A schoolgirl around 12 years old travels on a commuter train. A man who has been following her gropes and sexually molests her. Eventually the train stops and she runs frightened into a public toilet, followed by her assailant who handcuffs and rapes her. The assailant takes her prisoner and repeatedly rapes her in various locations. Her mother and teenage sister suffer the same fate. This family is targeted for rape as punishment because the older sister had previously reported to the police the attempted sexual assault of another woman by the rapist. This is the story line of RapeLay, a rape simulator computer game produced by Illusion Software and sold in Japan. Prior to issuing this Action Equality Now brought RapeLay to the attention of Amazon Japan which also sold the game. Since then it has removed the game from sale, however it continues to sell similar titles based on stalking and sexually molesting women and girls. – Women’s Action 33.1
According to this article, it does. ‘RapeLay’, a game where the player is required to rape and molest women and girls on a train, was distributed by Amazon Japan and could also be found on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk until 2006 when it was banned. Although banned, there are still similar games being sold that involve raping and molesting women. I was shocked when I came across this information as I didn’t realize it was legal for companies to make these kinds of games in Japan.
In early May, Equality Now released a statement saying that in Japan the gaming industry profits from games featuring violence against girls and women. It also criticized the growing market for pornography found in Japan known as roricon, or “Lolita complex,” which has a child pornography theme. – Japanese computer game featuring rape creates international outcry
So what does this say about both the game designers and the consumers? Would a game like this encourage a player to go out and rape/molest a woman? Maybe, but this argument is similar to the violence in games argument, where it is believed video games can encourage violence. However, I played many violent games when I was younger, watched violent movies and listened to aggressive music. But I wouldn’t consider myself a person with violent tendencies. So it would be hard for me to argue that if I had played a game such as ‘RapeLay’ when I was younger that I may want to rape/molest someone. It’s difficult to tell as, in the end, it’s all down to individual differences. Which leads me to this thought; if violence is acceptable in games, why isn’t rape? If you were to commit either crime in real life (say you killed someone in an act of violence), you receive the same sentence: Life imprisonment. Who’s to say that violence is OK and rape isn’t? Before writing this blog entry I would of picked (and defended) Halo over RapeLay, but now that I think about it, there just as bad as each other. The social acceptance of violent games has almost blinded us from we’re really taking part in. At least Japan is being consistent with their laws, where the UK and US merely dips their toes in the forbidden waters. I seem to have veered away from the topic slightly, so perhaps I will address this issue in a later post.
So where was I? Using sex as a way of selling products has been popular in the advertisement industry, especially in games. This could mostly be due to the fact the women can be created digitally to look and wear whatever the creator wants. For example, you can easily find pictures of Lara Croft that are nothing to do with the game. The image above shows her wearing no clothes, in a provocative position with absolutely no relevance to the game. But Lara is not alone here, women are often subject to sexualization by making them wear little clothes. In my opinion, Lara Croft (in the actual game) is a well dressed character. She is wearing suitable clothes for her activities and is portrayed as a capable, confident and un-sexualized character. It is only the way they advertised her that I don’t agree with. Some examples of other games that use female characters with inappropriate are Bayonetta, Dead or Alive, World of Warcraft, Blades, and many more.
Dead or Alive Xtreme 2:
Uses the female characters from the original Dead or Alive, which is a fast paced fighting game, and puts them in a world where they play volleyball and a series of other beach-related mini-games. The game uses ‘Jiggle Physics‘ to emphasise the women’s breasts bouncing up and down when she moves. The ‘physics’ they claim to use that are meant to resemble real life movements are far from accurate, with every step the girl takes resulting in the same extreme bounciness as you would see if she was jumping up and down. The advert is clearly using this to sell the game, but does it work? As a woman I find the unrealistic bouncing quite repulsing, especially as each breast bounces at a different time, and I was surprised to hear some of my male friends agreeing with me. Perhaps this would of sold to an audience of horny individuals, but if they just wanted to see them bounce, they might as well save their money and just watch the trailer over and over again. Game info
World of Warcraft:
Just one example of a scantily clad female character on World of Warcraft (WoW). When a male character wears the exact same armour as she is wearing, it will appear completely different, with his covering most of his body and actually doing what armour is supposed to do- protect. Emphasising the body by sexualising female characters is one way of selling the game to anyone that wants to stare at half naked women.
Need I repeat myself? The girls body is being used to attempt to sell the game here; her posture, lack of clothing and emphasised features. They may also be trying to appeal to a different market here by giving her a very young face.
This witches’ outfit is made out of her hair, as she builds up combo attacks, her hair-suit slowly disappears until there is nothing left but small areas covering her nipples and crotch. Her ridiculously long legs and ability to fight in heels are also features she should be proud of.
If sex sells, then why arn’t these games top sellers, apart from World of Warcraft? World of Warcraft is the only game in the list that uses both male and female characters, and apart from the armour, rarely uses the women to sell the game. An article in The Guardian argues that gamers have “grown up”, and with the rising percentage of women playing games and entering the industry, that they are reaching a more mature level. I doubt that there will ever be a time that games like this are not produced, because they do sell, so there must be an audience out there that compnies can make money from. However, if games ever want to recieve as much credit as films, music and other media, they do indeed need to reach a more mature level. With titles such as Mirrors Edge and Flower experimenting with new types of gameplay, I have high hopes that games are not only receiving more apprechiation for beng experimental, but that there are teams of people out there that want to make games like this.