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Anne Diamond Fights Back


Anne Diamond responded exclusively in Play issue 167 to the controversy over her Daily Mail article on violent video games. Here’s the full, unedited, version of what she said:

All I did was take a Mum’s eye view of the sort of video games my sons play with their friends – for the Daily Mail – and suddenly I’m Public Enemy Number One! Well, if I thought being attacked by virtual zombies and stabbed in the face with a computer generated pitchfork was lethal, but I was mortified when one gaming website crowned me the Mary Whitehouse of the gaming world, accused me of spouting “old person, hate filled drivel”, and told me to get back to my knitting circle!

Ouch! Now that really hurts. But like the notorious moral crusader of the 60s, I do believe that consumers should speak out about products like tv or video games – and not just blindly buy what some genius computer geek inside Nintendo or Sony thinks acceptable or allowable. These people aren’t interested in improving our quality of life, nor upping our intellects – they’re just in it to make money, holed up as they are inside their dimly-lit, million-dollar dens and hardly ever going out into the real world they influence so hugely. Which is why, amidst all of the blood, guts and explosions, someone has to yell: “Stop! Do we really want this endless gore?”

And that’s all I did. And I bet thousands more Mums would do the same, if they spent thirty minutes, rather than thirty quid, actually studying what their children play.

I didn’t actually call for RE4 to be banned. That was the Daily Mail ratcheting my words up one notch! It suits today’s media to blame video games for the woes of the world – it lets them off the hook! I do still worry, though, about the effect of such mindless violence. Look, me and my sons played it in our kitchen – and yes, we rolled about laughing at the nonstop stream of insane zombies and their bloody clothes and bloodier language, their rolling eyes and mangled heads – but that’s because we were all together, in a family room – and yes, there was an adult around to call stop after a while. Too much exposure – particularly if you consume this diet of high octane violence cooped up inside your bedroom, away from the family, must be bad for you. Your tolerance of blood and guts, four letter obscenities and the constant rattle of gunfire, goes up. Your fun is being fired by death and destruction, and that – at the risk of sounding Mumsy – is just plain wrong! Honestly, I think that unless you balance your gaming hours with real life, going out and kicking a football around, socialising with your mates and interacting with your family and friends, your mind becomes darkened.

Bottom line – Mum and Dad should know what their kids are absorbing through video games – but I doubt tighter censorship will make a jot of difference to what’s bought and played in homes throughout the land. Far better would be to stop games consoles in bedrooms, and make video gaming something that’s done in daylight, where parents can see what’s going on. But you can’t legislate for that.

I have, however, been really impressed to find that many of my critics have a sharp sense of humour – so maybe that’s a twinkle of hope! When I said I quit a game because I was drowning in a fountain of my own blood, one wit responded: “Noooooooooo….that means that evil wins! Keep fighting Anne! Keep fighting!”

So perhaps I will return to RE4. But only for twenty minutes. And then I’ll knit a nice woolly jumper

Anne Diamond is a presenter and T.V. personality. Her views do not, and probably never will, represent those of Play.

  • Chris USA

    Love it Anne! keep it up.

  • ikaro

    Im Brazilian sorry my poor english!

    She is completly wrong, violent games are with or without the parents presence i good think. I have played the most violent games all my life, and the most part alone, now im 30 yrs old and i know a great number of people who grow with violent games and all are better people than the not gaming players. Listen to me, Violent game supress the real violence and add great mental ability to gamers. For god lets they play. And another think game programers are gamers to! Nintendo dont think money is all. Sony i dont know KKKK.

  • Eight Ball

    I’m 16 and have been allowed to be exposed to any videogames and most movies since I was about 11, but unlike other parents, my parents actually took the time to sit with me and educate me on the rights and wrongs of what I’m seeing on the screen…

    …cause of this, by the time I was 13, I could grasp the concept of things like drugs, violence, sex and racism etc..responsibly, and my parents have given me trust, now without meaning to sound big headed, I have actually turnt out a lot more self aware, mature, responsibla and emotionally understanding.

    Every child is an individual and the parents have to cater to that, the certificates that are in place are based on biological age and not psychological age, I feel it is fine for a parent to allow their kid to watch and play 18 cert content as long as believe their child is psychologically mature and responsible enough to grasp it without negative psychological effect.

    Restricting kids from the content isn’t really the answer, moderate exposure and education is far more effective. 🙂

  • Gregory S

    Miss Diamond,

    I think you are being overly cynical regarding the gaming industry – there are certainly people who have worked within it for decades, and I would be sure that nearly every developer, artist and programmer working in it would have decided to do so because they like games. To state that all such people want is “to make money” is a disservice to the passion for gaming that they share. Furthermore, such logic could be applied to any industry that gives anything to anyone else (which, I would think, encompasses most of them). Do masseurs in massage parlors really care about helping you relax, or are they just there so that they can earn £50 while you lie there for 30 minutes? Likewise, do psychologists really care about making you feel better, or are chefs *really* concerned about preparing you an enjoyable, good meal?

    Secondly, your focusing on “Resident Evil 4” – *one* game out of the hundreds released each year – is not only an untrue generalisation of the gaming industry, but disregards the violence found in other forms of media today. What you say about gaming – the need to “balance your gaming hours with real life” – rings true for any other hobby out there. Even your apparently beloved knitting would be an unhealthy hobby if you consumed all your day doing it. And what you say about the need for parents to regulate what their children are playing is also true for what their children are watching on TV. My point being: why is video gaming so different from any other hobby or activity or industry all of a sudden?

  • Daniel Cavalcanti

    You are in this business for money too, or else you’d be doing something else. And you don’t know what real life is. Try coming here in Brazil and living with U$200 a month to feel.
    Those “geeks” are common people, who studied and are very good at what they do, and try to bring happiness and entertainment to everyone (like any arts-related profession), and every taste. Just play 30 minutes of Wii Fit and you’ll understand.
    The reason why violent games make such a huge success is because people like it, just like in the movies. Videogame is an industry, so they make what sells. If Rambo sells well on the movie theater, RE4 will sell well on videogames. That’s a problem with the typical American culture, that praise war and violence, and not with videogames stimulating violence.
    While no one goes against the violence in the US, people will keep buying violence. And the videogame market won’t change. And the movies market, the war market, the terrorism market, the street violence market, the sports violence market…

  • Scott

    Hmm, just because her son likes violent video games doesn’t suddenly mean every video game is full of guns, violence and endless seas of zombie blood. If you are so opposed to fighting zombies, you could always go play a nice game of Dogz, or Ponyz. Or forgot about all the crap Ubisoft pour out and play something a little better like Super Mario Galaxy, perhaps?

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  • John

    SHE’S A FREAK!! She never experienced gaming or being abused by parents! She’s the one who wants to end the gaming era!