Keith Vaz

keith-vaz

As regular readers will know Keith Vaz, who is a member of parliament and chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, has been a persistent critic of video games.

He demanded that  Rockstar Games’ Manhunt(certified 18 by the BBFC)  be banned, because it allegedly influenced the 17 year old killer of 14 year old schoolboy Stefan Pakeerah. Despite the police denying any such link. Despite the Judge denying any such link. Despite it actually being the victim Stefan who (under-age) had a copy of “Manhunt” and not the killer.

In the House of Commons during a private member’s bill he claimed that videogames allow people to rape women. Patently absurd. Though you often find rape in movies and books (there is lots of it in the Bible) Keith Vaz wasn’t concerned about them.

He blamed a stabbing in a queue in London on GTAIV when the perpetrator had nothing whatsoever to do with the game.

Obviously someone who upholds our morals in such a manner must be morally correct himself. So this quote from the BBC may come as a surprise:

Claim: The chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee claimed more than £75,000 to fund a second home in Westminster, even though his family home is just 12 miles away in Stanmore. The Telegraph also suggested he changed his designated second home for a single year to property in his Leicester constituency, before claiming more than £4,000 on furnishings.”

9 comments ↓

#1 Peter St. John on 05.22.09 at 1:49 pm

He may be an idiot, granted, but there are plenty of games (especially in Japan) that let you simulate rape. Just because the BBFC and Ed Vaizey haven’t heard of them doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. (google ‘rapelay’ if you have a strong stomach)

#2 Hugo on 05.23.09 at 2:04 pm

I agree on the sentiments towards Keith Vaz, he’s a failure as far as MP’s go and jumps onto any topic that gets him in the media. That said this is another poorly researched article by you Bruce as Peter quite rightly points out there are games that do allow rape fantasies but then you also promote rFactor as the perfect racing game yet its lack of any mechanism to stop the content being stolen from other racing games directly opposes your strong (and rightful) stand against piracy. As someone who promotes himself as an industry veteran your views on the industry including your long and rather spiteful views on Sony make you look rather ill informed.

#3 Bruce on 05.26.09 at 8:58 am

I am sorry if I got this wrong but I thought that no commercial retail game in the UK featured rape when Vaz said this.

#4 Ian Osborne on 05.26.09 at 1:00 pm

The only ‘commercial retail game in the UK’ that I know of where the player can commit rape is ‘Ship of Doom’, a text adventure from 1982. Japan-only titles won’t get Keith Vaz off the hook, and according to Bruce’s link, the BBFC is unaware of such a game.

So with the exception of one, trivial and ancient game, Bruce is right – ‘ no commercial retail game in the UK featured rape when Vaz said this’. Unless anyone can identify another?

#5 Peter St. John on 05.26.09 at 9:15 pm

Vaz is only claiming to the existence of such games in that article, so he’s right (despite being wrong in the broader call for censorship). It’s not ‘patently absurd’ to suggest that there are and can be games that allow you to commit rape – but that doesn’t mean we should subject them to tighter controls than film…

#6 Bruce on 05.27.09 at 2:53 pm

If you are going for that loose a definition then games can and do contain anything.
GAC and PAW were available 20 years ago which enabled anyone to create games with any content they want.
But you can’t buy such games in the shops.

#7 Ian Osborne on 05.28.09 at 9:11 pm

I agree that a 1982 text adventure doesn’t get Vaz off the hook. For his comments to hold water, you’d need at least one successful release or a significant handful of more obscure titles, no more than five or so years old. But for the record, Ship of Doom was a commercial release, not a GAC or PAW home brew game. IIRC, it was removed from the shelves in WH Smiths when they found out about the infamous ‘rape android’ command.

#8 Peter St. John on 05.30.09 at 8:25 pm

And Vaz would counter, rather correctly, I think, that a child/teenager typing ‘ flash rape game’ into Google would give him access to rather distasteful games – yes you don’t go out and buy them, but they’re right there if you have an idle look. Rather than quibbling whether such games exist, the correct response is Bruce’s more typical ‘so what?’ approach – if such acts are depicted in other media without censorship, then they’re equally valid (and legal) in computer games.

#9 Ian Osborne on 06.05.09 at 11:46 am

Interesting article on The Register, suggests Japan too is turning its back on this type of game: http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2009/06/05/japan_rapelay_ban/

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