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An article about Christian concepts, beliefs and values in video games.

Posted by feillyne on Nov 29th, 2011

Unlike many other religions and philosophies and their concepts that are hardly taken up by any developers (for example Buddhism), one can see various forms of Christianity in video games.

But first, have you seen a Christian game yourself? What conditions and requirements would you set to consider a game Christian?

Are they Christian themes? Or maybe Christian games are characterised by nonviolence?
Or, perhaps, they simply reference biblical stories or the Bible itself?

There are many examples of these kinds of games that are called Christian.

To start with, Adam's Venture's story (Episode 1: The Search for the Lost Garden):

Quote:The player directs the young explorer Adam Venture on a quest for the long lost Garden of Eden. During these endeavors he will encounter fragments from the Bible and, through a variety of puzzles, learn about common Christian values.

Adam's Venture Adam's Venture

Adam's Venture is influenced by both Indiana Jones and biblical concept of Eden (the Garden of Eden). Other games include religions as political factors influencing the core gameplay, for example, Knights of Honor, though values themselves are not pictured or referenced in any way.

Others, such as The Axys Adventures: Truth Seeker, have very little to nothing to do with Christianity itself, this game (The Axys Adventures) simply won the Christian Game of the Year award at Christian Game Developers Conference.

Yet another type of Christian video game or so-called Christian game can be Left Behind: Eternal Forces that is based around the concept of Rapture. It got pretty negative reviews on account of (quoting) "ridiculous plot", "promoting sexism, bigotry and religious warfare", and "the option to play on the side of the Antichrist in a Christian video game". Left Behind has sequels as well, Left Behind: Tribulation Forces, Left Behind 3: Rise of the Antichrist, and Left Behind 4: World at War.

Screenshot Screenshot

So, what would you call or not call a Christian game? Does developing them has a point? Should such games have an "educational" purpose of any sort or such an attitude should be left alone without pushing anything on players and audience? What's your opinion about all this?

PS Christian Game Developers Conference website: Cgdc.org

Post comment Comments
booman
booman Nov 29 2011, 2:10pm says:

This is a great topic because Christians get tired of playing games that are plagued with swearing, sex, stealing, murder and exaggerated amounts of blood.
I find myself looking for "T" rated games but the real winners always seem to be "M" games. So I'll settle for it and play the "M" titles anyways, but I always ask myself if all the previously noted elements are necessary.
Its easy to pass off the blood & gore because the Bible is full of it. There is plenty of War in the Bible too where women, children and livestock was all obliterated by Gods command.
There is a lot of debate about violence in games and how children are less sensitive to mature themes. I could go on and on...
Most "M" games today are equal to rated "R" movies. I have sold off games that were just too mature and even wondered if I should have thrown it in the trash.
In the end, my favorite games are usually Fantasy and "T" in nature. I look forward to a good Christian title that includes stories from the Bible (even the wars) and teaches about Jesus. Its difficult for developers to do this because is playing a game really worship? Well yes, but we usually pass it as entertainment. Can developers create a game that encourages us to grow, love, give, serve and proclaim the Work of Jesus? I'm sure its possible, but most people will think its boring...
... some day the developers will do it
Assassins Creed has some Religious themes with Christian history and was extremely fun, but of course the main character murders for the sake of war, religion and politics.
Maybe there is a way to create a character like that who, stops assassins and saves people in the time of war?

+5 votes     reply to comment
MattmanDude
MattmanDude Nov 29 2011, 2:40pm says:

I agree with Booman partially with the Assassin's Creed franchise. But, you didn't mention the fact that, while it has Christian and Muslim history and themes, it actually uses the Apple of Eden as a way of saying that there is no God and no afterlife and no higher power at all.
So for that reason instead of the violence I'd say the AC franchise isn't really Christian.

As for making games soley to be Christian. I think it's a good idea and I think it can be done. But while Booman believes that would be boring I would say that it doesn't have to be. Think of all the movies that have Christian elements. Some are boring documentaries but some are actually epic films, or maybe even simple cartoons to entertain young children. These are meant to entertain but still bring people closer to God. I think the same can be done with video games. We just need to bridge the gap between entertainment and education in a non-offensive way.

Another game I'd like to mention for the list is Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. The game may say that it is about finding Shangri La, but by the end we discover that it's the Tree of Life in Shangri La that the villain was looking for. This would indicate that Shangri La would have been built atop the Garden of Eden. An interesting twist. :)

+4 votes     reply to comment
Velancious
Velancious Nov 29 2011, 6:07pm replied:

I found the Assassins Creed series quite interesting and gorgeous at how they showed off the old cities like Jerusalem. Even though the story reveals itself to be based off an entire conspiracy theory, it also does have a 'God'. It's not the Christian God; more like an alien race I guess you could call it.

I find that interesting, yet not very much different from current human history. Human history as we know it, is bloody and pretty much corrupt. Still, it's understandable since we're half a chromosome from becoming an chimpanzee. We obviously got our problems (and I believe we are heavily flawed as a result), but I don't stop that from us eventually changing one day.

I have a strong belief that one day we might finally change and begin to accept everybody as an equal; and it is that day when we start to band together as a society and not as an individual out to fill his own wallet.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Ambient_Malice
Ambient_Malice Nov 29 2011, 7:12pm says:

Trying to define a 'Christian' game is like trying to define a 'Christian' painting. Or novel. I indulge in the academics of it myself, but at the end of the day... Since the Bard was Christian, does that make his entire body of work, from Romeo and Juliet to As You Like It, Christian?

It would be interesting to survey companies like Bioware and Bethesda, and find out where the Christians are.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Yuribeard7
Yuribeard7 Nov 29 2011, 7:46pm says:

Dante's Inferno would be one example even though its heavily saturated with ancient Greek mythology and other pagan things. It has some stuff loosely based in the Bible not not much. It also has quite a bit of nudity which puts me off from it even though it makes sense and is natural. Its loosely based off of "the Divine Comedy" and takes place during the 3rd Crusades. I did enjoy however, the references to God and His might. Other than the nudity I did not like the heavy roman catholic influence because it conflicts with what scripture actually says. Its kinda graphic too but not as much as most other modern games. It is totally devoid of profanity which is always a plus.

+3 votes     reply to comment
ElfFriend
ElfFriend Nov 30 2011, 12:36am says:

finally another interesting post that requires my response!! so now I will trow out another good question that has a little bit to do with this post but at the same time is very off topic, my question is: will there be video games in heaven? I know very of topic but after all the violence is really just a bunch of pixels. I love video games to the point that I would like to learn how to code so that i could actually make my own games, but i think that there will not be video games in heaven since we will be busy doing other stuff (exploring the new heaven and earth, talking with God) I would really like to be able to explore God's new creation, i think that it would be a LOT of fun. now i would like to put my skills to use in God's plan and let Him take control so if i am to make a Christan video game, then so be it. in fact this could be quite helpful for a final project that i may or may not have to do (depends if i go to the high school that i want to go to or if i go to a public high school)

+2 votes     reply to comment
booman
booman Nov 30 2011, 11:39am says:

Great conversation guys! Usually religious content ends up in debate...
MattmanDude - I didn't know about the Apple of Eden in Assassins Creed because I got so frustrated at it, I uninstalled it. Just recently purchased AC2 so I plan to replay the first one again. Not a surprise though, because of the modern day aspects to the game... I bet writers and developers would rather not use One God as the supreme power because in our world its offensive...

Yuribeat5 - I didn't play Dante's Inferno due to the "M" rating and the trailers I saw. Now that you mention the nudity, it confirms the reasons why I won't be playing it. Sometimes I wonder if it is really worth it? All the violence, hell, zombies, etc. in Doom 3, Half-Life 2 doesn't bother me as much because there is no swearing or nudity... but thats me

Revan9537 - From what I have learned in various Bible studies... there probably won't be any video games in Heaven. There won't even be marriage either... which makes me sad. Exploring the Holy Presence of God and Heaven will be better than any man-made video game! Not to mention, humanity has survived several thousand years without video games at all. Its just a form of entertainment and some people call it a professions.

Maybe there needs to be a moddb group for Christian Video games where we can shoot ideas around?

+1 vote     reply to comment
ElfFriend
ElfFriend Nov 30 2011, 7:04pm replied:

yes I think that there should be a group like that and that there should be a bunch of people that are willing to put those ideas into a video game or some kind....preferably a rpg, but that's just my favorite kind:)

+2 votes     reply to comment
Yuribeard7
Yuribeard7 Nov 30 2011, 10:21pm replied:

How about a game where you start out with Adam and Eve and work your way up through biblical history and play through all the occurrences mentioned in the Bible all the way up to the modern day and into the end times as mentioned in Revelations. I'd buy it and give it a shot.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Ambient_Malice
Ambient_Malice Dec 1 2011, 12:08am says:

It's a fairly well written article, Feillyne.

+2 votes     reply to comment
KnightofEquulei
KnightofEquulei Dec 11 2011, 6:36pm says:

Kingdom Under Fire: Heroes - Walter Campaign has GIANT religious themes. Sacrifice. Repentance. Faith and Hope are just some of the themes.

Basically, Walter sacrifices himself to save the world. At least that's what he believes. All he does is let The Devil of that universe into his world. You see, that Devil sent an oracle to Walter and The Pope and told them to destroy an ancient relic. In doing so, war, death and suffering would end and peace would come. Walter and The Pope thought that the oracle was from God and set out to destroy the relic. The relic is actually the heart of The Devil (Encablossa) and in destroying it, Encablossa is set free.

Thankfully, Walter's best friend, Kendal, manages to defeat Encablossa and send him back to his dimension.

BTW, the Kingdom that Walter and Kendal serve is called Ecclesia which in Greek means "Christian Church" so that's a reference to Christianity right there and BTW, I think Walter and Kendal are the most badass righteous characters in any gaming series. Both are prepared to face any threat or foe for their faith. Walter faces the entire world by the end of the game and Kendal literally enters Hell (after defeating Encablossa and entering his dimension with him) and fights through it and reemerges reborn with even more strength to try and save the world once and for all.

+2 votes     reply to comment
KnightofEquulei
KnightofEquulei Dec 11 2011, 6:38pm replied:

There's also Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. Faith. Hope and Love are just some of the themes in the game. The protagonist - Gabriel - defeats Lucifer and saves the world. It's during the final fight that Gabriel says some religious things about forgiveness:

To Satan: "It is what is in men's hearts that he (God) cares about. He loves you, as he loves me. We have only to ask for forgiveness deep within ourselves and be welcomed back."

Satan then says that it's his Divine right to rule by God's side as an equal or as more than that. Gabriel then says:

"You would rather rule in power and might than to offer forgiveness and love? This is why you were cast out, unholy one!"

Gabriel and Satan then fight and Gabriel whoops Satan's ***. Watch the video and speech here:

Moddb.com

I certainly liked Castlevania: Lords of Shadow better than Dante's Inferno and Assassin's Creed which have no true Christian theme. Dante's Inferno shows unbaptized babies in Hell and Assassin's Creed seems to state that God isn't real and if he is, he's uncaring. Altair is actually an atheist. In fact, by the modern day, both the assassins and templars are atheists.

+2 votes     reply to comment
feillyne
feillyne Dec 16 2011, 12:03pm replied:

Assassin's Creed doesn't have any "Christian" themes. Rather Islamic, Buddhist, fanatical, heretical ones.

"Inner peace" refers to the state of meditation found throughout various cultures. Buddhist, Toltec, other shamanistic cultures and even some "heretics" had or still have something similar to "inner peace", a state of profound tranquillity induced either by drugs or by one's own acceptance of things the way they are.

KnightOfEcclesia wrote:Altair is actually an atheist. In fact, by the modern day, both the assassins and templars are atheists.

Not atheists at all. Rather people who have natural faith and people who don't wait for Higher Powers to react at all. Remember Lucy telling Desmond to "have faith"? Or maybe Altaïr's fanatical views?

Just people that take justice and righteousness in their own hands.

Templars want to eradicate men's corruption by destroying everybody who is corrupt, whether he's a civilian or not, rich or poor.

Assassins want to destroy everybody who is both corrupt and is man in power, and avoiding to kill "civilians" (even if they're sinful but not openly corrupt). Even if they have to kill soldiers protecting those corrupt men in power.

Both assassins and templars from Assassin's Creed want peace - and want an end to all conflicts, both small and great, and an end of corruption.
But the means they use to do it varies greatly, that's what pits them against each other.

Assassin's Creed does hint that God cares little about men's fate, not that He's uncaring, but rather leaves them alone to their own doings and their own works. (The one of final dialogues of Altaïr's - the one when he assassinated Robert de Sablé.)

+1 vote     reply to comment
KnightofEquulei
KnightofEquulei Dec 11 2011, 6:41pm says:

As for violence being in a Christian game. Why not? It's in The Bible. If the violence is senseless. It's wrong but if violence is being used to save someone or an entire city, there's nothing wrong with that. There should be chances to use diplomacy and resolve disputes and violence could be a last option. I mean, King David killed people in the wars that he fought in.

I actually once thought of a game based on King David. An RPG RTS.

+4 votes     reply to comment
Ambient_Malice
Ambient_Malice Dec 22 2011, 10:07pm says:

You forgot...

Clears throat...

Covers Eyes...

"CATECHUMEN" on PC.

Practical, fairly kind review:
Gamerevolution.com

Jawdropping review from a normally fairly solid Christian media-watch site.
Christiananswers.net

+2 votes     reply to comment
KnightofEquulei
KnightofEquulei Jan 7 2012, 12:23pm replied:

Urgh. That game looked horrible.

+2 votes     reply to comment
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