The Sims 4 Rated Adults-Only In Russia Over Same-Sex Relationships

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The Sims 4 Rated Adults-Only In Russia Over Same-Sex Relationships

The Sims 4 Russian cover

Russia has slapped an 18+ age rating on The Sims 4 because its portrayal of same-sex relationships contravenes a law protecting children from "information harmful to their health and development."

The Sims Russia Twitter account announced earlier this week that the upcoming Sims 4 has been rating "18+ (Prohibited for children)." That might seem like an odd rating for a game widely viewed as a relatively kid-friendly offering - previous Sims titles have all been rated T (Teen) by the ESRB, and The Sims 3, released in 2009, was rated just 12+ in Russia - but things in the Motherland have changed in more recent years.

A follow-up tweet clarified (via Google Translate) that the restrictive age rating "was assigned in according with the law number 436-FZ, 'On the protection of children from information harmful to their health and development.'" A quick trip to Wikipedia reveals that the law was originally passed in late 2010 to prohibit the distribution to children of material that "may elicit fear, horror or panic," or that depicts "violence, unlawful activities, substance abuse or self-harm," but was updated in 2013 to include "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships."

As Ars Technica pointed out, it's unclear how much of an impact this will actually have on sales, since piracy is rampant in Russia and plenty of retailers will probably just sell the game to whoever they want anyway. Regardless, it's a sad and alarming situation from a human rights perspective, but not an entirely surprising one: Russia's official stance against same-sex relationships has grown increasingly hardline over the past year, while its efforts to clamp down on dissent have ramped up dramatically as well.

Source: Twitter

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I'm surprised they didn't just ban the game outright given that Russia doesn't seem to give a rats ass about the views of the more, and I hate to use this term, civilized nations out there.

In short, because of a law that makes it a criminal offence to educate under-18's about homosexuality in Russia, any material depicting homosexuality in any manner is automatically adults only.

Like the other poster, I'm surprised this wasn't straight up banned. It's certainly what I expected them to do given they're heading straight back into good ol' ussr territory.

Well, they're all just going to pirate it anyways.

I thought they had same-sex stuff happening in the previous Sims games?

Fasckira:
I thought they had same-sex stuff happening in the previous Sims games?

Yes, but Russia has recently ramped up the homophobia (or at least, has overtly ramped up policy).

But more on topic:

I wonder if the apologists who said "it's just their culture" with Nintendo will be defending this decision by Russia. After all, it is just their culture.

I mean, at least they didn't ban it out-right?

Zachary Amaranth:

Fasckira:
I thought they had same-sex stuff happening in the previous Sims games?

Yes, but Russia has recently ramped up the homophobia (or at least, has overtly ramped up policy).

Ahhh, ok.

Zachary Amaranth:
But more on topic:

I wonder if the apologists who said "it's just their culture" with Nintendo will be defending this decision by Russia. After all, it is just their culture.

Its a little bit different; Russia is stepping backwards, whereas China Japan (Sorry, long day) have yet to step forward.

Fasckira:

Its a little bit different; Russia is stepping backwards, whereas China have yet to step forward.

You mean Japan, I'm assuming.

But the thing is, Russia's LGBT stance hasn't "stepped backwards" so much as they've basically said it. I mean, I hate to sound all hipster, but I was aware of Russia's LGBT problems "before it was cool" and while they didn't codify it, things still were pretty bleak for queer Russians. This would be, in effect, like declaring you're going to fix an oversight in your game that allowed "gay couples" even if you didn't want them and would otherwise discourage them.

Which, I must remind people, is the essence of what Nintendo did.

I mean, you could argue that one is a direct impact on human rights while the other is a video game, but in both cases, it's not taking a step back or forward so much as patching out undesired behaviour.

With the increasing sanctions against Russia, EA soon might not be allowed to sell software there. And Russians will have to look for alternate means of entertainment. Like getting a trampoline. Ba dum chh.

MinionJoe:
With the increasing sanctions against Russia, EA soon might not be allowed to sell software there. And Russians will have to look for alternate means of entertainment. Like getting a trampoline. Ba dum chh.

Luckily for my playing habits Wargaming is from Belarus

Zachary Amaranth:

Fasckira:

Its a little bit different; Russia is stepping backwards, whereas China have yet to step forward.

You mean Japan, I'm assuming.

Sorry, yes ... long day.

Zachary Amaranth:
But the thing is, Russia's LGBT stance hasn't "stepped backwards" so much as they've basically said it. I mean, I hate to sound all hipster, but I was aware of Russia's LGBT problems "before it was cool" and while they didn't codify it, things still were pretty bleak for queer Russians. This would be, in effect, like declaring you're going to fix an oversight in your game that allowed "gay couples" even if you didn't want them and would otherwise discourage them.

Which, I must remind people, is the essence of what Nintendo did.

I mean, you could argue that one is a direct impact on human rights while the other is a video game, but in both cases, it's not taking a step back or forward so much as patching out undesired behaviour.

You raise a good point, the only one I can offer vaguely in retaliation is Nintendo were bowing down to an existing social pressure whereas Russia are the ones outright stating "No, this is illegal.".

For the record (before the pitchforks come out), I'm not agreeing with the outcomes. I think the fact that we have all this drama around LGBT ridiculous in the first instance and I find it hard to empathise with the people who are fighting against equality, but I try my best to understand both sides of the argument where possible.

I suppose it makes sense. Can't run a war machine with all the men not paired up with women. Could run out of soldiers for the grinder.

(For those that couldn't tell, it wasn't a serious statement)

This was to be expected. The Russian government has a sworn duty to protect its citizens from reality even if that reality comes in videogame form.

Imperioratorex Caprae:
I'm surprised they didn't just ban the game outright given that Russia doesn't seem to give a rats ass about the views of the more, and I hate to use this term, civilized nations out there.

Oh please, drop your smug attitude.

They rated an otherwise harmless game 18+ because of locally controversial content, so what? Fahrenheit a.k.a. Indigo Prophecy was rated AO in America over an awkward, harmless hetero sex scene, San Andreas was pretty much banned over a mod. Countless games in Germany have been censored to hell and back in god knows how many ways and are still only availble to adults, uncensored media must be imported. Korea and China aren't much better when it comes to religious content. Hell, Saudi Arabia banned Pokemon cards because they "promote zionism".

Unlike other "civilized" countries, Russia has the decency to make games that are considered harmful to minors by the officials availble to adults. I don't see the problem here.

Or is it because the keyword is "same-sex"? Compared to the middle east, where homosexuals get raped (if female) and locked up or executed rather easily (unless the angry mob gets them first), Russia seems to get a lot of hate for merely banning the public promotion of "gay rights". And judging from my personal experience with so called "gay rights activists", I can't blame them at all...

It will have ZERO (0) influence on sales/hype for the game. At most IT WILL help, this is extra hype.
Russia nad Eastern Europe in general may be PC gaming and Game developer God regions... but the young public there is largely made up of pirates. And this affects only thr young/teens.

Fasckira:

Zachary Amaranth:

Fasckira:
I thought they had same-sex stuff happening in the previous Sims games?

Yes, but Russia has recently ramped up the homophobia (or at least, has overtly ramped up policy).

Ahhh, ok.

Zachary Amaranth:
But more on topic:

I wonder if the apologists who said "it's just their culture" with Nintendo will be defending this decision by Russia. After all, it is just their culture.

Its a little bit different; Russia is stepping backwards, whereas China Japan (Sorry, long day) have yet to step forward.

Japan has it's faults just like any other country, but besides the recent thing with Nintendo there are still more positive media on gays in some form over there unlike Russia and even though many in Japan may be homophobic to an extent I would say the younger population are more open minded to it and that some manga and games do have some gay characters that are good even if there are more negative portrayals of them that is to be expected in the short term, but in the long term I think it will even out more. Also Japan is known for taking steriotypes of all things to the extreme and is not always meant to be mean and just silly.

Chaosritter:

Imperioratorex Caprae:
I'm surprised they didn't just ban the game outright given that Russia doesn't seem to give a rats ass about the views of the more, and I hate to use this term, civilized nations out there.

Oh please, drop your smug attitude.

They rated an otherwise harmless game 18+ because of locally controversial content, so what? Fahrenheit a.k.a. Indigo Prophecy was rated AO in America over an awkward, harmless hetero sex scene, San Andreas was pretty much banned over a mod. Countless games in Germany have been censored to hell and back in god knows how many ways and are still only availble to adults, uncensored media must be imported. Korea and China aren't much better when it comes to religious content. Hell, Saudi Arabia banned Pokemon cards because they "promote zionism".

Unlike other "civilized" countries, Russia has the decency to make games that are considered harmful to minors by the officials availble to adults. I don't see the problem here.

Or is it because the keyword is "same-sex"? Compared to the middle east, where homosexuals get raped (if female) and locked up or executed rather easily (unless the angry mob gets them first), Russia seems to get a lot of hate for merely banning the public promotion of "gay rights". And judging from my personal experience with so called "gay rights activists", I can't blame them at all...

Uh, I don't see how a sex scene causing a ratings bump vs just the ability to be in a relationship (a very mild one at that given the nature of the game) are even wroth the effort of comparing. And hell, say what you will about Germany's censorship, at least there's a logical reason for it (even if that reason is national guilt for something that happened 3 generations ago causing a country to be a little too overzealous to prevent it from happening again). But this? This is just pure propaganda.

I also don't see how it's smug of Imperioratorex Caprae to use the term "civilized nations" when, despite culture being relative, using the terms "civilized" and "primitive" are, despite being politically incorrect, accurate. It's not as if they ONLY banned the promotion of equality, they've banned the very existence of it. For a country which openly calls itself superior to all others (I'm not even joking, Russia's state media uses the term "super-modern" as the vague catch-all term for what makes Russia different from everyone) calling them out on the fact they've banned a segment of the population just for existing is fully called for. (I'd like to know what experience you have with the equal rights movement to try and justify Russia doing this though. Must be something pretty traumatic)

CriticalMiss:
This was to be expected. The Russian government has a sworn duty to protect its citizens from reality even if that reality comes in videogame form.

Just a few more laws and they can be just like China when it comes to games.

Chaosritter:
Or is it because the keyword is "same-sex"? Compared to the middle east, where homosexuals get raped (if female) and locked up or executed rather easily (unless the angry mob gets them first), Russia seems to get a lot of hate for merely banning the public promotion of "gay rights". And judging from my personal experience with so called "gay rights activists", I can't blame them at all...

That's indeed a very civilized way of saying 'fuck the gays'.

The Russian government and police have a long and proud history of turning a blind eye to groups of radicals that kill journalists who question Moscow, as well as beating up and raping gay men and women. So don't pretend like this is just some innocent little law.

Casual Shinji:

Chaosritter:
Or is it because the keyword is "same-sex"? Compared to the middle east, where homosexuals get raped (if female) and locked up or executed rather easily (unless the angry mob gets them first), Russia seems to get a lot of hate for merely banning the public promotion of "gay rights". And judging from my personal experience with so called "gay rights activists", I can't blame them at all...

That's indeed a very civilized way of saying 'fuck the gays'.

The Russian government and police have a long and proud history of turning a blind eye to groups of radicals that kill journalists who question Moscow, as well as beating up and raping gay men and women. So don't pretend like this is just some innocent little law.

It's no less civilized than unconditionally dismissing all criticism concerning immigration in Europe and the massive increase in crime it brought, although no one got murdered for criticising EU for that, I give you that.

Anyway they just put an 18+ rating on a stupid video game, children will play it anyway. We can start making a fuss about it when they will start banning and censoring games similarly to Germans, Australians, Chinese and Arabs. Also can't forget lovely American and their tendency to blame games whenever someone decides to go on a killing spree in a random school (because it's f****** games made by Satan and not their nuts gun laws)

Zontar:

Chaosritter:

Imperioratorex Caprae:
I'm surprised they didn't just ban the game outright given that Russia doesn't seem to give a rats ass about the views of the more, and I hate to use this term, civilized nations out there.

Oh please, drop your smug attitude.

They rated an otherwise harmless game 18+ because of locally controversial content, so what? Fahrenheit a.k.a. Indigo Prophecy was rated AO in America over an awkward, harmless hetero sex scene, San Andreas was pretty much banned over a mod. Countless games in Germany have been censored to hell and back in god knows how many ways and are still only availble to adults, uncensored media must be imported. Korea and China aren't much better when it comes to religious content. Hell, Saudi Arabia banned Pokemon cards because they "promote zionism".

Unlike other "civilized" countries, Russia has the decency to make games that are considered harmful to minors by the officials availble to adults. I don't see the problem here.

Or is it because the keyword is "same-sex"? Compared to the middle east, where homosexuals get raped (if female) and locked up or executed rather easily (unless the angry mob gets them first), Russia seems to get a lot of hate for merely banning the public promotion of "gay rights". And judging from my personal experience with so called "gay rights activists", I can't blame them at all...

Uh, I don't see how a sex scene causing a ratings bump vs just the ability to be in a relationship (a very mild one at that given the nature of the game) are even wroth the effort of comparing. And hell, say what you will about Germany's censorship, at least there's a logical reason for it (even if that reason is national guilt for something that happened 3 generations ago causing a country to be a little too overzealous to prevent it from happening again). But this? This is just pure propaganda.

I also don't see how it's smug of Imperioratorex Caprae to use the term "civilized nations" when, despite culture being relative, using the terms "civilized" and "primitive" are, despite being politically incorrect, accurate. It's not as if they ONLY banned the promotion of equality, they've banned the very existence of it. For a country which openly calls itself superior to all others (I'm not even joking, Russia's state media uses the term "super-modern" as the vague catch-all term for what makes Russia different from everyone) calling them out on the fact they've banned a segment of the population just for existing is fully called for. (I'd like to know what experience you have with the equal rights movement to try and justify Russia doing this though. Must be something pretty traumatic)

Excusee moi, what? They didn't ban being gay, they banned gay propaganda to be visible by minors, that's kinda-sorta totally different. Not being able to make a pride parade is not the same as being arrested for being what you are.

Go onto any COD match.

Make sure no player are muted.

How many children will there be? From 1/3rd to 2/3ths of the chat, they will be children. Over here, you need to be 16 to join the military; two years of rigorous mental and physical training, involving the use of heavy weaponry and long, long therapy, making sure you're actually up to the job.

But you can't play a COD game unless you're two years older than doing the actual thing. It's also the same with porn; you can star in a porno at 16; can't even watch your OWN porno until two years have passed. It's absoloutely insane.

But seriously, what Russian parent, homophobic or not, is going to look at the Sims 4 and think, "I am not going to give my child this! It contains those dirty, necrophilic pedohpiles who are into being pissed on and tied up!" (what most Russians actually think of homosexuals. No, that isn't a joke. Go look it up, right the fuck now), no they won't. They'll think, "Oh, that new The Sims game. Alyona likes that game; I'll get it for her."

And people are going to pirate it anyway. It's meaningless at first, but it probably won't help the gay community's acceptance.

james.sponge:
It's no less civilized than unconditionally dismissing all criticism concerning immigration in Europe and the massive increase in crime it brought, although no one got murdered for criticising EU for that, I give you that.

I don't know, I'd think treating a large part of your inhabitants as sub-humans and letting them get tortured by radicals with no intent on bringing them to justice, is a bit more on the barbaric side than politicians not forseeing the consequences of bringing large congregations of a foreign culture into theirs.

But that's just me.

Chaosritter:

Imperioratorex Caprae:
I'm surprised they didn't just ban the game outright given that Russia doesn't seem to give a rats ass about the views of the more, and I hate to use this term, civilized nations out there.

Oh please, drop your smug attitude.

I wasn't trying to be smug, really. I meant that for all the advances in human technology, the world itself is still pretty damn uncivilized. I always felt we'd be further along, Russia included.

RealRT:
Excusee moi, what? They didn't ban being gay, they banned gay propaganda to be visible by minors, that's kinda-sorta totally different. Not being able to make a pride parade is not the same as being arrested for being what you are.

They've banned anything at all that portrays the existence of it, that actually is the act of being homosexual, that shows it in a positive light or tries to say anything positive about it. When you ban something for existing, saying you've banned the people who are that for existing (if it's something they have no control over, which in this case it is) isn't off the mark.

Zontar:

RealRT:
Excusee moi, what? They didn't ban being gay, they banned gay propaganda to be visible by minors, that's kinda-sorta totally different. Not being able to make a pride parade is not the same as being arrested for being what you are.

They've banned anything at all that portrays the existence of it, that actually is the act of being homosexual, that shows it in a positive light or tries to say anything positive about it. When you ban something for existing, saying you've banned the people who are that for existing (if it's something they have no control over, which in this case it is) isn't off the mark.

Umm, no, it's still an overexagerration. Banning people from existing = rounding them up and killing them. And murdering their own people is more of Ukraine's thing now.
Don't get me wrong, the law in question is positively stupid and shouldn't exist.

RealRT:
Excusee moi, what? They didn't ban being gay, they banned gay propaganda to be visible by minors, that's kinda-sorta totally different. Not being able to make a pride parade is not the same as being arrested for being what you are.

That's just the front they're putting up (which is fucking horrible in its own right), it basically amounts to the same kind of persecution. I saw an interview by Stephen Fry with the guy who created that law, and he sure as hell didn't make it because he thinks gay people are in any way equal. He literally said that gay women who get raped are asking for it.

RealRT:
And murdering their own people is more of Ukraine's thing now.

Oh, you're one of THOSE people. No need to argue anymore, there is no debate to be had.

Zontar:

RealRT:
And murdering their own people is more of Ukraine's thing now.

Oh, you're one of THOSE people. No need to argue anymore, there is no debate to be had.

One of WHAT people? Realists?
You know, today I saw three videos from Ukraine. The first had a sniper shoot unarmed civilians for no reason.
The second had unarmed civilians try and stop a tank.
The third had a Ukrainian governor praise Hitler and people booing at him.

Tell me how wrong I am. Do so by all means.

RealRT:

Zontar:

RealRT:
And murdering their own people is more of Ukraine's thing now.

Oh, you're one of THOSE people. No need to argue anymore, there is no debate to be had.

One of WHAT people? Realists?
You know, today I saw three videos from Ukraine. The first had a sniper shoot unarmed civilians for no reason.
The second had unarmed civilians try and stop a tank.
The third had a Ukrainian governor praise Hitler and people booing at him.

Tell me how wrong I am. Do so by all means.

Wow, you actually trust random videos on Youtube? You probably think RussiaToday is a credible source. Random sniper shooting unarmed civilians? Civilians trying to stop a tank? The fact that mainstream Russian media isn't blasting that into their megaphones shows either they are fake or the footage probably came from the occupied territory.

And a Ukrainian governor praising Hitler? If that wasn't so laughably fake (especially given the fact that the fascist extreme right in Ukraine is openly supporting the Russians, something the government of occupied Crimea is a shining example of) I'd actually ask weather or not you actually believed that. But this is the internet, people will believe anything, be it that Alex Jones isn't insane or that Russia is somehow the good guy in the Ukrainian crisis (which literally boils down to "do you hate America" when it comes to which useful idiots seem to be taking, since a good 90% of them seem to use the logic of "support anyone but America" instead of "support the Russian Empire". I'll give you this, you're one of the few I've seen genuinely supporting them because you think they are in the right, even if they are by any metric not so. Only way to ruin it all is if you where Russian, since that would at least mean there is a logical reason for supporting them).

Zontar:

RealRT:

Zontar:

Oh, you're one of THOSE people. No need to argue anymore, there is no debate to be had.

One of WHAT people? Realists?
You know, today I saw three videos from Ukraine. The first had a sniper shoot unarmed civilians for no reason.
The second had unarmed civilians try and stop a tank.
The third had a Ukrainian governor praise Hitler and people booing at him.

Tell me how wrong I am. Do so by all means.

Wow, you actually trust random videos on Youtube? You probably think RussiaToday is a credible source. Random sniper shooting unarmed civilians? Civilians trying to stop a tank? The fact that mainstream Russian media isn't blasting that into their megaphones shows either they are fake or the footage probably came from the occupied territory.

Actually that was all over the evening news. They are very much blasting it into their megaphones. Also, what occupied territory?

And a Ukrainian governor praising Hitler? If that wasn't so laughably fake (especially given the fact that the fascist extreme right in Ukraine is openly supporting the Russians, something the government of occupied Crimea is a shining example of) I'd actually ask weather or not you actually believed that. But this is the internet, people will believe anything, be it that Alex Jones isn't insane or that Russia is somehow the good guy in the Ukrainian crisis (which literally boils down to "do you hate America" when it comes to which useful idiots seem to be taking, since a good 90% of them seem to use the logic of "support anyone but America" instead of "support the Russian Empire". I'll give you this, you're one of the few I've seen genuinely supporting them because you think they are in the right, even if they are by any metric not so. Only way to ruin it all is if you where Russian, since that would at least mean there is a logical reason for supporting them).

And it's laughably fake because?..
The fascist extreme in the Ukraine - or the so-called Banderovtsy, most prevalent in the Western Ukraine - is and always was as Russian-hating as it gets. And they are in the control of the government now. Multiply that by the number of ethnic Russians and Russian-speaking Ukrainian citizens and you get what you get - a bloody civil war.
Yeah, I am. And if you trust what the American media is telling you about the Ukraine situation... well, you might as well read about the 2008 conflict, it was basically the same thing, only on a smaller scale.

Put it this way: I'm going on a missionary trip to Russia in a few months (assuming my Visa application goes through). Some ground rules: Caught taking drugs? Intense supervision. Caught fighting someone? Intense supervision. Caught having sex with girl? Intense supervision. Caught having sex with a dude? Instant deportation. And under no circumstances am I allowed to talk about homosexuality in the presence of minors or authorities.

Why? Presumably, the missionary organization had to agree to that before they'd be allowed to reside where they are. The guy who told me the rules even said "I don't really care what orientation you are, but this is the ruleset we have to work with."

So yeah, I definitely expected it to be rated abnormally high due to the homosexual possibilities. I guess they can be glad it got through at all.

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