The Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) has banned Criminal Girls: Invite Only in New Zealand, due to content deemed to be objectionable. According to the group’s findings, the game features elements of sexual violence towards minors.
Criminal Girls: Invite Only is an enhanced port of the 2010 PSP game. It’s an RPG and management sim, where players travel to hell, and must reform the spirits of young female delinquents so they can return to the land of the living without sin.
The game had elements removed (voice acting, covered up images) by publisher NIS America in 2015 so it could be released in other territories. It originally came out in Japan in 2013.
One of the game’s main features – the Motivation sequences – was the driving force behind the OFLC’s ruling.
“… [T]he Motivation sequences themselves do not encourage the player to focus on the girls as ‘young persons’, and instead concentrates on presenting their embarrassment, powerlessness and humiliation in a sexualised manner,” the OFLC stated. “The dialogue clearly establishes that the girls are either unwilling to participate, or naïve about the player character’s intentions.”
The group’s ruling continues, adding that because the girl’s final reaction is then positive, the narrative “justifies rape and is presented solely for titillation.”
“This game requires players to engage with the female characters in sexualised situations where consent is not only absent, but where the protestations of the female characters are part of the attraction,” the OFLC concluded. “There is a strong likelihood of injury to the public good, including to adults from the trivialisation and normalisation of such behaviour, so the game is banned.”
Because of the ruling, Criminal Girls: Invite Only cannot sold or purchased – either physically, or digitally – in New Zealand.
Earlier this year, another Japanese game – Gal Gun: Double Peace – was banned due to a narrative which “deals extensively in matters of sex,” and the “exploitation of children and young persons for sexual purposes.”
Criminal Girls: Invite Only joins a short list of other titles also banned in New Zealand, including 2003’s Manhunt.