Moralizing Against "Vile Games" in U.K.

April 1, 2008 -
In the wake of the Byron Review, Telegraph columnist Jenny McCartney writes about what she sees as a lack of morality in violent video games:
Dr Byron seems a sensible woman, and no doubt she has done her best to contain the spread of some of the more obnoxious material on offer without incurring the ire of the games lobby. But one of her remarks in an interview last week struck me as particularly, and depressingly, modern. "My review is not about making any kind of moral pronouncements," she said, "although I do think that it is important to look at the desensitisation to violence."

...The word "moral" still has deeply unfashionable associations with... the "moral majority" protesting against the "tide of filth" in books and television in the US. How tame and inoffensive that tide looks now.

Yet the truth, surely, is that the majority of us would indeed recoil from the idea that our teenage son or daughter was upstairs playing Manhunt 2... It is insidiously corrupting to their view of themselves and other people... Perhaps if more people, including teenagers, were prepared to voice moral objections to this toxic stuff, it would no longer be possible to lampoon them for caring.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail asked British TV personality Anne Diamond (left) to render her opinion on some popular, violent games. Not surprisingly, Diamond issued a beatdown::
After seeing them Anne said: "Just reviewing these games, made my hair stand on end. I have never got into computer games.but my sons all love them.

"I have to guard constantly that they don't use my ignorance to play games that I wouldn't allow in the house, if only I knew their content.

"Some of the games were so mindless it would be hard to see them as a destructive influence. But others were sickening in their gratuitous use of violence and bloodthirsty imagery."

Her comments include:
Call of Duty 4: Perhaps it might be OK for older teenage boys, but only in small doses.

GP: "Older teenage boys" can join the real British Army and be shipped to Afghanistan. But it's best to limit their COD4?
Resident Evil 4: This game shouldn't be allowed to be sold, even to adults... when I played I was stabbed to death with pitchforks amid fountains of my own blood. This kind of violence can only be bad for you.

GP: News flash, Anne. Everybody who plays this game at one time or another gets stabbed to death with pitchforks amid fountains of their own blood. But it's virtual blood. It's a game. Are you suggesting that zombie movies be banned, as well?

GP: The link on the Jenny McCartney column was sent in by our old pal Jack Thompson, in between threats to sue us.


I sense the videogames equivalent to Mary Whitehouse emerging, different subject, same lines about morals and values

Here's a real gun. Go kill people for the 'good' of the country in the military. But FSM forbid they are given virtual guns. That could cause problems.

This is where we should have Aaron McGrudger come in and just call her a hater like he did with critics of his Boondocks comic strip, oy.

I simply have to say about how dumbstruck I continue to be after these reports.

I honestly am very surprised at how little faith these people have in peoples ability to distinguish reality from virtual.

Or on the flip side, what people will do to get ratings and or coverage?

No offense Jenny whats your face but your no expert on the topic

Wow I really do love the GP remark=

GP: “Older teenage boys” can join the real British Army and be shipped to Afghanistan. But it’s best to limit their COD4?"

"if only I knew their content."

Yes, if only there were some way of working out what content there was in a video game ... if only!


Jack only hears what Jack wants to hear, which is to say anything that won't force him to undertake the troublesome and shameful task of changing his mind about something. These other people seem to be cut from the same cloth.


Why should those two games be banned?

being virtually stabbed by pitch forks is obviously bad for your health. Leon will die and that is a pain in the butt.

“Some of the games were so mindless it would be hard to see them as a destructive influence." So games are not bad for you, she just hates video games and the idea of people playing them. from what I understood

"I have never got into computer games"

It says it all. I bet her last video game reference was Pac-Man or Super Mario.

Oh, and I suppose she's "never got into" slasher movies either, considering her remark on "Resident Evil 4".


All those games are things that explicitly state that there are high levels of violence in them and there is therefore the expectation that it will be vile.

Love the fact that older teenage boys of a similar age can be shipped into a warzone andy yet should only be exposed to Call of Duty 4 in small doses

"Yet the truth, surely, is that the majority of us would indeed recoil from the idea that our teenage son or daughter was upstairs playing Manhunt 2"

let me say this clearly...

so... dont.. let.. underage... kids... play... it..
The.. rating.. is.. on... the... box....

lol you should send JT a link back to the sections of the Byron report, saying there is no conclusive evidence!
lol n why would he link that, is Anne Diamond the authority on all things?(she is a Z list daytime tv celeb here in the uk, who nobody cares about)

“I have never got into computer games”

Then what makes you an authority to comment on games?

Old news.

Also, funniest photoshop ever.

She doesn't play games because her BODY CONSUMES THEM

Yeah, it seems she hated the games so much that she stabbed herself with them, if the picture is to be believed.

Really quite sad.

One more thing :

Usually, when the media need to ask someone's "verdict", they go see an "expert", or at least someone who has enough moral authority and knowledge of what he's talking about to give an opinion that has some value. But in this case, they ask a person who has absolutely no knowledge of games (and probably thought games were for kids until now).

And you wonder why mainstream media lost almost all credibility over the years ?

Oh fuck off..

I have to say that I am glad that somebody out there knows what is best for us! I mean England would be a cesspit full of chavs and drugs and depression if she hadn't stepped in...

Oh wait...

As a gamer I am regularly at the butt of many jokes and lots of abuse by other people who actually believe this bullcrap, it is people like her that are leading to me getting attacked in my youth, not the videogames which she so zealously attacks

"the majority of us would indeed recoil from the idea that our teenage son or daughter was upstairs playing Manhunt 2?

How stupid does a parent have to be to fail to notice whether or not their son or daughter play a violent videogame? And if they do notice, and if the parent is so concerned, then they should do something about it. On their own. Without the help of the government. Or the media. Or people who have no authority or connection to games.

We gamers dont deserve this crap. Seriously.

Oh, and I almost forgot Daily Mail's caption, just after the picture :

"Harmful: A Government-commissioned report says that video games can desensitise children to violence"

Anyway, what can you expect from the gutter press except the gutter ?

It's the Daily Mail... generally recognised as the worst paper in the country, only bigotted little old ladies read it anyway, who cares!

These people are old... they will die before we do. Take small comfort in that.

Also - fuck off you silly cunts.

"Harmful: A Government-commissioned report says that video games can desensitise children to violence”

see im REALLY confused because im pretty sure the byron report (im reading it right now) says there is no conclusive proof, as the only valid studues are flawed when looked at for real world application... and that there are many studies suggesting that they have no effect.

The funniest thing was the picture of ...DUM DUM DUM Mario kart 64, with the quote about harmful effects of violent games.

The Daily Mail and all the other British tabloids: Where every day is opposite day.

The Telegraph?
OH, the paper with rapidly dimishing circulation due mainly to the growth in news via the would be looking for any excuse to make technology seem dangerous.


Ban the movies before the games you *censored* ugly *censored* *censored* *censored* stupid *censored* (continues on like this for another hour or so)

Oh yeah, and if theyre *censored* old enough to kill people THEN LET THEM DO WHAT THE *CENSORED* THEY WANT! (continues cuss filled rant)

"Yet the truth, surely, is that the majority of us would indeed recoil from the idea that our teenage son or daughter was upstairs playing Manhunt 2…"

I see the real problem here. Parent's in the UK are incapable of using stairs. It's so obvious now - see, she's worried about what her kids are doing because she lacks the physical ability to use stairs and is therefore unable to supervise them herself due to crass biological limits. And here I was expecting her to walk up there and get involved in her kid's life - oh what a cruel taskmaster I've become to expect such feats from the handicapped. Carry on you brave soldier *tear* carry on...

just to clear up, im refering to the comment made about older teenagers being able to join the military.

"GP: News flash, Anne. Everybody who plays this game at one time or another gets stabbed to death with pitchforks amid fountains of their own blood. But it’s virtual blood. It’s a game. Are you suggesting that zombie movies be banned, as well?"

Whats the point in saying that? Its not like she will read it. Your trying to stir the hornets nest again aren't you. ;)


Wouldnt blame him. Anne's report is filled to the brim with ignorance.

Yet another person that slams video games without actually having played them. And yet another parent that wants the government to legislate her parental and moral views. It's one thing to hate video games, but it's an other to censor content for everyone.

Oh dear, post got eaten by the system. :)

All this twisting of a good balanced scientific review is disgusting. But what annoys me even more is the fact that these people aren't thinking.

The kids can't buy those games in the UK. Any game with a PEGI rating of 15+ or more is also rated by the BBFC, whose ratings are enforcable by law! So only the parents buy the games, which is my ms. Byron called for increasing parental awareness on Game ratings. (as if the large 18+ on the front isn't enough) How convenient that the newspapers forget mentioning this... Technophobes, the lot of them.

They should make the vidja gaem cases out of harder plastic and make the "M" embossed, that way it will leave a big ol' fuckin' imprint/bump on their forehead when you hit them with it! xD

Actually, make the gaem cases outta aluminum, like the ones the anime season packs come in. (btw, appleseed ex-machina = EPIC!)

To be fair Skyler, it did appear as if she played them. But the Daily Mail cannot be trusted, its a fear mongering tabloid, hell just look at the picture of Anne in the article. Can you see the photoshop? Wonder why they felt the need to doctor it.

Don't try to leave an anti-story comment at the Mail's site, all comments are reviewed "and may not be published".

Way to go to get a balanced view.

Although she deserves a lot of criticism, I don't think it's a good idea to be rude. Sorry, but calling her a "bitch" is as inappropriate as counter-productive.

GP, have you read Anne Diamond's ill informed rant about gaming?

Oh damn me, I'm tired. I skipped over the text block where her name is.

We really need a preview button.

I feel sorry for Anne Diamond though. Bless her little cotton socks; she was only ever a morning show presenter, about 10 years ago.

As someone who never plays computer games, she probably only ever saw mario before. Can you imagine the shock when suddenly she's thrust into a warzone in the quite excellent COD4, or bitten / hacked and generally gutted in RE4.

Its like being told your going to see Bambi, only to have 'Hot Bambi- bikini girl gets it A***' pounded in front of you.
Poor woman.

I just wish they would stop picking Adult games to show a Child gamer point.
Its like saying kids shouldn't watch tv because there are films like Zombie Diarys out there. Irrelevant , pointless and very very boring.

It is rather like getting some woman who hasn't got a TV or seen any movies (except "Jungle Book" in the cinema back in 1967, let's say) to watch some 15/18 rated DVDs ("Scarface", "Dead or Alive: the Movie", "Black Hawk Down", "Saw", "Hostel", and so on) and then asked what she thought of them and if she considered DVDs like this as suitable for children!

The BBFC says its illegal to sell Call Of Duty 4 to anyone under 15. PEGI recommends 16+. The law and industry self-regulation seems to be pretty much in step with Anne Diamond's opinions.

To be fair, this was pretty balanced from the Mail - they did at least mention that there are ratings. Most of the sensationalism comes from Anne Diamond who didn't seem to realise this.

Call of Duty 4: Perhaps it might be OK for older teenage boys, but only in small doses.

Yes, we'll make sure to tell the militias they'll be fighting to only shoot at them "in small doses".

Papa Midnight

I think it's fairly obvious that she didn't play these games much at all. I mean, somehow she got the idea that Master Chief is the last person alive after... something... And she quotes her SONS in her review of the games. What credible sources. "My sons say that all their friends play it, so they must play it."

Likewise, I don't think this woman got far in RE4, either. It sounds like she died on the first 4 guys over and over and over... I mean, she never meantioned the chainsaw. And I've never played Jerhico, but it sounds like she found the first monster, got scared and quit.

This has to be an april fool's day joke... But it's not... T_T

That image was such a lame Photoshop job :p.

Just a question. If we ban video games with lots of blood, fighting, gore, etc. what will happen to all of our favorite TV shows and movies? .... Wait, scratch that. Our favorite books! Look at Tolkien! Trip through Moria anyone? Or how about a nice major battle or two? How about the plunder and twisting of a small village? Or classics like "All Quiet on the Western Front"? Or "War and Peace"? Or how about "Moby Dick"? Baptizing a harpoon in a bucket of blood? In depth description of the blubber stripping and boiling process at sea? Oh, lets go back even farther. Sun Tzu! Here's someone who is telling us how to be better generals and leaders during war! Or Machiavelli? He's telling us its better to be feared the loved.

You know what's truly immoral, Jenny? Owning Tenchu.
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