A game that involves the player stalking victims and then raping them in a virtual world is being offered for sale by online retailer Amazon.com, the Belfast Telegraph's website can reveal.
The shocking 'rape simulator', Rapelay, is set in Japan and carries a sickening game description on the Amazon website. An MP said last night that he plans to raise the issue in Parliament.
Reviews by gaming websites have expressed horror at the basis for the game.
One website review describes "tears glistening in the young girl's eyes" as she is attacked in graphic detail.
Players begin the game by stalking a mother on a subway station before violently raping her. They then move on to attack her two daughters described as virgin schoolgirls.
Players are also allowed to enter 'freeform mode' where they can rape any woman and get other male game characters to join the attacks.
Pregnancy and abortion are listed as 'key features'. One review said: "If she does become pregnant you're supposed to force her to get an abortion, otherwise she gets more and more visibly pregnant each time you have sex.
"If you allow the child to be born then the woman will throw you in front of a train!"
Most of the descriptions and screenshots of the game are too graphic for publication here.
The online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, says: "Due to Illusion's policy, its games are not intended to be sold or used outside of Japan, and official support is only given in Japanese and for use in Japan."
Despite this policy consumers, including those in the UK and Ireland, are now able to buy the game through the Amazon website.
Last night Labour MP Keith Vaz said he was shocked that Amazon are allowing people to purchase such a game and plans to raise the issue in Parliament after being contacted by the Belfast Telegraph website.
Mr Vaz said: “It is intolerable that anyone would purchase a game that simulates the criminal offence of rape.
"To know that this widely available through a major online retailer is utterly shocking, I do not see how this can be allowed.
“I will be raising this matter in Parliament and hope that action is taken to prevent the game from being sold.”
Last year the MP for Leicester East was criticised for claiming such games exist.
Mr Vaz was speaking in support of of Conservative MP Julian Brazier's Private Member's Bill – which sought to introduce an official governmental body that can challenge rulings by the British Board of Film Classifications ( BBFC).
Vaz stated: "People who are watching a film at the cinema cannot participate in what is happening on the screen, or if they do they are removed from the cinema.
"However...when people play these things, they can interact. They can shoot people; they can kill people. As the honourable Gentleman said, they can rape women."
Vaz's claims were questioned by Tory MP for Wantage Edward Vaizey.
He told Parliament: "...the right honourable Member for Leicester East (Keith Vaz), who chairs the Home Affairs Committee, mentioned that some video games allow the participant to engage in a rape act...
"I checked the point with the BBFC and found it to be completely unaware of any such video game.
"Is the honourable Gentleman aware of any video game that has as its intention the carrying out of rape or that allows the game player to carry out such an act? The BBFC and I are unaware of any such game."
At the time hundreds of gaming blogs slated Vaz for his comments. One blog poster said: "This guy has no idea what he's talking about he's more likey to of never even played a game in his life just plain stupid if you ask me."
Only one comment appears on the Amazon website. The user says: "1.0 out of 5 stars. The fact that this exists as a game makes me sad. I am saddened and appalled by the mere idea of this game. is this for real?"
Last year the Belfast Telegraph revealed that Amazon had listed a Barack Obama mask as terrorist costume. The online retailer said the offensive category was put there by someone using its "tag" feature and had removed it immediately.
After being contacted by the Belfast Telegraph Amazon today removed the webpage (still viewable here from Google's cache). A screenshot is also available at this location. The company would not comment on the item or say why it had been offered for sale through their website.
The Amazon page
Rapelay Japanese PC game
Game description on Amazon
Rapelay is an offshoot of the Illusion series, Interact Play. You, like in previous installments, play as a public nuisance that gets away from captivity and starts scouting for new targets. This time around you find a family of a single mother and her two daughters. You quickly begin your hunt and capture each woman one by one. The gameplay involves an amusing training/disposition system with which to break each respective target to your liking....
Could games like this encourage people to commit illegal acts in the real world?
There have been high profile instances of individuals copying from TV and games. However I think these are the exception rather than the rule.
If one looked at the overall proportion of people who copy such things then it is likely to be very small. However to a potential victim even if one person does - that is one too many.
I don’t think that it would make someone not so inclined to commit an illegal act more inclined or likely to commit a specific act.
However if people are already inclined to view the world this way it may reinforce their views and make it more likely they would undertake an illegal act. I suspect the will to do this would need to be there in the first place.
Professor Peter Hepper, heads the School of Psychology at Queen's University Belfast