CNN Dusts Off Ancient Moral Panic Over Out Of Print Game That Was Banned A While Back

from the oh-come-on dept

Recently, we started receiving a whole bunch of submissions about a CNN story on the Japanese videogame Rapelay (in which part of the gameplay involves raping women). We ignored it because it’s an old, old, old story, and we couldn’t figure out why CNN suddenly took an interest in it. The game itself was released back in 2006 and has long been out of print. It got some headlines back in February of 2009 (over a year ago), when a UK publication noticed that some people were selling the game via Amazon. It was never Amazon itself selling the game, but some of the people who set up their own stores on the site. Either way, once the press reports came out, Amazon quickly pulled the game.

Still, as usually happens, there was a big moral panic, politicians made comments and threats and eventually Japanese officials banned the game, even though it was already out of print.

Story over, right? For no clear reason, CNN suddenly decided to bring it up as if it were a big deal again — leading to all those submissions. However, as reader Chris Mikaitis, points out, the story keeps escalating to new levels of cluelessness. Days after the “original” late story, even after lots of people wondered why the hell CNN was bringing up such a dead story, CNN decided to do a second story on the game by the same reporter. At least, in that case, one of the people quoted scolds CNN for making a big story out of nothing:

“One of my concerns,” begins Dr. Olson, “is that kids generally never hear about this stuff unless it gets this kind of publicity.”

In other words, this was a dead game and a dead story, until CNN started fearmongering about it, making ridiculous statements like:

“Parents, we’ve got to warn you about this video game because your kids could get their hands on it.”

CNN, we know that your ratings are in freefall, but manufacturing a totally ridiculous moral panic over an old game that is not in print any more, has been banned in the only country where it was released, and which was discussed way too much well over a year ago, isn’t exactly the way to build either credibility or interest in your reporting.

Filed Under: ,
Companies: cnn

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “CNN Dusts Off Ancient Moral Panic Over Out Of Print Game That Was Banned A While Back”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

and of course this is why some makers of new media want copywrong laws to last as long as they do. They don’t want old media to compete with new media (ie: books, video games, movies, etc…), they want old media to go out of print and die so that they can more easily monopolize new media. It’s really sad that a bunch of selfish thugs have managed to get such absurd laws passed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Been following this on 4chan. Even better than this story is the fact that they had a poll, “Should Japan ban sexually violent video games”, and they resetting the poll twice because “no” was winning over yes, (no still won the third poll, which they took down last night). They also began stopping Japanese IPs from voting in the poll after their first reset.

ethorad (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Sounds like the way voting in the EU works. If you vote No to something, then they come back next year to make you vote again. And again. Until you get it right.

See Ireland voting on the Lisbon Treaty, and the way Denmark is going to hold a second poll on joining the Euro – just as soon as they can get enough support for a yes. (And of course after the French and Dutch voters got the result “wrong”, they weren’t even trusted with a second attempt)

Still waiting to hear of a country offering a new poll where the previous answer was yes.

But maybe I’m just bitter at not getting to vote on the Lisbon treaty here in the UK …

Rob says:

A correction

“in which part of the gameplay involves raping women”.

I wouldn’t call a 10 year old girl and a 16 year old girl “women”. And yes, you rape both, along with their mother.

Never played the game, never would, but I’d suggest a better moral panic would be about the pre-teen content, not because children might get their hands on it. Thanks anyway though, CNN, Saviours of the World.

Designerfx (profile) says:

japanese author reply

a Manga artist replied, offended by CNN last time this came up. Why would they bother doing this twice?

that was his reply…it was actually on CNN originally before he put it back on his own site. He basically explained the rapelay thing in quite reasonable terms.

Free Capitalist (profile) says:

Yellow Journalism

I think these types of stories (as Mike points out indirectly, the story itself being the only real threat to public health/safety) are just testbeds used and directed by politicos to determine what the next “talking point” will be in the televised political “conversation”.

Makes me wonder what the real (invisible in the mass media) political conversation is about to be..,

Every untold story of consequence has its O.J. Simpson counterpart.

Ima Fish (profile) says:

we couldn’t figure out why CNN suddenly took an interest in it

A news agency has five possibilities to get stories.

1. Find stories through research. (Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein)

2. Find stories already published. (Huffington Post)

3. Create situations which will give rise to stories. (Dateline’s pedophile pieces.)

4. Make up stories. (Jayson Blair)

5. And last, but not least… dig up old stories and present them as new.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Hey!

Mass Effect? You mean that video game, which only children play, that consisted entirely of alien orgies? Lesbian alien orgies?

At least that’s what I heard on Fox News. I ended up buying it and while I wasn’t completely disappointed with the game there was a tiny part of me that was.

Michael (profile) says:

CNN Buisness issues?

Maybe instead of causing sensational moral panics CNN could actually do some /real/ investigative research and reporting.

I want *accountability*, both from news outlets to the public, AND for the news outlets to do their *job* and actually hold politicians, lobbyists, corporations, and even people accountable for their actions or lack there of.

I want *depth*, don’t just report that something happened, tell us why it happened, what impact it has on others, and what sorts of reactions others can and are taking.

I want *discussion*, not 140 character twit-headed sound-bytes, but real comments and summaries of comments compiled in to bin-counts that reflect actual public opinion.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...