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

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.

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