Touch the girl and see if she is a witch?

Apparently Nintendo DS has a game out called Doki Doki Majo Saiban. And what is the object of the game? Touch the scantily-clad prepubescent looking girl to see if she is a witch! And the description from a gamer blog:

It’s the most infamous DS game we’ve never played. And we know surprisingly little about Doki Doki Majo Saiban. Intertube reaction has run the gamut of amused (us) to critical (others) and in denial (others). Some are claiming the title is flat out porn, while some state that there’s no way Nintendo would let that happen. We doubt that the game is at either end of the pole and still giggle at the newly minted touch-a-girl-to-see-if-she’s-a-witch sub-genre.

Yes, because there is nothing cuter than young gamers who already have fucked up ideas about women because of the weird ways they are depicted in most video games to connect the dots from young and *slutty* to witch-ly.
I am laughing OUT LOUD.
Not.

Join the Conversation

  • raginfem

    “How do you know if the little girl is a witch? Usually, there’s a ‘witch’s crest’ hidden somewhere on her body which can appear in ‘Witch Check Mode.’ The goal: Make her heart beat quickly. Players use the stylus to touch the girl, whose expression will change depending on how her heart beats. The background with change as well. However! Rush things, and the girl does not respond. Players must take it slow with the touching.”
    That was an excerpt from the description of the video game – and is that FUCKED UP or what??? If that’s not a blatant set of euphemisms for sex, I don’t know what is.

  • racya

    The comments on that article are even more disturbing.
    “That almost gave me a chuby. At work.”
    “Well, I didn’t want a DS until this game…”

  • http://thecurvature.blogspot.com Anonymous

    WHAT. THE. FUCK.

  • Scilian

    Ummmm the sexual overtones are screaming in this one.
    I think with all the problems with pedophilia in today’s society, and in Japan, this is the last thing they need to put out.
    Its revolting, and its disgusting. Whats worse are the people getting off on it.
    Maybe Im getting old, but some things have been shocking me lately.

  • http://thecurvature.blogspot.com Anonymous

    It’s not even the age so much that bothers me (cause they could just LOOK young, for the sake of argument, right?), but the fact that the game encourages you to poke and prod women all of their bodies like you’re fucking entitled to do so. Some of those girls look SCARED of the game player and that’s fucked up.

  • EG

    It’s creepy, but do “young games” really have more fucked up senses of gender than young people in general?

  • roymacIII

    Sadly, this isn’t surprising at all. Games like this come out all the time, and have been for years. =(
    It’s good to see people starting to stand up and take notice, and criticize, because, for a long time, it was just sort of accepted and expected. The common reactions range from the dismissive “What’s the problem, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to buy it.” to the racist “Oh, that’s just the Japanese, they always make crazy shit like that.” to the misogynistic “Hey, most gamers are men, so they make games that appeal to men.” to the, sadly, predictable “What, it’s funny!”
    It’s very frustrating being a gamer, sometimes. Blah.

  • firaley

    This game may be disturbing because of the sexual overtures towards little girls, but I find most games are not sexist. I really enjoy video games for the many that depict women as heroes, or villains, with power equal to that of males (and in some cases greater).
    In my experiences, men in the gaming community are very respectful and encouraging.
    I used to play an MMORPG, World of Warcraft, and the dedicated female players in the game were overwhelmingly the most respected (which actually caused many men to choose female characters) and sometimes most powerful players. The game also lets you choose a character’s race (which is troll or gnome not black or white), gender and so on, with absolutely no difference between genders other than appearance.
    I think these aspects of gaming make the field in general beneficial rather than detrimental to the feminist cause.

  • roymacIII

    I wish I shared that sentiment, firaley, but my own experiences are pretty different. I find that too many games rely on the Damsel in Distress plot (The Zelda and Mario games are almost completely dedicated to the trope), too often feature women primarily as fan-service, and tend to shove women from roles or real power to supporting roles as healers, objects of desire, etc. Look through popular fighting games, and you’re likely to find that the women in the games are almost always dressed as scantily or sexually as possible, while the men are often wearing clothing more appropriate for what they’re doing.
    I think that games have a long way to go, personally. I love gaming, but sexism still seems quite alive and well, in my experience.

  • Andrea

    Penny Arcade had a comic up about this game a few weeks ago, in which Gabe is totally stoked (clearly creepy) while Tycho is more… “wtf, mate?” (can that be an adjective?). in the accompanying news blog, Tycho states that drawing the comic had the effect of “purging it from the mind, making a pure life possible.”. There’s definitely some wry amusement there, but I just thought I’d post something where at least one male gamer was put off by this.
    That doesn’t make it okay, at all — for every male gamer who thinks this is dubious at best, it seems like there are hundreds more who think it’s Teh RoXor, but… well, I’m trying to be optimistic. :o\

  • http://isisantonius.livejournal.com Andrea

    While I don’t agree with firaly’s assertion that the gaming world is respectful of women — check out the “booth babes” at any large gaming convention. They’re definitely not there because they’re great lady gamers — I do agree that MMORPGs do provide a bit more opportunity for egalitarianism. They also allow for fascinating insights into gender relations.
    For instance, my husband and I play both City of Heroes and City of Villains. While there’s definitely some sexism — in both games the Uber Hero and Villain are male — you rescue male citizens as often as you rescue female citizens, and there are some damn gool female archvillains/heroes in each game. When it comes to character creation, you can objectify, or not objectify, your character as much as you want (the game is amazing in how many thousands of options one has for character cusomization).
    What’s really interesting (and sad) is that my husband was reading a message board in the game’s community site regarding choosing the gender of one’s character, and the main reasons men cited for creating female characters was so they’d have something “hot” to look at while playing (you’re usually in a third-person camera view behind the character, and apparently many male gamers are threatened by having to look at a male ass instead of a female one, even if the male ass is supposed to be THEIRS).
    The main reason that men cited for *not* choosing a female character is that they wanted a character they could relate to. Because apparently it’s way too difficult to relate to us wimins.

  • Phlegmatic

    roymacIII’s thoughts on video games are somewhat akin to mine, as I love them and hate them at the same time. I also agree with people on how sick and damaging this game would be. However, I know little of this particular title myself, but it is a handheld game I believe? While Im aware that the DS and PSP sell well, thats not where the real power lies in the gaming industry. Plus the game itself sounds absolutely shit, and is likely only to captivate the sickest and most depraved individuals for very long.
    Basically I think any positive reactions this game receives is from idiots trying to be funny. I mean seriously, the gameplay in this particular game sounds pretty pathetic from the beginning.
    Again though, Im still with the people who think this is unacceptable, but there are bigger problems in the gaming industry, and this just sounds like a random case of absolute nonsense.

  • http://thecurvature.blogspot.com Anonymous

    I believe that the DS games are most popular with teenagers. My brother has one. I swear to god that if my mom gets this game for him, I will end up doing something angry and irrational.

  • Phlegmatic

    Hmm, well I dont mean to outright dismiss your point, but I think the most popular games devices are the likes of Xbox 360, Wii, and PS3. I think handhelds are something of a novelty to any “hardcore” game players. And I imagine any male gamers who think this is “teh r0xx0rs” fall into the catagory of hardcore gamers, which most likely flock to PC’s and consoles.

  • rosasharn

    “World of Warcraft, and the dedicated female players in the game were overwhelmingly the most respected”
    I have had so many requests for rl pics, whispers about the sexiness or manliness of my voice, forums threads interrupted with “I BET YOU’RE UGLY LAWL LAWL SHUT UP HORSE,” whispers about cybering, I’ve heard the words “pussy” and “cunt” so many times, heard so many woman jokes, and read so many conversations about the fuckability of certain women. I’m scared to post my picture on my guild forums. I don’t talk in Vents where I don’t know anyone because I’m so fucking tired of “omg it’s a girl, you sound so hot, what’s your name, where do you live, can I see your pic?!?!?!?!?”
    Do you exit all chat channels? Do you never read the forums? Do you shun vent? Do you play in a small guild and turn off whispers from everyone you don’t know? Do you never PUG? How could you play WoW and think female players are respected?

  • roymacIII

    Phlegmatic: It depends on how you judge popularity. It’s worth noting that there are over 40 million Nintendo DS units out in consumers hands right now. That’s about 4 times as many units as X-Box 360.
    The consoles and PCs tend to be where the “hardcore gamer” market is, but the reality is that the “hardcore gamer” is not the bulk of the industry, and they’re, sadly, not the only ones who go for games like this. I doubt that this game will sell super well, but games like this keep getting made, and the industry is flooded with stupid, sexist games.

  • Phlegmatic

    Yeah I realise how well the DS sells worldwide, Ive seen the figures in comparison to other consoles. Still, no offence to any handheld users, but they just dont have the same kind of sticking power.
    Like you said, it depends on how you judge popularity. Obviously Im more of the mind that content and and staying power are more important than (DS’s admittedly impressive sales).
    But thats irrelevent anyway, as this isnt for a discussion on games. Like you (again) said, the fact this product like this are made is problem enough. Let alone contemplated.

  • blucas!

    What really disturbs me about this is that it’s coming out on Nintendo–widely viewed as the last bastion of “family-friendly” gaming, an industry maverick making money by actually released fun games rather than by ratcheting up the sex-gore-processor-speed a bit with each gen.
    This is one of a couple games over the last year or so that make me more and more leery of the where Nintendo is going.

  • ShifterCat

    Japanese society still lacks understanding of what constitutes rape and sexual harassment, and of why both are Bad Things. It seems to be an unfortunate side effect of the cultural thing about public shame and “saving face”. (Mind you, that culture of shame can be used to good effect — there’ve been incidents of young girls ganging up on “subway gropers” and bullying them.)
    However, even though as North Americans there’s little we can do to change these unfortunate aspects of Japanese culture, it’s not enough to say, “Oh, well, that’s just those wacky Japanese”. If anything, Nintendo (and its consumers) have to be aware of this and be more careful about screening which games get translated.

  • DataShade

    I used to play an MMORPG, World of Warcraft, and the dedicated female players in the game were overwhelmingly the most respected (which actually caused many men to choose female characters)

    Sorry, I call shennanigans. I’m a long-time gamer and I’ve been playing tabletop and MMO RPGs since I was old enough to buy my own dice. Males have been chosing female characters since RPGs started for several reasons, and the original reason was a good story. When RPGs went online, guys who picked female characters got hit on by other guys and found they could score really good loot from really lonely men, and without fail every new MMO gamer I’ve ever met has told me one of their other friends said they should “make a chick, you’ll get free gear.” Beyond that, as Tomb Raider gained in popularity and MMOs went 3D and EQ started slapping Firiona Vie on every piece of promo art, guys started making female characters for eye candy (“if I’m going to spend six hours waiting for the raid to form, I might as well have something to look at”). Hell, I had two friends from my home town – both (supposedly hetero) males – roll female characters in then had their characters get married just so they could roleplay sexual acts with each other (which is so Blur it’s unreal)….
    But I don’t know ANYONE who plays World of Warcraft who rolled a female character because they wanted to ride the coattails of respected female players. In my own guild, we only have two or three female characters played by non-females aside from the guys who founded the guild, and they’re all teenagers.
    I guess my point is: much as I games, my gamer comrades are no more enlightened or progressive than people at large. Certainly not the folks in WoW, which has the lowest (skill/intelligence) entrance barriers of any MMO I’ve ever even read about and appeals to the rabid RTS franchise fanbase.

  • roro80

    Oooh! Touch as many 13-year-old girls as possible! Take it slow, enjoy it! But beware — there may be a witch among them!!!
    I hate that boys are taught to get away with as much of the touchy-feely as possible without getting in trouble, and I also hate the whole witch icon. Something tells me that when they touch the “witches”, they aren’t the lying in the grass, studying polytheist cultures, comuning with nature.

  • DataShade

    What’s really interesting (and sad) is that my husband was reading a message board in the game’s community site regarding choosing the gender of one’s character, and the main reasons men cited for creating female characters was so they’d have something “hot” to look at while playing (you’re usually in a third-person camera view behind the character, and apparently many male gamers are threatened by having to look at a male ass instead of a female one, even if the male ass is supposed to be THEIRS).

    As a male gamer, indulge me a moment to re-frame that: it’s not so much they’re threatened, as much as if you’re going to spend two hours jumping up and down in boredom while you wait for your guild to assemble for a raid, there might as well be eye-candy.
    Personally, I find it more rewarding to run the game in windowed mode and post on forums.

  • Ninapendamaishi

    “Japanese society still lacks understanding of what constitutes rape and sexual harassment, and of why both are Bad Things. It seems to be an unfortunate side effect of the cultural thing about public shame and “saving face”. ”
    The same could be said of our culture, though to a lesser extent in certain ways (and not so much in others). I think the game is relevant b/c the U.S. is a big part of the consumer market for these things as well.

  • Weetz

    I have to agree that equality in gaming, especially Mmorpg’s, has a long way to go. From what I am seeing, there is (in general) a very small minority of women who play compared to men, and this, combined with anonymity, makes for a lot of harassment. I used to play WOW and I now play EQ2, and I am so sick of masturbatory comments I could scream.
    Getting back to the original post – I don’t think this game is actually going to be released in the US. And sadly, as hentai games go there’s a lot worse out there, some of which does get released here.
    On another note, some gaming bloggers recently put together a forum for feminist gamers. http://www.theirisnetwork.org/

  • CoasttoCoast

    “I think the game is relevant b/c the U.S. is a big part of the consumer market for these things as well.”
    While the US is a huge gamer market, there is a large divide between the US game market and the Japanese one. Most Japanese games are developed by and for Japanese gamers, and never see the light of day over here in N. America. I would be surprised to monocle dropping levels if this saw shelf in N. America.
    Not that it’s cool, it’s fucking repugnant. “Beware, there might be a witch among them… or not, you know, maybe one of them is a werewolf or something. Just go rape some children and see what happens.”
    Gross.
    This also is not the first video game based on rape. Not by a long shot. This is perhaps the first one that i’ve heard of on a platform (nintendo, playstation etc) but the computer has seen many rape themed games. the worst one i can remember is you playing a ghost type character (embodied as a hand) that does as it pleases to women, winds up raping them, and.. if you rape them enough, they become more and more willing until they are your sexual slaves.
    Japanese game, of course.
    totally disgusting.

  • DataShade

    Japanese society still lacks understanding of what constitutes rape and sexual harassment, and of why both are Bad Things. It seems to be an unfortunate side effect of the cultural thing about public shame and “saving face”.

    I really don’t understand what you mean by that, at all. I mean, I love a lot of the things that come out of Japan, I’ve studied Japanese culture, I even know a bit of the language. I can’t live there.
    They most certainly DO have an understanding of what constitutes rape or sexual harassment. It’s so much worse than what you suggest, because sexual harassment is just encouraged as a sign of manliness. It’s like that Air Force sex scandal in the 90s Tailhook or whatever, where gangs of cadets or whatever were going around assaulting young female officers and the brass just laughed it off as a “harmless way to release pent-up frustration.” Rape is seen as serious, and, historically, something the victim probably ought to commit suicide over – to spare her husband/father further shame. It’s better than Japan was a century ago, sure, but it’s still only just a little better than Livy’s Lucretia faced.
    Still, I’d feel a lot more comfortable with all the criticism of this game if some of it came from someone who’d actually played it.

  • DataShade

    On another note, some gaming bloggers recently put together a forum for feminist gamers. http://www.theirisnetwork.org/
    Posted by: Weetz | April 27, 2007 06:35 PM

    IRIS Network is from the game Beyond Good & Evil. Jade was a well-made character, and it was a good story. In fact, BG&E was a better Final Fantasy game than FF10.

  • DataShade

    Also: in Japan, sex with a 13-year-old isn’t necessarily “rape.” 13 is in fact the national age of consent, altho’ the separate prefectures (or whatever) and municipalities can have their own ages (Tokyo’s is 17).
    http://www.ageofconsent.com/japan.htm
    Japan also has some really weird sex laws; prostitution is illegal, but prostitution is defined as money for vaginal intercourse, so gay sex, handjobs, golden showers, etc, for money is A-OK.
    They’re also a little, uh, lax on incest. I can’t find a statute on it right at the moment, but I’m almost 100% positive first cousins can legally marry, and I know there’ve been some significant and controversial books released recently in Japan that researched the country’s history of incest; mother-son sexual pairings were apparently much more common than in any other Pacific Rim country.

  • Erin

    I’m faced with trying to decide whether this offends me because I’m a witch, or if it offends me because I’m a woman.
    I’ll take “both”, Alex.

  • http://lawfairy.blogspot.com The Law Fairy

    I think that in gaming discussions it’s worth separating out mainstream games from RPGs, because these two genres really do draw a different core audience.
    Your average mainstream gamer — who may very well be a “hardcore” gamer — is likely to spend a lot of his time playing games like GTA, one of the bazillion iterations of Mortal Kombat-type games, and occasionally, for the hell of it, some old-school Mario or Zelda. Players with more interest in RPGs tend to be, and I say this bracing for severe disagreement, on average a little smarter, a little nerdier, and a little more socially awkward than the average mainstream gamer. This group is roughly as likely to play a good old-fashioned game of D&D (meaning, old school, on a real live board) as it is to rip into the latest NWN.
    I think WOW and other MMORPGs like Everquest have sort of bridged these two groups and melded them to some extent. But I’ll go out on a limb here and venture that more of the misogyny is coming from the mainstream side than from the RPG side. Why? Simple. Mainstream games are more plot-heavy. There is less focus on individual character development, thus, the characters are more stock. The more stock a character is, the more likely it is to play into relatable gender (and other) stereotypes. RPGs are at least as character-driven as they are plot-driven. Yes, they have a plot — but the plot is determined by the character, not vice-verse. As others have noted, there are no inherent differences between male and female characters at the beginning of an RPG. Take a fantasy adventure game like Final Fantasy, however, and even though the female characters kick ass, they’re totally gender stereotyped.
    This isn’t to say there aren’t sexist RPGers. Of course there are. But I think there’s more inherent sexism in mainstream games than in RPGs, sexy costumes notwithstanding.
    Kind of my point is that I think the increased and broader popularity of RPGs is, in the end, good for society. While WOW obviously is subject to the same misogyny as any online community, its basic interface, I think, is more beneficial than it is harmful. And, whatever else people might think, giving people the subtle message that, starting out, it doesn’t make a difference if you’re a man or a woman, is a good thing. We can’t help WHY assholes pick characters — but we can quietly chip away at prejudice without them even knowing it. Sometimes that’s the best way to do it.
    Okay… none of this touched on the new DS game, which is creepy. I just wanted to stick up for my beloved nerd-tastic RPGs. FWIW, I actually don’t play WOW — I prefer individual-compy RPGs to MMO RPGs, for many of the reasons discussed here. One other thing worth noting is that many RPGs allow you to have homosexual relationships, if that’s the direction you want your character to go. I played an RPG from the late 90s that allowed same-sex characters to get married. So, yay RPGs.

  • Sayna

    *sigh* It makes me so sad.
    I love the gamers I know. But I just hate how misogynist their subculture is. I was the first female member of my school’s e-gaming club (besides our awesome advisor), and it’s a very male-dominated group. Most are very conservative, headed straight to the military after high school, and have had very little contact with real women.
    It’s sad because a lot of them are nice, intelligent young men. But they’re so damn neurotic most of the time that the girls they want reject them, and… well, really, I can tell that they feel extremely threatened by women. I have to work really hard, sometimes. It’s like… I have to try to “fit in” by speaking out and being friendly, and then I have to figure out a way to deal with the occasional sexist remark by not being “too angry” or “too bitchy”, but by not putting up with it, either.
    The group has more young women now, but it’s still male-dominated.

  • June

    Unfortunately, games like these are not uncommon, especially in Japan.

  • ShifterCat

    “[The Japanese most certainly DO have an understanding of what constitutes rape or sexual harassment. It’s so much worse than what you suggest, because sexual harassment is just encouraged as a sign of manliness… Rape is seen as serious, and, historically, something the victim probably ought to commit suicide over – to spare her husband/father further shame.”
    Let me rephrase that: there seems to be a lack of understanding, at least in Japanese media, of where the line between consensual and non-consensual lies. Hence you have hentai in which a girl’s initial refusal of sex seems to be viewed as either proper maidenly reticence or as unfeminine frigidity, and if the man rapes her enough she’ll begin to enjoy it. I can’t help but think that if Japanese rape survivors were encouraged to come forward and tell their side of the story, instead of being told not to shame their families, there would be less of this.
    (Admittedly there are some hentai in which there’s a rape scene which clearly does nothing but traumatize the victim, and though I find these difficult to watch, they make me want to shoot the fictional villains more than the scriptwriters.)
    I will admit, however, that I’ve never lived in Japan, so you undoubtedly have better insight into this than I do. :)

  • ShifterCat

    “…a good old-fashioned game of D&D (meaning, old school, on a real live board)…”
    Just a nitpick, TLF: D&D sprang from miniature gaming, but it’s played with characters sheets and dice. It’s not a board game. :)
    That said, I often wish that anyone who is thinking of playing an online RPG* should be required to play an old-school tabletop RPG first. That way they’re far less likely to believe that they can insult another player directly and not suffer any consequences.
    *Meaning a game with fully freeform roleplaying, not one of these console game affairs in which all of the important character development is pre-scripted.

  • Ninapendamaishi

    “I’m almost 100% positive first cousins can legally marry”
    Actually, not too central to this discussion, but first cousins can marry in some states of the US as well (e.g. Illinois). Geneticists basically decided a few years ago that first cousins are distant enough in relation not to pose a significant risk to the health of their children, so the ban against the marriage of first-cousins is primarily a social construction.

  • raginfem

    RoymacIII, I have to defend Zelda here: yes, Zelda is a princess and yes, she does to a degree need Link’s help, but she’s also very powerful in her own right. That’s the point. Link can’t beat the bad guys without Zelda; Zelda can’t beat the bad guys without Link. Plus, in Ocarina of Time the Sages, who are powerful and extremely important characters, are overwhelmingly female.

  • Alex

    Most species of mammal are, for sound Darwinian reasons, most strongly sexually attracted to animals that look like something around their third cousins. I’m not sure if humans are included in that group or not, but people do tend to be attracted to facial features somewhat similar to their own. It’s a little less (or possibly more) icky when you consider that your most distant (human) relative on the planet is about a fiftieth cousin.

  • EG

    Dear Lord, I wouldn’t know my third cousin if I tripped across him or her. That means you share a…great-great-grandparent? Gotta have a subject pool with some strong family ties to figure that one out.

  • roymacIII

    RoymacIII, I have to defend Zelda here: yes, Zelda is a princess and yes, she does to a degree need Link’s help, but she’s also very powerful in her own right.
    This post is a pretty good analysis, I think, of Zelda. Zelda isn’t completely hopeless, but she spends a ridiculous amount of time getting captured and being a damsel in distress.
    *shrug*

  • RachelInga

    Uffda. This is directly from Malleus Mallificarum. Way to set society back 600 years!

  • rilee morgan

    This game looks exactly like a mountain of other pedofilia/rape-themed games that have existed in Japan for years upon years. They tend not to make it overseas, and they tend not to be released on mainstream consoles.
    This one, however, is being developed by a large development house, so I don’t know what to say about that.
    That said, there is no way it is going to make it to US shores.

  • jgoreham

    Honestly, I’m more concerned about (the now leaving) Luke Smith from the 1up ‘1up Yours’ Podcast comparing his experience with X-Box Live with rape than I am about an obscure foreign game that most people on a global scale won’t actually play, as there’s a forum full of people who take his every word to heart. (Granted, that’s happened some time ago, but it made me stop listening to the podcast for an awfully long time; every time I’ve tuned in since, there have been other anti-woman comments that really aren’t relevant to gaming in the podcast)

  • SpaceCakeFeminist

    Everything has already been said, BUT, a few things to keep in mind:
    #1: The game is not made by Nintendo, it’s made FOR Nintendo, there’s a difference. I’m not sure what control, if any, Nintendo has over the games people make for their console. Just a point.
    #2: The game is NOT for the American market. Which doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t care and be outraged – we should care, and we should be outraged. But the game is being put out by a Japanese company, in Japan, and the entire game will be in Japanese.
    #3: If you do take issue with the game and feel that it shouldn’t be released in America, go talk to the lovely folks at http://www.play-asia.com They are probably the major distributor (maybe the only one? They’re the only one I’ve found) of imported games from Asian countries, and they do have this game as slated to be released through them in early July.

  • EstelaPez

    I hate this hentai-cartoon-porn pedophilia obsession. It’s the first kind of pornography I stumbled on as a child and I must say my sexuality is rather fucked up because of it. Any feminists out there who claim using porn is empowering for women don’t realize how it can be traumatic for a child to watch it. These cartoon-animated porn games are all over the internet. Grrr, I’m pissed off at whoever created this game and whoever wrote the sexxxy description of it.