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December 14, 2006

Ho, Ho, Horrible

Ho, ho, ho. A game for those on the "naughty" list? How about for those who are on your "unsaved" list?

The line has really been crossed, folks, with this new piece of entertainment.

"The critics describe it as 'a violent video game in which born-again Christians aim to convert or kill those who don't adhere to their extreme ideology.'" Great. Just great.

The best part is that after you kill people you get to recharge your soul points by bending down in prayer.

Ok, who was smoking what when this "great" idea was conceived? What do you guys think?

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Comments

Farley

I did some fact checking on this game a couple of weeks ago, and found it very disturbing. Although the games critics may be exaggerating some of the details, most of their concerns appear to be valid. Sad, sad, sad.

Katharine Eastvold

Absolutely horrible, I agree. The sad thing is how this is reflecting on evangelicals. John Kass of the Chicago Tribune wrote a column today about the game, quoted several "liberal Christian" leaders criticizing it, and then said he was "stepping back to let the religious left and right fight this one one." No, no, John, this is not a battle between the "religious right" and "religious left." We conservative Christians need to be outspoken in denouncing this and similar games, which are not only violent and in poor taste, but theologically misleading in the extreme. I'm appalled that the actions of a few in marketing this product are causing such a grievous misunderstanding of what conservative Christians believe.

SBK

When I first read this post, I thought it referred to a game created by Christian detractors...(who would have revealed their prejudiced view of what it means to be a Christian). That not being the case... I am disturbed. I think it shows that the people who made it put no thought into how the ideology behind the game would be perceived. Besides the premise being imaginary/hypothetical (in the sense that we really don't know what's going to happen), the idea of force being a method of conversion is, simply, untenable... in every conceivable way.

David Bromberg

Now to be fair, I haven't played the game, but even secular reviews of this game are calling descriptions like yours inaccurate (see http://arstechnica.com/reviews/games/leftbehind.ars ). The game emphasizes that violence is a last resort, and most of the gameplay is non-violent. Whether it's a good game, or even a good ministry tool is another thing, but it's certainly not what many folks are describing it as.

Farley

If interested, a review of the game can be found at Gamespot.com (http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/leftbehindeternalforces/review.html?sid=6162370 ).

On Left Behind Games website (http://www.leftbehindgames.com/pages/faq.htm ), they have posted an answer to the question, "Are guns used by Christians against non-Christians? Why or why not?"

Their answer is, "The storyline in the game begins just after the Rapture has occurred – when all adult Christians, all infants, and many children were instantly swept home to Heaven and off the Earth by God. The remaining population – those who were left behind – are then poised to make a decision at some point. They cannot remain neutral. Their choice is to either join the AntiChrist – which is an imposturous one world government seeking peace for all of mankind, or they may join the Tribulation Force – which seeks to expose the truth and defend themselves against the forces of the AntiChrist."

I'll take that answer as an affirmative in regards to Christians using guns against non-Christians.

SBK

"...Their choice is to either join the AntiChrist – which is an imposturous one world government seeking peace for all of mankind, or they may join the Tribulation Force – which seeks to expose the truth and defend themselves against the forces of the AntiChrist."

So, according to the Left Behind website, people can either seek world peace or join the Tribulation Force to 'expose the truth'... that... people are trying to make world... peace? What a terrible way to expose people to the Gospel of Christ. If I were reading this stuff as a non-Christian, I would think they are crazy.

Ted Slater

The folks with PluggedInOnline.org had advance copies of the finalized version of the game, and some of the team played all 40 levels (at over an hour per level, you should have a sense as to how long they interacted with it). They also had a chance to spend a couple of hours with some of the people who produced the game.

I'd encourage you to take a look at their review, a review from Christians who have wrestled with this game since they first got wind of it a long time ago:

http://www.pluggedinonline.com/thisweekonly/a0002989.cfm

I don't care, frankly; I don't play many video games, and am not drawn to this one. I think we should be cautious, though, to take CNN's review at face value.

Shane Vander Hart

I first read about this in the Chicago Tribune, and then blogged on it. The link for the blog post is: http://shanevanderhart.blogspot.com/2006/12/christian-video-games.html

I think this is a horrible trend.

Holly

My local newspaper has already published several letters to the editor using this as grounds for further condemnation of "the Christian right". Did no one foresee the way this game would be received?

SJR

This post is provided by Troy Lyndon, the CEO of Left Behind Games.

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY endorses our game. Read below to find out why!

Our game DOES NOT encourage killing.

Our game is NOT anti-semitic.

Our game is NOT anti-muslim or anti-islamic.

It is anti-EVIL! The ultimate bad-guy is the Antichrist who wants to eliminate all faiths and all religions, except his and he is deceiving the entire world.

Our game does NOT teach the pre-tribulation theology of the book series, except that this worldview is utilized as a FICTIONAL backdrop of the game.

In the past several days, numerous people have been and continue to spread misinformation about the game.

Our game is the first game ever to encourage the use of PRAYER and WORSHIP as the most effective means to resolve conflict.

Physical warfare is discouraged as the LEAST EFFECTIVE means for resolving conflict…and a gamer loses points for using a gun.

This is the world’s first high-quality inspirational game which intends to model positive behavior by discouraging physical warfare.

Please play the game for yourself and help us to get out the TRUTH.

In an industry which creates so much gratuitous violence and gore, LEFT BEHIND: Eternal Forces presents a healthy alternative. We need your help to get the word out!

PLAY THE GAME and find out for yourself that this game is about the battle of good versus evil.

Here are a few things said by others:

- The Anti-Defamation League, although they speak out against the book theology, says “Conversion to Christianity in the game is not depicted as forcible in nature, and violence is not rewarded in the game.”

- AOL says it is a “Positive Moral Message”

- Focus on the Family says “Finally! A game Mom and Dad can play with Junior”

- Concerned Women for America says “A game we can wholeheartedly recommend!”

- Wired Magazine “Few are as ambitious and polished as this PC title.”

- ArsTechnica.com “This is a game that Christian parents can buy their kids, and one that Christian kids can play themselves without any guilt about "questionable content."”

- Women of Faith says “In an industry that is full of destruction with no hope, the LEFT BEHIND game

- Clint Thomas from Chaos Theory says “For years we’ve been telling kids what to run from and not what to run to, until now!”

Should you have any concerns about this game, please go to the contact us page on our website at www.leftbehindgames.com and we’ll do our best to connect with you.

Sincerely,

- Troy

John

I think this game is a horrible idea. For a lot of the reasons already listed above, but for another, deeper reason as well. Let's take a step back: Can one even have a "Christian" video game? For Christian parents (and parents in general too), I don't think the question should be between a video game that purports to be "Christian" and one that doesn't. The question they should be asking is, "Why is my child wasting hours every day in front of a computer game in the first place?" These sorts of so-called Christian alternatives to popular culture really don't present an alternative at all, just another way of being in the culture.

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