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 …

____________________________________________________________________________________________

References

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

Advertisements


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.

References

‘Q&A (ABC1) R Rated Video Games’ (2008) Accessible at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4KR3nmDpz0&feature=related Accessed 21st May 2010