EDITOR’S NOTE: I am old enough to have witnessed the birth of Pong and sorta lost the plot sometime around Defender, but I realize that lots and lots of young folk spend hours and hours playing games. Hours that could be better spent reading Phawker. Now there’s a way you can do both. Introducing our brand spanking new game column, I GAMER, penned by intern-to-the-stars Adam Bonanni. Adam is 21 and attends Temple University.
BY ADAM BONANNI It’s embarrassingly easy to become so desensitized to violence and sexuality from gaming that it takes a real atomic bomb to start raising some red flags. That atomic bomb comes in the form of RapeLay, a rape-simulator game from Japan-based Illusion development studios. RapeLay deals with the titular “protagonist” molesting a woman on a train, later raping her in her home. Your reward for raping her is an encounter with her schoolgirl dressed daughters, with the implication that you must rape them as well. RapeLay was released in 2006, but recently found its way into the news when it was discovered that Amazon, eBay, and Overstock.com were all carrying the title.
I haven’t had hands-on experience with RapeLay, but there is a rather in-depth snark-tastic review posted at Something Awful. Illusion has apparently been at this for quite some time, as evidenced by the longevity of the rape and sodomize genre in Japan, although they won’t find much of an audience on western shores as RapeLay has been pulled by all major American online retailers and is currently banned in the USA. Actually, scratch that — Illusion won’t find much of a paid audience on Western shores. A Google search for ‘RapeLay Torrents’ turns up 57,000 entries. Obviously, there is an audience. Whether or not there should be is yet another question of conscience the Internet has to answer for.
Curiously, America is totally OK with violence, but averse to sexuality, while this idea is reversed in Japan. CERO, the Japanese equivalent to America’s ESRB, ordered geysers of blood in the American version of No More Heroes changed to a black goo in the Japanese version. And while it is fine to depict rape, showing genitalia is forbidden. Such selective censorship may explain some of the more, ahem, unique fixtures Japanese sexuality, such as used panty vending machines and a nationwide lolita complex. Sex, as we all know, is an unstoppable human impulse and when you damn it up, it just flows elsewhere — often to strange and dark places.
Overt sexuality in games has gained a good deal of notoriety over the past decade. Rockstar games came under heavy flack when an early version of a supposedly removed sex minigame was discovered deeply embedded within Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The ESRB ordered the product re-rated to AO (Adults Only), the equivalent of a film’s NC-17 rating, ensuring that most stores would not carry the title. The mode was entirely cut, which allowed the product to retain its original rating, and shelf space. It was also noted in The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, from Betheseda software, the ability to create a female character that could remain topless. This skin could only be unlocked by using software not endorsed by Betheseda, but the ESRB quickly clamped down, and ordered the rating raised from “T” (Teen) to “M” (Mature). My guess is, they would have to create an entirely new rating for RapeLay: NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION.