With Censorship This Inane, Criminal Girls Should Have Stayed In Japan (NSFW)

With Censorship This Inane, Criminal Girls Should Have Stayed In Japan (NSFW)

Somewhere beyond this eerily silent, pink-mist clogged screenshot is the “motivation” mini-game from the unabashedly risqué Japanese game Criminal Girls. Stripping the sound and obscuring the action made it ok for Western release — only no it didn’t.

It’s kind of amazing the 2010 PSP game from developer Imageepoch made it to the US in any form, especially given the current gaming climate. Criminal Girls (now Criminal Girls: Invite Only for the Vita) is a game that centres around a male protagonist sent to hell and tasked with overseeing the rehabilitation of a series of seven girls. This involves a great deal of mildly entertaining dungeon-crawling, as well as a heaping handful of discipline.

With Censorship This Inane, Criminal Girls Should Have Stayed In Japan

Leading his stable of women into battle, the protagonist must motivate them by essentially spanking the temptations out of them. This makes them more effective in combat and unlocks new abilities for each character. In short, it’s pretty much essential to survival.

Now if the very idea has your skin getting all crawly and your stomach turning, this is obviously not your cup of tea and you’re in good company. While in New York City for our big meet-up last week I would pull out my copy of Criminal Girls every time my fellow writers suggested we spend some time gaming and not one of them took me up on it. There were however, several disapproving head shakes. I get those a lot.

Some of them and some of you no doubt feel such a game has no business coming to the US or Europe. I agree, but not for the same reason. If NIS America wants to make a little money off the awkward pervert crowd, more power to them. Just don’t insult them by taking a core game mechanic and “hiding” it behind a cloud of smoke.

Warning — there’s some mild NSFW coming up, followed by a video you’ll probably want headphones on for.

On the left, the North American version of the motivation mini-game. On the right, the original Japanese.


I’m not going to be an arsehole here and say something like “Oh my god, they’re damaging the artistic integrity of the original!” It’s an anime game about spanking women to increase their powers, not a gallery opening. I’m just saying that unless a thick pink mist is some new standard for making inappropriately sexy things more appropriate I was not aware of, this is just ridiculous.

The Pink Cloud of Righteousness isn’t the only change made to the mini-game. In the following video from the folks at Censored Gaming, we see that while the original Japanese game had the women moaning and making comments, in the North American version they just quietly take their motivation.

Is it just me, or is it creepier without sound? It’s ok if the levels of creep are already so high that the difference is indiscernible.

I appreciate NIS America — I really do. I love the lengths the company has gone to in order to bring quirky Japanese fare over to this end of the world. Hell, I have a tattoo of Etna from Disgaea prominently displayed on my forearm, causing every stranger I walk past to stop me and go “Ooo, which anime is that from?”

It’s just that not every Japanese game needs to come over here. If a game is too racy to be released as is in the West, maybe just mention that somewhere on the company message boards instead. Import sales will boom, pervy gamers will rediscover the joy of adult game imports, and the publishers can focus on releasing entertainment that doesn’t require pastel obfuscation.


  • Honestly, I don’t see why personal opinions matter in this case. Adults play games too, and some adults like perverted material. A persons sexuality isn’t something to be ashamed of, nor should we be censoring or banning games because it offends someone’s puritan sensibilities. It’s not a game I would get, but I don’t see the point in saying that it shouldn’t be for sale

    • Unfortunately you are one voice of reason amongst a flood of people screaming “won’t someone think of the children”. Topics that relate to sexuality and innuendo are very easy targets for these groups… unfortunately these are also the same groups that tend to band together ala ACL and end up having more political and business influence than they should

      End of the day until we get that full generational shift in thinking that this material isn’t the supposed moral/ethical poison that they like to point it as (in the west at least) then we’re going to have to put up w/ a lot more of this rubbish..

      • Considering the apparent age of these “girls” I’d say someone WAS thinking about children.
        Won’t somebody STOP thinking about children?

        • Indeed, I have no problem with extremely sexualised content, but the age represented by the girls in a lot of these games is a little on the fucked-up side

    • So you’re an advocate for free access to child pornography then?

      And before you try for the cop-out, I’m referring to non-live sourced material. In other words, ‘victimless’ pornography. As those paedophiles should not be ashamed of their sexuality.

      Or does your moral posturing stop precisely where you feel comfortable?

  • I knew this was coming already from the NISA forums. Whilst on a personal level I’m somewhat annoyed at the censorship. The rational part of me accepts that “it had to be done”. For a small publisher like NISA the smallest “MASS EFFECT = SEX TRAINER!” type scandal would result in their closure as they would never have had the same corporate clout like EA did.

    Fact of the matter is until everyone in the west can accept sexuality doesn’t = something dirty then we are all going to be putting up w/ this censorship for quite a long time.

  • What I find bemusing, is on the one hand you have NISA’s heavy handed pro-censorship, with the butchering of Mugen Souls and now this 90s Hentai Anime Pink Fogging (ala Dragon Pink and Rei Rei), on another you have AKSYS releasing the Agarest games untouched (although we’re still waiting on the PSP game with artwork by Blade), and then you’ve got Xseed/Marvelous, who release the unreleasable mostly intact (minus stating ages, and some subtitles in Europe).

    If Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit, a game that goes so far past my willingness to play in Public (After playing Burst happily, Shinovi Versus awkwardly and even the main battles of Monster Monpiece) can be released in Australia with an MA15+ rating, with all the groping, moaning, molestation, nudity, entendres, posing covered with nothing but chocolate and cream, and A cup breasts intact, then I don’t really see how any of the companies have an excuse to cut actual content. And given that Shinovi Versus contained actual sexual assault and only got an M rating… (And earned forever my disgust at two of the recurring characters)

    (Then again, we’ve got the bemusing fact of the Atelier Plus games getting rated R18+ over here…)

  • Let me get this straight. A game has done everything it needs to pass the often stringently enforced content guidelines of a country and thus it shouldn’t be allowed in that country? It sounds like someone is crying out for something to be banned because it contains content they personally find objectionable.

      • My intepretation (The title is misleading) is that the author is saying the censorship carried out to have the game rated is comparable to covering your eyes but cracking your fingers a little to still peek through, effectively making it pointless. Since it’s doing so little to remove the content they personally find offensive, they’re saying the censorship may as well not have been in there in the first place and the game sent back to Japan.

    • To be fair it didn’t even get released in Australia so nothing to ban here….

      From what I could find it wasn’t even put forward to the classification board.

    • But then why would it be okay to sell in Japan but not America?
      You have to let responsible adults play what they like. If it’s bad enough that you can’t do that, shouldn’t it be banned everywhere?

  • Wow the most biased review ever. Thank you for telling me what to think about stuff!

    Look I love this site and check it out everyday but if you keep this type of review up I’m gonna be moving on. I don’t need the thought police to be reviewing my games for me.

  • a lot of people aren’t reading the article….

    He’s saying the game is so censored, that why bother bringing it over? He’s not attacking people who enjoy Hentai or Eroge as i think some people are taking it and getting offended by.

    Honestly though i don’t know why the game exists, i mean, why have this not even softcore stuff when you can find much better fully uncut stuff that is being translated by JAST and MangaGamer? If you want a porn game then play one, don’t settle for this….

    • I didn’t watch the video, but I read it more as “The censorship – it does nothing!”. I mean, seriously, pink mist? Maybe they should try putting some pink mist in Hotline Miami 2 and see if it gets reclassified.

      • I agree. The article is more a case of the censorship being tantamount to a topless woman putting a sheer top on and calling it censorship.

  • I’m ok with adult themes games.
    I mean but come on, those girls look like they are 10 years old. Ffs, japanese adult games are like they made for pedos.

  • I really don’t get these games. If I want porn I just go to pornhub.com or, if I’m really moody, fapshows.com. Why would anyone even be thinking of playing these games?

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