ARIN6902: Games censorship

Japanese Hentai: The construction of the ‘other’ in games censorship
May 27, 2010, 1:04 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Being a female, I was outraged when I heard of the perverse content in the Japanese hentai game Rapelay. It made me sick that this game was being played by individuals around the globe; a game that promoted the stalking of women (and a child, for that matter) and gave points to the player for their ventures that ultimately resulted in sexual brutality. Pretty sick on the producer of the game’s part, actually. I made a harsh assumption about Japanese games, the governing of Japanese games production and exhibition, and the Japanese culture itself.

But then I came to think of the concept of borders; specifically about the construction of the self and other through the erection of borders. I had personally created a border of self and other between me and Japanese games culture, without really knowing all the facts. A connection with the knowledge that Japan is a patriarchal society that does not have the feminist culture that I grew up in does not change my disgust of the game’s content; it simply shed some light on the situation.

Expressing sexuality outside western ways of expression is perhaps the way that some individuals in Japanese culture get around their rather meek culture — albeit an extreme example of stepping outside the norm. I don’t agree with it, but I certainly can see why this kind of game would pop up in the Japanese hentai genre.

Moreover the construction of this border has come about through the Australian state body because of a panic that has come through this one, specific game. But it has to be noted that sexually explicit Japanese hentai games have been around for a while in the industry. For obvious reasons we know why this border of self and other has come about because of this game, but can we make the assumption that because an interactive sexual crime is involved, that’s when we get involved? This is where a clear-cut classification process would see games being classified for the right reasons. Although I’d still refuse Rapelay classification …



Everard, J. (2000) Virtual States: the Internet and the boundaries of the nation state New York: Routledge


Impacting the Lives of Others

The current video games censorship debate is a long and fruitful one. Moral panics, government consultation papers, classification issues, the impact on the economy and our youth are all significant reasons that influence our interest in the topic. With violent video games featuring abhorrent content allegedly impacting our younger generation by playing on their vulnerability to induce violence, it is indeed a worrying factor for many parents. It is hard for parents to make an informed choice in what their children see and what they participate in front of a computer screen in the current ambiguous classification process. Moreover, the interactive nature of violent video games has been categorised as ‘violence breeding violence’, but there is little evidence to suggest this explicit assumption.

In my opinion, what is important in the current climate of games censorship is the impact that the consumption of these violent video games has on the lives of others, in that one individual’s consumption openly affects someone else. As brought forward in the Q&A episode screened in July 2008, who really is the judge in deciding what Australians are allowed or not allowed to see in a wider societal context of the freedom of choice of citizens? One point raised in the Q&A episode is the current gambling problem regarding pokies. It can be said that problem gambling is a more important societal problem than violent video games, but the government lets it go on because of the revenue streams that they capitilise on from the habits of the punters. If violence breeds violence then gambling breeds gambling. There are open problems with gambling affecting the people surrounding the gambler, but what are the real problems of a gamer and his/her gaming habits on the individuals surrounding them?

We all know the risks involved with violent video games, but it’s slightly condescending on the government’s behalf to choose what they think is appropriate for our eyes and what is not. What is important in the censorship of interactive games is that it is a guide for the citizens of Australia to make an informed choice as to what they want to see and consume. As soon as we truly see the impact of violent content on the mind and the affect on the lives of the people around the gamers, a clearer point of view free from moral panics will materialise and we’ll be able to truly make an informed choice. This may be idealistic, but a more transparent approach would benefit all parties.


‘Q&A (ABC1) R Rated Video Games’ (2008) Accessible at: Accessed 21st May 2010

Forbidden Fruit: Black Market Spurred on by Games Censorship

One interpretation of the The Forbidden Fruit Theory is that if something is forbidden, its unreachable nature will increase the desire in the person cut off from it to act in opposition to its original classification. In today’s contemporary debate over games classification, this theory is quite pertinent when thinking about the negative effects of censorship in so far as if it is available or not, Refused Classification or Adults Only, users are still going to see it if they truly want to.

So really, what’s the point?

Moreover the way the media deal with the potential harmful effects of violent video games garners more unwanted attention and if we think about it, if they left it alone for a while it might just go away… When we look at it from a local standpoint, the current classification debate in Australia and the absence of an R18+ classification comes to mind. In the case of the Refused Classification label put on the Japanese hentai game Rapelay, the media attention borne out of the game’s sexually violent content and its banning around the globe and in Oz simply makes gamers want to see what it was all about. Eve’s Forbidden Fruit reigns once more…

As Colin Jacobs so aptly stated in the SMH article on Rapelay, “Those who want to will be able to get around the filter, and the content will be quickly copied from site to site,” There is no easy answer to the regulation of contentious games online and the question of border control on the internet is another matter which contributes to this debate (I’ll discuss this in future posts), but essentially, the current ad hoc method deployed by the government to censor games is only spurring on online gamers to acquire it some other way.

What can be done? Any thoughts?


Bushman, Brad J.; Stack, Angela D. “Forbidden fruit versus tainted fruit: Effects of warning labels on attraction to television violence” in Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied. Vol 2(3), Sep 1996, 207-226

Moses, A (2010) “‘Rape Simulator’ goes viral amid calls for censorship”Available at…/games/rape-simulator-game-goes-viral-amid-calls-for-censorship-20100331-rcpz.html