May 16th, 2007

Eurogamer ran an interesting article last week about playing Hentai games. Inspired by the recent release of English-translated titles in Europe, they decided to see what all the fuss was about and test out three Hentai games from Play-Asia.com. Their verdict? “More amusing than arousing, and not very entertaining as videogames.” Thumbs down.

I’m not a hentai player myself, but since it seems it’s my job to stand up for misrepresented sexual groups, I’ll say I definitely have a thumbs down for the judgemental tone the article takes about sadomasochism and rape fantasies in one of the tested games. They call these elements “frankly troubling.” The piece then goes on to question whether there’s a connection between real-life rape and violence in sex games.

It’s an interesting debate, especially since we don’t often run across games that let us rape (exceptions that come to mind include Sociolotron and Custer’s Revenge) and since we were just talking about virtual rape (raping another player, as opposed to a character). Still, drawing a link between game rape and real-life rape is like drawing a link between game violence and real-life violence, and we all know how we feel about that. Thumbs down.

Tags: BDSM, hentai, rape

12 Responses to “A Thumbs Down for Hentai Games”

  1. Leigh Says:

    Eh… lots of people take issue with stuff that differs from the standard social norm. Someone ought to tell them, too, that H-games are not all rape games, and those where rape occurs are frequently not violent… more along the lines of what comfortable husbands and wives do together, i.e, “no! please! stop!” as a device rather than an actual struggle. It’s something that would never happen in real life– unlike a lot of other more acceptable graphic devices in gaming.

  2. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    Ah, we’ve got an expert :). Are you an H-game fan?

  3. not that I like rape but Says:

    It’s good to be open-minded, but you’re also here to think critically. Games about raping young virgins are “problematic.” I think you could do better than just give them a blank check (especially if you’ve never played one).

  4. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    Certainly. But first we need to establish a clean, non-judgmental slate before we can embark on constructive, critical analysis. Otherwise the foundation for that criticism is itself shoddy.

  5. not that anyone likes rape but Says:

    True – we shouldn’t have witchhunts. But how many people have a clean slate? It makes sense to push for being sex-positive. But our reaction to unconventional sex is the interesting part. If everyone thought “it’s all good,” reading about sex would be as much fun as reading about Starbucks coffee. And if the Europeans are creeped out by battleraping virgins, that seems like a pretty normal reaction, and one that’s hard to just wave away.

    Put another way – have you run into anything online that really, truly offended you? Or scared you? Earlier you criticized Dan Savage for treating cybersex as if it were nothing – and I agreed with you. But treating a battlerape game as if it were just another fantasy seems like the same kind of dismissal.

  6. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    My point isn’t that everything is “nothing,” it’s just that… Well, like I said, we need a clean slate to start constructive discourse.

    Is there anything online that really offends me? Sure, people being used against their will: footage of actual rape, or child pornography. But as long as those involved in real-life sex acts are consenting adults, or if sex takes place in the realm of fantasy (this is where the H-games come in), I think it has a right to acknowledged as legitimate before it’s deconstructed.

  7. Leokhorn Says:

    Quite an arbitratry “guide”, this one. Sadly representing the view of most people out there. The main mistake is that they just randomly picked three games out of the hundreds (and more) that exist… and certainly not the best ones.
    It’s like picking three bad RPGs or FPS games and deciding the whole genre sucks.

    They were disappointed because they were looking for porn… yet, hentai games are not porn in the strictest sense of the word. They’re more like novels about various topics, with sex added. Most hentai games are really just an excuse for sex scenes, but some of them are actual little gems telling complex stories with an adult tone. Most of the time, the sex is just there to sell, just like blockbuster movies tend to have a shower scene.

  8. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    I definitely think you’re right about the random selection issue, but I’m not sure that you can compare the sex in hentai games to the sex in blockbuster movies. Again, I readily admit I’m not a hentai player, but I’ve been looking back through the promotion material for a lot of the games on Play-Asia, and sex is pretty prominent on all the covers…

  9. Leokhorn Says:

    I realize my reaction was very subjective and hasty. Let’s just say that while I looked into hentai games by lusty curiosity to begin with, I discovered many of them held more than just mindless sex. And going from there, I probably just ignored the 90 other percents of games that *were* just mindless sex.

    Right now, I’m part of a community of visual novel makers… The “games” play just like these hentai ones, except none so far have had any porn in them. They all focus on the story and take advantage of this unique medium using pictures, music and interactivity.

    So… my reaction was more of a disappointment about people not seeing the potential… though it’s certainly not their fault here. Just imagine if the concept of movies started only with porn movies… Wouldn’t you want people to discover that you could make other types of movies using the same techniques? :)

  10. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    I definitely understand your reaction. Again, I’m not speaking from a place of great personal knowledge, but what I know of hentai games does make it seem like they’re not using the medium to its greatest potential. My main point is just that any area of sex, even if it’s socially unacceptable sex, should be given a fair chance to shine (without judgment) in hentai.

  11. Snazzy Sneezer Says:

    Interesting, the statement “Just imagine if the concept of movies started only with porn movies.”
    It did!
    It’s not generally known, nor bruited about, but the first uses of both still and movie photography were for porn. All the early films, etc. were crude but nevertheless obvious porn films.
    This of coure, was before anything was filmed for public consumption. Then it began to go commercial, or at least conforming, as the say, to community standards.
    But read up on your early film history. You’ll be surprised . . .

  12. Rubert Says:

    Me and my girlfriend come to your site often. We love reading your posts. Thank you!

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