Why Fret Over Japanese Ban? RapeLay Is Already Banned in the U.S.

The embers of the RapeLay controversy were stirred a bit yesterday with a report that the game – and others of its ilk – had been banned in Japan. Not by the government, mind you, but by an industry standards organization.

As it turned out, the report was false, but it prompted a great deal of hand-wringing about Japanese censorship. And yet, RapeLay is already banned – in advance – in the United States by an industry standards organization: the ESRB. Again, it’s not a government ban, but it is a de facto ban.

Think about it. Video game retailers won’t carry unrated games, which would require RapeLay’s publisher to submit the software to the ESRB for a rating. Given its digusting subject matter, RapeLay would certainly be tagged with the quickest AO (adults only) rating ever issued by the ESRB. If you think back to the 2007 Manhunt 2 situation, you’ll recall that major retailers won’t carry AO-rated games and console manufacturers won’t license them. That last bit wouldn’t be a problem for RapeLay, of course, since it’s a PC game.

Yes, the game could still be sold online by independents. Even governments have a hard time stopping that. But the AO rating is retail death and everyone in the video game business understands that. No publisher would waste their time and money submitting a RapeLay to the ESRB, which is why I maintain that such games are banned in advance. I don’t have a problem with any of this, by the way. It’s how the system was designed to work. True, there are occasional calls for a marketable AO rating. But the ESRB would probably need to create an XXX rating to accomodate games like RapeLay if AO ever became acceptable to Wal-Mart and GameStop.

And while RapeLay’s developers are within their rights to create a game based upon sexual violence and pedophilia, retailers are certainly within theirs not to carry the game. Women’s groups are free to protest its messages. And the rest of us are free to be creeped out by RapeLay.

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  1. 0
    Thad says:

    IMO the problem is that RapeLay is an extreme example that people will use to justify the suppression of games that fall into a much grayer area.  I still don’t understand why Hot Coffee meant the difference between an M and an AO (I’ve seen R-rated movies that were more explicit), nor why the cuts to Manhunt 2 made that difference.

    I’m fine with Wal-Mart refusing to stock RapeLay, but I’m much less comfortable with them demanding musicians censor their lyrics if they want shelf space.  The problem is that the one is often used to justify the other.

    Suppression of rights always comes with an extreme, inarguable example.  I don’t like highway cameras, but if I criticize them, their supporters will say I favor drunk driving.  I’m offended that I have to fill out a form every time I buy Claritin-D, but if I say I should just be able to buy it off the shelf, people will accuse me of supporting meth labs.  And every single attempt, in any country, in the past fifteen years, at Internet censorship has hinged around child pornography — and if you oppose censorship, you must favor the sexual abuse of children.

    That’s the problem with extreme examples like RapeLay: they provide a convenient, extreme example for de facto censors to use to justify broader, more overreaching, more arbitrary bans.

  2. 0
    Sukasa says:

    "Look.  If it looks like a kitten, and sounds like a kitten, and tastes like a kitten… then damnit, it’s a kitten!" 

    However, isnt the whole concept of lolican 18 + year old women (usually), who like to dress up and look younger then they actually are?  So isnt your example kinda bad when you say it looks like a kitten, sounds like a kitten, etc but its actually a cat?  Lets face it alot of asian women look younger then they actually are.  So going by the arguement that they look like there 15, then we should treat them as 15, even though they are actually 19?  Where I work, there was this little asian girl who came in and asked about her job application which you have to be 18 to work at the store(or close to 18).  I swear she looked 14-15. Going by if they look like a kid argument, we probably shouldn’t hire her, even if she proves to be the best worker in the store.

    Fine, we understand you don’t like lolican, I don’t buy it myself, but I defend the right for companies to make it, if they believe they have a market for it(true free market and all, and not a free market but o we find this objectionable).  Me, I don’t care much for the bible and find parts of it offensive and obscene even though we sell a crap load at my store.  However, you wont see me asking for it to be not sold/made.  If we were to ban everything that offends someone, there would be nothing left to sell.

    If at the local community level, if a group of people decide to live in a closed off, certain products are banned, etc then thats fine.  If you don’t like it, you can move to a neighboring village.  If you want to live like say in an Amnish village, more power to you.  However, no one has the right to say that the whole country should live and practice amnish beliefs and living style.

    The irony about all this press release on Rapelay is that it probably has increased sales of the game or pirate downloads off the net far more then if no one had said a thing about the game.  I had never heard of Rapelay before it became a protest symbol.  When the catholic church called for boycotts of Da Vinci Code when it was showing at the theater, I became curious about the movie and went to see it.  If the church had not got its panties in a bunch, I probably would never have gone to see the movie(and I ended up enjoying it).  Do yall really think the game company that made Rapelay is worried about bad press?  I would love to see there sales report pre-protest and post-protest.  Isn’t this the same reason why Take-Two enjoys the free bad press about GTA, since it usually produces more sales then what they would have gotten.

  3. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    I wouldn’t expect you to support my opinion. If you think people deserve to go to jail for looking at a fucking cartoon, then you are the moralistic idiot I am critizising so of course you would not agree.

  4. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    You can’t say virtual child pornography is "flat out illegal" when the Supreme Court has ruled virtual child pornography is not illegal simply for looking like child pornography. It has to be obscene to be illegal, and in that case it’s illegal for being obscene, and not for looking like child pornography. It’s that simple. Any other way to look at it is just massaging the truth in order to get it to agree with your false claim that virtual child pornography is illegal. It is not.

    I love it how in the end you say "it’s probably illegal", when in your first sentence you said "it’s flat out illegal". It cannot possibly be both of those things. The true answer, as per the letter of the law, is that it’s not illegal unless it’s also obscene. You can’t get around that, except by intentionally misrepresenting the facts.

    Never mind that nonsense about kittens. I have a better analogy: You hear hoofbeats and you think "Horse", when in fact it’s a Zebra.

  5. 0
    Cheater87 says:

    I was at a store last night looking at some anime and saw some hentai games with an 18 sign on it. You can sell an adult PC game in the US without an ESRB rating. It has to have an 18 sign on it and its good to go .

  6. 0
    Arell says:

    Fine, then it’s flat out illegal without having to explicitly say it is.  "Free Speech and all that… except for this little loophole that lets juries and judges condemn it anyway."  The Court gets its cake and eats it, too.  They don’t strike down free speech, but at the same time don’t give virtual child porn a free pass.  And unless you can honestly, and I mean HONESTLY, tell me you think most people DON’T have a problem with it, then it’s going to be illegal every time it turns up in court for quite a while.

    Look.  If it looks like a kitten, and sounds like a kitten, and tastes like a kitten… then damnit, it’s a kitten!  If people are getting charged and convicted for lolicon, and the law is clear that they can be charged and convicted for it, then that’s a sure bet it’s probably illegal.  Unless you’re applying the "it’s only illegal if you get caught" logic, in which case I have to consider you an idiot.

  7. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    The man pled guilty, didn’t he? That’s hardly an ideal test case for your claim.

    Anyway, the whole thing is just fucking ridiculous. There’s far too many moralistic idiots in this country.

  8. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    There’s no such thing as "effectively" illegal. Something is either illegal or it is not. Whether virtual child pornography turns out to be illegal in particular jurisdictions remains to be seen. Whether a game like RapeLay would satisfy all of the Miller’s test’s requirements likewise remains to be seen.

    The Supreme Court has stated that virtual child pornography can in fact be legal, which is enough to contradict the claim that it’s illegal — effectively or otherwise.

  9. 0
    Arell says:

    Well, it’s not the millionth time, and I’m sad you’re not having as much fun with this as I am.  But I did look it up further.  You were right about that part being struck down.  BUT, I still think that based on the Miller Test, it’s "effectively" illegal no matter what you think.  Case by case?  I’d be willing to bet money that every case in the forseeable future will find it obscene.

    Isn’t that what this whole topic is about?  It started with GP stating that while it’s not "technically" censored, it’s "effectively" censored.  To much agreement and rage of many of the posters here.

    I’m saying the same thing.  While Virtual Child Porn is not "technically" explicitly illegal, it "effectively" is.  And unlike the censorship issue, where there is a workaround by simply selling them in alternative stores, there is no workaround to the legality of virtual child porn.  It’s not getting legalized until the social climate changes dramatically.

  10. 0
    Arell says:

    I looked up a 2006 case (at the suggestion of another poster), in which a man was convicted based on some lolicon manga.  It pretty much confirms what I’m saying.  No jury or judge (currently) is going to accept that it isn’t obscene.

  11. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    Replying to your original post, where you said:

    "1) the PROTECT Act came after Ashcroft v. The Free Speech Coalition,

    2) explicitly says that dicticions of specific sexual acts are illegal, and

    3) was not challenged by the Court when it had the chance.

    So no, as of this moment in time, a large portion of virtual child porn IS illegal before even before being put to the Miller Test.  Unless they’re only depicted as naked and nothing else, it’s already illegal."

    Like I said, the court in Williams did address the issue of virtual child pornography, even though it wasn’t the focus of the case. The fact that the PROTECT act was written after Ashcroft v. The Free Speech Coalition doesn’t change the fact that binding precedent is such that virtual child pornography that doesn’t satisfy the Miller test’s criteria is not illegal. The language in the PROTECT act that could be used to make child pornography illegal is, as far as I can tell, consistent with both the Miller test and the Supreme Court’s decision in Ashcroft v. The Free Speech Coalition. Thus, nothing has changed since 2002 regarding the legality of virtual child pornography.

    Whether or not a contemporary audience would deem virtual child pornography to be obscene is something that can only be determined on a case by case basis. Thus, for the millionth time, virtual child pornography is not illegal, unless it’s obscene.

  12. 0
    Arell says:

    After further checking, you are right that the Supreme Court did smack down the first part of the law.  But they still upheld the Miller Test portion, which is the part that truly matters.

    Speaking of the Miller Test, it’s is a barometer for comtemporary standards of "decency."  Or more simply, your assertion that it’s "not illegal unless it’s obscene" is a moot point, because most people would find virtual child porn obscene.  You’d have to search really hard for a sympathetic judge or jury that thought pictures of naked 12 year old anime girls wasn’t obscene.  Maybe that will change someday (and I hope it doesn’t), but for right now, all virtual child porn is "effectively" (if not technically) illegal.

  13. 0
    Arell says:

    While I partially accept you definition of "censorship," I still uphold that that it only matters if it is enforced by law.  What we have here is a convergance of Rights that create what I would consider the "illusion of censorship."  Freedom of Expression allows people to form groups, and then to openly condemn the actions of a company.  They have the right to try to convince others that their view is right (and those people have the right to either join them, or ignore them, or create a counter-group).  A company has the right to stock whatever goods they want.  A privately run ratings board has the right to create a set of content descriptions (I have no issue with the ESRB, since I’m old enough to remember when Congress used to talk about creating thier own ratings system that would be law-enforced).  Companies have the right to carry only rated games, just as they have the right to do the opposite (and on this point, I actually do wish more stores would carry AO games, like Adult stores).

    So essentially, unless you’re willing to FORCE stores to stock certain content, or DEMAND that people shop where they don’t want to shop, this issue is kind of waiting for independant or alternative stores to start selling these games.  You can’t encroach on certain rights to rectify another situation where "technically," no rights are being denied.  "Technically," AO and Unrated games can be sold in the US. (EDIT: I’m not sure, but I think I recall New York passing a law saying that a game has display a rating, or something to that effect.  All I remember was that I was against it, but the Industry didn’t seem to care, saying the law lacked teeth to do anything.)

    (Side note:  I hadn’t heard of that case of the lolicon manga.  To date, I’ve only heard of people getting additional charges for virtual child porn when they’re already being charged for the real thing.  I’ll have to look that up… unless you have a link?  Seriously, I don’t distrust you, I’m just lazy, so a link would be awesome!)

  14. 0
    Rodrigo Ybáñez García says:

    And while RapeLay’s developers are within their rights to create a game based upon sexual violence and pedophilia, retailers are certainly within theirs not to carry the game. Women’s groups are free to protest its messages. And the rest of us are free to be creeped out by RapeLay.

    The problem still is that Rapelay was made for Japan only, where this kind of games are very common. Meanwhile, american retailers don´t have ANY reason to worry about it for the same reason as the game is not officially sell bay any american company. Nobody is sneaking porn games inside Walmart.

    This is the same kind of thought that make many people to believe that videogame industry wants to corrupt every single child on the world.

    Women´s groups surely are wasting their time fighting against ficticional raping, but I´m even sure that they are enjoying the extra-attention they are getting.

    The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com/

  15. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    The PROTECT Act explicitly borrows language from the so called Miller test. The language is clearly such that the law only applies in cases where the speech is obscene, which is consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision in Ashcroft v. The Free Speech Coalition.

    Like I said, virtual child pornography is not illegal unless it’s obscene.

    Edited to add: According to Wikipedia, the Williams case did address the matter of virtual child pornography, with the court stating that "an offer to provide or request to receive virtual child pornography is not prohibited by the statute. A crime is committed only when the speaker believes or intends the listener to believe that the subject of the proposed transaction depicts real children… Simulated child pornography will be as available as ever, so long as it is offered and sought as such, and not as real child pornography."

  16. 0
    Arell says:

    Actually, you’re only half right.  You’re thinking of the Ashcroft vs. Free Speech Coalition case.  Since then, Congress has passed teh PROTECT Act of 2003, which makes it illegal to have or distribute virtual child pornography that depicts minors commiting certain explicit sexual acts, which according to the description, covers petty much any sexual act (graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex).

    In addition, it’s also illegal to have virtual child pornography that is concidered "obscene," or " lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."  This basically covers just nude dipictions meant for pornographic purposes only, or more specifically, hentai and other forms of mastabatory aid.  The "obscenity" clause refers to the classic "Miller Test," which is determined based on contemporary community standards.  Considering the social attitudes towards child pornography in the United States, it’s unlikely you’re going to find many representatives who wouldn’t call virtual child porn obscene.  The "obscenity" clause is also in place just in case the more explicit portion of the Act is ever questioned, as the "Miller Test" still maintains legal traction even to this day.

    You are right that the Supreme Court did partially address the PROTECT Act, in US v. Williams.  But that case was not about virtual child porn, and the Court passed on the chance to take either side on the issue.  They did not support the Act, nor did they condemn it.

    So, technically, I was right.  The laws are there, but they have yet to be fully tested.

  17. 0
    Wormdundee says:

    Ermm, forgive me if I’m wrong, but was there not a story within the last 2 weeks about a guy in the US who was prosecuted for possessing Loli manga? He collected a huge array of different types of manga as well, and he didn’t have any real child pornography at all.

    So that would seem to contradict your footnote.

    And technically it’s still censorship of a kind:

    Self-censorship is the act of censoring or classifying one’s own work (blogbook(s), film(s), or other means of expression), out of fear or deference to the sensibilities of others without an authority directly pressuring one to do so.

    So yeah, these stores are refusing to show certain games/books out of fear or deference to the sensibilities of others. But it’s all just semantics really, and I agree with your point. These adult video game makers should be working with adult stores to distribute these games if they want to make money.

    And I’ll add I wholeheartedly disagree with your support of banning them, but we can agree to disagree on that point.

  18. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    "I footnote this because technically there are Federal laws that could denote virtual child pornography as illegal as real child pornography"

    The Supreme Court has already ruled on the legality of virtual child pornography. Basically, their position boils down to "it’s not illegal unless it’s obscene". Virtual child pornography is thus generally protected by the first amendment.

  19. 0
    Arell says:

    Also, with all the "real" stories about Rapeplay already going up, I think GP posted this editorial just to stir us up.

    …Oh well.  It’s their website.

  20. 0
    Arell says:

    You guys are funny.  It’s not cencorship, because any store could carry the game IF THEY WANTED TO.  There is no law saying that a store cannot carry AO rated games.  There’s no law saying that a store cannot carry UNRATED games, for that matter.  If an independant Adult Themes store decided to carry hentai games tomorrow, they’d be within their rights to do so.  Hell, if WalMart wanted to face the wrath of angry parents’ groups, they could stock their shelves with AO rated games, too.

    What stops them isn’t a ban, isn’t cencorship.  It’s good old fashioned capitalism.  How do you make the largest profits?  Make your primary customer base happy.  I can understand why WalMart wouldn’t carry an AO game, but I do think it’s high time for Adult stores to start carrying AO games right next to their porno movies, vibrators, and bondage gear.  Because…. well, they can.  Legally.

    Personally, I hope the developers of Rapeplay and similar games die of brain cancer, and anyone who plays it mysteriously contracts syphilis (woot!  there’s MY freedom of expression!).  But ultimately, it’s a legal product in the USA**.  So people whining about "censorship" can go fuck themselves (there’s that free speech again…).

    **(I footnote this because technically there are Federal laws that could denote virtual child pornography as illegal as real child pornography, just like Canada, Australia, and many other nations do.  For example, you could be fined and go to jail for importing certain manga or anime to Canada, even for personal use.  This provision has not been tested by the US courts yet, or even used to prosecute anyone that didn’t also have real child porn on them.  And just for clarification, I would support it if virtual child pornography was deemed illegal, just as I already support it being illegal in other nations.)

  21. 0
    lumi says:

    I’d love to know where you get your statistics.  What makes you think it would be so cheap to port this game for Western distribution?  What makes you so sure it would even break even?

    Regardless, this boils down to a useless definition of censorship, again.  If any action taken for any reason results in a work or idea become less accessible to the public is considered censorship, it becomes a completely trivialized definition.

  22. 0
    MechaTama31 says:

    Just because it’s not government censorship doesn’t mean it isn’t censorship.  The decision not to translate the game is not a financial one, not capitalism.  It is made in fear of social and political backlash from people who are not even in the intended market.  A perfect example of the chilling effect at work.

    And with as little as these games cost to produce, it very well could be financially successful, even though its market would be understandably small.  The kind of company that would bring over a game like this probably wouldn’t be worried about a PR hit, because the kind of people that would make it a PR problem are not potential customers anyway.  You are also ignoring the significance of the language barrier.  You wouldn’t be happy to walk into a grocery store and see all the signs and labels in Swahili, and be told that there is nothing stopping you from just learning Swahili if you want those groceries.  Now, I’m not saying that anyone is obligated to translate everything into every language.  That would be absurd and mostly wasted effort, of course.  But in a case where there is probably enough demand to financially support the translation effort, and someone is interested in doing the work, and the only barrier to it being done is the fear of backlash from moral crusaders, well, that’s bullshit.  In this particular case, I don’t think anybody planned to translate the game anyway, but I guarantee we are going to hear more of this same argument when these activist groups discover companies like JAST.

    Personally, I would never want to play this game.  But I don’t want to play sports games either.  That doesn’t mean I run around and try to prevent anybody else from being able to play them.  To hell with these moral crusaders who seem to think it is their duty to act as a filter for our entire society.  Freedom must include the freedom to be offensive, otherwise we simply suffer under the tyranny of the majority (or the vocal minority).  Nobody has the right to never be offended.  No such right exists.  We all should have the right to decide for ourselves if and when to be offended, and to cope with it like adults.  When someone feels so strongly about an issue that they absolutely must convince someone else to agree, it should at least be done with persuasion and understanding, not threats and coercion.


  23. 0
    tony selby says:

    Why wouldn’t it be able to advertise? sure it couldn’t show anything explicit, but AO games could advertise they would just have to follow the proper guidelines, if phone sex lines and vibraters can advertise on TV why wouldn’t an AO rated game be able to? Plus placing adds in adult magazines would be an option as well.

    Also, while they probably would not be able to show at E3, that wouldn’t exactly be a cost effective means for them anyway, they would likely hit a bigger audience for their product at a convention like the AVN awards in Vegas then they would at E3.

  24. 0
    Neeneko says:

    (1) Because the illegality is questionable.

    (2) The legal argument for why it is illegal are often used (so far unsucessfully) to try to ban games like GTA.

    Thus it provides a useful mirror.

  25. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    But at what point does an ESRB refusal to rate a game impact the financial sellability of a game? 

    The ESRB’s ability to effectively minimize sales of a product by refusing to rate it is by definition anti-free-market

    Um…I think you are confused. The ESRB Cannot and never will refuse to rate any game that is submitted for a rating. Their job is to assign ratings to the games that are submitted. Rapelay if submitted to the ESRB, would most likely recieve an AO rating. The fact is, it will recieve a rating. Whatever happens to the game with that rating after that fact, is beyond the ESRB’s control.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  26. 0
    lumi says:

    "But at what point does an ESRB refusal to rate a game impact the financial sellability of a game?  For all we know, RapeLay might be a financially sound investment, but the only thing stopping it from being so is the ‘de facto’ ban."

    This is not a reasonable argument, and I think we all know it.  This game has no chance of being a commercial success in this country, and in this culture.

    "This is the worst kind of moral fascism in action – unelected groups with a moral agenda effectively preventing us from having a truly free market."

    HOW do you get to this conclusion?  What would you have the ESRB do?  Completely undermine itself by giving such a game an M rating so as not to "ban" it?  No, thank you.  Whatever the idiot watchdog fearmongerers may claim, the ESRB has integrity, and that’s the biggest reason we, as an industry, get to self-regulate.  This isn’t a matter of any kind of "moral agenda" by an "unelected group", it’s a ratings board doing what it’s supposed to do.

    If you really want to be upset at someone for the ‘de facto ban’, it would most logically be the retailers who refuse to stock any AO games, or the Big Three who refuse to license AO titles for their hardware.  But again, it becomes a matter of capitalism; it’s simply not financially sound for them to license these niche games and to take the PR hit that would inevitably ensue.


  27. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Actually customs, if they are feeling like it, may very well stop and arrest you for bringing such a game into this country.

    This also means import companies like JList might have an incentive not to carry it since they could be held criminally responsible for trafficing in obscene material.  Nasty thing to get charged with and VERY difficult to defend against.

  28. 0
    Bennett Beeny says:

    But at what point does an ESRB refusal to rate a game impact the financial sellability of a game?  For all we know, RapeLay might be a financially sound investment, but the only thing stopping it from being so is the ‘de facto’ ban.

    The point is, these de facto bans do affect a game’s marketability.  That is anti-capitalist.  My whole point is that it SHOULD be left entirely to the free market, but it is not being.  The ESRB’s ability to effectively minimize sales of a product by refusing to rate it is by definition anti-free-market, anti-capitalism and anti-consumer.

    Heck, scandals like this usually result in a huge increase in demand for the product, yet in this case this free market force is being prevented from acting properly.  This is the worst kind of moral fascism in action – unelected groups with a moral agenda effectively preventing us from having a truly free market.

  29. 0
    lumi says:

    "Now, granted Rapelay would recieve an AO, but the argument is that it’s a de-facto ban, meaning even law abiding Adults can’t go purchase the game at an adult media shop. There’s still a market for such game,s people just still see them as children’s toys."

    Thing is, that’s not censorship.  That’s capitalism.  There’s NO financially sound reason for ANYONE to license, publish, or carry RapeLay in this country.  So, no one’s telling you you can’t import it from Japan and play it on your own machine (assuming it’s capable).  They’re saying there’s no reason for companies to lose money (and take the PR hit) to make it easier for you to do that.

    No one will stop you at the airport for trying to bring the game into this country.  The FBI isn’t going to come knocking at your door for downloading it.  Not censorship, just capitalism.

  30. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    Only hitch is such games could never advertise, or even show at E3, which would hamper the market, but no saying advertizing on the internet or word of mouth doesn’t work.

  31. 0
    Vake Xeacons says:

    It’s not ENTIRELY an out-right ban, per se. Adult stores could still carry it, porno sites could have it for download, just like any other X-rated material. Yes, that still constitutes a flop, but not a ban.

    This is what I don’t have a problem with. AO games being sold at specialty places, but still on the market. We have the right to buy & play, even if we have to go through more channels to do so.

    And yes, I’ll say it again. Rapelay isn’t going to influence anyone to become a rapist. It is JUST a game.

    It’s still sickning. I hate it.

  32. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    There area crapton of games that are meant only for the Japanese market, but they get imported to the United States anyway, as there’s a demand for them, and for whatever reason there is a refusal to localize them for other markets.

    I mean, in Japan there is a PS2 game where you drive an ambulance in a zombie infested city rescuing survivors, and you cna outfit the ambulance with wheel blades, machine guns, and other way to let you kill off zombies. How a game liek that wouldn’t be successful i nthe US is beyond me.

    Now, granted Rapelay would recieve an AO, but the argument is that it’s a de-facto ban, meaning even law abiding Adults can’t go purchase the game at an adult media shop. There’s still a market for such game,s people just still see them as children’s toys.

  33. 0
    sirdarkat says:

     It would be met with the same whatever stance that Japan does in this situation.  Huh you don’t like that well ok its not illegal in our country so to friggin bad.

  34. 0
    Bloodharp says:

    Im at a loss for words after looking at that wiki page. Im confused as to how much illogical and unconstitutional (maybe) laws are enacted in this nation and not removed by the Supreme Court. Is it that no one pushes them forward for review, or that they are afraid to set a standard for the nation to be run by? I think i might just have to bring this up in my civics class now…

    In war, truth is the first casualty.

  35. 0
    NovaBlack says:



    its insane! Some1 can be locked up for literally a certain arrangement of coloured pencil markings on some paper. thats f***g ridiculous. Nobody is harmed.. i dont understand what the crime really is, or how locking some1 up for it is in the best interests of ….well…. anyone.

  36. 0
    Wormdundee says:

    Man, I find myself in 100% agreement with you on every post you make on here.

    This comes back to my argument that obscenity laws need to be abolished. What is their point? Videos or other media that depict real people being harmed already fall under other laws, so there’s no problem there. What it comes down to is that obscenity laws allow someone to be prosecuted (or for something to be banned) for something that is only illegal because of the ‘sensibilities’ of other people. The result of any obscenity case is highly dependant on the judge and jury.

    You can check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obscenity_law#United_States_obscenity_law to really see how fucked up these laws are.

    The fact that someone can go to jail for DRAWINGS angers me to no end. Can we please stop legislating morality? 

  37. 0
    kurbster says:


    that sucks for him :/  He probably would of had a change in red states where religion wouldn’t have engulfed the ‘entire’ jury

  38. 0
    Charax says:

    "I’m curious why he didn’t"

    Then read up on the case more. His lawyer advised him to plead guilty because he knew that in Utah (I think it was Utah anyway) the jury weren’t likely to have any knowledge of Manga or japanese culture and as soon as they saw any of the loli images any chance of winning the case was gone. Pleading guilty was damage control, nothing more.

  39. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Best guess?  Neither he nor his lawyer felt that they could convince a jury that the material was not obscene.

    Which unfortunately has now set a precedent which can be used by prosecutors as an example of the law being valid. It significantly increases the hurdle for successfully challenging it.

    Other cases like this (not unheard of in the bdsm community) have drug on for years and rarely turn out well for the defendant… so his lawyer probably drew on what the system does to people who try to defend themselves against obscenity laws.

  40. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    Ugh, if people can have their lives ruined or go to prison for several years over a piece of fictional media that doesn’t even use real people, then the terrorists have already won.

  41. 0
    Notebook says:

    That was only because he pleaded guilty.

    He could have pleaded not guilty and fought for his innocence. I’m curious why he didn’t.

  42. 0
    Neeneko says:

    (1) It does not have to be offically released in the US to count.  Imports are prosecutable.

    (2) The age does not have to be expcliticly mentioned.  As long as a ‘reasonable’ person can be lead to believe children are depected, that is suffient.  One only has to convince a jury.

    (3) The act has been enforced and there have been at least 2 succesful prosecutions.  One of them was a guy (obsessive manga collector) who had lolicon manga in a box of imports that customs openned up, and nothing else.

  43. 0
    tony selby says:

    The system is NOT supposed to work this way.  People are supposed to have the right to freedom of expression in this country, and we are supposed to have access to a FREE market, not a tightly controlled one.

    Actually there is no written guideline stating that retail stores can not carry AO titles, they have all chosen not to carry them, which is their right, to force them to carry AO titles would be how the system is NOT supposed to work

    A ban – even one imposed by distributors – is evidence that US freedoms mean very little when powerful unelected bodies hold sway over parts of our lives.

    It’s not imposed by the distributers, it’s imposed by the retailers, if you owned a retail store you could stock these games if you so wished.

    What’s next?  Are we going to ban all books and movies that include rape scenes?

    There is a distinct difference between including a rape scene, and basing the entire plot around raping people in graphic detail.  In the exact same way that there is a distinct difference between a sex scene in a hollywood movie, and a porno.

    I play games where many people are murdered – that seems to be permitted by the ESRB – why is pixellated rape worse than pixellated mass murder?

    Because the ESRB rating things for the American society, and that society has deemed that sex crimes are worse then murder, they did not create the standard, they are just upholding it

    But you have no right telling me that I should be happy when the ESRB tells me what I can and can’t do with my spare time.

    All that the ESRB would do in this hypothetical situation is rate the game AO, thats it, are you trying to claim that the game does not deserve an AO rating? The game would not be banned, it would be rated, and any retailer that wanted to stock the game could. GP uses the term de-facto ban, because the game is simply not marketable, and would likely never sell enough copies to turn a profit.  they would make more money without sending it to the ESRB and simply selling the title online without the rating

  44. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    "The system is NOT supposed to work this way."

    I’m not so sure that’s true. Don’t forget that the only reason the ESRB exists is that the government effectively said "regulate or be regulated", and the game industry responded by adopting the ESRB’s rating system. The government got exactly what it wanted, while the game industry remained free to imagine itself the master of its own fate.

    Not that it ought to work that way, but it often does. Getting an AO rating is a death knell for any game trying to make it into anything other than a niche market.

  45. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Freedom in the US has always been at the whim of ‘what will get me elected’ rather then ‘what does the consitution actually say’.  This is why so many of our freedoms come from appointed judges rather then legislatures.   They generally worry less about reelection and thus are free to actually enforce freedom rather then bend to feel-good restrictions that sell well to people not effected by them.

  46. 0
    Notebook says:

     But is it really a ban if it was never meant to be sold here in the first place?

    If I make something that’s not meant to be sold anywhere else besides where I live, and then it’s somehow sold anywhere besides there, what then? Rapelay was never meant to be sold outside Japan to begin with. Heck, even the game itself won’t run on non-Japanese computers [granted that can be easily bypassed if you know where to look]. Can you say that the developers were already censoring themselves by limiting which type of computers can run the game? What does that say about the developer themselves?

    I know censorship is an issue, but sometimes I feel like people are trying to make this into some sort of freedom of speech argument, which as we all know doesn’t exactly apply as well to other countries due to different laws and such. Do we even know Japan’s laws on this to begin with? Does the British Parilment even have that kind of power? What would really happen if they tried to sell this game in the US?

    Also, I do find it a bit ironic that people are blaming other countries for controlling what the other one does and yet some are applying the US laws to other countries without them really realizing it.

  47. 0
    Bennett Beeny says:

    You don’t have a problem with de-facto censorship resulting in what amounts to the banning of unpalateable content?

    Hmm.  I just went outside to check – the school building opposite my house is still flying the American flag, not the Chinese one.  For a moment there I thought we must have been invaded, and that you were welcoming our communist overlords.

    The system is NOT supposed to work this way.  People are supposed to have the right to freedom of expression in this country, and we are supposed to have access to a FREE market, not a tightly controlled one.  A ban – even one imposed by distributors – is evidence that US freedoms mean very little when powerful unelected bodies hold sway over parts of our lives.

    If I want to play a game that portrays rape, I should have every right to do so.  Why? – because it’s JUST A GAME!  No one is being raped – all it is is a fictional portrayal just like we see on TV or read in books.  What’s next?  Are we going to ban all books and movies that include rape scenes?

    I play games where many people are murdered – that seems to be permitted by the ESRB – why is pixellated rape worse than pixellated mass murder?

    It seems some folks are more than willing to sacrifice MY freedoms on the altar of THEIR morality.  I will never be able to accept that as the right thing to do.  If you find the game objectionable, you have every right not to buy it.  But you have no right telling me that I should be happy when the ESRB tells me what I can and can’t do with my spare time.

  48. 0
    Wormdundee says:

    I’m not sure about this one to be honest. I don’t think even the most ignorant politician would assume that a game about rape is being marketed to children.

    I look forward to being proven wrong, as is bound to happen.

  49. 0
    Wormdundee says:

    No kidding, the headline on this story frankly frightens me regarding GP’s political views.

    It boils down to, "Japanese rape game shines light on ridiculous US censorship policy, O well, lets not bother fighting it, since its already banned here".

  50. 0
    Wormdundee says:

    You sir, are an extremely ignorant person. You are equating the sexual abuse of real children with the sexual abuse (?) of a drawing or computer generated 3d model. You’ll forgive me if I seriously question your thought processes. 

  51. 0
    NovaBlack says:

    well yeah apart from one violates the rights of a real human child, and one violates the ‘rights’ of a fictional character made out of various coloured ink arranged on  some paper.

  52. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Not really. There is a world of differnce between enjoying reading/viewing something and having any desire to actually do it.

    I am pretty sure when I was playing Bioshock, wanting to club the little sisters with a wrench did not mean I want to go club people to death with plumbing implements. Or when I am playing a multiplayer FPS, shooting people in game does not mean I secretly desire to shoot actual people.

    Enjoying fantasy != Enjoying reality

    In most people they are VERY differnt things.

  53. 0
    Charax says:

    FPS sounds better than Murderer Training System, but at the end of the day it’s the same thing.

    Well, except that in both cases saying something is the same as something else doesn’t prove it to be true.

  54. 0
    mdo7 says:


    I did, I must have somehow misstype (I was putting link to this article on ANN), and I guess when I was typing the comment.  I must have accidently put banned or forgot to put not ban or something like that.  But if Japan did that, that would be a bit awkward don’t you think.

  55. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Mixed messages?

    I would put it as ‘not that far above trolling’.  GP is basically saying that gamers shouldn’t whine so much about something they see as a negative direction politics are taking because the politics are already bad.

  56. 0
    XaGa says:

    "Here’s an editorial about the juicy Rapelay issue that we and everyone else have been breathlessly covering, about why we don’t need to talk about Rapelay."

    I’m getting some serious mixed messages here. :p

  57. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    Another part of it could be that people still see video games as children’s toys, thus, a game like this is marketing sex to children.

  58. 0
    Neeneko says:

    The real agenda is that people gain power by spearheading causes with people behind them.  It is a good way to build your powerbase without the risk of alienatiting anyone with enough power behind them to hurt you.

  59. 0
    Sigvatr_ says:

    I think there are no boundaries towards what kind of video game people should or shouldn’t be allowed to play.

    People seem to think that legislation will stop people playing these games, but it won’t matter in the end. The game has had so much publicity lately that I am sure ten times as many people now have a copy of the game than would have otherwise.

    Games like this aren’t a nuisance for society, they are a nuisance for politicians and moral crusaders who can’t bare the knowledge knowing that a game like this is being propogated. More often than not, attempts to censure something like this only end up with its voice being amplified exponentially.

    What is the real agenda here? Do people want to make sure that the creators of the game don’t make a profit? Do they want everyone to know that they are vehemently against the game? Or is it that they just can’t stand to see something like this?

    Regardless, no matter how much people yack about it or attempt to bring down the game/publisher/creator, there are probably hundreds of people playing the game this very moment, probably jerking off too. Has any of this drama stopped that? No.

  60. 0
    Chaplain99 says:

    Okay, OUTLINE time…

    I. The Issue

      A.  The game RapeLay is under scrutiny for its content.

    II.  The Sides

      A.  The "Yay" Side

        i.  The game RapeLay is to be deemed inappropriate content due to its portrayal of rape/pedophilia/obscenity.  Such a game offers little to no social value, and is more of a moral danger than an artistic work.

      B.  The "Nay" Side

        i.  The game RapeLay is to be deemed protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  Such protection allows the game RapeLay to be sold legally in the United States.  This right will not impose upon the rights of distributors to refuse the sale of RapeLay to their consumers.

    III.  The Actions

     A.  The "Yay" Side

       i.  A ban, both physical and network-based, will be enacted upon the importation and sale of RapeLay.  Titles/imports of similar nature/content will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

     B.  The "Nay" Side

       i.  A ban, both physical and network-based, will be prohibited from taking place upon the importation and sale of RapeLay.  Titles/imports of similar nature/content will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.


    This is an outline to help people new to the argument decide what to support, etc.


    "HEY! LISTEN!"

  61. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    "Actually, such games ARE illegal in the US and prosecutable under the 2003 Protect Act."

    Not necessarily. A game like RapeLay would not be illegal unless it failed to pass the Miller Test. Even the text of the law you cited acknowledges that by using terms like "obscene" and "lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value". Some jurisdictions might consider such a game to be obscene, but I’m not so sure enough of them would that you could honestly call it "illegal in the US" as you just did.

    PS – I happen to think treating obscenity differently than other kinds of speech is just a way for the government to rationalize censorship, but that’s a whole other discussion.

  62. 0
    sirdarkat says:

     For Protect Act to be applicable to the above item Japan would have to release the game in America with a claim that the people potrayed in it are under age.  Every hentai game I have ever seen circumvents this easily by saying yeah she looks 16 but shes 18 yeah she looks young but shes 18 etc etc etc.

    Its almost impossible to enforce the above Act due to the fact that cartoon people are fictional and therefore have no age.

  63. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Actually, such games ARE illegal in the US and prosecutable under the 2003 Protect Act.

    All it takes is a prosecutor willing to take such a case to trial, which has happened already.

    So we are not talking a de-facto ban, or a ‘no place will sell it’ problem, but a literal federal crime that can land you in prison for over a decade and mark you as a sex offender for the rest of you life.  And yes.. people are locked up (or at least have their lives destroyed) under such laws.

  64. 0
    kurbster says:

    creeped out?? by Rapelay?? This is considered tame sex compared to the other fetishes the Japanese fap off to.

    If only they knew….if only…..the 3rd A-bomb will be dropped by a feminazi group if they had the chance

  65. 0
    Neeneko says:

    There is that too.

    I would much rather someone satisify thier desires in a virtual way then commit a real crime.

    Then again the argument against things like RapeLay (and GTA) is that they ‘pander’ and thus increase the probably of someone taking a repressed desire that they can actualize in a virtual world and take it to the real one.

    Now there is no actual science behind the later argument (and quite a bit for the former) but the latter always makes for better news clips.

    I think part of it is people feel a need to explain why someone did something they find abhorent… and ‘corrupted by external influence’ is a popular and reassuring one.  People do not like to think that they have such possiblities in them naturally.. which due to the standford experiments, we know they in fact do.  Ugh.  I think the standford experiments should be required reading for all elementry school students….

  66. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    Re-read the article buddy. It’s not banned in Japan, but if it were submitted to the ESRB in the US it’d be a de-facto ban as no retailer would carry, save for adult media shops.

  67. 0
    mdo7 says:


    oh boy, since when does Japan start banning rape game since they were the producers of it?  I know Japan has bunch of double standards but this is getting ridiculous. 


    cue the anime haters sayinhg Japan is doing the right thing and supporting this movement in 3…2…1

  68. 0
    sirdarkat says:

    I think the fear (and freting) comes about that most organizations that scream for censorship want a governmental ban not an organizational ban.  I love the ESRB, its a great concept and it works well at helping parents to know what to buy a child but frankly for me its useless due to I’m old enough to make my own decisions about items.  And though no organization would submit RapeLay to ESRB it still doesn’t stop them from creating such work.  I like that I can buy a game that indulges in concepts that I would find morally rephersenible in real life or touches topics that make me uneasy (I also like buying books and movies that do the same thing).  What these organizaions want is not to stop such work from being on the market they want to stop them from being created they want control over what people are allowed to think, read, etc based on what they feel is morally right and wrong.  This is why even though I find RapeLay to be lacking as a game and one I have no desire to own I would fight for its right to be sold and be created.  I have no rights to tell you what you can think just as you have no right to tell me.


    As for the game being already banned this is true for companies such as Wal-Mart and GameStop but personally those are not the only retailers and though they may not carry the product it doesn’t stop the product from existing and me from acquring it.  So it may be banned in a sense from Wal-Mart but so is most things you can find in a Head Shop or in the Hustler Store this doesn’t stop those products from being made and sold.



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