EDGE Boston: Singapore Bans XBox 360 Game for Lesbian Content (Nov 15)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Singapore Bans XBox 360 Game for Lesbian Content
by Kilian Melloy
EDGE Boston Contributor
Thursday Nov 15, 2007

Gamers in Singapore won’t be seeing the new XBox 360 offering Mass Effect, it was announced Thursday. The reason: a scene showing two women in a lesbian encounter.

An AFP news item posted today cited a statement from Singapore’s Board of Film Censors, in which it was announced that because of "a scene of lesbian intimacy," the Board has determined that "the game has been disallowed" for consumption by Singapore residents.

Mass Effect is scheduled to the worldwide market next week, the AFP article said.

The statement was made by the deputy director of the Board, which operates under Singapore’s Media Development Authority. Singapore is known for its close censorship of media.

Mass Effect is not the only video game to be banned there. The statement reference precedents: a game called God of War II was barred from Singapore because of depictions of nudity, while another title, The Darkness, ran afoul of censors for its level of violent action, as well as for foul and religiously disrespectful language, the AFP article said.

The deputy director said that games for sale in Singapore are not allowed to "feature exploitative or gratuitous sex and violence, or denigrate any race or religion."

Microsoft, which manufactures the X Box gaming platform, answered AFP’s query via email, the story said.

Read the note from the US firm, "We strictly adhere to the laws, regulations and norms of the markets we operate in."

Besides its strong censorship, Singapore is known for its anti-gay legislation. Just last month, oral and anal sexual contact between heterosexuals was decriminalized, but sexual contact between gays remains illegal, AFP reported.

Kilian Melloy reviews media, conducts interviews, and writes commentary for EDGEBoston, where he also serves as Assistant Arts Editor.