Rape in Video Games? Top Aide to Boston Mayor Says Yes at Legislative Hearing

March 19, 2008 -
Last Month, British Parliamentarian - and frequent video game industry critic - Keith Vaz sparked a bit of controversy by claiming that interactive rape is depicted in video games.

A top aide to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (left) apparently offered similar commentary at yesterday's hearing by the Massachusetts Legislature's Joint Committee on the Judiciary concerning HB1423, a proposal designed to restrict the sale of violent video games to minors.

As reported by the Boston Herald, Larry Mayes, Mayor Menino’s director of Health and Human Services, claimed that gamers score points for, among other acts, raping women:
Larry Mayes, Menino’s director of Health and Human Services, urged lawmakers to view for themselves some “Mature”-rated games, many of which award players points for shooting people, raping women or setting people on fire. Mayes pointed to several researchers who have found a correlation between such games and aggression.

“I’m sure you will conclude Mayor Menino is in fact right to do all he can to protect children, even if it means pushing back on a multi-billion-dollar industry.”

Testifying for the video game industry were ESA VP Gail Markels and Sean Bersell, VP of the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA), the trade organization which represents video game retailers. As reported by the Herald:
Markels... said the industry has a board that rates games’ appropriateness for youngsters, and it is up to retailers whether to sell or rent to minors, based on a game’s rating.

“While the state may regulate minors’ access to materials defined as harmful under state law,” [Markels] said, “such restrictions are limited to depictions of sexually explicit conduct that is obscene to minors.”

GP: As we asked Keith Vaz when he made similar remarks, can Larry Mayes name even a single game which features rape as a playable option?

UPDATE: PopMatters offers an analysis of the Massachusetts bill.


Comments

Aide says Yes, Truth says No.

Too bad no one cares about Truth. Its not convienent for banning video games.

@ Kris O.

I would support a bill banning screaming children.

“I’m sure you will conclude Mayor Menino is in fact right to do all he can to protect children, even if it means pushing back on a multi-billion-dollar industry.”

Apparently doing all he can is stomping on the very laws on which his country was founded. Where's his moustache?

The problem, as ever is that there is no-one willing to stand up and say that these people are talking nonsense. Largely because the politicians neither know nor care about the facts of video-games, they have only their agenda and a bunch of money to throw at getting votes.

@Japan has rape games

Yeah. Japan has rape games. Many countries in EU have legalized pot and prostitution. Japan has legalized possession of child porn for God's sake!

I'm surprised Mayor Menino has time for this. You know how busy he is guarding Boston from the Mooninites.

1) What is this game where you get points for rape that all these guys seem to be playing?
2) "do all he can to protect children" - what the fuck kind of parents would let their kid play the game from question 1?

Larry Mayes, Menino’s director of Health and Human Services, urged lawmakers to view for themselves some “Mature”-rated games, many of which award players points for shooting people, raping women or setting people on fire.


Mature games don't use a point system, unless it's like the point system for traffic violations

岩「…I can see why Hasselbeck's worried about fake guns killing fake people. afterall, she's a fake journalist on a fake news channel」

This "Rape in video games" bullshit is ticking me off. The only (few) games that have "rape" in it are those underground Japanese porn games, made for adults ONLY and is only available on the PC. Which are impossible for a child to even get near NEAR a copy of one.

Hell, they're all in Japanese for god's sake.

...As if some child will have the patience to go through Japanese instructions and menus.

And don't give me that "illegally download bullshit" either. Because if any kid is able/knows how to download stuff like that, I truly think you have much, much more to worry about.


As a matter of fact, most people never even heard of these games. Let a lone some random child... Or this boob who claims there's rape in games. Probably never seen these either.


And I would like to point out my use of "Child" in my response. Because These games are for people 18 and older. Why the fuck should we care whether or not 18+ people are playing this nonsense? Hm?

Finally, I would like to give a big "Fuck you" to the people who has this belief you get rewarded for killing people. I know darn well these people are looking at GTA and being OWNED by the police, swat, the FBI and the US Army is the worst "Reward" I've heard of.

[...] The rhetoric in Boston is ramping up, with Massachusetts Health and Human Services Director Larry Mayes’ claim that mature-rated games reward players by what the Boston Herald described as “points for… raping women”, among other things. As expected, however, no specific games with this option were mentioned. Why? Because they’re aren’t any ESRB-rated games that contain any such thing. But that doesn’t matter, because selling this type of legislation sadly doesn’t require facts; the people who would support this bill are the types that can’t be bothered to check the politicos’ statements for authenticity anyway. It’s fear-mongering of the lowest order, “low-hanging fruit”, as the Herald sagely decried on Tuesday. [...]

@Father Time:

'Cause they haven't resulted in any compensatiable damage to you.

I'm sure there are games out there that involve actively raping women. There's probably a lot that involve stopping rapes and/or catching rapists. However, I doubt any are for sale in the US, so these laws wouldn't apply. Further I doubt the majority of them are for sale period. Most are probably Flash games, so none of these laws target them in any way.

[...] Power play on Beacon Hill [The Boston Herald, via GamePolitics] [...]

@Bob, I agree, too early in the morning for anti-non-Americanism ;)

I'm finding it hard to get my head around being told that I'm not allowed to post my criticism of a country that prides itself on its Constitution that sets out a given Right to criticise the government. Especially when that same government attempts to encourage other countries to adopt those simple principles of Freedom. Are there different kinds of Freedom that I'm not aware of? I feel like my brain is in some kind of infinite loop....

More Coffee, I think....

I'd like him to name a game where you can rape women.

Don't tell me Custer's Revenge, that was 26 years ago.

Mayes is probably refering to an old newspaper article my teacher once read my class about san andreas rewarding players for raping women and stuffing their bodies in dumpsters.

"...can Larry Mayes name even a single game which features rape as a playable option?"

These are VIDEO GAMES silly, you don't need evidence to back up a claim! You're supposed to take generalizations at face value.

Oh and it looks like Thompson has already read this article.

huh????

OK - setting aside any ethical issues for a minute.

What games are these guys playing???????????????
Played allot of games in my day, I can't think of allot that even include sex, much less rape. The GTA series, >MAYBE

If hyperbole was a crime, this guy would get capital punishment. I would find it really funny if various ECA members started either calling for the legistlation of "truth-in-politics" bills, or tax exemption for video games because they cure cancer.
The first option being wishful thinking, but fitting. The second being just as unfounded as these guys' bald-faced untruths. Someone should seriously start asking them not to tell lies. (and engrave it on the back of their hand a la Harry Potter)

@ Sean

Go ahead and use "Report abuse" on it. It's nothing more than JT spouting his familiar lies and drivel while promoting himself at the same time. The way he wrote it looked almost like spamming. I'd say that certainly counts as abuse.

"...many of which award players points for shooting people, raping women or setting people on fire."

Oh. My. God. I can't argue about shooting people, but name me one f**king commercial game in recent memory (forget Custer's Revenge, that's so frigging stupid) that gives you points/some sort of reward, for raping someone?!

We really need more rape in games. And lots of porn. Just so that in the end - we'll have a more balanced view at normality. Look, it's planet earth. Look, we are sadistic, cruel, and mean, but also have loads of fun. But god forbid we ever include all the faccettes in the stories of our games. God forbid.

Perhaps JT can provide us with info on all these rape games.

I am absolutely infuriated! As I told a friend of mine: "It's like a mockery of both gamers, and to rape victims."

And I have a few female friends who are both rape victims, and gamers. To say such things just to get a piece of slimy shit legislation passed, oh it gets my blood superheated!

In The Sims 2 you can have Woohoo. But that's consensual Woohoo so that doesn't count. ;)

Looks like Jack's tirade is gone after enough people reported abuse.

No doubt he'll spin this into witchhunt/conspiracy by the Boston media against him.

@ Mr Keyes

Good. I was going to post my own response to him, but it doesn;t look like that took. here's what I was going to say, though:

Please ignore Jack Thompson. He is nothing more than a demagogue and despite his assurances, the science and studies he cites are misrepresented and sketchy at best. This is a man who thrives on fear and ignorance and as the saying goes, knowledge is power.

First of all, the LA bill failed not because the game industry "blackmailed" the government. It failed because Thompson demanded he be allowed to run the whole thing his way. When they refused, citing that he had to go through the proper channels and procdures that all governments must do, he took his ball and went home. When they asked for him to come back and offer his expertise when it looked like their case was tanking, he refused.

And "Hurricane-ravaged Katrina" my ass. He couldn't have cared less about it at the time. He was quoted at one point as saying, "I have just instructed all of my... experts in the Alabama wrongful death case, all of whom have testified before Congress about the need for your kind of law, to have NOTHING whatsoever to do with your litigation in Louisiana unless I approve it... Lives are at stake, while your [Attorney General] Mr. Foti does press conferences on Hurricane Katrina..." Later he subsequently tried to sue Foti when he wouldn't do as he told him. What a guy.

Secondly, Thompson's assertion that both the VT and NIU students trained on video games is an out-and-out lie. It was briefly mentioned that Seung-Hui cho played Counterstrike in an article that appeared in the Washington Post, but was later retracted when it was proved to be untrue. The NIU investigation is still ongoing and we don't know what if any games Steven Kasmierczak played (though Thompson has threatened to sue both the police department and NIU itself if they don't do as he says and turn over their records.)

Finally what Jack Thompson won't tell you is that his law license is in order. He was recently tried for a variety of ethical misconduct charges going back as far as 20 years. The decsion is expected next month and could likely result in his disbarment. Thompson has responded by sending the court a "picture book for adults" and threatening to "figuratively" bomb out the Florida Supreme Court building.

To the government of Boston: I ask you is this the kind of person you want working with you? He's already backstabbed the LA government and will likely do the same to you when he doesn't get what he wants and will leave you to pay the legal fees when this bill fails (as it likely will as the language is nearly identical to that of the LA bill he authored). Cut your losses and ditch him and leave him to his failed career.

Go ahead and feel free to sue me, Jack. Everything I've said here is the truth and you know it. You can't hide from that. And you know right now it's come back to haunt you. Otherwise you wouldn't be so desperate right now.

Jack Thompson made a comment? I would like to see that. Was he saying stuff about virtual rape?

The only games I could think of that has virtual rape is Japanese games

I think he must be playing some hentai PC games or online flash games, or something. He's certainly not playing any games that I can wander over to Gamestop and buy.

Japanese games have rape scenes????

Really???

Battle Raper, that being said, it's JP in origin I believe. Which is by default more sexually explicit than American games. It would serve America (well, me at least) well if the stigma around specifically adult games were removed. There is currently no blatantly pornographic games being sold in stores, most must be bought online and even then they where made in Japan. Americans, it would seem according to the stereotype, like blood, gore, and porn. Conveniently there is a genre for that, but it is not being exploited. Games as a media form are still in their virginity in America. There have been some in the early days but that was entirely too crude, it would be like saying reading a health book was "your first time". The game industry saw one of the traits of America (love of violence) and made games accordingly. Movies have a separate genre devoted only to pornography, there are more than enough stories involving the topic, so why are games so far behind? Part of the issue is Americans are hypersensitive to anything and everything moral. If it violates their morality it is either Satanic or causes something bad. As such they object to that which there morals deem unworthy. Mediums of all types endured this, now it is games time. So, the important question is, well games continue to shy away from the issue, to appear better overall, or will games finally create a new genre so that video games may achieve what all other mediums have enjoyed, that it will cover a base so broad that one cannot lump one genre with another.

@Andy_UK
I do beleive there are some hentai games that do... there are hentai games that feature pretty much everything else. Not being in Japan I do not really have access to these. In any case, they would not be impacted by ANY laws made in the US or the UK not being generally sold in those places.

Japanese games have rape scenes????

Really???


Yes, some do. It isn't a taboo there in the context of a game.

what annoys me is no-one bothers to ask the simple bloody question of 'what game and when'?? They never bring idiots like these and JT to book over their lies and media-hyping

Vaz & Menino "...many of which award players points for shooting people, raping women"

ESA VP Gail Markels "… said the industry has a board that rates games’ appropriateness for youngsters, and it is up to retailers whether to sell or rent to minors, based on a game’s rating."

HOW IS THAT AN ANSWER by the gamers Advocate ?!?
dont bring up that its bollocks, just say we have a rating system.

My head hurts.

"Mayes pointed to several researchers who have found a correlation between such games and aggression."

This statement raises my level of aggression. This is retarded.

Here's a small list of every-day activities that raises your level of aggression:

Standing in line;
Being put on hold;
Sitting in traffic;
Having to call customer service;
Listening to children scream;
Getting ticketed for a traffic violation;
Having your roommate/family/friends/neighbors suck up your bandwidth, while you're trying to get your game on/porndog;
Debugging a program.

So when can we draft a new bill, which makes it illegal for children to scream? Or how about arresting that old lady who's counting pennies on the counter, while your arms are falling asleep from the 60 lbs. of groceries that you're carrying? I'm all for fining officers who pull you over, too. And getting cut off by a 20-year-old, steroid-popping kid in dad's car? Death sentence.

And as for rape in video games? As long as they didn't do some motion capture of an actual rape, who really cares? Rate it "M" or "AO", and let the adults buy it if they so choose. I can buy a gun; I can buy hardcore BDSM and rape fantasy pr0n; but I can't buy a video game that depicts anything more than I can already see on prime-time network programming? Blah.

What are these games where you can rape people, and where can I get them?

@DeusPayne

They're located in his imagination.

This guy must've played too many porn games on the Atari, which is the only time said kind of game only existed.

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday dear, MonkeyPeaches, happy birthday to me.

Why isn't the ESA suing these jokers for Slander/Libel? There's no ESRB game that I've ever heard that included rape...and since the laws that are being proposed only cover ESRB games, that's a patently false statement.

If Mayor Mumbles is in fact right to do all he can to protect children, how come he ain't done squat to protect the children of Roxbury and other Black and Brown Southside neighbourhoods from hunger, crime, inadequate housing, dysfunctional public schools, and an utter lack of future employment prospects?

Maybe he should try his hand at remedying Boston's real-world problems before tackling any virtual ones.

GP: As we asked Keith Vaz when he made similar remarks, can Larry Mayes name even a single game which features rape as a playable option?

Nope, 'cause:
A. He don't know any.
B. They don't exist.

- Warren Lewis

Where the hell are all these games coming from?

Can't be Japan, the people talking about these games aren't likely to import any just to make their point seem more valid

What, somehow are features the developers didn't even know about surfacing?

Got proof, Menino?

Battle Raper. Although most people wouldn't even call that a game.

@Andy_UK

Yes. There are. I'm going come out here and say that I'm a Hentai fan and thus feel I have to try and defend it. Admittedly, this is a pretty hard genre to defend, you can't really blink without finding a rape scene or female characters soley used as a walking sex object, but in my opinion I really think that it's better for someone to play one of those, than uhh...actually sexually assualt someone. So yeah, I'm all for fictional, virtual, hentai rape. ....uhhh I'm going to go puke now...excuse me...

@VoidMunashii

I second that vote.

Happy Birthday Monkeypeaches.

I hope Mommypeaches and Daddypeaches bought you a very expensive game full of debachery for your birthday :)

"Larry Mayes, Menino’s director of Health and Human Services, urged lawmakers to view for themselves some “Mature”-rated games, many of which award players points for shooting people, raping women or setting people on fire."

1. There isn't any game on the US market where you rape anybody.

2. For the last goddamn time. GTA. DOES. NOT. AWARD. ANY. POINTS. PERIOD. I am SICK AND TIRED of hearing that stupid assumption.

"Mayes pointed to several researchers who have found a correlation between such games and aggression."

Which was still proven false.

This is madness, we must stop Boston from spreading these lies... but how...

I KNOW! *gets up on a grand pedestal* RELEASE THE LITE BRITES!
 
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