Victimless Crimes in a virtual world?
Posted: 06 July 2012 10:04 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I, like many others, play ego-shooters and similar games, and sometimes you hear politicians, which barely know anything about the topic, talk about the players like they were ticking bombs which could “explode” any time and murder people.
As you may guess i don’t see it that way, but I think a lot about ethics, social acceptance of certain things, and their real impact on society.

Some strange company in Japan has developed a Game (Rapelay) where the player has to rape women in the subway, i had a lot of discussions about it, some say it should be banned (happened in the UK) some say it is disgusting but it should be allowed since no one is hurt.
I myself find it disgusting too, but is that enough to say the players of such a simulation are potential rapists, like they talk about egoshooter players saying they are potential killers?

Should we take a look at the intention of the player, could this help to determine if a game is “dangerous”?

But lets go a step further:
Lets say we are able to build rooms like the hollodeck from Star Trek, should there be Restrictions on what could be materialized in there, or what should be allowed to happen?

Should Pedophiles/Rapists/Murderers be allowed to live their fantasys in this close to reality environment?

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Posted: 06 July 2012 01:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Excellent and deep post! Unfortunately I think this has been and always will be answered exactly according to one’s own subjective beliefs.  It really boils down to the old argument, “Is it ok to yell FIRE in a crowded theater?”.  This has the added dimension of bringing in intentions, which are pretty hard to get at.  Personally if it’s illegal in real life, it should be illegal in games.  So then what, no more first person shooter games? Fine by me, but my kids and a zillions others would disagree.

One might also argue, maybe these games actually prevent violence by giving a virtual outlet to someone who might otherwise only have physical outlets available to them. Tough one no matter how you look at it.

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Posted: 06 July 2012 03:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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This is certainly a difficult question but the problem I see with games like this is the subtle message it sends to the players. It provides a sense of community for those who are disturbed enough to find entertainment in this sort of thing. Having a community to share this with may give potential rapist some comfort that their impulses aren’t all that deviant and with comfort may come confidence to follow through on things they would otherwise would repress.

As they say, there is strength in numbers. When those on the margins of society realize they are not alone they feel emboldened. That can be a good thing if a gay teenager realizes there are other gay teenagers or others who accept them and then has the courage to stand up to their tormenters, but its obviously a bad thing if you are a potential rapist and you now believe their are others who share or sympathize with your violent impulses.

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Posted: 06 July 2012 06:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I can’t quote anything offhand but I do remember seeing some studies that have indicated a possible link between simulated violence (games & other entertainment) and a tendency to perform violent acts in real life. I remember thinking that it flew in the face of what a lot of people think intuitively—that “blowing off steam” in a safe environment acts as a safety valve to prevent real violence. I don’t know if this is true but if it turns out to have merit then obviously we have a problem.

I have never been a violent person but in my younger days I did occasionally enjoy first person shooter games. But honestly I think simulated rape goes over the edge. I can’t imagine a mentally healthy person taking pleasure in such things.

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Posted: 06 July 2012 11:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I’ve always found Japanese pop culture to be weird. Check this out, for instance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCjkd7zDB28&feature=related


Back to the video games;  I don’t think there’s really a problem with it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_controversies

The studies of video game influenced violence are conflicting , but the fact is that the overwhelming majority of hardcore gamers are not killing and raping, and the ones who are most likely have a predisposition to aggressive behavior or poor impulse control or depression.

This Rapelay game is extreme and not to most people’s taste though. The victims in the game are a mother and her daughters, and it’s possible to choose what sexual activities you want to do. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RapeLay

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Posted: 09 July 2012 10:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Here’s another take: Who’s really the bad guy here? The schlub who get’s off playing this sick game, and hopefully feels some sense of wrong as he’s playing it. Or the game developers who presumably spent lots of time planning, programming, creating graphics, marketing, etc. all pre-meditated actions aimed at making money off the sick activity?  Same goes with these schlock slasher flicks depicting horrible things to women.

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Posted: 10 July 2012 10:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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CuthbertJ - 09 July 2012 10:17 AM

Here’s another take: Who’s really the bad guy here? The schlub who get’s off playing this sick game, and hopefully feels some sense of wrong as he’s playing it. Or the game developers who presumably spent lots of time planning, programming, creating graphics, marketing, etc. all pre-meditated actions aimed at making money off the sick activity?  Same goes with these schlock slasher flicks depicting horrible things to women.

The people who criticize and moralize are the worst.

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