Professor Jennifer DeWinter to Present at the Southwest American Cultural Association

Jennifer DeWinter presents Regulating Rape: The Case of RapeLay, Domestic Markets, Third Party Distribution, and International Outrage

IMGD Professor Jennifer DeWinter will present at Southwest Popular And American Culture Association in Albuquerque, New Mexico in February 2014. DeWinter will be giving a presentation entitled "Regulating Rape: The Case of RapeLay, Domestic Markets, Third Party Distribution, and International Outrage." She will also be holding a workshop on Alternative Reality Games (ARGs). See the abstracts below:  

ABSTRACT: Regulating Rape: The Case of RapeLay, Domestic Markets, Third Party Distribution, and International Outrage. The purpose of this presentation is to examine the tensions between domestic markets and international distribution through the case study of RapeLay. This particular game shines a spot light on the ways in which distribution channels often undermine national policies regarding content, raising questions concerning the rights of nations to dictate acceptable material in the face of international access.    

In 2006, the developer Illusion released RapeLay, a 3D rape simulation for the PC. This game joins a long list of PC sex games in Japan, which are produced for the local market. It is important to note here, that Japan has two primary regulatory industries that oversee the video and computer games: The Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO), which is a branch of the Computer Entertainment Suppliers Association (CESA), and the Ethics Organization of Computer Software (EOCS), which oversees PC games and more specifically, the adult game industry. The EOCS oversees games like RapeLay, ensuring that they are sold only to adults in Japan. The EOCS does not have articulation agreements with any other regulation industry in another country whereas CERO, which oversees console games, does.    

In 2008, a third party distributor offered RapeLay for sale on  Amazon.co.uk’s marketplace. Such third party distribution of Japanese entertainment products (for example, anime, manga, and games) is quite common; however, the game RapeLay caused an infamous scandal when politicians and activist groups became aware that sale of the game bypassed UK censorship. As Amazon quickly removed the game from the marketplace, activist groups started pressuring the Japanese government  and the development house to remove RapeLay from production and address simulated rape in Japanese entertainment. To this, Illusion responded with bewilderment, explaining, We make the games for the domestic market and abide by laws here [in Japan]. While the content of RapeLay is reprehensible, the political and social response to the game highlights the tensions between national policies, distribution, and international audiences. The purpose of this presentation is not a call to create international standards or even to reprimand Japanese standards; rather, the purpose is to examine the tensions of national cultures within international entertainment markets.  

WORKSHOP ABSTRACT: The Area Research Coordinator is pleased to announce this year¹s Game Studies, Culture, Play, and Practice workshop, Alternative Reality Games: Building and Playing. Alternative Reality Games (ARGs) are, in effect, multi-mediated treasure hunts constructed in a cohesive storyline. They ask participants to solve clues, look for connections, collaborate with physical and virtual teams, and successfully employ multiple literacies. They are used in educational settings to teach communication, history, and even physical education. They are used in the public sphere for fun, community building and management, and brand development. This workshop will introduce ARGs, how to build them, and how to play or use them for either educational or community purposes.    

The workshop is limited to 10 participants, and the goal is for participants to leave with a framework for implementation or to refine previous game-based pedagogies. The limited number of participants will ensure that everyone involved will get the time and attention they need. Those interested in participating in the workshop should email a 100-250 word statement of interest to the Area Research Coordinator (Jennifer deWinter at jdewinter@wpi.edu) outlining what they are thinking about doing, so that the organizers can best prepare to meet the specific needs of the participants. Nota bene: There is no charge for the workshop (for registered conference presenters/attendees).      

November 26, 2013

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