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The devil’s in the decisions March 21, 2006

Posted by joshg in Christianity, morality & ethics.
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I’m just back from a short vacation, so I’m going to fall back on an old gripe of mine to keep the blog updates rolling. Flash back to this article from the New York Times on the rise of Christian games:

There is, however, one vital element of the ”cool” secular gaming experience that Christian developers say they will not embrace: the moral relativism embodied in the R.P.G., or role-playing game. In a game like World of Warcraft, the player is given the opportunity to experience the same virtual environment through the perspectives of a variety of different characters, some much less upright than others. The Christian gamers’ position is that, while you may fight the Devil and lose, you may not fight as the Devil.

This just boggles my mind, for so many reasons, but let’s see if I can restrain my urge to go, “Eeeeeeagh!” long enough to break down the reasons why. (more…)


A voice rings out: “Thou hast angered me.” March 14, 2006

Posted by joshg in divine NPCs, polytheism, prayer, retro games.
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So lately I’ve been playing this game with a built-in theological simulation system. It’s a fantasy turn-based action-RPG, with the stereotypical fantasy polytheistic worldview. However, this game goes into a lot more depth than your average D&D-style, “my god is a miracle vending machine and I get 8 quarters to spend,” sort of game mechanic.


Right Behind March 5, 2006

Posted by joshg in Christianity.
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Newsweek has a brief article on Left Behind Games‘ upcoming title, Left Behind: Eternal Forces.

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.

I have a hard time being optimistic about this game, but I’ve never been a fan of the Left Behind phenomenon. It heavily promotes a particular interpretation of prophetic Scripture to a higher level of precision and detail than seems supported by the text. I have no problem with someone believing in a pre-trib rapture, but when a massive marketing machine forces that view to the public without even acknowledging that it’s debated amongst Christian scholars, it just makes me uncomfortable.

Plus, I’m a natural cynic when it comes to Christian commercialism. I love my local Christian bookstore as much as the next cheesy evangelical, but maybe that’s why it bothers me when I see a wall of sequels churned out from the Left Behind crew so quickly. I keep telling myself that maybe they’re just that sincere and passionate about what they write, and maybe that passion for their story is why they’re starting a games offshoot.


A Force Jump of faith March 1, 2006

Posted by joshg in mainstream games, morality & ethics.
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Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith took a different route than the original game. No longer were force powers “Dark” or “Light” – everything became neutral. You also played a different character, Mara Jade, who had been a former servant of the evil Emperor. (Perhaps the neutrality of previously “dark” and “light” powers was meant to reflect the conflicted nature of Mara’s training, but probably it was just a gameplay design choice. It made multiplayer gameplay much more flexible and interesting.)

Similarly, Mysteries of the Sith had no narrative branching. However, this didn’t mean that the designers were ignoring choice.

I’m going to talk about the ending of the game, so spoilers after the break.