The Amazon appearance of a Japanese “rape game” has elicited shock and outrage and has U.K. Parliamentarian Keith Vaz, known for his staunch opposition to videogames, up in arms and promising to bring the matter before the government.
Amazon recently advertised two copies of RapeLay for sale, a game by Japanese hentai developer Illusion that puts players in the role of a rapist who stalks and attacks a single mother and her two teenage daughters. The game also includes a “freeform mode” in which players can assault any woman in the game and get other male characters to join in, and pregnancy and abortion are actually listed as “key features.”
The whole thing is absolutely mind-boggling, and as you would expect, gamers and gaming sites that have commented on it have been universally appalled. And although Amazon has since pulled the ad and the game isn’t intended for sale or use outside Japan, it seems nonetheless that U.K. Member of Parliament Keith Vaz will use its existence to further his anti-videogame crusade.
“It is intolerable that anyone would purchase a game that simulates the criminal offense of rape,” Vaz told the Belfast Telegraph. “To know that this widely available through a major online retailer is utterly shocking, I do not see how this can be allowed. I will be raising this matter in Parliament and hope that action is taken to prevent the game from being sold.”
Vaz, part of the “Big Three” of videogame haters that also includes Jack Thompson and Michael Atkinson, famously claimed last year that rape was a feature in some videogames. “When people play these things, they can interact,” he said at the time. “They can shoot people; they can kill people… They can rape women.”
Vaz’s assertion was called out not only by gamers but by a fellow MP, who checked with the BBFC and “found it to be completely unaware of any such videogame.” Since then, the statement has been used to illustrate Vaz’s widely perceived reactionary ignorance toward videogames; but GamePolitics suggests that the discovery of this game has given him some sense of “vindication.”
The fact that this thing is a product of the “unique” Japanese game industry doesn’t seem to be of great concern to Vaz. He wanted its sale prevented and it has been, but he will almost certainly do his best to stir up a furor in Parliament anyway. At most, Amazon made a mistake in advertising this game for sale in Western markets, and Amazon should be held accountable for it; unfortunately, it’s far more likely that it will be the videogame industry that ultimately bears the brunt of the backlash.