Wednesday, November 08, 2006

HATE-BASED, VIOLENT, EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN VIDEO GAME

To be released in time for Christmas 2006, to celebrate the birthday of the Prince of Peace

Quotations:

bullet"The game adheres to the medium's brutal conventions." Los Angeles Times.
bullet"Gives a whole new sinister flavor to the old hymn 'Onward Christian Soldiers', that's for sure." "BlueStocking," post to the TruthDig blog.
bullet"Is this paramilitary mission simulator for children anything other than prejudice and bigotry using religion as an organizing tool to get people in a violent frame of mind? The dialogue includes people saying, "Praise the Lord," as they blow infidels away.....The Scriptures say, 'Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.' (Proverbs 22:6) The Scriptures do not say, 'Train up a child in the way he should blow away the people of God as well as infidels: and when he is old enough, he will go out and do some killing'." Jonathan Hutson. 1

Overview:

A new video game called "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" was first shown at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles during 2006-MAY. The Los Angeles Times commented:

" 'Eternal Forces' is part of a new wave of religious games coming out at a time when the mainstream industry faces increasing criticism that its products celebrate misogynistic mayhem." 2

From the descriptions of the game on the Internet, it seems that this game's creators have replaced the hatred of women found in secular games with hatred of religions other than Evangelical Christianity, while keeping the killing and extreme violence intact.

Reviews of the game:

"Eternal Forces" is based on the runaway best selling book series "Left Behind" by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Both the game and books follow dispensational beliefs -- a subset of pre-millennial theology. This is a belief system that is a relatively recent development in Christianity. It was declared a heresy by the early Christian movement, but was resurrected in the early 19th century and is now very popular among Evangelical Christians.

Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities, believes that the game may be a financial success. He said:

"The reason that I think this game has a chance is that it's not particularly preachy. I will say some of the dialogue is pretty lame - people saying, 'Praise the Lord' after they blow away the bad guys. I think they're overdoing it a bit. But the message is OK."

Jack Thompson, an attorney, author, and critic of video game violence is concerned about the level of carnage in the game. He said:

"We're going to push this game at Christian kids to let them know there's a cool shooter game out there. Because of the Christian context, somehow it's OK? It's not OK. The context is irrelevant. It's a mass-killing game."

He also commented:

"It's absurd. You can be the Christians blowing away the infidels, and if that doesn't hit your hot button, you can be the Antichrist blowing away all the Christians."

Thompson has severed his ties with Tyndale House in a dispute over this game.

A. Larry Ross, president of a Christian public relations firm that helped to market Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" and three "Left Behind" movies commented on the game, apparently without having seen it. He said:

"There's an audience here. In addition to the youth audience - that's the primary target - there are parents who are concerned about what their children are exposed to and are encouraged by products that are biblically based. I would assume, if there is violence, it's the cosmic struggle of good versus evil, not gratuitous violence." 2

The game's plot:

The game is based on the assumption that God had separated babies and the saved -- individuals who have repented of their sin and trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior -- from the Earth. In a process called the Rapture, the saved miraculously rise through the air to meet Jesus Christ. They abandon trains, planes, automobiles, jobs, fields, sidewalks, homes, etc. That leaves only confused unbelievers "left behind" on earth. Some would be nominal Christians who were not saved before the rapture. Others would be Muslims, Hindus, most Mormons, most Roman Catholics, followers of all of the other religions in the world, secularists, Atheists, Agnostics, etc.

The "good side" is represented by the "Tribulation Force." These are often spouses, family members, and relatives of the saved Christians who had been raptured, have left the Earth, and are now with Jesus. According to the most common Evangelical Christian interpretation of key biblical passages, everyone left behind on earth must endure seven years of tribulation -- violent, horrendous evil which will cause the death of one third of the population of Earth in the greatest Holocaust the world has ever seen.

On the other side -- the bad guys -- are the infidels: the United Nations, the Antichrist, and his "Global Community Peacekeepers." They are the enemy to be destroyed.

The game involves a battle for New York City. It has a few interesting wrinkles not found in other violent computer games involving mass destruction and bloodbaths:

bulletBoth the Tribulation Force and Global Community Peacekeepers attempt to recruit lost souls in addition to fighting each other.
bulletWhenever a "good guy" kills an unbeliever or an innocent person, he or she loses some of their spirituality which has to be restored through prayer. Otherwise they might weaken to the point where they are in danger of being recruited by the infidels.
bulletThere are armies of angels and demons present who contribute to the carnage.
bulletWhile the Christians are exterminating the unbelievers with rifles, tanks, helicopters, etc., the players are provided with inspirational Christian music.
bullet"Conduct physical & spiritual warfare, using the power of prayer to strengthen your troops in combat and wield modern military weaponry throughout the game world."
bullet"Recover ancient scriptures and witness spectacular Angelic and Demonic activity as a direct consequence of your choices."
bullet"Command your forces through intense battles across a breathtaking, authentic depiction of New York City."
bullet"Control more than 30 units types - from Prayer Warrior and Hellraiser to Spies, Special Forces and Battle Tanks!" 3

The game itself:

The creators of the game expect to receive either an "E" rating (appropriate for ages 6 and above) or a "T" rating (for ages 13 and above.) It can be played by a single person, or by a team of up to eight players. In the latter case, one has the opportunity to play as a member of either the Tribulation Force or the Global Community Peacekeepers.

According to the producers of the game, one can engage in the following activities:

The Left Behind Games web site contains two Quick Time trailers. 3

Newsweek Magazine commented:

"Left Behind Games CEO Troy Lyndon, whose company went public in February, says the game's Christian themes will grab the audience that didn't mind gore in 'The Passion of the Christ.' 'We've thought through how the Christian right and the liberal left will slam us,' says Lyndon. 'But megachurches are very likely to embrace this game.' Though it will be marketed directly to congregations, Forces will also have a secular ad campaign in gaming magazines." 4

Allegations of spyware imbedded in the game:

According to The Register:

"Watchers of right-wing Christian groups in the States say a new apocalyptic videogame released by cultish Revelations-based fiction series Left Behind is riddled with spyware."

"Developers have incorporated software from an Israeli firm called Double Fusion. It incorporates video advertising and product placement into the game, and reportedly records players' behavior, location, and other data to be uploaded to Left Behind's Bible-powered marketing machine."

We have no way to verify whether this is a valid criticism of the game.

SOURCE: Religious Tolerance

1 Comments:

At November 08, 2006 11:42 PM, Blogger sattvicwarrior said...

great read. a bit long winded but thanks for sharing:)

 

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