Mass Effect is a sex simulator. Resident Evil 5 is a racism simulator. And now Animal Crossing: City Folk is a breeding ground for pedophiles. It seems that ignorance truly is bliss if you are a journalist who is not in the field of video games. You can now add KMIZ ABC 17 News to the list of news outlets trying to scare up a few more viewers. That or they just have very poor editing skills.
If you missed it, KMIZ ran a story denouncing Animal Crossing: City Folk as a game used by pedophiles to get at unsuspecting children. KMIZ News Director, Curtis Varns, even responded to this whole debacle by placing blame on the interview for the tone of the whole piece. You know, the piece that has since been removed and replaced by this.
I applaud any news outlet for trying to teach parents about the dangers of the Internet, but if you are going to point fingers at a game like Animal Crossing, get your facts straight. There is no “reaching the next level.” And why would an adult want to play this game? Maybe because they are a casual gamer who is not into the FPS genre. Maybe because it is easy to play. Or maybe my mom just wants to have fun.
My mom, Theresa Lev, plays Animal Crossing. A woman who never used to play video games and thought the Nintendo 64 was the first Nintendo console plays Animal Crossing. After watching the video report, the first thing she commented on was how hard it is to even get into someone else’s town. KMIZ fails to mention that you have to exchange a 16-digit friend code and your town name outside of the game. She is by no means a journalist or a hardcore gamer, but even my mom knows the mechanics of the game.
“I thought it was fun. I thought it was cute. I thought it was funny,” she said as her reasons for playing. “I love to fish.” And I would know. I am frequently asked to open the gates to Puckton, my town, so my mom can go fishing and chat it up with my neighbors. Is that such an evil reason for playing a game that the ignorant think is just for kids? Is it so evil that Animal Crossing is bringing our family closer together by giving us all something to talk about? I guess KMIZ never thought of that.
Yes, the heart of the game is to interact with characters whether they are controlled by a human or the computer. But the only danger through this means of entertainment is through the lack of parental supervision in what kids do on their computers. If I am to believe the KMIZ report, they are accusing my mom, myself and any other adults of playing Animal Crossing for all the wrong reasons. Apparently, being an adult means fun must die.
To let KMIZ ABC 17 News know your thoughts, email reporter Jacqueline Lapine.