I’m pleased to report that Amazon are now refusing to sell the videogame ‘Rapelay’. The aim of the game is to stalk and rape a family of women (there is an opportunity to gangrape individuals), and then force them to have an abortion. The game is produced by a Japanese company, and was only intended for sale in Japan. But sellers had been supplying UK customers via Amazon’s marketplace site. I’m utterly baffled as to how such things could possibly pass for entertainment. MP Keith Vaz is intending to raise the matter in parliament. And just for the record, I don’t think it matters whether or not anyone can show that there’s a causal link between playing the game and raping someone. It makes light of something serious and despicable. It could play some role in making that crime seem normal, and further decrease the level of empathy society has for real people who have been raped. There’s a more detailed and thoughtful piece over at The Curvature. You can read the Telegraph news story here.

113 thoughts on “Rapelay

  1. Do books with rape scenes make light of something serious and despicable, make rape seem normal or decrease the empathy society has for rape victims?

    Video games are stereotyped as being for children and social outcasts in a way novels aren’t. Intelligent Middle Class Person can read a novel with a rape scene in and consider it intellectually, finding it disgusting but complex also. There are plenty of people who want to see video games graduate from the ghetto of social panics followed by rating schemes, timid kid-friendliness and outrage. We want mature games that deal with complex, difficult themes just as novels, movies or plays do. That’s not to say that RapeLay is a complex, serious game, but even if it were, the words “rape game” would condemn it before anyone had even tried it, just as “Holocaust game” would.

    In fact, there was someone working on a Holocaust game that sounded like it was going to be an intelligent and educational approach to the Holocaust and even got support from the ADL. But then the idiotic vultures in the media picked it up and the whole thing got trashed. Then the media say that games aren’t serious art. Well, how can they be? When anyone tries to do something serious, it gets ripped to shreds by small-minded moralists in the media and in politics.

    For us to develop mature, complex games, we need to have the shrill moralising to end, and for people to think about games in the same way that they think about movies. One wouldn’t condemn a movie just because it has a rape scene in it. You’d condemn it if there wasn’t a damn good reason for it to be there, or if it had been shot in such a way to make people find the idea of rape stimulating and exciting rather than despicable, degrading and horrific. RapeLay is problematic because it shows rape as being stimulating and fun, but it would be just as problematic if it was a book or a movie.

  2. yes. it would be just as problematic if it was a book or a movie. IF the book/movie were glorifying the rape. a game that *gives you points for raping* is definitely glorifying it. in a video game, you the audience chose what happens. and in this one, if you choose to make a violent rape happen, you’re rewarded. _this_is_sick_. this is not “dealing with complex, difficult themes”, this is rewarding the instigation of sexual violence, virtual or not.

    this reminds me of that car-jacking game that was big about a decade ago. in that game, just as an aside, you got points for raping a prostitute, and *extra points for killing her after*. (sorry, i can’t remember the name of the game now.) i always found it shocking that no one ever seemed to complain about it. maybe since she was a prostitute it didn’t matter??

  3. extendedlp – i don’t think tom m is defending rapelay. i think he’s warning against kneejerk reactions to videogames and the way lots of people treat them as different to films and books.

  4. AH i didn’t read all the way to the end. eek. i thought he was claiming that we didn’t have sufficient information to condemn rapelay. my apologies! i was being knee-jerky! (actually just lazy. but the end result was the same.) in the mean time, i thought of the name of the car-jacking game: grand theft auto.

  5. extendedlp: yes, Grand Theft Auto. Technically, in the game, you picked up prostitutes and paid them for sex, which would restore your health points. Then she gets out of the car, and if you run her down, she has the money you paid her for the sex.

    And people did complain about the GTA games. Incessantly.

  6. did they really? i never heard anyone complain. i heard yucking 20-something college men laughing over their busweiser about it, but i never heard anyone actually saying ‘what the fuck, why is this being sold?’ glad to hear that there were complaints.

  7. extendedlp: Google ‘Hot Coffee’.

    My point is this: imagine if someone were to publish a novel about a man who brutally raped and killed women and enjoyed doing so. People would get angry, they might even say the novelist was demented and wrong. But they wouldn’t pull out all sorts of canards about Think Of The Children or insist that books start having age ratings. Stories like this take an idiotic rape game from Japan and provide fodder for censorious buffoons like Keith Vaz (who was on the side of the mullahs over the Salman Rushdie affair), who has led campaigns against the ‘evils’ of video games in the past. Keith Vaz wouldn’t be standing up screaming his head off about a book about rape or murder. I’ve read novels with far more horrific descriptions – I just thought of a novel I read when I was about fourteen years old where a man tortures and murders an old man in front of his wife, and then rapes and murders the wife, scoops out her eyeballs and then urinates in her eyesockets.

    We don’t place limits on what children can read. They can read anything they can get out of their library, off the Internet or from a bookshop. They could spend their time reading Mein Kampf or the grizzly murder scene I described or watching Titus Andronicus, but they cannot play Grand Theft Auto. This seems to be a huge double standard. Games are dismissed because they are ‘games’ – mere ‘childish’ ‘entertainment’.

  8. Tom, but people do place limits on what children can read and watch. Libraries, movies and even drug stores have age limits on some materials; parents certainly also – or at least they did in my age.
    Lots of parents, one hopes, place limits on what can be accessed on the net.

  9. Why are games automatically attached to “Children” ? That is archaic thinking. Most of the high budget games today are for adults and the mature audience. This game may have extreme subject matter but Rape is not something that is really uncommon or avoided in other forms of media. Why should it be any different here ? There are tens of thousands of games where a player is required to kill people. Are we saying that it is okay to kill people but not rape people ? Isnt it even the least bit hypocritical to say you can kill scores of people in a game but you shouldnt have games that simulate rape ?
    The British attitude towards this clearly shows a perverse social philosophy at work there, where it is acceptable to pander to the whims and fancy of the perennially offended.

  10. Ian, I’m not sure I do think it’s ok to kill scores of people in a game. To be honest, I’m not at all sure what to think about this whole set of issues. I certainly think they’re complicated.

  11. i think the assumption that people who have a problem with this game have a problem with it simply because they think games are for children is really odd. i don’t care who is playing these games. that *anyone* is being entertained by pretending to rape (or to kill) is objectionable.

  12. Ian, I’d be reluctant to locate the cause for the distinction between killing games and rape games solely in current attitudes; this sort of distinction, however mistakenly applied, has a very solid history and so precedent.

  13. this game sounds horribly nasty.

    Any one recall (better than I do, i.e. very hazily – too hazily to articulate clearly here) the paper by Susan Hurley on computer games and ‘simulation’ (I think that’s what it was…)?

    I think that might be relevant here (esp to the issue of how worried we should be about computer games, or TV shows/books), but I’m afraid I can’t recall, nor do I have the paper on hand. Anyone else read and remember(!) that?

  14. Susan Hurley has written a paper on simulation theory and violence in films, etc. It’s not specifically about computer games. If it’s the one I’m thinking of it’s called ‘Bypassing Conscious Control’.

  15. As it so often happens I find people discussing something for which they have little or no knowledge, so allow me to provide a little enlightenment.

    I had never heard of RapeLay until the news outlets decided to put it on everyone’s dinner table. Doubtlessly there are thousands of new RapeLay players today than there were two weeks ago. But hey, the public has a RIGHT to know.

    Being the cynical bastard that I am, I don’t take anyone’s word for anything. So I downloaded the game…

    For me, rape is about power and violence. While the “power” aspect is present, this game is more about sex. The most violent act I’ve seen in the game is a smack on the ass. It seemed a half-hearted gesture that appeared more to display attitude than to inflict pain.

    The game centers around a “chikan” (pervert) that spends his time groping women on the subway. The opening scene is the chikan handcuffed and in police custody for fondling some girl on a train. But he’s from a wealthy family and is rapidly released. He plans his revenge on the girl that had him arrested by deciding to rape her and her mother and younger sister and turning them into his personal sex slaves. Apparently it’s a single parent family.

    The game (and it’s not much of a game) has you repeatedly having your way with these three women until you’ve “broken” them into subservience. But there’s not much “breaking” to do as it consists of having to ask them two or three times before they consent to what ever act you wish. In order to “break” them you have to have various form of sex with them, multiple times in multiple places, bringing each of them to orgasm various times.

    Once they are broken, you can have all the sex you want with them and they gladly serve your jaded desire. They girls can be made pregnant and if you don’t have them abort, you will either be (a.) pushed in front of an oncoming subway train or (b.) one of the girls stabs you to death. They are the ONLY two conclusions to the game. The girls get their revenge and kill you. Admittedly, you go out with a smile on your face, but it doesn’t seem to reinforce the virtues of rape to me. But hey, that’s just me, I could be wrong.

    In truth, this game is about sex, not rape. It’s meant to titillate and engage fantasy, however disturbing those fantasies might be. But to view it as the center of evil in the world is to suggest that you’ve overlooked a few things.

  16. jim, i’d like to point out to you that starting off a blog comment by putting down all other commenters to the post is a particularly bad way to get your message across.

    secondly, i don’t see where there being sex involved makes depictions of rape not about rape. of course it’s meant to titillate. a game that aims to titillate via depictions of rape is troubling.

  17. I agree that this game sounds repugnant. It’s interesting to consider why, since I think first-person shooters (by contrast) are typically not morally problematic in the slightest. For an even more obvious example, consider the fact that in Sim City you can send floods and other disasters to ravage your city. Obviously that’d be an atrocious thing to do in real life. But you’d have to be a moral zealot to think that necessarily makes it immoral to do in the game.

    So, simulating something that would be immoral in real life is not necessarily bad or blameworthy. I think this is because it is not necessarily a sign or expression of vicious character. One may send a flood to test one’s strategy, rather than because one gets any intrinsic delight from the thought of (virtual) people drowning. The latter just isn’t the salient feature of the game situation. Now, perhaps Rapelay is so disturbing because it’s hard to think of any such innocent motivation for playing it. It’s easier to assume that players are indulging in a kind of viciousness.

    However: many people find the GTA example funny precisely because they recognize how absurdly immoral the represented events would be. (Maybe it would be different to actually “act out” the prostitute-mugging narrative in-game, depending on how vividly certain features of the situation are portrayed — if it’s all cartoonish and generally conducive to maintaining a kind of “distance” then I expect it’s still fine. But in any case, I find it pretty damn funny just to hear about the narrative in the abstract.)

    It’s surely excessively moralistic to condemn black humour per se. I take it that “making light” – in certain contexts – of some serious and despicable things is compatible with being a good person who does in fact care deeply about the wrongs in question (or would care deeply if presented with them in reality). So, this fact gives me some pause regarding my initial inclination to unequivocally condemn Rapelay: for isn’t it possible that, there too, some players are just taking it in an ironic or absurdist spirit? In that (perhaps rare or unlikely) case I’m inclined to think there’s nothing blameworthy or despicable there after all.

    Overall, then, I think it really depends on the precise details of the psychologies of the individuals in question. Some kinds of in-game actions (e.g. rape vs. causing floods) are perhaps more likely to be “performed” from vicious character, and so we will be quicker to condemn them. But we shouldn’t be too hasty in making assumptions about others’ motivations, since there’s not necessarily anything repugnant going on here. (Unless one takes the moralistic stance that ironic detachment is itself impermissible, and we must always strive to consider morally significant events in a concrete and emotionally ‘involved’ way.)

  18. Hi Richard,

    I must admit I’m puzzled about what to think of these issues, and have been pondering them on and off since writing this post. I came across the Rapelay story after I’d been watching Mission Impossible 3. I don’t watch a massive amount of television, and when I do, it tends to either be comedy shows, cartoons, or nature documentaries. I used to watch a lot of horror, and extremely violent Eastern cinema. But I think my current viewing habits have re-sensitized me to film violence so I found the relentless quickfire violence of MI3 quite difficult to watch, and I was disturbed to think that this is how we entertain ourselves. I feel similarly disturbed by Rapelay. But I don’t know how to make sense of the intuition that there is something wrong with such entertainment. Especially when there are a bunch of other considerations in conflict with it (some of which you point out in your comment above). This isn’t really much of a reply to what you’ve said. More an expression of puzzlement.

  19. extendedlp,

    It was not my intent to “put down” other posters. It just seems to me that to have a discussion about a particular topic without having any first-hand knowledge, but rather based on news reports by people who also likely have no first-hand knowledge seems, at the very least, a fruitless endeavor. I was only trying to shed some light on what was actually in the game and how I perceived the content. My apologies to anyone who might have been insulted.

    As for the game, here’s what I do know: If you changed the title to say “HotLay” and removed the monolog from the beginning of the game, you really wouldn’t know that this game was about raping women. There is no depiction of some poor woman having her clothes ripped from her body and being forcefully assaulted. Each scene opens with one of the three women in a sexually compliant position. On screen icons allow the player to select the removal or dawning of various pieces of apparel, which appear or disappear at the speed of electrons. Another icon allows you to select the sexual action. And yet another icon allows you to chose camera angle. It you select “vaginal insert” and she declines, you then select “vaginal insert”, if she declines, you select “vaginal insert” and she complies. That’s as coercive as it gets. Picture some kid:

    “Mom, may I have some candy?” “No.”
    “Mom, may I have some candy?” “No.”
    “Mom, may I have some candy?” “Go ahead.”

    The most disturbing aspects of the game that I saw were the groping scenes you must complete at the beginning of the game in order to move forward. Here, the women actively resist your actions. “No means no” doesn’t seem to have much impact here.

    The youngest girl appears to be not more than fifteen. That, by itself, should condemn the game.

    As for the “forced abortions”… At one point I had a screen pop up that stated that one of the characters was pregnant. You are then asked: “Do you want her to have an abortion? Yes/No”
    If you select “Yes”, you continue on having your way with the women. If you select “No” the pregnant character goes full term, and within a few sexual romps, your character is killed. The image that came to mind when I first read the news reports about this game was one of some poor girl being dragged into some seedy abortion clinic at knife point while an equally seedy attendant jams a coat hanger in her womb, not some pop-up screen that prompts you with a yes or no question.

    The overriding evil (for lack of a better word) of the game is the apparent intent to associate an inherently ugly and violent act with sexual pleasure.

    I can’t presume to know what imagery was conjured in the minds of others when they read the news reports, but if they were like mine, they were pretty dark — the more salacious and horrible the headline the happier the media is. The more outrage they can gin up, the more they sell their product. If truth be known, I was more outraged by the media in propagating awareness, than I was by the morons that devised RapeLay. I suspect that outside of Japan, few people (relative to the number of computer owners in the world) were even aware of the game’s existence. I did note that none of the news reports I read ever mentioned that the only way the game ends is with your death, but then that’s not contributive to the planned outrage. There are enough condemning aspects in RapeLay, that distortions and omissions aren’t necessary. We are all subjected to a world of spin and that, more than anything in RapeLay, upsets me. I’ve seen more sexual violence against women shown in day time soaps than in RapeLay. The only thing the soaps didn’t have was the in-your-face graphic sex; the violence was on full display. Yet if you ask my younger sister, they were her favorite television programs. Go figure.

    As for the moral dilemma between a game such as RapeLay and the thousands of games depicting murder. I’m at a loss. Perhaps it’s just the desensitizing of our society or our twisted sense of values, it’s hard to say. I do know that several years ago, during an act of road rage, some guy grabbed some woman’s little ankle-biter dog out of her car and tossed it into oncoming traffic. He was sentenced to three to five years in prison. Folks, we have murderers who get less time. We have more outrage over someone cutting down a tree than over a robbery or mugging. And then we sit around shocked that someone creates a game like RapeLay.

    I have a seventeen year old son and, like most boys his age, he’s about 95% penis with a finite amount of blood to service both heads. Fortunately, he about as well adjusted a child as I’ve known. Still, it bothers me that there are those that openly seek to corrupt him. But I still believe that in the big scheme of things, RapeLay is a very small threat to society. I believe my point is for people to keep things in perspective.

  20. By the way, extendedlp, I’m 55, and since I was old enough to remember, I’ve been told by women from a full spectrum of educational backgrounds, that rape is about power and violence, not sex. Being a man, I just take their word for it. My earlier point is that there are no actual depictions of rape in the game. It’s all about sex, however coercive. I realize that the term rape has evolved into encompassing far more than the original definition. In fact, one of the previous NOW leaders once claimed that all intercourse (even between a married couple) is rape. I can’t think of her name of the top of my head — but I could find it. The point I was trying to make is that the game is pornography with suggested violence. There are no scenes of rape, at least not in any traditional sense. I would also submit to you that if you went to a local video store that rents adult films, you’ll find far worse than anything found in RapeLay, in particular the bondage and discipline films. And yet, while RapeLay is not sold in this country, these films are prevalent from coast to coast, barring some communities, of course. What I detect in our society is selective outrage. I suspect, more than anything else, this is instigated by the “game” format with which RapeLay is proffered.

  21. Jim, 3 quick points (I admit I haven’t played the game (a fact about which I’m not sorry) but none of my points pertain to the game, but rather to some of your claims):

    1. just because there’s no depiction of clothes being ripped off or forceful assault doesn’t mean there’s no rape. Many instances of rape wouldn’t fit this paradigm of this ‘traditional sense’ of rape.

    2. how about ‘no’ meaning ‘no’. Your example is of a child. But for adults? get that ‘no’ is a refusal and stop asking.
    To suggest or encourage otherwise, (which your comments indicate the game does) is irresponsible.

    3. I agree that other materials might be as bad or worse than this game. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t criticise this game.

  22. Hi Jim,
    Thanks for your description of the game, which I think is helpful. As you correctly guessed, I haven’t played the game so maybe I should have been more careful about posting. One point I might add in my defence, I suppose, is that the game itself – i.e., the narrative presented, the scenes shown in the game, the actions the player can choose to perform – isn’t an isolated unit. It’s embedded in a larger thing, including the name of the game, the advertising blurb, and so on. It has been sold as a game where the objective is to rape a bunch of women. Reviews of the game on gaming sites make that clear. Here’s one for example. I find this package disturbing, regardless of the content of the game itself. You can view my reaction as prompted by this larger phenomenon. I agree with you that the media furore about certain things can in itself be a bigger, and more objectionable phenomenon than the thing the furore is about in the first place. That did make me pause before posting this story. But the game raises a lot of interesting and difficult questions for me, so it seemed worth posting about it to see what people had to say. And I, at least, am finding this thread thought-provoking.

  23. Hmm… Jim’s description has prompted a slightly odd thought. Feminists like Langton, Hornsby, MAcKinnon etc think that one major problem is men failing to recognise acts of rape as acts of rape. (Thinking that everything a womanmight do counts as consent, so nothing can be rape.) If that’s right, then there’s a sense in which Rapelay is a big step forward. It takes what many would consider an esp. unclear case– a woman repeatedly saying ‘no’ and then saying ‘yes’– and puts the label ‘rape’ on it. This is actually a surprisingly broad understanding of what rape is. (Of course, in plenty of other respects the game sounds repugnant to me.)

  24. it probably doesn’t have the intended effect, tho, if you’re both identifying it as rape, and glorifying it. i suspect it downgrades rape, rather than upgrading “atypical” (in popular imagination, that is) rape scenarios.

  25. From the reaction of some posters, I get the feeling that there are those who felt I was defending RapeLay. I was not and I’d hoped that my commentary made that clear. I wasn’t, however, taking into account my audience. And that boo-boo is certainly on me. If there was one thing that would send my father into a rage, it was lying. For me, it’s political correctness. I’ve no doubt that among feminists, the subject of rape is their trip-wire land mine, and understandably so. I really didn’t take that into account when I posted on this blog.

    I ended up at Feminist Philosophers innocently enough. When the news story about RapeLay first broke, I was curious enough to google it and scan the news reports and blogs. On any given day I’m one of those “lurkers”; the people who read the blogs but never say anything. I’m not sure what prompted me, I believe it was the fact that the posters on this site actually had something to say worth reading, knew the difference between “there” and “their”, and despite the volatile topic, didn’t devolve into calling each other “assholes” or worse. For me, that’s pretty refreshing on the internet.

    No one that knows me would EVER call me a feminist or even a feminist sympathizer. I spent seven years in a military academy, twenty years in the Army, and have spent the past seventeen years living in an estrogen-free home. I like it that way; it’s very tranquil. I’m sure there are women living in a similar situation that would agree with me. But know this: in my opinion, RapeLay has no redeeming value what-so-ever. In fact, subject matter aside, it’s a lame, pathetic game. I just thought it might be illuminating for all of you to know the game’s content as opposed to here-say, rumors, and media presumptions. I personally found the game to be a lot less offensive than I originally imagined it would be.

    Thanks for letting me share my thoughts and I wish all of you the best.

  26. “I’m pleased to report that Amazon…”

    Well I’M pleased to report that the game is available via MANY torrent sites. Simply google Rapelay Torrent and let the gaming begin!

    Bitches, censorship is bad, mmmkay?

  27. well, i think our ongoing discussion on relevant dimensions of the right to free expression can end now. it’s all settled for us: bitches, censorship is bad, mmkay. anyone writing a political philosophy text?

  28. Censorship is bad? Well, that also solves the child porn and teenagers problem that Jender has just raised. Extendedlp, why have we bothered to think about these things?

  29. Hi Jim, I didn’t think you were defending Rapelay. I’m not sure the others thought so either. For lots of us over here, philosophy is our trade, as it were, so we’re used to arguing with people and picking apart the various claims they make. That doesn’t make for good social skills, and discussions can sometimes get heated. But that doesn’t mean that your input to this debate wasn’t appreciated. Thanks for coming over to share your thoughts with us.

  30. “For us to develop mature, complex games, we need to have the shrill moralising to end, and for people to think about games in the same way that they think about movies.”

    That is, hands down, the stupidest thing I’ve ever read, like saying we should legalize child porn and snuff films in order to develop mature, complex movies.

    Video games are just that-games, where the idea is to rack up as many points as possible. To compare them to movies is laughable.

  31. Wow, this thread sure has degraded quickly.

    Could I recommend that the admins adopt a policy of deleting comments that are obviously bad-faith and contribute nothing to the discussion (like “ARGH”s above), rather than leaving them there to just distract everyone?

    Also, Lisa, your response to Tom reveals a stark lack of comprehension in the first paragraph, and an equally stark lack of imagination in the second.

  32. Richard raises a lot of interesting points that are making me think harder about this. It’s true that depicting and even enjoying depictions of otherwise immoral actions is not necessarily immoral. Grand Theft Auto is a good example here. I haven’t played, but I’ve watched as friends play it, and it is quite hilarious in a lot of ways. It’s just so over the top and so outrageous, that you have to laugh. And I love good black humor in movies. But these depictions can’t be evaluated in isolation. They occur in the context of larger social patterns that give them deeper meaning. Black humor that targets those who are already disadvantaged is not really humorous, or at least its humor means something different.

    In this case, I have to ask: Why is this game about being a man raping women? What if the game were about a man raping other men, or a woman raping men? I seriously doubt such a game would be commercially successful, and that’s because not enough people would get off on it. The point of the game is not just to explore depictions of rape or laugh at outrageously immoral actions. The point is to enjoy the fantasy of raping a woman.

    Also, the actions depicted are so close to everyday actions people perform, that there seems to be much more danger of people’s feelings about these actions being altered by the game itself. Imagining walking around as a gangster, carrying an Uzi and blowing people away is very far removed from the experiences of the typical suburbanite, so it’s more obviously just an outrageous joke. But men and women interact with each other in sexually charged ways every day, and there isn’t that much of a gap between inappropriately staring at someone on a subway and inappropriately fondling them. Encouraging people to enjoy the thought of taking things “one step further” seems like a bad idea to me.

  33. So I did a Google search for feminist responses to RapeLay and I came across this discussion thread – what the??? So far on this page, some men are defending video games from supposedly unfair attacks, another man is arguing that the game (once again, named RAPE-Lay) is really more about sex than rape, yet another man is suggesting that perhaps the game is an example of ironic black humor, and yet another person is saying that censorship is bad. THAT is the feminist philosophers thread on RapeLay??

    Video games in which the player takes on a male character and rapes women (and yes, I have visited the game website, seen extensive screen shots and read several reviews) are a disturbing and disgusting phenomenon, bottom line. Some of the descriptions of the game here seem to leave out the fact that you, as the protagonist, “deflower” the two young girls, as evidenced by their blood. And you are raping a woman and her two young daughters, using handcuffs or other restraints. The women also cry (and there are nice quivering anime tears), and the final shot of each rape is a naked woman (sometimes on a subway platform or bathroom stall or in a park), covered in semen. Sound consensual, anyone? And what about the function where the protagonist can get his guy friends to help – more consensual fun, huh?

    And no, there is no big leap from Grand Theft Auto, which glorifies crime and violence (including violence against women) to rape fantasy games. Our culture is steeped in violence and dehumanizing imagery and storytelling, from movies to television to videogames – look at the recent movement in “horror porn” movies that revel in the idea of kidnapping, torturing and murdering people (especially nubile young women) in vividly graphic ways.

    For the men on this thread who are equivocating about whether or not RapeLay is offensive, ironic, more about sex than violence, etc., etc. – as a woman, I can tell you that this kind of game (and its part in a larger cultural movement) makes me feel sick and tells me that I am living in a culture that is hostile to me and fantasizes about assaulting me – that in itself is violating. This kind of game tells me that women are objects to be degraded and hurt for fun, objects worthy of both hostile contempt and destructive lust. Ask yourself honestly, how would you feel if there were a bunch of glorifying castration fantasy games, with big, strong female protagonists wielding knives and reveling in cutting off every phallus they could find (in full-color detail)? What if everywhere you turned, there were billboards advertising movies and other media about the powerlessness and gleeful torture of men? Meanwhile, in real life, what if you feared walking down a dark street alone, or jogging in a park, or finding your car in a deserted parking garage, because of the real threat of sexual assault? Given that we as women live with the real threat of sexual violence every day, how are we supposed to feel cavalier about a game that clearly revels in rape fantasy?

    Or, to consider another analogy, would we all be OK with lynching video games, where the objective would be to hunt down young black men in the South, beat them, castrate them, and hang them from trees? Or a gay-bashing game? Or a fun Holocaust game, where the player gets to take on the role of a Nazi, torturing Jews? Despite all the indignant cries over the censoring spirit of “political correctness,” the truth is that each of us does have a point where we say, “That’s not acceptable.” And we should not be shamed by the fear that we are being “politically correct” if we stand up for ourselves. So you may try to tell yourself that a rape video game is “not that bad” or “ironic” or possibly even entertaining in its over-the-top nature – but I can guarantee you: no woman is going to be laughing. C’mon women – stand up for yourselves!!

    (Sidebar: Jim, did you ACTUALLY try to soft-pedal the coersive nature of the game by paralleling the “vaginal insert” function with a kid saying, “I want some candy?” Good lord.)

    And regarding the question of whether rape fantasy games encourage more incidents of actual rape – it is very clear that violent videogames are part of a desensitized culture that does encourage more actual violence. Did videogames cause the Columbine killings? Of course they were not the sole contributor, and I don’t think any reasonable person is making that argument. But are violent video games part of a larger cultural movement that glorifies guns and dominance and obliterating one’s enemies? Definitely. So whether any one rape that occurs can be directly attributed to the existence of RapeLay, the fact is that there is a prevalence of violence against women in our culture, and RapeLay is a part of that. (If you don’t think we are influenced by imagery and media, then how do you think advertising works? Corporations spend billions of dollars to create little videos and jingles that persuade us to BUY goods.)

    I really look forward to a day when there are not assaultive images of women everywhere we turn. I urge a zero-tolerance policy on rape fantasy and other forms of degrading, dehumanizing games and other media. Good for Amazon for finally refusing to sell RapeLay. And by the way – it is NOT censorship to protest and boycott the sale of rape video games; it is collective action and freedom of speech. (People are way too careless in throwing around terms like “censorship” and “political correctness” when they disagree with another point of view.)

    So c’mon, peeps – Si se puede! ZERO tolerance.

  34. The Claw: wow, that is exactly what I would have liked to say, if a) I had more confidence, and b) I could write as well as you. Thank you!

  35. The Claw, your comment is similar to #23 in this discussion.

    It’s a very interesting dynamic. I am also wondering how much it is a dynamic that gets repeated in/on other philosophical contexts/topics.

    I think the topic should be taken up in its own post.

  36. I think TheClaw’s comment misrepresents others’ comments in a most uncharitable fashion. In particular, it should be clear that everyone here (with the exception of the passing troll “ARGH”) agrees that Rapelay is completely despicable, and has no desire to defend it per se. It’s just that we are interested in more closely examining some of the nuances of the situation — whether video games are morally different in kind from non-interactive fictions, whether it’s strictly true that “mak[ing] light of something serious and despicable” is ipso facto wrong (and if not what else has to be added — what exactly distinguishes this case from less-obviously-despicable cases, and hence under which conditions would it be more or less morally problematic), etc.

    I think it’s extremely unfortunate for TheClaw to accuse people who discuss these nuances of thereby “equivocating” on the core moral issue. (One is put in mind of the Bush mindset whereby any kind of nuanced discussion is seen as essentially in opposition to “moral clarity”.) It should be possible to discuss these nuances philosophically without being accused of responding in a morally illegitimate way — as though blanket expressions of outrage (understandable and warranted as they may be) were the only permissible response to such a topic as this.

  37. This is a rather interesting conversation… here is my view on this situation:

    Games are just as much of an art form as movies or books and should be protected as much.

    Rapelay should be defended as much as any movie or book which had similar content. That is to say. IT SHOULD NOT BE BECAUSE NO MATTER WHAT MEDIUM, IT WOULD STILL BE DISGUSTING… it is a despicable game with no redeeming qualities…

    However, there are HUNDREDS if not thousands of similar hentai games in japan… ALL of them are NEVER commercially viable outside of Japan(that one nation that has the lowest amount of violence in the world). These games have been made for many many years without ever taking off outside of Japan…

    Now Amazon made a fuss about a reseller selling it through their website… then the media storm and the thousands of blogs discussing it, also many people buying/downloading to see if what they heard is true or not etc… and obviously buying/downloading for ‘other’ purposes…

    Thanks to this immense amount of free advertising, the game has become popular and commercially viable outside of Japan. The end. Seriously, this paragraph is the main thing we should take from this.

    Thank you amazon for bringing rape games into popular culture… This is exactly why I hate protect the children campaigns, they create the problem they supposedly try to fix, but never do…

  38. The thing about games like Rapelay and Grand theft Auto and other violent games are games. The games are simulations and provide different perspective and offer the player to escape reality and do something they may have secretly wanted without really doing it in real life. In doing so they can experience it yet they understand its just a game and be satisfied. With the release of Grand theft Auto and first person shooters there hasn’t been an increase in shootings nor grand theft auto. Also I want to point out that a games, books, television, and movies are all the same. Each serves to remove us from reality that we hate and immerse us in another world. A world in which we can chose what goes on through our ability to select the genres and programs. Literature and games should not be censored just by their content it should be up to the person to decide. Even now people of all ages of all backgrounds face hardships and face situations although its unfortunate it shapes our lives. But games, literature, television programs, and movies are all just stories we immerse ourselves in them as a brief reprieve and we get back to reality until our next trip there.

  39. I downloaded the game after reading this site. I had never heard of the game until i stumbled upon your blog.

  40. I really doubt that the draw of violent video games lies predominantly in their appeal to players’ own violent fantasies or inclinations. To be sure, there almost certainly are individuals out there who really do revel in game violence because it gratifies their illicit urges; but I suspect that they represent a small minority.

    On reflection, I think it should be clear that what makes a particular game fun or amusing often has nothing to do with the relation between the activities which are depicted and the personal interests of the gamer. I enjoy games such as Mario Kart, Sim City and FIFA ’09; but certainly not because I secretly fantasize about being a go-kart racer, city planner or goalie (I don’t even play or follow soccer in real life). If I said to someone, “You enjoy playing The Sims; that must mean that you dream of a life in the suburbs!” that would obviously be demented.

    Yet for whatever reason, violent games are considered differently. Whenever someone enjoys playing GTA or similar games, people only take the imagery of such games at face value, and so they imagine that the player lives vicariously through the game characters, and indulges his own vicious instincts in this way. (He really must want to steal cars and shoot prostitutes!) I can see how this idea might be intuitive, but in the end it seems to me quite absurd, particularly if you’ve ever been a gamer yourself.

  41. I think you guys are taking this way too seriously. The abortion thing is basically a checkbox which says “do you want to keep the kid, Yes/No”.

    And the reason people play the game seems to be the graphics. Whilst I have never played it, its in japanese so other then the name, people wouldn’t even realise its a rape game. I’ve only seen the reviews personally, and they all seem to confirm this.

    Furthermore, this game has been out for years now actually (check the reviews, they date to 2006-2007). No rapes have been publically linked to it, and I don’t believe they will.

    The only reason people play it is for the graphics. If you realised an “intimate lovemaking game” with better graphics, they would probably choose that over this game.

  42. I got the game and the game is hot. Yea you rape the 3 chicks in the begining but after they get into it and even have orgasms. They even offer to give oral sex. It’s not rape anymore. Grow up people please. Also there is no “happy ending”. If you have sex with one of the girls on her period she may kill you by stabbing you to death or if you don’t force the girls to get the abortion if you impregnate her, she will push you into an oncoming train and you die. Lol funny really.

  43. ALSO! I do want to point out that me and a good 30 million people have never heard of this game till the MEDIA brought it to our attention. now about 8 million people though “yuck! thats sick!” But the other 22 million thought “WOW they gotta be lying the game can’t be real. And the graphics/content must be horrible.” and Those 22 million searched for it in their webrowsers and searched for a torrent and played it. So whose fault is it again?

    P.S. The game is fun. My baby mother and I play it and are trying to see both endings along with getting all the “achievements”. Gotta love it.

  44. I am not even going to respond to Kitt…

    But, Jim, I realize that you are trying to explore the meaning of this game and censorship, however, there are a few things that I would take issue with.

    First, you write that the game is about sex more than it is about rape because you equate rape with violence and you do not see violent acts (such as hitting and clothes riping) in the game. I think this misses the point, though. When women have said that rape is more about violence and power than it is about sex, part of what they mean is that being penetrated against your will is itself violent, regardless of whether any hitting, threats, kicking etc. are involved. When women complain that the violence of rape often goes unnoticed, one element of the complaint is that the act of penetrating another’s body without their consent is ITSELF violent. You don’t need to add any other form of violent act to make it count as violent, because it already is violent in itself. (Just imagine having your anus penetrated against your will. Even if the person did not hit you or do anything else, it would still be a violation of personal security, no?)

    Second, one of the things I find disturbing in your post, which is echoed in other reviews of the game, is the suggestion that rape may have virtues. You write that the game “doesn’t seem to reinforce the virtues of rape to me.” Another reviewer at http://www.mobygames.com/game/windows/rapelay/reviews/reviewerId,6226/ writes in the first line of the negatives about the game, “Rape doesn’t turn me on.” so the problem with the game is not that it asks you to entertain yourself by raping women. Rather the problem with the game is that it does not explore the virtues of rape (and to be charitable I assume you also mean vices), and it does not turn on its male players. Um really?

    As for the difference between books and games about rape, Lady Greenfield, professor of synaptic pharmacology at Lincoln college, has recently done a study of the brain effects of video games (admittedly on children, but since the brain continues to change as we age some of the findings may be transferable), which is reported here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/feb/24/social-networking-site-changing-childrens-brains Lady Greenfield warned there was a risk of loss of empathy as children read novels less. “Unlike the game to rescue the princess, where the goal is to feel rewarded, the aim of reading a book is, after all, to find out more about the princess herself.” I think something similar could be said here. This game is not about exploring the harm of rape, it is about being rewarded for terrorizing women until they develop Stockholm syndrome. This is violence. It is violence even if the women once “broken” consent to sex.

  45. People here do realize that there is a game about girls raping men, and women raping women, and men raping men. No one mentions them. How about literature taught in school. You know the crap like Edgar Allen Poe, epics poems like Beowulf, and Paradise Lost. I’m sorry it sounds very rude the way i typed this but come on. It’s the truth. Besides if we post here we’re just raising peoples interest toward this game. BTW i never played the game!!!

  46. I think the game is great!!! I’ve owned my copy now for 2 years!! And now there finally coming out with part 2. I meen its just a game and come on no adult repeats what they see in a game. It was designed for Otaku anyway and it would keep the real predators at home on there pc

  47. Prejudice aside, there is a strong dichotomy represented here. It seems evident to me that the defenders of the game have bad language skills and poor grammer. For your consideration- is there a relationship between lack of education and lack of healthy socialization?

    Also, I have a real moral problem with representation and then brush-by marginalizing of the abortion option in the game. Even if it is not reinforced with visuals of a seedy clinic or coat hangers, it is still reference to a forced abortion, and fundamentally wrong. That said, I’m interested in the opinion of the group regarding the idea that if you don’t force an abortion you get pushed onto a train track. Weird, right?? Is it punishment for not being cruel enough, or a testiment to maternal instinct?

    I apologize for blogging from my phone, I’m sure there are typos I’m too lazy to fix :)

  48. I’d also like to point out that there is a HUGE difference between individuals scamming for bit torrents and a well known company like Amazon distributing the rape game. I don’t believe the issue is preventing everyone access to the game, so much as discouraging the widespread acceptance that violence towards women comes naturally to men just because they are male. It is the undermining of healthy ideas about sex that can potentially help undermine all the good works that feminism has done for women. Modern Western men are living in a redefining time. It’s wonderful in the long run, but can be confusing for both sexes in the short. Some men, at no fault of there own, were raised with a sense of entitlement toward relationships and career opportunities. Now that they are competing with women for work, the world is a very different place than they planned for. There are women who feel displaced as well… My 24 year old sister-in-law believes that feminism is a turn off and often declares herself ‘not a feminist’. She is also obsessed with her weight, terrified of having to take care of herself and constantly persuing unavailable men. She has been sold the idea that feminism is a bad thing by those corporations that have the most to gain by it’s elimination, as are the men who are being told- by the sellers of the games- that the desire to rape is natural. I think that this anti feminist counter culture is not a concern unless people allow these images to become continually mainstream in the guise of freedom of speech or, laughably, entertainment. Let’s call it what it is- a way to blow off steam and seek vicarious retribution for personal frustration and rejection. Which isn’t necessarilly a bad thing, but had amazon chosen to condone it, they would be taking a decidedly anti- woman position. A bit hypocritical when you consider their name. I am very happy with the larger implications of amazon’s decision.

  49. I tried to reason with a few feminists regarding rape. I didnt swear or post meaningless stuff. But they chose to not approve my comments. May be they thought i am totally wrong, or they had no answers to what I said. It is refreshing to see here the owner allowing totally opposite comments. That is how you encourage a debate. If you are gonna stop people who are opposed to you from telling you what they think, your debate is meaningless coz you only get a bunch of people who already share your opinion. You are not gonna convert anyone who doesnt share your opinion, in that way. May be this author monkey is a male I guess. Anyways my take on this Rapelay would be like this. Roleplaying rape in a video as a way of entertainment doesnt sound good… I agree. As some other people have pointed out, many video games are filled with murder.. a worse crime. A little difference will be that… murders in video games are not carried out in such graphic detail. May be there is a game like that… and I wont be surprised to find one. One friend always challenged my ethics in enjoying mass murder games like Age of empires. I agreed he has a point. Anyways morally speaking, making an entertainment out of murder or rape or any such crime doesnt sound good. But gamers really dont get their pleasure from what is done in the game. It is the challenge and how they accomplish it which give them the thrill. You go to a gamers forum and see them discuss about RapeLay. You will be seeing discussions about the quality of graphics, flexibility of the game, available options, ease of game play.. etc. You can clearly see that they are no bunch of wannabe rapists or people who get off on the topic of rape. All they want is a game to challenge them and entertain them. We just get kneejerk reactions from people when it comes to rape. I dont understand that. Rape duing wars is always talked about like something bigger than the mass murder, the very intent of a war. So in my point of view this is just another game among thousands of similar violent games… nothing more. I should add that, if this is about male on male rape or female on male rape, it wont change my view in any way. Rather I would be less disturbed by such a theme.

  50. You dont know enough about the game or yourself to accurately describe or rate the game. I can tell by reading your posts that you have never played the game. How can you be sure the game even exists if you have never seen it? This could all be one big joke on you…..My point being, I don’t talk about whether crack is good or bad, because I haven’t tried crack…..so i simply don’t know. This kind of blind bigotry fosters an acceptance of ignorant intolerance that destroys both creativity and society. If you don’t like the game…..don’t buy it and don’t play it…simple as that….but some artist (videogames are a form of art) put a lot of time into this game….and or you to attack the game without playing it or really knowing anything about it is repugnant…..if you have never played the game and are not interested in the game…why bother wasting your time talking about it.

  51. The “anti-hero” in the game cannot live happily ever after…..just so you know…..he either gets pushed in front of a train by one of his victims……or he gets stabbed to death by a woman he is trying to rape……either way…..not good……also no “points” for raping anybody…….and as far as your comment about GTA3 (game with car jacking and prostitution)
    1. You never rape anyone in that game
    2. You dont get “points” for killing a prostitute……but you do get your money back if you beat and rob her after an encounter….once again….this is not much better, but you’re ignorance of video games leads to the use of buzz words and gross generalizations that detract from the artistic genius involved in programming a video game

  52. I don’t think it matters whether the game is real or not. Even if we were just discussing the impact of the idea of this game, the points made in this post are still relevant.

    Whether you are practicing woman in reality or in theory, I still have a problem with it.

  53. The strange thing is, this game is considered so wrong and unnacceptable, yet games where people kill each other or there is a lot of blood and violence seem to be fine, noone wants them off the market. Is killing acceptable?

  54. Wojtek – if you read through the admittedly long discussion in the comments, violent video games in general is one of the things that is being discussed.

  55. I know, I did read it, after I posted, I just really wanted to post first before I went on to read it, there is a lot to read you know. Monkey, are you a woman right? I just want to know out of curiousity. Anyway, back to the topic, I think if they want to start banning things, they need to ban anything, if it offends someone, ban it. I mean you can’t ban some things that get a lot of complaints but not others. I’m sure there a lot of people offended by the violent video games as mentioned in some above posts, or at least people who do not like them, they would like those banned. What about sexual things? The amount of sexual stuff on TV, particularly in R&B/Hip Hop music videos is unbelievable, I’m sure a lot of people are tired of that and would like that to be censored or banned completely. I don’t see violence in video games or movies + almost completely naked women in music videos or movies being banned though, yet this game was banned in some places, it doesn’t seem very fair. Either the person has a right to choose if he wants to watch something or play something and these should not be banned, or you ban the lot of them.

  56. Before I get to the actual game RapeLay I’ve read a few comments stating or inferring that the creators/proponents of this game using the Freedom of Speech as a excuse or that censorship and banning is a good thing. The fact is you can’t pick and choose with freedom of speech, either people are allowed to express themselves or not. Lets face it for every opinion, view, expression, etc. there will be at least one person in the world who will be offended by it so to “ban everything that is offensive” would basically mean to ban everything. Of course banning everything is practically impossible so you would end up with a society where only the views of a certain few would be expressed while everyone else is “banned”, akin to Bush saying “either you’re with me of you’re with the terrorists” thus implying that anyone who disagrees with him is a terrorist. Also shortly in my opinion “political correctness” can be boiled down to a single statement. “I don’t like what you said or how you said it so instead of expressing your own mind I want you to only say things that I like to hear in ways I like to hear them.”

    Now on to games in general, after reading through every post I’ve come to the conclusion that the vast majority of you have been looking at the whole situation backwards. That is to say you all have been focusing mostly on the effect of the game and others of it’s kind (meaning art of objectionable content in general) and their effect on society. What people fail to see is that for the most part it is not these unsavory art forms that twist the mentality of the people but it is the twisted mentality of society in general that creates these kinds of things. You can see that in the fact the country in which the game was made had no problems with it but when it is encountered by another culture we get turmoil. Art (which includes games, movies, books, music, visual, etc.) is an expression of an artist who is a product of society. Yes art trends and the like have a effect on society but the opposite effect is greater. Commercials for example do indeed try to influence you to like and buy things but they wouldn’t work if they didn’t lure you with things you already like. That’s the reason beer companies get beautiful women in bikinis to sell men beer.

    As for RapeLay itself excuse me for being honest but I like the game. It has good graphics, very interactive compared to other porn games I’ve played, has replay value accounted to achievements and unlockables, the only real draw back in my opinion that it’s not very challenging. As for the rape theme you are going to have to change the mentality of people like me if you want to get rid of those types of games because if history has taught up nothing else it’s that where there is a market there is or will soon be a seller. That’s why people sell drugs and their bodies because there are those willing to pay for it.

    Also to The Claw if you’re still here, I am a African-American male and I can honestly say that I have never felt hostile towards you nor have I ever fantasized about assaulting you. As a matter of fact when I have felt hostile towards anyone, which doesn’t happen often, it had nothing to do with gender or sexual situations. Hope that make you feel better.

  57. I agree about that, as I posted before, you cannot ban things that offend some people and not ban others than offend people. If you banned whatever offended people, even if it was a few, there would be an awful lot of things banned. It is probably quite true that if people try to ban things, they are just going to be sold on the black market illegally so therefore it would not be a good idea. I think Banning these crimes themselves and not allowing these crimes to be legal is obviously understandable, but a game, nope. It is not going to influence people to do it in real life, people who are easily influenced are going to be influenced by anything, a song, a movie, a picture, so it makes no difference. I was thinking of getting this game or at least downloading a demo to see what it is like but I cannot find it anywhere thanks to these bans.

  58. Mr Koala and Wojtek, I am just completely puzzled as to what attracts you to this game in the first place, and I hope you feel free to explain that on here.

  59. Yes! Do tell. I appreciate you two coming on this philosophy site and speaking about the topic with intelligence. I’m very curious about what attracted you to the game. I’m also curious about your relationships with the women in your lives. Are they positive? No offense intended, so I hope none is taken.

  60. I would like to play it because of the sheer interest I now have thanks to all the complaining about it. I am not in to those particular games, this is not a dream game for meor anything, I’m not liked that, so to speak. I guess I’m one of those people who wants to play a game when I here it is being banned and lots of people are complaining about it, simply curiousity, that is another reason not to ban it, if it was not banned, there probably would not be much talk about it but since it is banned all over the place, a lot of other people, not just me, are interested in playing it to see what all the fuss is about, kind of like when they banned the Manhunt game in a number of countries.

  61. Wojtek, there are a lot of things that are banned, including murder and torture, the latter despite the actions of the Bush administration. The fact that something is banned may make others curious and want to try it out.

    As moral, responsible adults, we have to try to constrain our curiosity. And that includes with games. If a game is demeaning and degrading of some group of people, you need to consider whether you really want to indulge in that behavior.

    If you do want to indulge in such behavior, then you become one of the people who make it a good thing the game is banned.

  62. To be honest, I am glad the reason for playing this game for wojtek is rather because it is banned than that he loves to see women raped.
    I actually understand the curiosity about banned stuff.
    I had a hell of a job finding the Danish Cartoons, the first few days after the riots had started (which, incidently, sort of proved that those rioters had no clue what the fuss was about either).
    I just wanted to know whether those cartoons were indeed demeaning and degrading and all that.

    I think it is actually probably good for democracy that people figure out about things getting banned. Although there is enough footage on rapelay to know exactly what it is about and I still can’t fathom that after learning that, you’d still want to go and play it.

  63. Well it’s an interesting theory, but sometimes the reviews of things or the way they are described are not quite how they are in reality.

  64. Now suppose there was a wicked game about accountants embezzling large amounts of company money and willfully putting people to ruin by making nasty deals and you get bonus points for interfering with their insurances and stuff like that, and THAT got banned… would you want to play that, too?

    Now that was the most boring stuff I could come up with on the spot, I suppose you’re not enticed, Wojtek! (and thanks for coming back).

    I just assume there must be something more to it, the reviews might be wrong, but what is it then that still entices you to seek out rapelay?

  65. Great example! Parents sometimes joke about forbidding veggies, as though that would make children want them.

  66. Wojtek, If you know hoe to use bit torrent you should be able to find a torrent file through isoHunt.com or similar torrent sites.

    As for why I like the game there are a few reasons some of which I stated in my first post.

    “It has good graphics, very interactive compared to other porn games I’ve played, has replay value accounted to achievements and unlockables, the only real draw back in my opinion that it’s not very challenging.”

    The reason I first looked at the game was because I read a review about the controversy of it’s explicit content and was, like many others, curious as to just how bad it was. After I played it I liked it and do continue to play it to this day(I’ve only actually had it for a couple of weeks).

    Just to make this clear it is not the rape theme that makes it enjoyable to me, it’s the game itself. At the same time the rape theme doesn’t turn me off to the game. The same way someone might ride the superman roller coaster and enjoy the ride but still not like superman, just because it has a superman theme and you like the roller coaster does not mean you like superman.

    My relationships with the women in my life it actually pretty stable in my opinion. I get along very well with my mother and we both live and respect each other, that’s not to say we don’t have disagreements but that’s normal for any relationship. I do not have girlfriend at the moment but there are a few females that I am friends with (mostly co-workers). We joke around and have as mush fun as me and my male co-workers.

    I don’t disrespect or think lowly of any woman just because they are women. I’ve learned from personal experience that you can’t judge a person just by appearances.

    I don’t like that game because of the rape it just doesn’t bother me as much as a real rape would.

    Also a note on banning: rape, murder, and torture are banned not because they are offensive but because they are harmful and violent acts the directly harm people physically and mentally. Video games about rape, murder, and torture are banned because they are offensive and people don’t like them or the idea of them.

    Some also mentioned earlier about games where men rape men and women rape men. As for men raping men I wouldn’t play it because I’m not gay not because of the rape. For the women raping men I might play it out of curiosity but I doubt I would get into it because dominatrix just isn’t my thing. Note that I wouldn’t lead a crusade to ban them I just wouldn’t play them.

    Remember these games are a product of the society that produced them so if you don’t want these games made you have change the mindset of the people. That’s why prohibition didn’t work, why there is still prostitution, and why we still have drugs in the streets of America to this day.

  67. Thanks for getting back, Mr Koala.
    My first comment is YOU are society, and I think -with jj- that when you willingly play this game, you are shaping society and in a way making it acceptable that these things exist.
    Without wanting to sound obtuse, I still don’t get it. So the game is good for the unlockables and the interaction and such, but not very challenging.
    So let’s assume this banned game I thought up in my previous post about accountants on a rampage has that too: unlocking the opportunity to embezzle money from homeless shelters and pensioners and stuff like that, with real good graphics (say, the ties flap very convincingly, the people shooting themselves through their head in desperation in the accountant’s office really seem convincing and all that). So, basically, it is like rapelay but with a different theme (and you say the theme of rape isn’t what attracts you, so that seems fair), would you still want to play it?
    (I don’t think the comparison with the superman ride is very accurate btw, superman and rape are of different kinds).
    If the game is not very challenging, why do you play it every day? Is it merely the interactive porn?
    If so, would you be equally satisfied with an equally interactive sex game with exciting unlockables that does have interesting challenges but doesn’t have any notion of rape in it?

  68. Clarification: I think Rapelayis harmful. I’m not keen on a lot of offensive speech, but some speech goes beyond offensive and into harmful. Similarly, games that encourage degrading attitudes toward over 50% of the population are harmful. Further, there are good reasons to think they do that. Human beings are very susceptible to what we see; we are great imitators (for the most part) and that’s because we automatically mirror neurally much of what we see. You watch a rape and, particularly if you are male, you probably have some of the actions playing in your motor neurons. Great, right?

    The fact is that all that is mostly or entirely outside your awareness, which is one reason why we are not good in judging for ourselves what effect these things have on us.

  69. What jj said.
    Plenty of empirical research supporting that, so I agree that it certainly IS harmful. The key thing is the domestication of it, I guess, the fact that you get used to the fact of being immersed in this, so when encountered with it, it doesn’t trigger alarm bells of it being wrong.
    It worries me.

  70. The funny thing is hippocampa, I probably would try a game out where accountants embezzling large amounts of company money and willfully putting people to ruin by making nasty deals and you get bonus points for interfering with their insurances etc if for some reason there was a lot of talk about it on the internet and people wanted it to be banned for the reason that it promotoes being greedy for money and making other people’s lives difficult, I would want to play just to check it out and see what I think of it, rather than listening to what other people say and deciding it is terrible without trying it.

  71. hippocampa I will answer your last two questions first because they are the easiest, yes to both of your last two questions.

    Yes, I know I am part of society and agree that I along with everyone else am affected by things like video games. My point and opinion is that society (including me) has more effect on what kinds of products (like games) are produced than the products have on society. Meaning if this were not such a society that would buy and enjoy a game like RapeLay then it would never nave been made in the first place. Banning it will not help because that won’t stop people from liking it and companies tend to make what people like and when they don’t people just get it illegally.

    Your hypothetical game (lets just call it “accountants on a rampage” for now) would not interest me as a gamer not because of the theme but because the gameplay seems boring. If it were maybe a fighting game where the accountants beat the victims into submission then maybe but it would have to be able to compete with soulcalibur and tekken, but I digress. Basically in games I look for a good storyline and theme but if the gameplay is good I’ll settle for less. Of course if accountants on a rampage happened to show up on the news for being banned I would probably try it out anyway because they never ban the boring games.

    I play rape lay because it’s a sex game if it wasn’t I probably wouldn’t play it, It’s no different than looking at porn. If porn had no sex I wouldn’t watch it.

    About superman and rape, I think you missed my point. The parallel that I was trying to draw was between things with a disagreeable theme but is fun to do. In other words you might not like superman but the superman roller coaster is fun, just as I don’t like or condone the act of rape but the game RapeLay is enjoyable.

    jj I agree words can be harmful but it’s not the words themselves that are harmful but the way the person hearing the words perceives them. For example, if I call someone fat they might reply by calling me an a*s(not sure what your rules are on profanity) but if I say it to another person (say someone who has been teased about their weight all their lives) they might try to kill themselves. Should we them ban the word fat? or potentially offensive language in general because once again we are going to have a lot a banning to do? or do we selectively ban just what we don’t like and ignore everything else?
    Bans on anything are impractical to implement, are unfair to all views, don’t really work to eliminate the banned thing, and usually leads to criminal activity to get around the banns. The mafia got it’s start in America selling alcohol during the prohibition, modern cartels got their start selling drugs during the war on drugs, part of the reason pimps have such a hold on girls is because the girls know they are doing something illegal. I’m not saying any of these things are good but they wouldn’t be nearly as bad as they are now if they were legitimate business. Instead of just alcohol we have alcohol and the mafia, instead of just drugs we have drugs and people being murdered to sell them, instead of just girls selling themselves we have girls being beaten and made in to addicts to be sold by a pimp.

  72. Lots of interesting things to think about… Just one quick thought though (I REALLY have to finish my taxes!). Is anyone on this site advocating the banning of the game? I didn’t get that impression. NC-17 (or game equivalent) rating seems appropriate thought. Not that this resolves the moral and psychological issues up for debate.

  73. My thoughts on this discussion:
    Games vs. Other art forms – I think that the point raised at the start about people being more biased against games is a valid one. But I also think this is (sometimes) for good reason. As much as we can try and regulate all art forms equally, we do have to realise that different mediums do entail different things. Games are unique in that they are heavily interactive, whereas a book for example is far more removed from your own personal sphere. You can read a book about incredibly violent and disgusting acts, but it is not ‘you’ that is performing them, or initiating by pressing buttons. You are very aware that it is another character and situation, whereas, in games, the entertainment value comes from ‘being’ the character and ‘doing’ what they do. And hence you get the enjoyment from performing well and getting rewards etc. Because of this I do think that issues such as rape are more controversial and should be more regulated in video games as opposed to other non-interactive art forms.
    Rape in games vs. murder in games – A very interesting idea. What I might suggest is that most (not all) of the time in gaming, killing things is related to your own survival; monsters hurtling towards you, enemies firing at you etc. So perhaps the reason we accept murders more so in video games than we do rape is that we psychologically associate killing with survival and victory, whereas rape is unnecessary for this. Just a thought.
    Mr Koala – I found it strange in the first post responding to reasons for playing the games that he cited graphics etc. for motivations for playing the game but then went on to say that were it a gay or female-male scenario he would not be interested. This surely implies that the hetrosexual male-female sex has something to do with his reasons for wanting to play? This was confirmed by his second response, saying that “I play rape lay because it’s a sex game if it wasn’t I probably wouldn’t play it, It’s no different than looking at porn. If porn had no sex I wouldn’t watch it.” Equating this game to porn shows that sexual satisfaction is motivation for playing – and that the sex in the game is non-consensual (repeating requests until submission does not equal consent in my opinion) and depicted in a violent and unpleasant way (the girls crying etc), quite frankly, disturbs me.

  74. Well I just want to say, first of all, I personally am not desperate to play this [ I am not saying you said I was, I am just confirming it ], I was merely interested in seeing what it was like, seeing what all the fuss was about? I think the theme of the game where girls are being forced to do these things is one thing, but the idea of them crying and being in terrible discomfort the whole time is even worse. A lot of forced sexual scenes, even in movies are often scenes that start off way, but once the man makes the woman submit to him and makes her have sex, although it is against what she wants, she starts to enjoy it and it just turns in to a sex scene where as images or movies [games] where the girls are in tears and/or screaming the whole time is it bit more disturbing to me. If it was a game where it is your aim to capture these girls, make them have sex with you but once you do it is an ordinary interactive sex scene, it would be a little, and I repeat, a little bit easier to understand. Anyway as I said before, this kind of thng it is just as disturbing to me as killing in games where you pound people to death untill they bleed, and there are games that allow you to just roam about and kill people for no real reason, well to get a bit of money, that might be one reason, it isn’t a great one is it?

  75. Well, Wojtek. I am glad you are disturbed by the fact that the girls keep crying and showing discomfort.
    Wow, the game is more realistic than I thought.

  76. Well I never meant to be misleading but as we are discussing a porn game I assumed that the sexual gratification part was implied. That was my mistake so I’ll be clear. The reason I chose this game was because I was looking for a porn game in the first place to use it for general porn purposes. I chose this porn game over other porn games because of the graphics etc. not because of the rape. If there were a porn game of similar quality but with just strait sex to compare with at the time I would picked the other for preference, but as I said before I was also curious about the controversy so I ended up with rape lay.

    I can’t say I’m disturbed by the cries and tears of a program, even the abortion. I’m strongly against abortion and hate the very idea of it but I could care less about clicking the “abort the baby” button in the game. Maybe it’s because I understand a bit how programs work or maybe I’ve just become numb to it but I can say that I would have a very different reaction if I saw a real rape happening right before my eyes.

    F. for your other points I can agree with you mostly, I never really thought about the killing/survival thing but I think that may have partly to due with why killing games are more accepted. I would like to point out though that though games are indeed more interactive than books you can’t be sure that just because it’s a game that it will affect a person more than a book will. In my own experience there have been books that I have been more drawn into than some games.

  77. How about a game where you have to engage in actual conversation with a female character, respond to what she is saying, exchange ideas, spend time getting to know one another, have some really great laughs, and THEN you can have some kinky fun together?

    Oh- with really great graphics.

  78. ROFLMAO! Rachel – now THAT would be good! I’m thinking that you would lose points for trotting out crap chat-up lines. ‘Get your coat, you’ve pulled’ would be GAME OVER.

  79. Well there are games where you actually do have to work for the girl’s affection. You usually have to play through and make different choices along the way which affects the outcome. In these games depending on where you go you meat up with different girls in the storyline and depending on how you treat them along the way they will either warm up to you or shy away. So if you give more attention and affection to one girl you’ll end up with her in the end but if you play your cards wrong you’ll end up alone. These types of games usually have more pictures or cg rather than interactive sex like rapelay.

    The problem is the vast majority of these games are made in Japan and since they have such a small market in America very few of them are picked up by American companies, thus most of them are in Japanese. Of course there will be rouge fan subbers that pick them up every now and then but good translations are hard to come by. in games like that, unlike rapelay, knowing what’s going on in the story is necessary in order to beat it so without a good translation or knowledge of the Japanese language you can’t do much.

    Of course I personally prefer the interactive sex over pictures anyway so if they make one with interactive sex scenes and it is translated to English I’d probably check it out.

  80. So, please enlighten me. How is a simulation of rape so much worse than simulations about.. i.e. mass-murdering? The latter would sum up about 80% of most video games. Why ban this, but be lenient towards yet another shooter or strategy game, in which you massacre non-american culture X for the umpteenth time.

    I’m not trying to troll here. This question legitimately popped up in my own mind, since I reject this game, yet I accept all sorts of violent games without any problem. I have not found an answer to my own question. Simply put, I do not KNOW why I have these dispositions. So why not ask people who visit a site with a telling name like feministphilosophers for a few ideas

    (ok, the last sentence was a little sarcastic, since I don’t think feminism is a very good idea anymore, egalitarion would be so much better, because of the non-sexist connotation. Still, this site will probably gather people with a different viewpoint than my own, so please send me some ideas if you wish to share them).

    If anyone has a nice theory that doesn’t include sillyness or incoherent rants, please post it at my email-adress or just post them here. I welcome all new views and I’ll definitely read them.

  81. ah, my emailadress would not be published, that is: goodflo911 AT hotmail dot com

  82. koga and some guy: I couldn’t find the supposedly deleted post that started off your exchange, and so your comments looks pretty irrelevant. It you have the original post and/or think you are being treated unfairly, you can email me at:

  83. Anon, it is hard for some people to realize that there is more to many things than appear on the surface. In the present case, though, even the surface calls our attention to very important themes ‘played out’ in the culture.

    We welcome good criticism, but someone who simply rejects the idea of stopping to consider the significance of such thinigs and dumps on us for doing so is violating the policies of this blog. Hence, your comment is being sent off to the spam box.

  84. Fascinating, there seems to be some progress. There is an Ethics Organization of Computer Software in Japan and they decided to self-regulate.

  85. The EOCS passed Rapelay 3 years ago. Probably nothing is going to change from this. There might be real government legislation banning the entire genre coming down the line later.

    Out of curiosity, how what do the commenters here think about Enzai?


    “Enzai has also become famous outside Japan, mostly due to its unusually dark and twisted atmosphere, deep and compelling plot, and surprisingly graphic scenes, as already mentioned. [1][2] Enzai is the first girls-oriented video game depicting blood, rape, insanity, and abuse rather than the more standard romantic “shōjo” scenes.[3]

    Another thing to be mentioned are the mental illnesses that the various characters suffer from. The various disorders afflicting Enzai’s cast (mostly paraphilia such as pedophilia, S&M, bondage, voyeurism, urolagnia, but also non-sexual psychologial disorders, such as schizophrenia, madness derived from long periods of cell isolation, and apathy) are presented with a sense of realism.”

  86. I am a french woman living in Japan. I did what you didn’t do before condamning this game: I played it.
    Which means that I know what I am speaking about.
    It had the same effect on me than these mangas you would call pornographic of violent with or without any reason: NO, effect apart the feeling that there are things that are very wrong and scary, but DO exist in reality and it would bee foolish to forget or think that YOU, are safe because it always happends to others.
    It was a good reminder, as inspite of the numerous softwares like this one that you can buy here in Japan, the criminality is almost inexistant.
    I can walk in the street any time of the night, I’ve been doing that 10 years here. But I thought a little better after having played this game.
    A lot of american productions I saw when I was still living in France banalized rape and criminality, programs like ‘Miami vice’ etc. At the end of each episode, you could think ‘it’s OK, justice has been made’. Forgetting completely about the victim’s pain that had disappeared in the back of the heroes ‘courageaous and righteful’ dids. THESE, kind of programs are WAY scarier.
    At least, Rapelay shows rape as a total evil thing with the scary consequences that no esy ‘justice’ can erase. The player in this game knows from the beginning to the end that what he is doing is inhuman, the game constantly reminds him of that. What I thought is that people who are really able to do that in the reality are scary. It was good to realize that any male at my place would feel the same, would feel dirty AS LONG AS he doesn’t have this kind of pulsions ALREADY. In which case at least as he is playing the game, he isn’t hurting any real person.
    This game is not a good one or one I would say anyone should play. But it has to exist.

  87. You are pleased to report censorship. What if it were your precious Andrea Rita Dworkin books being banned, those are horrible.

  88. @ esthe

    Thank you for a very well put comment.

    Not condemning anything here one way or the other but… I think one can also try to find the answer in the difference in cultural backgrounds.

    The values mostly purported by the posters here seem to stem from a more christian/ Euro/American origin. I’m sure that makes a big difference. Especially as you said, the crime rates in Japan are pretty low, and for our own standards very extreme pornographic material has been on sale there for decades as far as I know.

    What is also interesting is how fast cultures tend to shift their morals. For example: what is considered paedophilea today would be considered normal only 40 years ago. And that is even in the same country!

    Apples and oranges.

  89. WEll, I managed to play the game and it is some what hard ot understand the English was so poorly translated. Seems it’s about a guy enslaving a family of 3 women to live out his perverse desires. Somehow this is tied to revenge but that was lost in translation.
    This game is unplayable really. Sure you get to see the work that went into it and there might be the odd detail that amuses you but it is so far form being an actual “Game” and as a “simulation” it is extremely poor.
    bottom line it’s not fun to play. I doubt even a rapist would have fun watching a digital penis flopping about in poor animation going everywhere but where it should. (I found that amusing)
    After playing it do I have the urge to go rape anyone? Nope. The game is more fictional than Grand Theft Auto where you can steal cars and crash through intersections but losing the police involves driving 2 blocks or pulling into a body shop for a paintjob.
    Somehow I think any real perverts inspired by this game would be arrested off the very start when they think that fondling a girl on a subway is how you make them love you more. It’s fiction, anyone who cannot see or handle that is likely suffering a mental illness that would manifest itself in the same ugly ways with or without games such as this.

  90. an object is already an object and you can’t objectify it more then it is.Like these characters,which are made from various objects to looks like women.Only real women can be objectified.

  91. I see you’ve deleted my last comment. There was an intentional grammatical error in it. Call it my impromptu social sci experiment. I wanted to see if the nasty Kat, whose comment you’ve also deleted, was actually intelligent enough to spot it, you know, for the sake of making a point about the type of people who play this game without giving any thought to why.

    Suit yourselves. You already know what I think of the game. Good luck with the rest of the trolls. I think the number of yucky comments alone says something about how banning this game was a positive move.

  92. Downloaded the game, it came with a save file, I used that.

    Never saw any rape what-so-ever.

    Can’t see what all the fuss is about. I guess unless you watch the opening or w/e you won’t get it.

    Did a quick run through of every girl in ever mode. The only really controversial thing I could think of was that the girl in the blue dress looked kinda young.

    ……. If you have to see the intro for it to be offensive then I don’t really think it’s that bad. You should pay more attention to the ones that would be offensive regardless of the context.

    My 13 y/o brother plays a game worse than this. It’s called grand theft auto.

    and even assuming that this game is centered more around rape than the actual sex well, dunno about you guys but I think a raped victim has a better chance at recovery than a dead victim………..


    Social science is about groups, not individuals. Get it straight before you fail your course.

    Also if you did research correctly you would note that banning something always increases it, so you think rape games are good?

    Prime example would be alcohol, whenever it was outlawed, moonshine production TRIPLED.

    If you would really like to help it, fight against it, publicity will always help a company thrive. Even controversial publicity, because then more of the people they are aiming at will know about them.

    All this crap about them is just free promotional campaigns for them. This rapelay ban bullshit has put their company out there like nothing else could have. Your outrage and active participation has helped them thrive, congratulations.

  93. I have read through most of the comments and save for the obvious trolls, this whole thing seems to be little more than a moral hysteria about a bland sex-game cheaply marketed under the label rape in order to garrner sales through controversy. The game itself is nothing special, if you skip the beginning you might not even guess the game is about rape and despite what certain comments here have suggested I have not gone out and raped a woman after playing it nor has it in any way changed my attitudes towards rape or sex for that matter.

    Rather than attacking a sub-par game and trying to censor it, maybe you should consider using it as a chance to promote further awareness of the fact that real women are being raped out in the real world every minute as we speak? Certainly that would both make for a much more palpable narrative for us visitors who happen to belong to the younger, tech-savvy generation and you would avoid having to resort to the same kind of arguments social conservatives have used for decades to try to suppress and censor feminist literature and media. Have a good day.

  94. at 109. John Doe.

    I’d read feminist literature if it wasn’t so incredibly preachy and boring. Just a tiny walk through a regular torture museum or executive boardroom is more effective to raise awareness I think.

  95. anonymous @ 110: We have a “be nice” policy, which your comment certainly fails. Nonetheless, it provides a good lesson in a particular kind of criticism: you make a very general claim about a large literature which you also say you don’t read.

    One thing feminists try to challenge is the “I don’t know anything about it but it isn’t any good,” reaction to women’s products.

  96. I’m going to go ahead a pull this one out again… (Sorry if the embedding doesn’t work):

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