The Sims 4 Rated Adults-Only In Russia Over Same-Sex Relationships

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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The Sims 4 Rated Adults-Only In Russia Over Same-Sex Relationships


Russia has slapped an 18+ age rating on The Sims 4 because its portrayal of same-sex relationships contravenes a law protecting children from "information harmful to their health and development."

The Sims Russia Twitter account announced earlier this week that the upcoming Sims 4 has been rating "18+ (Prohibited for children)." That might seem like an odd rating for a game widely viewed as a relatively kid-friendly offering - previous Sims titles have all been rated T (Teen) by the ESRB, and The Sims 3, released in 2009, was rated just 12+ in Russia - but things in the Motherland have changed in more recent years.

A follow-up tweet clarified (via Wikipedia [https://translate.google.com/#ru/en/%40TheSimsInRussia%2018%20%20%D0%B1%D1%8B%D0%BB%20%D0%BF%D1%80%D0%B8%D1%81%D0%B2%D0%BE%D0%B5%D0%BD%20%D0%B2%20%D1%81%D0%BE%D0%BE%D1%82%D0%B2%D0%B5%D1%82%D1%81%D1%82%D0%B2%D0%B8%D0%B8%20%D1%81%20%D0%B7%D0%B0%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%BC%20%E2%84%96%20436-%D0%A4%D0%97%20%22%D0%9E%20%D0%B7%D0%B0%D1%89%D0%B8%D1%82%D0%B5%20%D0%B4%D0%B5%D1%82%D0%B5%D0%B9%20%D0%BE%D1%82%20%D0%B8%D0%BD%D1%84%D0%BE%D1%80%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%86%D0%B8%D0%B8%2C%20%D0%BF%D1%80%D0%B8%D1%87%D0%B8%D0%BD%D1%8F%D1%8E%D1%89%D0%B5%D0%B9%20%D0%B2%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%B4%20%D0%B8%D1%85%20%D0%B7%D0%B4%D0%BE%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%B2%D1%8C%D1%8E%20%D0%B8%20%D1%80%D0%B0%D0%B7%D0%B2%D0%B8%D1%82%D0%B8%D1%8E%22.] reveals that the law was originally passed in late 2010 to prohibit the distribution to children of material that "may elicit fear, horror or panic," or that depicts "violence, unlawful activities, substance abuse or self-harm," but was updated in 2013 to include "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships."

As ramped up dramatically [http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/05/russia-hangs-adults-only-rating-on-the-sims-4/] as well.

Source: Twitter [https://twitter.com/thesimsrussia/status/463203214804803584]


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Imperioratorex Caprae

Henchgoat Emperor
May 15, 2010
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I'm surprised they didn't just ban the game outright given that Russia doesn't seem to give a rats ass about the views of the more, and I hate to use this term, civilized nations out there.
 

gigastar

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Sep 13, 2010
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In short, because of a law that makes it a criminal offence to educate under-18's about homosexuality in Russia, any material depicting homosexuality in any manner is automatically adults only.
 

Something Amyss

Aswyng and Amyss
Dec 3, 2008
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Fasckira said:
I thought they had same-sex stuff happening in the previous Sims games?
Yes, but Russia has recently ramped up the homophobia (or at least, has overtly ramped up policy).

But more on topic:

I wonder if the apologists who said "it's just their culture" with Nintendo will be defending this decision by Russia. After all, it is just their culture.
 

Fasckira

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Oct 22, 2009
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Zachary Amaranth said:
Fasckira said:
I thought they had same-sex stuff happening in the previous Sims games?
Yes, but Russia has recently ramped up the homophobia (or at least, has overtly ramped up policy).
Ahhh, ok.

Zachary Amaranth said:
But more on topic:

I wonder if the apologists who said "it's just their culture" with Nintendo will be defending this decision by Russia. After all, it is just their culture.
Its a little bit different; Russia is stepping backwards, whereas China Japan (Sorry, long day) have yet to step forward.
 

Something Amyss

Aswyng and Amyss
Dec 3, 2008
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Fasckira said:
Its a little bit different; Russia is stepping backwards, whereas China have yet to step forward.
You mean Japan, I'm assuming.

But the thing is, Russia's LGBT stance hasn't "stepped backwards" so much as they've basically said it. I mean, I hate to sound all hipster, but I was aware of Russia's LGBT problems "before it was cool" and while they didn't codify it, things still were pretty bleak for queer Russians. This would be, in effect, like declaring you're going to fix an oversight in your game that allowed "gay couples" even if you didn't want them and would otherwise discourage them.

Which, I must remind people, is the essence of what Nintendo did.

I mean, you could argue that one is a direct impact on human rights while the other is a video game, but in both cases, it's not taking a step back or forward so much as patching out undesired behaviour.
 

MCerberus

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Jun 26, 2013
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MinionJoe said:
With the increasing sanctions against Russia, EA soon might not be allowed to sell software there. And Russians will have to look for alternate means of entertainment. Like getting a trampoline. Ba dum chh.
Luckily for my playing habits Wargaming is from Belarus
 

Fasckira

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Oct 22, 2009
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Zachary Amaranth said:
Fasckira said:
Its a little bit different; Russia is stepping backwards, whereas China have yet to step forward.
You mean Japan, I'm assuming.
Sorry, yes ... long day.

Zachary Amaranth said:
But the thing is, Russia's LGBT stance hasn't "stepped backwards" so much as they've basically said it. I mean, I hate to sound all hipster, but I was aware of Russia's LGBT problems "before it was cool" and while they didn't codify it, things still were pretty bleak for queer Russians. This would be, in effect, like declaring you're going to fix an oversight in your game that allowed "gay couples" even if you didn't want them and would otherwise discourage them.

Which, I must remind people, is the essence of what Nintendo did.

I mean, you could argue that one is a direct impact on human rights while the other is a video game, but in both cases, it's not taking a step back or forward so much as patching out undesired behaviour.
You raise a good point, the only one I can offer vaguely in retaliation is Nintendo were bowing down to an existing social pressure whereas Russia are the ones outright stating "No, this is illegal.".

For the record (before the pitchforks come out), I'm not agreeing with the outcomes. I think the fact that we have all this drama around LGBT ridiculous in the first instance and I find it hard to empathise with the people who are fighting against equality, but I try my best to understand both sides of the argument where possible.
 

Cecilo

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Nov 18, 2011
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I suppose it makes sense. Can't run a war machine with all the men not paired up with women. Could run out of soldiers for the grinder.


(For those that couldn't tell, it wasn't a serious statement)
 

CriticalMiss

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Jan 18, 2013
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This was to be expected. The Russian government has a sworn duty to protect its citizens from reality even if that reality comes in videogame form.
 

VanTesla

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Apr 19, 2011
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Fasckira said:
Zachary Amaranth said:
Fasckira said:
I thought they had same-sex stuff happening in the previous Sims games?
Yes, but Russia has recently ramped up the homophobia (or at least, has overtly ramped up policy).
Ahhh, ok.

Zachary Amaranth said:
But more on topic:

I wonder if the apologists who said "it's just their culture" with Nintendo will be defending this decision by Russia. After all, it is just their culture.
Its a little bit different; Russia is stepping backwards, whereas China Japan (Sorry, long day) have yet to step forward.
Japan has it's faults just like any other country, but besides the recent thing with Nintendo there are still more positive media on gays in some form over there unlike Russia and even though many in Japan may be homophobic to an extent I would say the younger population are more open minded to it and that some manga and games do have some gay characters that are good even if there are more negative portrayals of them that is to be expected in the short term, but in the long term I think it will even out more. Also Japan is known for taking steriotypes of all things to the extreme and is not always meant to be mean and just silly.
 

Zontar

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Feb 18, 2013
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Chaosritter said:
Imperioratorex Caprae said:
I'm surprised they didn't just ban the game outright given that Russia doesn't seem to give a rats ass about the views of the more, and I hate to use this term, civilized nations out there.
Oh please, drop your smug attitude.

They rated an otherwise harmless game 18+ because of locally controversial content, so what? Fahrenheit a.k.a. Indigo Prophecy was rated AO in America over an awkward, harmless hetero sex scene, San Andreas was pretty much banned over a mod. Countless games in Germany have been censored to hell and back in god knows how many ways and are still only availble to adults, uncensored media must be imported. Korea and China aren't much better when it comes to religious content. Hell, Saudi Arabia banned Pokemon cards because they "promote zionism".

Unlike other "civilized" countries, Russia has the decency to make games that are considered harmful to minors by the officials availble to adults. I don't see the problem here.

Or is it because the keyword is "same-sex"? Compared to the middle east, where homosexuals get raped (if female) and locked up or executed rather easily (unless the angry mob gets them first), Russia seems to get a lot of hate for merely banning the public promotion of "gay rights". And judging from my personal experience with so called "gay rights activists", I can't blame them at all...
Uh, I don't see how a sex scene causing a ratings bump vs just the ability to be in a relationship (a very mild one at that given the nature of the game) are even wroth the effort of comparing. And hell, say what you will about Germany's censorship, at least there's a logical reason for it (even if that reason is national guilt for something that happened 3 generations ago causing a country to be a little too overzealous to prevent it from happening again). But this? This is just pure propaganda.

I also don't see how it's smug of Imperioratorex Caprae to use the term "civilized nations" when, despite culture being relative, using the terms "civilized" and "primitive" are, despite being politically incorrect, accurate. It's not as if they ONLY banned the promotion of equality, they've banned the very existence of it. For a country which openly calls itself superior to all others (I'm not even joking, Russia's state media uses the term "super-modern" as the vague catch-all term for what makes Russia different from everyone) calling them out on the fact they've banned a segment of the population just for existing is fully called for. (I'd like to know what experience you have with the equal rights movement to try and justify Russia doing this though. Must be something pretty traumatic)
 

VanTesla

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Apr 19, 2011
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CriticalMiss said:
This was to be expected. The Russian government has a sworn duty to protect its citizens from reality even if that reality comes in videogame form.
Just a few more laws and they can be just like China when it comes to games.