "creeped out" by a game that's based on rape. :left:.

  16. Is that what they're calling it now? :left:.It used to be called 'bedroom gymnastics' when I was a kid. :whistle:.

  17. Interesting post. One small word of caution is that the definition of rape varies from country to country, as well as cultural pressures to 'hide the shame'.But I still agree with the point of the post :up:.

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