Singapore reverses ban on Xbox game with lesbian scene

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Computer game Mass Effect will now be sold in Singapore with an M18 rating, it has been announced.

On Tuesday the deputy director of Singapore’s Board of Film Censors said that because of “a scene of lesbian intimacy” the game has been “disallowed.”

Now the board has said that some “highly anticipated” games will be allowed on sale in Singapore ahead of the introduction of a new ratings system in January.

“The statement (from the board) said that ‘this will allow such games to enter the market with immediacy and give the industry and members of the public a better understanding of the benefits of the proposed games classification system,'” reports the Straits Times.

The furore about the game seems to have passed the UK censors by, as the game has been given a 12 rating by the British Board of Film Classification.

“The violence is undetailed and takes place in a futuristic setting,” according to the BBFC classification information.

“The single sex scene is brief and undetailed, although there is breast nudity in one version of the scene.

“The sex scene is triggered by the player making a series of choices about becoming more than friends with a colleague.

“If playing as a male character the scene can take place between him and a human woman or a humanoid female alien.

“If playing as a female character the scene can take place between her and a male human or a female humanoid alien.

“The game also contains use of the word ‘bastard’ and at least one aggressive use of the word ‘bitch’. Both of which are acceptable under BBFC Guidelines at ’12’.”

Gaming site Joystiq had previously questioned why BioWare, the creators of Mass Effect, have allowed lesbian sex but not gay male encounters between characters.

“The game allows for alien lesbian sex, but not any type of male-on-male sex,” wrote Alexander Sliwinski.

“Furthermore, all non-alien sex has to be heterosexual.

“The same-sex love issue is by now well-tread territory for BioWare.

“Most fans know by now that Juhani from Knights of the Old Republic is a lesbian and Jade Empire allowed same-sex romance for both genders.

“So why should it be different in Mass Effect?

“Does BioWare think that their audience will clamour for girl-on-alien-girl action while recoiling from man-on-man love?

“And why is lesbian sex only OK if it involves another species? This odd double standard makes us wonder if the game will be a step forward or back for sexual politics.”

To watch a clip of the lesbian scene click here.