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.

Comments

She's quick to distance herself from the so called "moral majority" but her remarks there are pretty much on par with what the fundies would say.

Wonderful the idiots without any real knowledge of games continue to spout off. Thank god she didn't get to the chainsaw enemies in RE4.

Ms. McCartney... Your ignorance is showing.

Actually, as much as i think she's wrong in several important ways, i do give her credit for this: she didn't just complain about "the filth our kids play", she actually tried playing several of the games herself. Again, I disagree with her conclusions pretty much completely...but at least she's not reprehensible like the many who claim "it corrupts our youth" without even bothering to find out what the hell they're criticizing. So +2 for that, before I deduct 10,000 for everything else.

You lost, but gave it a fairer shake than most, so a grudging, minimal respect is warranted.

@Grendal
I'd love to see her face playing Gears of War, or maybe FEAR. That would be amazing.

" 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."

Moral objections? Moral objections from teenagers? Over video games?

Yeah suuuuure and maybe if the Pope got a subscription to playboy we wouldn't have to deal with that issue.

What moral objections would teen have over games? Everything you do in the game doesn't happen in real life, and the only person who could possibly be affected by violent video games is the player.

Added a comment to the Daily Mail article. Moderated as all terrible literature pieces are but the tone was kept civil yet negative so will be interesting to see if it gets through or not. I give it 50/50 as they will want to balance the so ar negative comments with a few (artifical I dare say) positive ones before rest come through at all.

I expect the Telegraph to be more moderate.

I'm 15 and I play Resident Evil 4 for the wii. It's great fun and although it's violent, I don't think it's had any effect on me besides deepening my deep internal fear of zombies

"Meanwhile, the Daily Mail asked British TV personality Anne Diamond..."

While we're playing games here, let's just invite, I dunno, a certain ditsy blond out of Hollywood to weigh in on this. They have about the same amount of credibility.

Anyway, to say CoD4 should only be viewed in small doses. Kids watch movies like "Saving Private Ryan" and "The Killing Fields" all the way through in 8th grade. Deal with it, war exists, sheltering kids from it will not change that.

Moving on to her comments on RE4... Too violent for adults? Ha! That's funny, now she's the guru for all things appropriate apparently... RE4 is hardly gory or depressing. It's more akin to a terrorist thriller like 24 than a horror movie. Gimme a break, my younger siblings (9 and 6, respectively) list that as one of their favorite games. I could care less for what Ms.[insert inane dirty names], she has /NO/ authority over anyone but her own children, and even that I bring into question... Funny, the critics are running out of ignorant people with "Dr." in their name so they turn to TV stars. I can't help but laugh!

Did Jonh Lennon said something about, like: "you are too young for sex, but older enough to go to war"...?

"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."

Who the fuck are you to say who can and cannot play a game? And why aren't you complaining about torture porn films like Hostel or Saw, which are far worse?

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

I got a good chuckle out of that.

It's sadly commonplace for tabloid rags to call upon Z-list celebs to make uninformed alarmist comments. Again the lack of a need get an informed opinion means this will happen again and again.
Game over.

@ KillianD

God no, her head would probably explode :). In all seriousness though don't people realize just how absurd the violence in most titles is? I mean blood just doesn't do the thing it does in games. I mean how can it be so hard to see just how stylized and divorced from reality the violence that is so often raged against is. Maybe it will desensitize you to really cartoonish violence in which humans are basically big fountains of highly pressurized blood, but that isn't going to help you in situations were violence is realistic.

A little allegorical story for everybody, recently frontline did a nice little thing called "Bush's War" now I'm not here to pass judgment on the war and I'd rather this thread not devolve because that's not the point of this story. Basically at on point footage is shown of a man getting shot during a gun battle, you see the shots strike you here the thunk and he falls. Nothing, in the total sum of my life has ever left me as utterly numb as that. I missed the next five minutes because I was just dumbstruck. Now it has to be understood, it was just a guy on a screen, I don't think they I could even see his face, nonetheless I was more than a little effected.

Now I think we can understand the reasons for this. Even if he was only an image, I knew he was real I knew he had a mother and a father maybe even a wife and children and I knew I had just seen another human die. Now I of all people should be pretty bloody desensitized to things like this according to Mcartney and Diamond, but I'm not obviously or I wouldn't be writing this.

Now I know neither explicitly trotted out the "desensitized" argument but that's what all this talk of violence always boils down to and frankly I've moved from being annoyed by this to offended. If normal people are really as easily influenced as Diamond and Mcartney seem to think we have much bigger problems than whether or not video games will make us violent.

And this is what happens when your desperately avoiding writing the paper you have due at 10 a.m.

i've been for gaming for a large part of my life now. (got our first PC at the age of 10 and i'm 27 now) I played Doom and its ilk when i was 11/12 or so, and while i do not own a large number of the games she would consider "to violent, even for adults" i do enjoy a good bit of senselessly violent gaming at times mainly to relieve stress.
Has this desensitised me to violence? No it certainly has not. I abhor violence of any kind in the real world, i'd rather talk things out than get angry. Fights are things i avoid like the plague, despite knowing how to defend myself if i have no choice.
Not bad for someone who has been exposed to games for 17 years now.

People spout so much unfounded nonsense about gaming its ridiculous, and its even scarier that people actually believe them.

I put most of it down to a fear of the new medium (as most are TV personalities), its no different than TV or Rock'n Roll was 50 odd years ago. Embrace the new medium and learn from it, know what those cute little signs mean on a game box so you don't give your 6-year-old Slaughterer 5 for his birthday, but stop demonising the whole medium.

IMO, games SHOULD be morally ambiguous: less shoehorned morals, more room for plot analysis! :D

LOL, Yes COD4 is only ok for older teens but in small dosages now full fledge combat where they are actually shooting other human beings well by all means that is ok and righteous but killing pixels that's just immoral.

i cant forgive that bitch mocking Dead or Alive!

As she has stated that games have a negative effect on people and as she has stated to playing the game I suggest she quit her job and go into seclusion for the safety of others and herself.

She has a right to criticise Dead or Alive.

It's a mockery to fighting games compared to the likes of Virtua Fighter and Street Fighter. :P

@DarrelBT

You damned yourself to gaming hell (where Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing is the only game available) when you mentioned Virtua Fighter, but then redeemed yourself when you mentioned Street Fighter.

THESE ARE THE ONLY 6TH ERA GAMES THAT SHOULD BE BANNED:
.MANHUNT
.MANHUNT 2
ALL OTHERS ARE SUITABLE WITHIN A CERTAIN AGE GROUP
I am sick of seeing wound up BLOODY MOTHERS who think they know better than we do about video games AFTER NINE YEARS OF GAMING ON OUR PART.
 
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