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« ’Hello, my name is Allen . . .’ | Main | The results are in »

May 23, 2007

Re: After the hype: Thoughts on ’Left Behind,’ the game

Thanks for your post, Gina, and your personal thoughts on the game. (Thanks also for such undeserved praise on my behalf. Let me just say that I'm so glad my potential success in life is not factored by my gaming skills. :-) )

But seriously, it really should come as no surprise that the game was poorly designed. Commentary from a variety of different sources claimed as much, so it really doesn't warrant any further dialog, aside from noting publicly my own disappointment in the lack of a high standard for design.

The content of the game itself should raise some red flags, although maybe not evident on its face. I took a very harsh stance against the game when it first rolled out, and found myself confronted by a lead executive of Left Behind Games. During our extended conversation it became clear to me that our debate wasn't just about the game, but the presence of many other issues brought forth by its release, which had produced some very bad fruit (i.e. dissension within the Church, etc). That, in fact, was my greatest concern.

Our conversation began as very one-sided, with me listening while he attempted to shoot down all my concerns. But, I acknowledge that he did help set me straight in some of the areas where I was misinformed. I'm grateful now to have not only heard their side of the story for myself, but also to have played the game. That said, I'm still not sold.

I, like Gina, was very disturbed at the flippant "hallaleluias" and "praise the Lords" that randomly flew out of my character's mouth. All of them were so cheesy that I can't imagine any player responding positively. Even as an adult I found I was highly annoyed after just a short time of playing the game. (Gina is not joking when she said he utters those words every time he moves! Walk here, hallelluia; talk to this guy, praise the Lord!)

And I do have an issue with the violence. I recognize that violence is discouraged, but the fact is, it's still there. Why else would it have a "t-teen" rating? Chuck mentioned the issue of violence with children in a recent BreakPoint, "As Seen on TV." While he only briefly mentions the effect of video games, the point he makes should guide us even in our evaluation of Eternal Forces. Violence isn't okay just because it has a Christian label. In fact, because it has a Christian label I'm concerned even more.

The presence of spiritual warfare is an unseen reality. The "end times" are not some platonic concept provided for human thrill and entertainment. The truths in Revelation are real. Frightening (especially if you're a non-believer), and real. Yet a game such as this downplays these realities and does nothing to train our children in the truths of spiritual warfare. Rather, like Chuck stated, children become more desensitized when witnessing such events over and over in their electronic world. And this affects all aspects of the game: Prayer is devalued from an amazing privilege and opportunity to talk to the Creator of the universe, to simply another daily "task" required for survival. Evangelism is rejected as an opportunity for a discipling relationship, and becomes simply a method of recruitment. (Read: all that matters is that you make sure you have as many people fighting on the "best" side as possible. In fact, let's build an evangelism factory!) In a current age where many youth seem to lack a true understanding of the Gospel and Christianity, this version of misinformed truth is the last thing I think we need.

We should make the effort to pull our children away from their technology-laden, unrealistic worlds to instruct them in the truth and severity of the Gospel and the "end times." And while we're at it, why not teach them the true value of prayer and provide them with the spirtitual tools needed for battle?

I'm not saying the game is of the devil. But I would urge you not to let you children play this game simply because it has a Christian label. Do you want your child potentially trivilaizing some of the fundamental, and serious, aspects of the Gospel?

So for what it's worth, those are my thoughts in a nutshell. Well, a big nutshell. :-)

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Comments

Josh the Former Intern

Faith and Gina,

Not-so-regretfully, I have failed thus far to play the Left Behind video game. However, I thought you both might appreciate this review of the Left Behind movie that Rod Dreher did a while back. I came across it a few weeks ago, and laughed so hard that my roommates began asking if I was okay. If the video game is at all on par with the movie, Dreher's piece will be just as pertinent.

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment020601b.shtml

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