Culture At Large

God in the games

Andy Rau

Journalist Joel Stein, writing for the LA Times, has an interesting take on this year's E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo, the big videogame convention):

... It was even worse than I could have anticipated... Unable to suffer through another trailer to a video game, I needed to make myself feel better the only way I knew how: to find someone who hated being at E3 even more than I did.

That's when I noticed the "Bible Game," a PlayStation game coming out in August that was created by a Mormon bishop from Utah who is a personal counselor at Brigham Young University, father of five and an ex-Scoutmaster. If half-naked women and blood-soaked monsters were wearing on me, I couldn't imagine what kind of a shower this guy was going to have to take in his hotel room.

This caught my attention for a couple reasons. First, it confirms that stuffy religious types aren't the only ones who are a bit alarmed by the ubiquitous sex and violence used to market today's videogames. Second, it hints at some worthwhile questions that don't normally crop up in reports about religious game designers. Namely: Is there a place for religious or moralistic titles on videogame store shelves? Would a religious game make sense, or make a difference, or even make any sales in the current industry environment? Is the unpleasantness that characterizes so many popular games too overwhelming to make gaming evangelism or discipleship feasible?

I get a sense that Christians on the whole haven't quite come to grips with how to handle the uber-popular videogame medium, despite successful efforts by some to establish onlineChristiangamingcommunities. Most press coverage of Christian gaming tends to mention the same twoorthree games--implying that there isn't a lot of overtly Christian game design going on--and don't talk much at all about Christians who may already be involved in the mainstream game industry.

More discussion over at Church of the Masses.

update: ...and much more on the topic at this GetReligion post from early May.

Topics: Culture At Large, Arts & Leisure, Entertainment