Sunday, 25 November 2012

Women as Men's Motivation

I wrote about damsels in distress last time but didn't write all I wanted to on the subject. I've been thinking about it quite a lot since then and have some thoughts I wanted to bring up.

In video games, as well as television shows, films and comic books, there's this idea that women are a motive for men to save the world/defeat the bad guy. In my previous blog post, I used this in reference to damsels in distress but it happens in other situations too. For example, I know comic book readers will be familiar with the idea of "women in refrigerators"; for those who have never heard of it, it's the idea that a female character is killed off solely to create drama for a male character. She becomes a plot device rather than a character in her own right (she lacks agency, something I wrote about in my last post). I'm not going to go into the concept any more than that -- this is a blog about video games rather than comic books and this is just an example anyway -- but just for the sake of this example, let's assume that the "women in refrigerators" concept is completely flawless. The reason it creates drama is because the woman is the catalyst for the man to do something, even if that "something" is get depressed. The problem is that a man is dependent on a woman for mental and emotional stability in this situation. He relies on her and that's what I want to write about today.

Having said that, "women in refrigerators" and women dying in general isn't a good example for this; that should illicit a strong reaction and it often does when male characters die too, right? Not only that but for me to criticise the lack of independent male characters in video games when female characters are being killed off left and right would be rather hypocritical; in my last blog, didn't I write that it irritated me that men were treated as expendable so often in games but feminist critics focused on women's lack of agency instead? So that's why I used the qualifier "let's assume that the 'women in refrigerators' concept is completely flawless". Because actually, it's very flawed. Not only does it ignore male character deaths for the same reasons (or trivialise them, or try to justify them) but has also been blown out of proportion by fans, often branding all female character deaths as examples and even rarely to the point where comic book fandom can deem a mischaracterisation or reducing a female character's exposure in a superhero team book to be an example of "women in refrigerators".

However, it's a fine example of a lack of independent men. So how does this apply to video games?

Well, think about the heroes who save damsels in distress. Mario. Corvo. Crash Bandicoot in his very first game, before Naughty Dog wised up and made the sequels' plotlines about saving the world instead. I briefly went into this about Dishonored but the damsels in distress in these situations are characters that feminist critics would describe as lacking in agency. Like I said last time though, how can Corvo be considered to have anything resembling "agency" if he lacks any mental and emotional independence? How can Mario and Crash?

These characters need their damsels in order to function as effective heroes; without the women, they're nothing. They may as well not exist. They are entirely reliant on the female characters in this situation. Maybe not physically, but certainly emotionally. It's the bumbling sitcom dad, needing his more-intelligent wife to constantly bail him out of the mess he's got himself into. He's reliant on her just like our heroes require the women in these situations to make them the heroes they are.

The women's necessity for mental and emotional stability is even there when men aren't involved. Let's go back to my old favourite, Heavenly Sword. Before the final battle, Nariko basically states that she only fights for Kai, her sort-of-adopted little sister. While Kai was very briefly a damsel in distress, she's also proven herself to be a more capable fighter than any of the all-male clanmembers, who also serve as damsels in distress at one point. She proves herself to be a more capable fighter than Nariko's father and the clan leader, Shen, who is a male version of a damsel in distress too. Nariko fights for none of them, even though they're more in need of her help. In fact, after Kai fends off Shen's attackers, she cartwheels right past him to go and help Nariko. Shen has no value; he provides no emotional or mental stability for either of the female heroines by that point. They look out for each other and nobody else.

Before anybody thinks that I'm just picking on Heavenly Sword (again), it's not the only one. Let's look at Final Fantasy XIII and its sequel, XIII-2. Lightning and Snow do everything for Serah, who is Lightning's sister and Snow's fiancée. This, in spite of the fact that Lightning spends a large chunk of the game partnered with Hope, a teenage boy who could really use her guidance rather than her cold indifference. Fang and Vanille are two women who are insanely protective of each other. In XIII-2, both the hero, Noel, and the villain, Caius, are set on their quests because of their adoration for Yuel, a teenage girl. The only male character from either game who earns this emotional/mental stability value is Dajh, the son of Sazh, and that's probably only because he's an innocent little boy. None of the other male characters receive this sympathy.

This even applies to female characters when it makes little-to-no sense; in the first inFamous game, Cole McGrath split up with his girlfriend, Trish, before the beginning of the game and runs into her a few times throughout the story. Even if you're going for an altruistic playthrough of the game, Trish is incredibly standoffish towards Cole. And if you're going for an evil run of the game, he still mourns her after her unavoidable death. She earns sympathy because she's female, nothing more. Her negative qualities are ignored and Cole, dependent on Trish for his emotional stability, is shown to be so smitten with her that it's remarkable he doesn't scribble "Cole + Trish 4 Eva" in a notebook during cutscenes. Again, a male character who is physically independent but mentally and emotionally helpless.

You might be wondering what my big problem with this is. I'd like to say that I'm not necessarily saying that the portrayal of men in these situations is worse than women so frequently being damsels in distress (although they don't always have to be damsels, as mentioned above). Over the course of debates with people online over men's issues, the phrase has often come up that "this isn't a zero-sum game". That's correct, of course. It isn't. Where feminists and men's rights activists differ is they have different opinions on which sex is in more urgent need of help, or believe that solving the problems of one sex will go further towards helping the other than just focusing on that sex in the first place would.

The problem is that female characters are motivation for others to continue on/succeed at their quest, in a way that male characters aren't. There's been such a huge rallying cry for characters who fit into the "strong, independent woman" archetype over the past fifteen to twenty years. Yet for all the talk of sexism not being "a zero-sum game", there's been no criticism of developers who make these male characters that basically pander to an outdated form of chivalry. The criticism of damsels in distress boils down to the idea that the female character shouldn't need a man to rescue her. However, the opposite isn't true; "men need women" is the message being sent out by a lot of these games. While our media happily hands women the "you don't need a man" attitude that is routinely applauded, even heroes in games -- and films and television series, lest we forget -- are tainted by developers that think the purpose of men is to cater to women. The men lack independence even while there's been a huge push for -- and focus on -- "strong, independent women". So if fixing gender issues isn't "a zero-sum game", why wasn't this male emotional dependence on women decried along with women's physical dependence on men?

If fixing gender issues isn't "a zero-sum game", goodness knows what it'd be like if it was. As always, leave a comment or send me a message at 

Saturday, 17 November 2012

No "Off Switch"

PLEASE NOTE: This post contains spoilers for Dishonored.

This one's not going to be an analysis of men's issues in video games but I'd like to spend at least one post writing about what goes through my mind when I come across a sexist issue in games. I started thinking about it when I saw this Tweet from Anita Sarkeesian:
"Just waited in line to pick up a copy of Halo 4 at midnight. Gearing up for some serious Sexy Sidekick trope research!"
It made me think about the different reaction I have to sexism in games compared to Anita. I don't know if this was a one-off for Anita or not but gender issues are probably the last thing on my mind whenever I pick up a game. You could say that it was more justified in Halo 4's case; Cortana is more prevalent in Halo than, say, Elena's punching of Drake was in Uncharted, so it makes sense that "Sexy Sidekick" is on Anita's mind while picking up Halo 4 more than female-on-male abuse was on mine when I purchased Uncharted 2.

Other games might have a different effect. If there was a sequel to Heavenly Sword, I'm confident that I'd think back to the sexism in the first game because it was so prominent. If the trailer for Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes suddenly showed Meryl (which I know is impossible because of the time period), I'd probably think back to her misandric behaviour in Metal Gear Solid 4.

However, for the most part, gender issues don't cross my mind while purchasing games. I get the feeling critics of men's rights would say something along the lines of, "well that's because there are fewer men's rights issues to worry about in gaming" but the answer is simpler than that; I see games as entertainment first and worry about the gender issues second.

So I don't consider gender issues before buying the game, which leaves me to do it while playing, when it occurs. It isn't ideal, since real-life issues tend to take you out of the game's universe, but it can't be helped. There isn't an off switch where you decide not to consider gender issues. I'll give you an example of when this happened to me recently, with Dishonored. There will be spoilers ahead, so only read if you've completed the game or don't care about the game's story being spoiled.

Basically, Dishonored is about a group of evil politicians who conspire to murder an Empress and frame her Royal Protector, Corvo (the player character), in order to seize power for themselves. As Corvo, your job is to subdue or murder all the conspirators and rescue the Empress' daughter, Emily, so she can ascend to the throne.

Corvo isn't alone in his plan to save Emily. He's joined by the Loyalists, people who believe that Corvo wasn't responsible for the Empress' murder. Around three-quarters of the way through the game, the big twist is that the Loyalists betray Corvo because they want to further their own interests too.

At first, this took me out of the game because the "main" Loyalists were all male, so it seemed like we were going down the "all men are scumbags" route once again. It was as if Corvo was being set up as the only good male in the game, solely because he was loyal to women (the Empress and Emily). Luckily, this wasn't the case; the game changes depending on whether you cause a lot of chaos or not and in my Low Chaos playthrough, three male characters remained heroic. So it seems like I was worrying over nothing.

If anything, Bethesda, the makers of Dishonored, seemed to make an effort to avoid gender issues in Dishonored. As well as making sure there was a reasonable mix of good and evil with the men, they did the same with the women (although the evil men outnumber the evil women by a long way). While Emily is kidnapped twice in the game, two men are also held captive at certain points during the game. And with the Empress being lionised throughout the game and Emily being a tomboyish princess, it seems like the feminist audience don't need to worry about the lack of good female characters.

... Or do they?

To paraphrase someone from a forum I frequent, "the women in Dishonored are plot devices. The Empress does nothing but get killed. The princess gets captured. Things happen to them, they don't do things. Lack of agency".

The agency argument is always an odd one. It doesn't matter that so many men in the game are scumbags compared to only two women. It doesn't matter that the majority of deaths are of men, as always. Women lacking agency is considered to be a significant issue for feminists in games.

There's precisely one character in Dishonored who has anything that I could describe as "agency" and that's Corvo. Although he suffers the exact same pitfall that most men rescuing "damsels-in-distress" fall into; his worth is only defined by how valuable he is to women. Corvo has no personality of his own and exists solely to take orders from others (usually the Loyalists, although he does it all to benefit Emily). He could easily be compared to Mario, as could Emily be compared to Princess Peach. The female character is the valuable one in both of these situations and the man's worth is defined only by how useful he is at any given time. If he's about to rescue the Princess, he's valuable. If he's about to fall to his death, he's disposable. The woman is still the important one.

The lack of agency isn't necessarily true of the women in Dishonored anyway. A morally ambiguous character by the name of Granny Rags can be fought late in the game if you go off the beaten track and she's by far the most powerful enemy in the game. Likewise, one of the Loyalists who doesn't betray Corvo -- Cecelia -- was the only person sensible enough to create a safehouse away from the pub that the Loyalists use as a hideout. It comes in handy.

I didn't intend for this to be a lengthy analysis of Dishonored so I'll finish quickly; all-in-all, I concluded that Dishonored had a reasonably even split, favouring women slightly. In spite of the fact that the lone female assassination target reeks of tokenism, at least Bethesda made the effort to include a female target. That's something to be praised. The trio of male Loyalists who betray Corvo is questionable but the three remaining good male Loyalists are strong enough characters for it to be less of an issue. One male is killed during the betrayal but so is a female. Emily is kidnapped twice in the game but two male characters are held captive too.

Anyway, I went off on a bit of a tangent with the agency talk there. The point was that even though I've never considered gender issues while buying a game, like Anita, I've considered them while playing. In Dishonored's case, it was during the Loyalists' betrayal and occasionally when Emily made her tomboyish statements. Although if I was paid $160,000 to make videos about gender issues, like Anita, I'd probably think about about them more often.

As always, leave a comment below or send me an e-mail at

Thursday, 8 November 2012

A Sexist Start for Halo 4

IMPORTANT: This was intended to be a blog about 343 Industries -- the developers of Halo 4 -- cracking down on misogynistic comments from online players. However, while writing this blog and looking over the Gamespot article, I realised that I was mistaken; the Gamespot article uses only gender-neutral terms, such as "sexism" and "gender-specific slanderous comments". So I wrote much of this article based on my misunderstanding of the original article.

However, I don't wish to waste what I've written for several reasons; firstly, my issues with the idea of cracking down on sexist verbal abuse online may still turn out to be true. It may only be for misogynistic comments. We don't know at this point and I can't imagine many people actually receiving lifetime bans for being sexist against men, so my arguments here may still apply. I certainly respect 343 Industries more for using gender-neutral terms but we'll have to wait and see what the outcome is. Secondly, all the arguments about racism and homophobia are definitely relevant and I didn't want to discard them. Thirdly, and this might sound strange, but it felt misleading to backtrack and say "oh, no, really, I knew all along what they were going for". I didn't and I want you to read my honest thoughts on the subject as I wrote them. As of this writing, I still haven't finished writing this blog post, so I intend to continue under my original (presumably incorrect) assumption; if 343 Industries were only cracking down on sexism against women. Knowing what I know now, it's difficult to write as if I don't know the language used was gender-neutral -- it's a bit like trying to do an impression of myself -- but I'll do my best.

So here it is. Hope you enjoy it.

It should come as no shock to anybody reading this blog that verbal abuse during online multiplayer games is a big problem. So fortunately, 343 Industries, the developer of Halo 4, has finally decided to do something about the problem:

You can probably tell what it's about from the name of the link but for those of you who didn't click it, it states that discriminatory language during online play will be punished with a lifetime ban ... but only if it's sexist. And by "sexist", I mean "sexist against women".

I don't play online very much but I've experienced plenty of online abuse. The one I recall most clearly is, "you, you're a butch lesbian and I'm going to stamp on your f***ing head". Being threatened by people during online games is easy to laugh about though -- if it wasn't, there wouldn't be so many Youtube videos featuring Call Of Duty players getting angry -- so it doesn't bother me. I'd be very surprised if there was anybody who played online who hadn't heard abuse at some point, if not experienced it themselves.

Now, I'm going to put the idea that men can be verbally abused online to one side for now. The only thing I'll say on that particular subject is that men are the vast majority of online players and as a result, receive the vast majority of the abuse. Picture the scene; someone hurling insult after insult towards a male online player, as harsh as they want for as long as they want, and the player being unable to make his abuser face a punishment. We don't know how many sexist insults a female player has to receive before her abuser receives the lifetime ban but the fact that the abuser can be banned in this scenario but not the previous one is discrimination based on sex in itself. So by attempting to crack down on sexism, 343 Industries are endorsing it in a much worse way.

The way the article is written, I actually have to question whether the developers have ever played a game online or not. Have they experienced any abusive language first-hand or are they going off the information of people who say "there's lots of sexist language against women online"? I can't believe that's the case ... but what are we meant to think, if not that? That's the only logical explanation.

The elephant in the room here is the discrimination of other groups, such as gay people and non-whites. I'm not quite sure how 343 Industries could be aware of abuse online but not be aware of discriminatory language against people with those characteristics. Because I certainly can't accept that they have heard that abuse and are simply refusing to take action against racists and homophobes.

This is the implication from the article that frustrates me the most; before now, I had no idea that developers had a way to punish the verbally abusive online players. I figured players could file complaints but I also believed verbal abuse was unable to be proven. If it could be, then why is it so prevalent? Wouldn't it have been stamped out earlier? So what we have now is an from a developer that they can punish verbally abusive people online ... but they will only cater to the groups that they care about. You're gay? Sorry, if someone calls you a "fag", they're allowed to do so as much as he or she wishes. You're black? If you were just called a "n*gger", you have no choice but to put up with it. You've been putting up with it for centuries now. You're female? Oh, excuse us while we put our cloaks over this puddle, so you don't get your shoes wet ...

This is when a case of supposedly "positive discrimination" -- or female privilege, to use its proper term -- is actually very damaging. It's this kind of special treatment of women that really irks me. The little things. The benefits that are granted to them when they aren't needed, solely because of their sex. If you want to frame this debacle in terms of how it affects women, it's cases like this where women are infantilised the most and treated like children who need protection. If 343 Industries want to do something about online verbal abuse, fine, but stamp out all verbal abuse. If they're cherry-picking the minority groups they want to support while they could help out the rest anyway, they might as well be insulting those people themselves.

One thing I'll say in defence of the above article on discrimination, if it could be called a defence, is that we don't have enough information on this yet. The article is vague enough that 343 Industries may be considering lifetime bans for other forms of discrimination. That's the closest that this issue gets to a silver lining. However, unlike with Rhianna Pratchett and Lara Croft's portrayal, this is a significant real-life issue rather than a quibble about a video game characterisation, so I'm not willing to give 343 Industries the benefit of the doubt on this one. Sexism is still the issue focused on, rather than racism or homophobia. Take a look at one of the turns of phrase used:
"Speaking to GameSpot, Ross and Wolfkill said there is zero tolerance for Xbox Live players who are found to be making sexist or discriminatory comments against others, with a lifetime ban from the network as penalty."
That's the one mention of discrimination that has nothing to do with sexism in the entire article. With the way gender issues dominate the article, I'm lost as to whether this includes all discriminatory language or not.

Maybe we don't know enough yet to come to a proper conclusion. If female online gamers make sexist comments against women, will they receive lifetime bans too? Or will they not be deemed sexist because it was a woman who made the comment?

If ever there were examples of why the stamping-out of verbal abuse online should (A) not be confined to a single sex, whether abuser or victim and (B) certainly not be confined to gender discrimination, here's a female Call Of Duty player who threatens a fellow player with violence and uses the homophobic slur "poofs" at one point. Even worse, here's a female CoD player who is apparently unable to string a sentence together without a homophobic or racist slur. Both videos feature strong language, so watch at your own discretion.

I'll leave it at that. Feel free to leave a comment or contact me at

Reminder: Most of this article was written when I was under the assumption that 343 Industries considered "sexism" to be "misogyny", rather than something gender-neutral. This may still be the case, which is one of the reasons I posted the article. Everything after the Gamespot quote was written after I was made aware of the gender-neutral language used by Kiki Wolfkill and Bonnie Ross of 343 Industries. Although I tried to make it as accurate as possible, it may not reflect my original feelings on the matter.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

A subject that nobody likes to talk about ... (NSFW)

I've decided that today's topic won't be about male expendability after all but about something else: the subject of rape in video games.

Rhianna Pratchett's interview on Gamespot got me thinking about something. Specifically, she said this:
"The world doesn't need any more Japanese rape-simulators."
And she's right. I completely agree, there's no argument there.

I would like to do a test though; for anyone reading this blog, without looking them up with a search engine or sneaking away to come up with an answer, can you name a game about rape or featuring a heavy amount of rape content that isn't RapeLay?

I may be wrong but it seems like the language Pratchett uses in the sentence above is ambiguous; one is too many rape-simulators, of course, but it could also sound like Pratchett believes the problem is more mainstream or prevalent than it is.

Before I wrote this blog, I did a search for articles on RapeLay and was both relieved and thankful to see that, while there were many places that pointed out it was misogynistic, there weren't any that stated it was representative of gaming as a whole. I was concerned about that cropping up but I think people were intelligent enough to realise that a niche game released in one country for one system doesn't represent gaming as a medium. However, there were plenty of articles that parroted the old Jack Thompson rhetoric; "it influences gamers to [insert crime here]". Completely untrue, of course. I mean, I'd question the kind of person buying RapeLay in the first place, but I wouldn't worry about your average gamer if they decided to play it to see the controversy for themselves.

Let's get this out of the way first; there are a ton of video games that feature rape. I've started browsing The Visual Novel Database over the past month or so and they have a whole bunch of tags about rape. "Attempted Rape", "Avoidable Rape", "Comedy Rape" ... the list goes on, twenty-two of them in all. Interestingly, there are no tags that are explicitly about men being rape victims in their database. There are tags such as "Rape By Female", although the victim of that could be either sex, and "Rape Victim Heroine" and "Rape Victim Protagonist" are two separate tags, although, again, the victim of the latter could be male or female.

One of the tags is interesting; "High Amounts Of Rape", which obviously returns the list of games with a high amount of rape content. I didn't count up all the games because there were four whole pages devoted solely to that one tag. So even though there's no shortage of games featuring rape, why is RapeLay the most well-known? Why was this the one seized upon by Something Awful and Equality Now? I imagine it's because the game revolves around controlling a character while he rapes someone else but, looking at the list of games that features "High Amounts Of Rape" on the VNDB, I find that hard to believe that's a good enough reason. Although I guess visual novels aren't held to the same standards as other games.

That's neither here nor there though. I'd actually like to write about one of the games on the VNDB without the "High Amounts Of Rape" tag but one that really, really deserves it. It does have "Rape By Female" and "Unavoidable Rape" but I have to imagine how much rape has to be in a game before "High Amounts Of Rape" is added to the tags. Unlike some of my previous blogs, however, this isn't going to be an attack on feminist arguments and pointing out certain hypocrisies by using male examples, such as in "The Objectification Double Standard". I actually don't think there has been enough examination of rape in niche video game genres to form debates on the subject. For now, we're all in the same boat.

I like to play as many different game genres as I can, including dating sims. I've played LovePlus, Imodoki no Vampire: Bloody Bride, one of the Tokimeki Memorial games ... they're RPGs at heart. I'm not as big a fan of visual novels and the few of those I've played have been freely available online, made by visual novel enthusiasts. Last month, however, I was interested in playing another dating sim and came across this game online:

It's called Discipline: The Record Of A Crusade. And it's completely and utterly awful. For the love of God, don't play it.

First of all, it's not a dating sim. It's a visual novel. I was disappointed about that but I stuck with it. I'd never played an "eroge" game before Discipline but I figured I knew what to expect. I didn't. To start with, the sexual scenes were more graphic than I imagined they'd be. I know that sounds prudish but trust me, I was expecting something explicit and it exceeded my expectations. There are five endings -- one good and four bad -- but I only had the stomach for the good ending and one bad one before uninstalling the game. So this isn't as comprehensive as it could be. Sorry about that.

There are three counts of a woman being forced or coerced into having sex, at least from what I played. There are so many counts of a man being forced or coerced into having sex or performing sexual acts that I couldn't even make an educated guess. Off the top of my head, I can think of eleven different women who force the protagonist into sex or sexual acts but they each have sex with him multiple times, so it's difficult to put a number to. The protagonist isn't the only one; the game is set in a school and two male members of the faculty suffer the same fate.

In a way, it's pointless to get annoyed about the amount of rape in Discipline. The game clearly isn't for me -- because, like it or not, games like Discipline and RapeLay do appeal to people -- so being shocked by the content is like being shocked that the next Final Fantasy is going to feature feminine-looking males. Having said that, even if the game featured no rape and the sex was all consensual, I still wouldn't enjoy it; the sex would still be graphic and placing the protagonist into scenarios where he had sex came across as very forced. Even if there wasn't any sex, the game would still irritate me; there are six male characters in the game and all but one of them is completely useless. Although that one character who isn't completely useless also happens to be a colossal pervert, so he's hardly a role model either.

Not to mention the amount of non-sexual abuse the male characters suffer. There's a running gag about the Assistant Dean of the school suffering at the hands of the villainess (he's run over, hit by an explosion, shot) before finally being raped himself. The protagonist, too, is involved in a running joke where one of the few nice female characters has a habit of punching him whenever he accidentally finds her in compromising situations, although it comes to the point where she attacks him just to wake him up. The climax of the story features the protagonist's baseball team going up against the villainess' team and -- surprise, surprise -- the three male members of the team are the most pitiful batsmen on the team. So to compensate, one of the female members outright states that they should get hit by the ball thrown by the pitcher, so it counts as a hit (sorry to any Americans reading; living in the UK, I'm not familiar with baseball terminology). The male members of the team rightly express outrage about this, given that the opponent's team has a professional pitcher and they could actually be killed by the balls hitting them ... and then they go out and do it anyway. When asked why the less-useful female members of the team don't do the same, the response is simple: "we're girls! You can't expect us do that!"

Speaking of physical abuse, there are many characters in the game who I wanted to see the protagonist beat up, all of them female. However, the one character who he does beat up and we're meant side with him over? The poor transperson who has been brainwashed by the villainess into falling in love with him. The game's narration tells us "he's a guy!" in a horrified tone but it's clear to anyone civilised reading the story that the protagonist's anger is directed at the wrong person.

All-in-all, it's a horrible game to play. I know it probably seems odd that I'm going into such detail over a game that very few people will have heard of. It's true. I'm not really trying to get across a point in the same way I have for previous blogs. However, looking up RapeLay on Wikipedia, there are a few things I do want to address:
"Articles in defence have also been written, many noting that rape is a lesser crime compared to murder, yet there are thousands of legal video games in which the goal is to kill enemies."
I'll be honest; if I had never played Discipline, I might've sided with the above statement with regards to RapeLay. I can definitely see where they're coming from with regards to murder being a worse crime than rape ... but just imagine an alternate universe where 99% of all games feature rape as the subject matter rather than death. It's hardly more appealing, is it?

I have to say, I could find myself supporting that train of thought. As well as the point about murder being a worse crime, it's worth bearing in mind that there have always been games about sex. There's a site called Lemon Amiga, which is a wonderful place if you were once an Amiga-owner, like myself. It features a database of all games to ever be released on the Amiga and even there, we can find adult-oriented games.

These are all real games. Yes, really.
Like I said earlier, I'm open to different genres and that includes the adult genre. I knew Discipline was an eroge game before I played it but I still played it. Even though it was too extreme for me and I can't recommend it to anyone else, I know there are people out there who would enjoy its content. Same goes for RapeLay. So I'm torn; I detested Discipline, I really did ... but even with regards to adult-oriented games, censoring them doesn't seem the way to go. They deserve varied content that appeals to everyone. Or we'd get a bunch of eroge games that are all the same. Like FPS games and Call Of Duty!

There is one point I want to make about RapeLay and for that, we have to go back to Wikipedia:
"Equality Now followed up on the game, urging activists to write to Illusion and Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso in protest, arguing the game breaches Japan's obligations under the 1985 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women."
I've noticed while writing this blog that I often come up with male examples of issues that supposedly only affect women in games (or where women are the only examples we ever hear of). This was especially the case for "The Objectification Double Standard". I kind of figure that if I show that males are affected too, it's hardly an issue of misogyny in gaming. I'd like to note that this blog entry, where I wrote predominately about a game that featured a lot of female-on-male rape, wasn't intended to be like that. Although it does come in quite useful now; all I'll say is that RapeLay actually doesn't breach Japan's "1985 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women" because there are games that feature men being raped too. It's not discrimination against women if there are games that feature men being raped too. Hell, for that matter, there are tons more games that feature women being raped according to the VNDB, so it's odd to single out RapeLay.

Having said that, if it was just RapeLay that was protested against and, say, removed from the shelves, I wouldn't miss it. I'd be grateful, in fact. I'd only be annoyed if all games featuring women being raped were hunted down but games like Discipline still remained. That's when we'd have a serious problem.

You know the score by now: leave a comment or write to me at