Christian Video Games set to make comeback?
May 24, 2005 6:55 PM   Subscribe

Christian Video Games set to make comeback? Tired of destroying the same old cliched monsters, day in day out? Want to engross yourself in a more morally sound, Religious video game experience? Well if the Christian gaming community has their way, we'll soon all be playing them (or at least a few % of gamers): "As believers in Christ, we pray that God will be glorified through our work and that each of us draw nearer to him as we develop and grow as a business," the Christian game company says
posted by 0bvious (56 comments total)
I reckon the possibilities here are endless! For instance, if you want Christian historical realism how about a game based around the time of The Spanish Inquisition? Surely you can forget the blood and guts when the people you mutilate are going straight to hell? It's Meme time!
posted by 0bvious at 6:58 PM on May 24, 2005

I wouldn't mind a good game of "David and Bathsheba" with a girl in a Catholic schoogirl skirt.

Maybe this company can succeed in turning you guys into a nation full of Flanderses.
posted by clevershark at 7:21 PM on May 24, 2005

did anyone here play any of those old NES bible games? They have a fame that far exceeded their original distribution
posted by 0bvious at 7:22 PM on May 24, 2005

Well, as a Christian I'll try a non-snark response. The fact is that anyone following any kind of metaphysical belief system, but existing in a complex world, runs into the conflict between the world as it exists and their beliefs. Is it necessarily a bad thing for individuals to attempt to find compromise between these two conceptual realities by creating alternatives, rather than attempting to make the world go away through regulation and control?

Personally, all belief aside I wouldn't mind seeing more video games (and books, and movies, and...) that strive to create drama and adrenaline without resorting to the fist in the face or the loaded gun. I'd like to see more heroes who don't resort to violence to resolve every conflict. I don't mind a good shoot-em-up but our society's pervasive eroticism of violence should give pause to a thoughtful person of any belief system. This will be an easy thread for the exercise of the sarcasm center: I'll be curious to see how many exercise the rest of their minds to consider the broader question of how creative people undertake the work of justifying their beliefs with the demands of a broader world.
posted by nanojath at 7:26 PM on May 24, 2005

If I can play as a Roman soldier, with a fist full of nails... I'm in!
posted by R. Mutt at 7:29 PM on May 24, 2005

Its not JUST violence that video games depict. I have played a fair few games with a deep underlying moral tone (some of the old point and click adventure games come to mind - or check out the newer console game Beyond Good and Evil for evidence of this). Making games to promote a non-violent, moral ideal is one thing, making games to promote Religious ideas in entirely another.
Why do religious people have to always assume that only those who follow religion are those who have morals?
posted by 0bvious at 7:32 PM on May 24, 2005

did anyone here play any of those old NES bible games? They have a fame that far exceeded their original distribution

I did actually play some bible related game from Wisdom Tree on the original GameBoy. I vaguely recall having to find "mana" or something.

I quickly lost interest.
posted by cmonkey at 7:33 PM on May 24, 2005

nanojath writes "I'd like to see more heroes who don't resort to violence to resolve every conflict."

Games are mostly about driving ridiculously fast cars and shooting large weapons, because those are things we're generally not allowed to do in our daily lives. Video games are largely about escaping from reality and blowing steam in ways which, were they transposed onto the real world, wouldn't be socially acceptable. There isn't really an Unreal Tournament (or, AFAIK, a Lliandri Corporation), and frankly if there were it wouldn't be nearly as exciting and fun as the game.

That being said, there are already plenty of games that don't involve violence. It's a pretty stereotypical view to think that those games don't already exist.
posted by clevershark at 7:36 PM on May 24, 2005

More power to them -- the industry needs more variety, tho I fail to see how Bible-centricicty will do squat for a game, outside qualming jittery parental-units. If it has interesting gameplay and is constructed well, rock on. I suspect, however, that this will not be the case.

Also, Christians generally like to evangelize and I would think this is an example of that -- which is to say, the point is probably about spreading The Good News and not really about creating making great art/entertainment software.
posted by undule at 7:41 PM on May 24, 2005

I saw Natsume(?)'s "The BIBLE Game" at E3, and made many jokes about the nonfunctional demo kiosks that were (by all appearances) being repaired by technicians. "Ha ha," I said, "I guess God doesn't like that game so much after all."

Then I realized it was just 6 PM, and the hall was shutting down.

Oh, relevance? Okay, how about: teens preaching the Word of God through M-rated Halo 2 online.
posted by kevspace at 7:46 PM on May 24, 2005

What's that multiplayer shooter where you throw balls at each other? That was fun.
posted by mr.marx at 7:49 PM on May 24, 2005

A predictable response, but food for thought: how well would a "no violence, no sex" policy work for a game about the actual narrative of the Bible?
posted by kevspace at 7:50 PM on May 24, 2005


(Check out Rod Flanders' file)
posted by Embryo at 7:58 PM on May 24, 2005

Not very well, kevspace. Really, try to video game this.
posted by geekyguy at 8:21 PM on May 24, 2005

"...while promoting Christian values - without the violent or sexually explicit content."

Yes, good ol' non-violent fare like the Inquisition, the crusades, the conversion of the Americas, the Salem witch trials, "The Passion", and pretty much all of the Old Testament.

Good luck with that, Reverend.
posted by Gamblor at 8:29 PM on May 24, 2005

A comeback? Oh please; how arrogant. Doesn't a comeback require actually having had some significant sway in the games scene/industry in the first place?

[/Video gaming's less than a century old. Are we starting with the revisionist history already?]
posted by PsychoKick at 8:39 PM on May 24, 2005

vomiting copious amounts of bile as I imagine the possibilities. . . .
posted by mk1gti at 8:42 PM on May 24, 2005

I suppose you could have a first-person helper game called "Good Samaritan" in which you rescue people who lie beaten up by the side of the road. Actually this could be an intriguing side game for a second player in GTA 3 and above.

Note that I wrote "intriguing", not "interesting".
posted by clevershark at 8:49 PM on May 24, 2005

Though I'm a total athiest (h8 u god!), I'd play a game (if it was good) with a Christian theme. I'd also play a Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jainist, Zoroastrian, Sikh, Ba'hai, or Jewish videogame. Just like the Video Game Manifesto was saying, games should broaden their horizons.

Imagine a game where you play a young Jewish male in Roman-occupied Jerusalem. Your mission- amass a party of 12 followers. Mini-games to turn water into wine, feed 5000, debate the pharisees, plus an FPS section where you kick some moneylender ass! Then you have to try to find the traitor in your midst before he turns states-evidence. And if you haven't reached a certain holiness level, then no resurrection for you!
posted by papakwanz at 8:57 PM on May 24, 2005

How about an RTS where you build up a televangelism empire from scratch?
posted by clevershark at 9:01 PM on May 24, 2005

mr.marx: You mean Nerf Shooter or something like that? That was an excellent game. Nice graphics too, bright colours were a nice change from the browny gloom of Quake.
posted by fvw at 9:29 PM on May 24, 2005

Meanwhile, there's always Waco Resurrection.
posted by ddf at 9:43 PM on May 24, 2005

Can't they just play regular violent videogames and pretend it's a rousing game of "Smite the heathens"?
posted by clevershark at 10:51 PM on May 24, 2005

fvw: Yes, that's it! Nerf Arena Blast. Thank you.
posted by mr.marx at 11:00 PM on May 24, 2005

Since you folks obviously missed out on playing Catechumen, the only FPS where a successful hit with your weapon causes enemies to fall on their knees and repent to the sound of the Hallelujah Chorus (and no, they do not become Unitarians if you just wing 'em), here's Old Man Murray interviewing the guy whose company made it.
posted by straight at 11:11 PM on May 24, 2005

clevershark: This already is a side game in GTA 3 and later. Just hop in an ambulance and follow the instructions on the screen, starting by pushing down the R3 stick.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 11:16 PM on May 24, 2005

Crave Entertainment's The Bible Game casts players as contestants on a game show, answering questions on anything from Noah's Ark to David and Goliath.

Oh man holy shit I better preorder that; it sounds like a thrill a minute! And such a clever premise!

Ugh. Maybe they can team up with Derek Smart and make a game so bad even God could not play it.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:33 PM on May 24, 2005

Lot's Daughters - they have to get their father drunk enough but not too drunk.
posted by pracowity at 12:21 AM on May 25, 2005

I'd love to see a christian of Jungle King with Jesus jumping boulders.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 12:37 AM on May 25, 2005

Though I'm a total athiest (h8 u god!) ...

Uh... doesn't an atheist not believe in (g|G)od? How can you hate a concept in which you don't believe?? :-)

Aaaanyway - I like the idea of having religious games; imagine the possibilities :-
A Christian game where you have to escape from the lions, or the Romans, where you can get crucified (but it's OK - after three days of game time you can get resurrected... insert credit player 1escape the cannibals! Convert the natives!), or a conquistador (steal the gold! Convert the natives!), or a crusader (kill the heathens! Steal their priceless artifacts!), or a US President (kill the heathens! Steal their oil!)
How about a Jewish variant ("You are in a room with one door to the north. There is a smell of gas. What next? Go NorthThe door is locked. The smell of gas is stronger. You die. Play again? (Y/N)")?
How about Islam (stonings would be too boring; how about a dating game? Try and find the hottie amongst all the munters, all hidden by their hijab veil thing)??
Or for light relief, a Buddhist game (where, depending on your actions, you get reincarnated higher or lower in the order... can you achieve nibbanah?) or perhaps a Jehovah's Witness one (convert enough unbelievers and secure your place in heaven!).

Of course, in order for there to be balance, you'd need a satanism-based game... but I've got no idea what you could do in this one :-)

posted by Chunder at 3:34 AM on May 25, 2005

Actually, there could be an interesting opportunity for some edutainment (ugh!) based upon biblical parables...

Choose where you want to plant your seeds (not in the Onanism sense, mind you!) and see how well your crops grow.

Pick where you want to build your house, and see how long it lasts.

Work out how to divide up five loaves and two fish between 5000 people.

How many cripples can you heal in 2 minutes?


I suppose I'd better stop now before I incur the wrath of God (uh... or rather, my boss!)
posted by Chunder at 3:42 AM on May 25, 2005

*sigh* Looks like I borked my tags in my first post. Where it says "escape the cannibals! Convert the natives!)" it should read "be a missionary (escape the cannibals! Convert the natives!)".

/post-whore, sorry!

posted by Chunder at 3:44 AM on May 25, 2005

What's that multiplayer shooter where you throw balls at each other? That was fun.

fvw: Yes, that's it! Nerf Arena Blast. Thank you.

Awww, and I thought that was a clever reference to Pong.
posted by TungstenChef at 3:56 AM on May 25, 2005

I'm a total athiest (h8 u god!)

ummmm. kay?
posted by glenwood at 5:23 AM on May 25, 2005

I'm really not that clever.
posted by mr.marx at 5:53 AM on May 25, 2005

As long as it didn't take a heathen conversion theme, this could actually be a cool idea. How about a game based on Pilgrim's Progress? Or how about one with many, many levels based on the entire Bible, starting with Adam and Eve and ending up with the signs of the apocalypse? Personally I don't find my lack of belief in God hinders me from enjoying The Messiah or literature with Biblical references and precepts. I don't see why a well designed video game should automatically be anathema.
posted by orange swan at 5:58 AM on May 25, 2005

I can only assume that these games will embody the same spirit of uncompromising excellence as Christian rock and Christian theme parks.
posted by boaz at 6:06 AM on May 25, 2005

>Eat Apple
You munch the apple, savouring the taste.
You suddenly find that you are naked - your bits are dangling, and you feel embarassed.
Exits lie to the north and the east.


You see Able.
>Wave at Able
Able did not see you.
>Say Hi to Able
Able says "Hi Cain. What are you doing?"
>Kill Able
You hit Able for all you are worth. He dies.

Hmm - I think that this would be contrary to the requirements that there is less sexual content, and less violence in the Christian games... :-)
posted by Chunder at 6:24 AM on May 25, 2005

Christian Video Games set to make comeback? Tired of destroying the same old cliched monsters, day in day out?

We get to destroy christians now? Way cool!

*reads article and rest of post*

Aww, nuts! *kicks a rock*
posted by C17H19NO3 at 6:28 AM on May 25, 2005

I once had to look after a couple of kids for the evening, and was surprised to find them really well behaved. they even came and told me it was time for them to go to bed.

I sent them off to bed and had a look at the stack of CDs next to their computer.
Captain Bible: Dome of Darkness.

I'm not a christian. which is why I regret not stealing it for my own amusement.

and you still fight monsters ya know
posted by lemonfridge at 7:06 AM on May 25, 2005

A comeback? Oh please; how arrogant. Doesn't a comeback require actually having had some significant sway in the games scene/industry in the first place?

Surely you forget the "god" mode of DOOM. Strictly Old Testament, though.
posted by mkultra at 8:00 AM on May 25, 2005

- did you see that combo i pulled on that sinner? double scathing look followed by a preachy remark and a prayer!

- geepers!

- i'm having trouble getting through the "don't masturbate" level though
posted by ignu at 8:38 AM on May 25, 2005

nanojath: Every reasonable person makes decisions about what sort of media/entertainment/etc they feel comfortable embrasing.

What's odd is this desire to create some sort of alternate universe with Christian-branded versions of everything secular. I ultimately see this as pure marketing strategy: as a way to relieve parents of their responsibility to evaluate the media their kids absorb. I've worked with plenty of kids who tell me "my parents only let me listen to Christian rock." What a cop out.

I'll leave to others the obvious fact that any game based on biblical accounts or the history of the church would have its own share of violence.

Here's an idea that many conservative Christians miss: encountering ideas you don't agree with is good for you. It gives you a chance to learn about the world, challenge your own dogmas, and understand yourself. Exposure to ideas doesn't mean inevitable, zombie-like acceptance of them.
posted by wheat at 8:40 AM on May 25, 2005

Thinking about this, the only explanation that makes sense that that this is marketing BS calculated to scam naive parents into buying their product over the competition. Kinda like televangalists - using religion as a hook for $$$.

The industry is already awash with non-violent games - they own the all-time-biggest-sellers lists, you just hear about GTA3 much more often than the Sims precisely because GTA3 is contraversial and the Sims is not.

If "Christain" games claim non-violence as their primary shining point, they offer no gain over chart-topping existing offerings (which are likewise non-violent), but even this non-violence claim is a joke if you look at Christain games like Catechumen, where you slaughter Romans, under a crusader-like mentality that you're actually doing them a favour because they must be possessed. So what can they offer, beyond Christain Edutainment titles? Answer: An endless supply of marketing weasel words to shift product on the less-discerning buyers (ie parents who don't play the games and are not buying for themselves).

I also wonder about Doom being the posterboy for Christian-unfriendly games. I don't understand that - the player is challenged to stop the demons, not join them. There are no evil rites or stuff to corrupt minds, just the premise that there can be physical war between humans and evil. Is the problem that the demons, being demons, sometimes have pentagrams? Are Christians supposed to run away whenever they see a pentagram? That doesn't strike me as very useful teaching or attitude.

The guy speaks about gore being a problem. Well, each to their own, but I personally think that if you're going to stick a knife in someone in a "Christian" game, the absence of gore is more un-christian than having it - the consequences of your violence should not be whitewashed if the teachings of Jesus matter. The Christain thing to do about violence is to have the gore, and other consequences of your violent actions fully depicted, and have alternatives to violence, so the player can learn to find better ways, even when under threat and pressure. And guess what - that horrible games industry is already producing titles that teach this.

So, what can Christain games offer that is not already being done with bigger budgets and more sophisticated production techniques than is availible to these niche producers?

Other than weasel words, very little.
posted by -harlequin- at 9:31 AM on May 25, 2005

In case anyone asks, I have no idea why I so often accidentially hit the "a" before the "i" when typing "Christian", but it's annoyingly frequent.
posted by -harlequin- at 9:44 AM on May 25, 2005

Civilization IV is going to allow the player to choose from several real religions, and provide bonuses when you're able to convert rival cites to your religion using missionary units.

I wonder if this group would be opposed or supportive?
posted by catachresoid at 11:48 AM on May 25, 2005

I actually own a great deal of original Wisdom Tree cartridges. "Spiritual Warfare" is actually a really good game (I have it on NES and Sega Genesis). it's one of the best original zelda clones I've ever played.
posted by mcsweetie at 1:03 PM on May 25, 2005

Seanbaby on NES Bible Adventures. Hilarious as always.
posted by jcruelty at 2:26 PM on May 25, 2005

Either God gives me a god damn pony detector or He's just going to have to make some more ponies after he's done killing everybody.
Man oh man. Laughin' here.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:09 PM on May 25, 2005

Or for light relief, a Buddhist game (where, depending on your actions, you get reincarnated higher or lower in the order... can you achieve nibbanah?)

Buddhist, a game by Ze Frank.
posted by Tufa at 5:27 PM on May 25, 2005

Man, that Waco Resurrection game looked pretty cool. Unfortunately ...

c-level is no longer active as a project-based entity. The website will be maintained as a historical archive.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:29 PM on May 25, 2005

Also, kevspace, I thought you were gonna link to this Christian Post piece - How to Witness Using Halo 2.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:35 PM on May 25, 2005

A new release, announced on the fringes of the ES gaming expo in Los Angeles last week


So even a small share of the expanding industry is a tempting prize.

No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:02 PM on May 25, 2005

Buddhist, a game by Ze Frank.

Cure you, Tufa, beating me by a couple of posts.

See also the Atheist version.

The Christian one? Meh.
posted by Mr Bismarck at 5:05 AM on May 26, 2005

You're not ill, Tufa? Ok, then curse you. Which is what I meant to put.

Stupid fingers.
posted by Mr Bismarck at 5:27 AM on May 26, 2005

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you. Not as the world giveth, give I unto you...." John 14:27

So... it almost sounds like you can't deliver the gospel in the way that the world at large delivers its products.

What some people can't seem to figure out is that the medium modifies the message.
posted by weston at 9:49 AM on May 26, 2005

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