If the first article may have been a result of my personal burnout having lost interest in these kinds of games, I think this time the industry is in a real paradigm shift. Well, this news may have been mostly overlooked by everyone since… well, who among us really do play rape-related eroge anyway? This is a niche genre inside a niche genre inside a niche genre of gaming. I wouldn’t have even known of Rapelay at all if it were not for some over-conservative people who want this game banned, and in effect drove a massive campaign against this niche of a niche of a niche genre of games. I find this rather ironic, because as a result of this sequence of events that eventually led to the banning or restricting of games in Japan with rape themes, the gaming industry itself JUST GOT RAPED.
As I said, most people won’t care about this, and to the two people who are still reading my article, kudos to you because I am about to say why this is very important. As the legendary saying goes… THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS. The vast majority of people, namely the people who don’t understand, refuse to understand, or are co-erced by other people not to dare understand, ruin it for the rest of us. Well, it can’t be helped. We are in this niche genre. Anime is still niche. Heck, even with how big E3 is or how gaming is braving the economic recession tide… gaming is still niche. These two aspects of entertainment that are close to my heart are the current punching bags of our world. It gets blamed for everything wrong in the world, from violence, to immorality, to radical thinking… etc. And we are unable to save it because democracy is the most powerful thing in the world today. Whatever the majority of people want, they get, most of the time.
See, it has some advantages too. When the majority is on our side, the over-conservatives usually stay quiet. This is why violence and sex in games like Grand Theft Auto 4 were allowed. But in something as small as bishoujo gaming, only few would cry for justice. Little do we realize that each step in the wrong direction has some drastic implications for the future. It only started with games with rape, but what would stop them from banning something else? According to this blog post, the regulations are clearly set in paper now. Some of those regulations are not related to rape right? Who knows when the next big issue comes in that those rules would be further tightened? Who knows when someday sexual inclinations in games would be further reduced until it shouldn’t exist at all?
It’s not that I need ero in my games. As I said, it’s not my genre. But just like the other issue of banning everything hentai in my own country, I hate the reality that other people are dictating what I should and shouldn’t experience in life. It hurts to have no freedom in choosing my hobbies. While these bans don’t affect me, the point is they don’t affect me… yet, with the fear that it will definitely affect me someday.
Let me try to bring a positive note to this though. I admit I don’t know everything about the bishoujo gaming industry, but I imagine each game company’s state of shock looking at those reactions from them. Shock… because this time they have to do a little better. They have to be more creative in either avoiding the restrictions or circumventing them. In short, they should see this as an opportunity to change their ways. Make their own paradigm shift. Innovate. Well, they have rested on their laurels for so long after all. Look at all those bishoujo games, they have not changed all these years. We are still in 800×600 resolutions. Character designs still resemble each other. Storytelling and characters are just rehashes of each other. Sequels galore. Fandisks abound. Where are those innovations in the game engines? Why are the highest-selling games still the sequels? Why can’t the Da Capo multiverse ever ever die (I heard there’s a new DCII sidestory coming out)?
Sure, you can pull me back for a while with your sequels for a moment, but if the technology and creativity of this genre doesn’t change, I’m totally out of this market. You want examples of what I think should improve in this bishoujo gaming industry?
– Umm let’s go HD please? Even just widescreen options would be welcome. It shouldn’t be that hard to upconvert a CG either right? But the bigger problem is the simplistic game engines they use. I liked the one age uses in their games, they move and manipulate 2D as if it were pseudo-3D. Lately the games I see have over-simplistic engines, and only rely on the power of their art. What use are pictures if they’re not presented effectively?
– Virtual girlfriend simulation. Games like this. This time wooing a fictional character shouldn’t just be a simple matter of predetermined decision points. How about incorporating text-based commands first before moving to voice? With some kind of AI engine running a girl’s intricate characterisitics and emotions? Hey, you’ll even help wussies this way by training them for real-life social situations.
– Marketing should be better. This one is hard. They have to open their doors and appeal to newer audiences. They can’t expand their reach unless they do so. Surely, if there are creative games already out there, they must try harder to advertise, because clearly I ain’t hearing them from here.
This is a hard road ahead for everyone of us. I, as a consumer, must do my part as well. For one, we let this restriction in freedom of expression through undetected and undefended. I hope the few still reading this push the awareness further. This is not just about rape games, not about bishoujo games, not about games either. This is about being oppressed by the powers that be. This is about them dictating what is right and what is wrong for us. And someday, this may be about losing our human rights. I don’t like to live in a world like that. But this is not a battle for us to fight for now. I hope that when that time comes, the time when we are directly affected in some way, we should be better prepared for the next wave of battles. Let’s make this a game worth playing.