RapeLay was in the news recently again, and with that, a few particularly clueless posts from the mainstream media and the mainstream gaming press emerged. If you happen to go to any mainstream media sites (e.g., CNN) or mainstream gamer sites and blogs (e.g., Kotaku, or whatever Leigh Alexander has written on this topic) to read anything vaguely related to RapeLay, please consider keeping the RapeLay BINGO card close to hand. This incredibly useful and informative BINGO card covers classic defences of RapeLay‘s misogyny and perpetuation of rape culture in one handy location.


It also provides boundless entertainment of the “lolsob” variety, which may help prevent you from head-to-desk or palm-to-face responses as a reaction to the sexist arguments trotted out to dismiss, derail, de-legitimise, and minimise concerns about this game.

Check out “Rape, Violence, and Gaming“, by Amber and “Brian Ashcraft, let me do your homework for you“, by tekanji, for some analysis of Brian Ashcraft’s Kotaku post about RapeLay coverage at CNN. Also see tekanji’s link round-up for smart critiques of RapeLay and rape culture. Trigger warnings apply for those posts, on the basis of discussion of rape, sexual assault, and violence against women.

[Via Pandora’s XBox]

P.S. — If you’re the author of this BINGO card, please let me know so I can credit/link to you!

  7 comments for “RapeLay BINGO

  1. Ujaya
    9 April 2010 at 12:10

    This is a really handy item! This applies to almost every discussion I’ve had about sexism and misogyny in games…..what a coincidence.

    I think I’ll make one called “Girls don’t play video games!” also. This one could include common statements such as “You’re not really a girl are you?”, “Only fat, ugly girls play video games.” and “You’re probably a dike!”.

    Idiocracy is here now. We’ll need a guide.

  2. 9 April 2010 at 16:26


    The RapeLay analogy would be a hypothetical game called “N***** Killer” that unironically rewards you for the rape and torture of African Americans. Would it be hideously offensive? Yes. Would it be tasteless beyond words? Yes. Should it be banned? No. As always, the appropriate response to media we disagree with is either to ignore it, or to rebut it. What a sad and colourless world it would be if media was never capable of outraging us.

  3. 10 April 2010 at 09:49

    @ GregT: If you read on through to the articles critiquing RapeLay and its coverage in the media, you will find that most are not actually calling for it to be banned. If you read all two of the posts I’ve written about RapeLay, you will also note that I have not once brought up “censorship” or the banning of the game. What people are calling for is for more awareness of rape culture and its impact on society, including how rape culture is reflected in the media we produce, such as this game.

    I’m unclear as to why legitimately critiquing media brings about this knee-jerk, irrational response of “DON’T BAN MY GAMEEEEZ!!!!” from gamers, but I suspect it’s to do with too many Jack Thompson crusades, resulting in gamers being unable to distinguish between moral panic (like what the Jack Thompsons of the world do) and critique and cultural analysis of games–rebutting it, as you suggested. Given the fact that I have neither written about nor expressed an opinion one way or the other regarding whether RapeLay should be banned, nor do the two posts I linked raise the issue of whether RapeLay should be banned, I am genuinely puzzled as to why you’re bringing it up in this post.

  4. 15 April 2010 at 21:37

    Sorry Brinstar, I wasn’t intending to be directly arguing against you. Your coverage (and Leigh Alexander’s, and that of others) has always been quite thought provoking. I was posting the end result of a train of thought inspired by your post; allow me to explain.

    The coverage of RapeLay is, by and large, “What should we DO about RapeLay?” We’re not worried it’s influential in modern game design; clearly it’s not. We’re not interested in taking apart its gameplay; like most of its kind, the gameplay barely exists. We’re not worried that its particular brand of sexual violence is at the leading edge of the market; it’s an isolated island in that ocean, neither the most profitable nor (prior to this coverage) the most visible of its kind.

    It’s not a great touchstone for analysing “our society’s” approach to gender politics, in that it doesn’t really come from “our society” in the Western sense of the world, and that even in Japan it’s hardly mainstream. It’s not from someone who is influential, intelligent, or whose views carry weight. It doesn’t directly carry an activist viewpoint or attempt to change our opinions.

    So what is the coverage but the question: “What do we DO about RapeLay?”, which can really only be interpreted as “How do we STOP RapeLay?” To which I respond, there’s only three things you can do: ban it, ignore it, or rebut it. And, people, you can’t ban it.

    The more interesting argument here is rape culture itself, and to what extent it represents a distinct and separate thing from a general culture of violence, and the sooner we can get back to that discussion without having to see it through the lens of a particularly bad videogame, the better. Leigh had a great discussion last year on how the depiction of sexual violence in games should be treated differently from non-sexual violence and the further that got away from being about this game in particularly, the more intellectually engaging it got.

  5. 15 April 2010 at 21:44

    Sorry, I should say too – the discussion on videogames in Australia for the last two years has been censorship, and really nothing but censorship, which you may or may not have been following. In the last few months leading up to the South Australian election we had the relevant minister gagging online commenters with court action and police raids on the houses of those who were vocally disagreeing with him. We’ve had Anonymous hacking Parliament House, the Federal Government prosecuting service providers, and we’re still on course for a censored internet.

    So, a laid back discussion of things like this is great, but we’re all still at the level of fighting for our right to have it in the first place. Please accept my apologies if I’ve jumped right to fighting in the trenches when you were looking for something a little less confrontational.

  6. 18 April 2010 at 10:29

    I agree that banning games outright doesn’t foster dialogue. However, most of the articles I’ve read focus on the banning angle, and don’t actually tackle any of the real issues, in this case, rape culture. Leigh Alexander’s articles were just as wrongly focused and evasive of rape culture as any of the mainstream news stories. The only difference is that she was defending rape culture under the guise of protecting games from censorship. That’s the real tragedy here. Many of the arguments she raised which excuse rape culture are found in the above BINGO card, for example the “Women have rape fantasies, too!” argument is something she brought up. That side-steps the issues that rape culture is actually trying to address. Indeed, many of her discussions about sexism and gender in games are also found on a number of other types of BINGO card that deal with sexism. So I don’t consider her as an authority on anti-sexism, because she misses so many nuances.

    I don’t agree with the notion that just because RapeLay is a game on the fringe of the market, that it’s somehow less worthy of debate or somehow less reflective of the rape culture that pervades in the media. It is a reflection of rape culture. Perhaps an extreme one, but benign excuses and rape apologia inspire games like RapeLay to be imagined and created.

    Continuing on to your point about rebuttals to games like this. The conversation is happening, but mainstream game journalists and news sites like Leigh Alexander and Kotaku certainly aren’t the ones leading the charge in terms of meaningful discussion. Compares to the discussion that’s going on, game sites’s discussions about RapeLay are extremely basic and again: don’t talk about the issue of rape culture and the cultural aspect of rape as reflected in games. No, you won’t find those discussions on mainstream gaming sites, but the conversations are happening if one knows where to look. And they’re likely conversations that gamers don’t want to listen to, because they’re too challenging to mainstream world views.

    I had heard about Australia’s crackdown on games, however I didn’t realise it was as big an issue as you pointed out. Thank you for letting me know that. It’s interesting how different countries’ governments react to different things about videogames. It’s kind of sad that people are still in a moral panic about this.

  7. 1 May 2010 at 22:53


    It was pointed out to me that I allowed GregT to not only use triggering, offensive, violent and racist language in his initial comment, but that I did so without calling him out on it or criticising it, his white privilege, or the faulty logic and Oppression Olympics he engaged in in that comment. There’s no excuse for not calling him out on that aspect of his comment, and I should have been more aware. I apologise for my lack of awareness, for not seeing my own privilege in this instance, and I’ll try to be more aware in the future.

    Since GregT‘s use of racist language has already been public for quite some time, I will edit his comment to include a trigger warning, and obscure the racial slur. I will leave his comment up as a reminder that people (including me) need to be more aware of their privilege. In the future, I will, in general, not publish comments that contain racial slurs.

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