Japanese Rape Video Game: Rapelay

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

My friend Kelly sent me an email today asking me if I'd heard of the Japanese Rape game in which you get to choose your victim. I'm probably the last person to hear about this since I seem to live in a separate time zone when it comes to current information. For instance, my mother asked me if I knew that Patrick Swayze had died and before I got a chance to answer she added: "If you don't, lie to me." More often than not, I haven't heard about whatever current news she brings up, which pisses her off to no extent.

So, when I got Kel's facebook message I hadn't heard of this game, but after a quick google search I found a ton of information.

Here's the lowdown:

    * It's a video game in which the player rapes women.

    * You have the option to choose between certain outcomes (i.e. you can impregnate your victim).

    * The victims enjoy being raped (i.e. they orgasm).

    * If you choose to impregnate your victim she can a) have an abortion or b) throw herself under a train.

There's been a widespread revolt against this game, which has lead to it being banned from the U.S. and from Amazon.com, although there are other online sources where you can purchase it or even download a free pirated copy. I've never been on board with the whole let's ban violence from T.V. or let's blame violent behavior on video games. I strongly believe in free speech and the right to create whatever it is you want and put it out there, but what worries me is that this kind of game is something that people want to play and presumably get off doing so.

This game troubles me, because I'm not sure what to make of it. Let's be honest here, rape is a very large problem in our society, HUGE really, but when it comes to virtual reality, whether it's on paper, on screen or in your mind there's also a large component of people (men and women) who  indulge in rape fantasies.

Most women will agree that being raped would probably be one of the worst things that could ever happen to them or to any other women, but some of those woman also integrate violence in their fantasies or into their sexual lives. The psychology of this phenomena could probably be discussed at length and it's one hell of a good topic to get into, but I personally don't want to pass judgment on the morality of anybody's fantasies (I mean there are limits, children being one of them).

Rape has personally been on the top of the list of things I fear most, but I've also downloaded a couple porn clips that feature bondage and violence in a way that was filmed to appear non-consensual, and I've been turned on. Hell, I love japanese porn anime and a lot of that features demon rape fests, and I've never paused to ask myself whether that was wrong or not or why that turns me on in the first place. Sure, it's probably messed up, but sexual fetishes, turn ons, and fantasies shouldn't always be examined so closely. They serve their purpose.

Just like going to see a movie or a play that deals with fucked up human behavior and pain can lead to a sort of catharsis, so can your sexual fantasies. Dreams, thoughts, fantasies, it's how we process things. But this game, it just rubs me the wrong way. I don't feel comfortable with it. It makes me question what the fuck is wrong with our society, but it also makes me question myself, because torture and murder are definitely on par with rape in terms of how wrong and fucked up it is, but I don't have the same feeling towards games that portray torture and murder. Maybe, it's because you never see a murder victim enjoy his or her own demise. Maybe, it's because I'm a chick and this offends my delicate sensibilities.

Maybe, I'm just concerned that like so many other things this game will enter the collective subconscious and make it that much easier to dismiss rape and make it seem like a jolly good time.

I really hope it doesn't.


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Robert N. Lee's picture

I don't mean to diminish worries about rape, but worries about this game, in the US at least, are unwarranted. It hasn't actually been banned anywhere, AFAIK, but it keeps coming up around the US as something might need to be. It's not - nobody in the US wanted to buy the thing when it was briefly offered, several years ago.

Amazon dropped it as soon as they realized what they were selling, no other retailer would touch it, and the publisher completely failed to move copies of the game based on notoriety - the only people in the US who wanted to play the game didn't want to pay for it, as it turned out. The company went under, and nobody's tried to port any Japanese rape games over here since, nor do I think it's likely anybody's going to.

The games still do have a market and still sell in Japan, but...not here.

I did download and try out a pirate copy of Rapelay, BTW. I just had to see. It's worse than you heard. I almost set my hard drive on fire after uninstalling.

It's not so much the game....

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

It's not so much the game that worries me itself, but the mentally that exists behind it. Meaning, that someone actually thought to create and some people presumably love to play it. Now, that is something makes me wonder about the underlying problems in our society. 

Of course, I understand the curiosity behind trying it out and seeing what the fuss is about. If I wasn't so technological lazy, I might even try to find it, but the fact that it's worse that I imagine (and I believe you when you say it is) pretty much curbs any curiosity I have. There are some things you just don't want in your head. 


Robert N. Lee's picture

...meant to reply to you on that last one. 

Yeah, it's bad.

Robert N. Lee's picture

It would have run into US child pornography laws, if it had been marketed successfully at all, here. We have way stricter standards about stuff like that than Japan does, which leads to people here being prosecuted lately for buying porno manga about young children that are simply not legal in the United States, as they are elsewhere. 

I didn't know...

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

 I didn't know that the game featured content that would go against child pornography laws. Simply disturbing. 

I did say...

Robert N. Lee's picture

...I felt like burning my hard drive. That was for practical as well as spiritual reasons.  

Yes you did...

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

 That's true and I absolutely understand the desire to want to burn you're hard drive. 

To be clear...

Robert N. Lee's picture

...your character in the game stalks a whole family of women; mother, older daughter, youngest daughter. 

Personally, I thought it was kind of a proud day for my country when nobody wanted to buy the damn thing. 

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