The Japanese video game Rapelay (which encourages players to rape women and then force abortions upon) that Amazon.com recently pulled from its online shelves has not only hit high on the barf-o-meter and broke the WTF Scale, but has elicited reactions from a variety of sources.
Although I first read about the game on Feministing, the Curvature had a great in-depth feminist response, and girl-gamer Leigh Alexander from SexyVideoGameland had an intriguing two cents as well. (Google result/bad political-metaphor-maker Kevin McCullough not so much). Most interesting was the very much non-blogsphere event of the New York City Assault Alliance Against Sexual Violence calling a news conference yesterday morning specifically denouncing any US video distributors from carrying the game. Any New Yorkers hear about it or attend it? Anyone else want to weigh in on the various responses to the story?
“When I started out, gaming was a geek thing,” says Sean (not his real name), a 38-year-old senior director of product development for a major electronic game publisher. “Now, it’s totally mainstream. It’s clear there’s money to be made.”
It’s not like there’s any nostalgia in his voice. With a six-figure salary and a generous bonus, Sean is one of those making the money. Electronic games—which encompass both computer games and console-based games—generated nearly $10 billion in revenue last year, thanks in part to top-selling titles like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Madden NFL 2005, ESPN NFL 2K5, and NBA Live 2005.
Given the fact that electronic games have their roots in geekdom, the sheer jock/thug appeal of the above-listed games is striking. You’d think that geek boys, having been a) persecuted by jocks and bullies and b) heavily involved in the production of electronic games, might take advantage of the latter to redress the former. But somewhere between Pong and Madden, those geeks began spending their days and nights creating universes in which testosterone rules, in the process reinforcing the gender roles that made their young lives hell.