Christian video games, where Jesus is the resurrection, the life, and the 1-up.

Via Pharyngula, here’s a slightly alarmist article about a video game based on the Left Behind novels.

This game immerses children in present-day New York City — 500 square blocks, stretching from Wall Street to Chinatown, Greenwich Village, the United Nations headquarters, and Harlem. The game rewards children for how effectively they role play the killing of those who resist becoming a born again Christian. The game also offers players the opportunity to switch sides and fight for the army of the AntiChrist, releasing cloven-hoofed demons who feast on conservative Christians and their panicked proselytes (who taste a lot like Christian).
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 article focuses on the disturbing eliminationist elements in the game, but I think any game that lets you play as the Antichrist can’t be all bad. I can just imagine playing this game as Team Evil, cackling madly as I unleash my demonic horde. Sounds like fun!
More seriously, I’m never quite sure how I feel about games like this (or the similar jihadi video games that show up in the Middle East). The usual worry is that the eliminationist scenario and dehumanized opponents will make the player more inclined to real-world violence. But the counter-argument is that video games provide an outlet for political frustration and revenge fantasies, and hence reduce the amount of real-world violence. I’m not thoroughly convinced by either argument: really this is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of paranoid and apocalyptic rhetoric in the conservative Christian subculture that comprises Left Behind‘s target audience, and thus is merely a symptom of a larger problem.

6 thoughts on “Christian video games, where Jesus is the resurrection, the life, and the 1-up.

  1. Josh

    Hooray! Anti-christ antics!
    I hope the soundtrack is provided by the worst house band of all time, the ever-amusing D-Devils.

  2. Justin

    Guys, if you must play this thing, make sure it’s a pirated copy…
    My main objection to this game (and the Left Behind franchise in general) is simply that I’m appalled that flagrant idiocy is being financially rewarded.
    I rather liked some of the comments on Pharyngula, to the effect that the Christian apocalypse mythology is not a priori a bad idea as a game setting. Though I think a lot of people were thinking of the Good Omens version, which I prefer also. :-)

  3. Josh

    My pet peeve has to do when there are really good apocalyptic or in general religious tales out there but people go apeshit over absolute crap like Left Behind, the DaVinci Code and The Omen.
    This is the version of fandom pretty much epitomized by my friend and co-worker in Japan when we were discussing films. “I really like apocalyptic films. You know, end of the world Christian mythology. Like End of Days.” I’m not kidding, he said that.
    I can’t wait for The Omen to suck ass. Too bad it’s going to make lots of money anyway off of the idiots inducing childbirth so they don’t give birth to the Antichrist.

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