Explosion.com's Dave Walsh takes a look at the recent controversy surrounding the forced baptism scene in BioShock: Infinite and how the subject of religion seems almost off-limits in gaming, but not in other forms of entertainment.
The risk of offending overly sensitive people is not good for business.
would it be offensive if it was about ur mum shagging a dog? not trying to be offensive, just stating the sensitivity in hand. What about homosexual being offended. How about a game about the holocaust where u play a nazi guard. Would that be offensive and unreasonable? Were do we draw a line? Bioshock was a good game but offensive to some.
The line is drawn by sales. Being controversial, but not *too* controversial is a typical marketing tactic. The Bioshock series has thrived on it from the beginning. This whole contrived controversey over the in-game baptism scene keeps Infinite in the news, which means free advertising. Now, if a game went "too controversial" (such as having you play the role of child molester), the negative attention would actually decrease sales and likely get it kicked out of many retail outlets. Pushing the line is only seen as good if it means more money.
I take it you never completed Crash Bandicoot. If you were any kind of gamer you'd know that after the final boss there's a six hour long CGI cutscene of Crash shagging your mum. I don't recall any controversy about anything other than having to swap discs 3 hours in.
Anything against religion insults their followers, this is how it has survived so long.
Because a lot of people are babies who cannot handle seeing such topics discussed....the wrong thing said, and soon you have a scandal. Also, let's face it, videogame writing would - in the most part - have to improve a heck of a lot to reach even Michael Bay level of sophistication, so asking them to tackle religion or any other weighty message may be a bit beyond most game writers.
I think bioshock infinite handled it quite well. In my opinion you can't and shouldn't escape religion (everyone should be informed of what it does and doesn't offer). It permeates a lot of everyday life and while a lot of people are atheists now I know a lot of schools that are religious in some way or another. Whether its the odd family member or a school which gets you singing hymns it's quite likely that even the most secular of individuals have some personal history with religion. At some point in our lives it is a decision nearly all of us make. So on this point - why ISN'T it okay to discuss this stuff? I appreciate that the Roman Catholics don't like having the dodgier parts of their history rubbed in their faces, but I can go and read about one million dead women burnt at the stake and I feel like that's a fucking relevant criticism. We all have to face up to our choice to either accept or reject organized religion and part of that is intelligently and rationally assessing the institutions involved as well as their history. Religion doesn't just belong to the people who go to church every Sunday - it affects all of us. And ya know... all of this would still be true WITHOUT religion's millenia spanning history of hate and prejudice. Religion has always had a hard time letting go of the idea that some people just don't gel with whatever product they're selling. You think they'd at least have the humility to hear the criticisms out.
Stop talking about "religion" when all you're really talking about is christianity. Christianity, as a set of principles isn't such a bad thing, it's the people who build ideology out of it and distort it's meaning to justify terrible things that are bad. (i.e. european colonialism / Puritans / American Slavery etc.) What about Buddhism and Hinduism? Both fine, and both highly spiritually enriching. As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing wrong with personal spirituality. If anything, it's a necessity of the human condition at some capacity. It's become trendy to be an atheist today. People can fit in if they denounce all religions with one sweeping remark but they have absolute zero understanding of spirituality in general, just a superficial knowledge made up of recited opinions and wikipedia. It's absolutely bewildering what passes for knowledge these days.
"hey have absolute zero understanding of spirituality in general, just a superficial knowledge made up of recited opinions and wikipedia" Really? I find it to be quite the opposite. Most of the atheists I know became atheists because they actually studied the subject matter more closely. The quickest path to becoming an atheist is to read theological literature. Though if it makes you feel better thinking atheists are just hipsters trying to fit in, so be it, surely you are not the type of person to make sweeping remarks...like those trendy non-believers.
The atheism of today in large part is just a cultural phenomenon that's accompanied modernity, capitalism, and industrialisation. These things instil utilitarian values in people, and people start spouting scientific dogma. In this postmodern society in which the individual is the measure of all things (relativism), we are freed from a transcendent order that encompasses us all, this however engenders disenchantment with the order of things (all things animate and inanimate) and thus the value of everything becomes predicated on use-value, or as a commodity with market value. Thus we see food as a commodity and not a fundamental human need in the face of world hunger. Atheism is just a cultural bi-product of this- a disenchantment with all things transcendent because of the relentlessly utilitarian consumer and business culture we're immersed in. Anything without immediate use and profitability is seen as suspect. The true scientist will have respect for religion because science is just as epistemologically provisional. I mean, if you believe in such thing as right and wrong, that's an act of faith. These are concepts we create and share among eachother, a social contract we enter into. None of these things necessarily reflect objective reality. Morality is essentially a transcendent concept, and we adhere to it roughly every day. All a "God" really is is an embodiment of those values- belief in things beyond the self. Maybe the atheists you've encountered are like how you say they are, but the predominant atheist of popular culture merely spouts stuff like "oh there's no spaghetti monster on the moon so how can there be a god derp richard dawkins derp derp my logic is infallible and really sophisticated derp." That's just willful ignorance, and desperation to fit in with a current trend controlled by the market and by the whims of corporate culture. Not to mention it's highly disrespectful to multitudes of pacifistic and ancient religious cultures overseas. I mean it's this sound-bite knowledge that I can't stand. Atheism represents a freedom from a transcendent order and supports complete relativism- breeds the culture of private enterprise and dog eat dog capitalism that plagues the western world- a utilitarianism that thinks in the moment, disregarding the future and the past for the sake of immediate gratification and gain. What you have to understand the muslim and christian religion as it is today is based on distortion and arbitrary interpretation. It is in fact mere use-value that dictates these interpretations. Christianity in America was distorted to justify the objectification and commodification of slaves, the erasure of the native peoples, and the bolstering of ideological, heterosexual white anglo-saxon family values to ensure legacies and the accumulation of economic wealth. The roman catholics distorted their scripture to legitimise their colonial, piratical enterprises, as did the Puritans and most christians that followed. Ultimately, they didn't practice what they preached- they used their preaching as a smokescreen to fulfil cynical and power hungry goals. Christianity has fallen into disrepute because of such patterns. The resulting atheism is not because there's something fundamentally wrong with the christian value system, but because christianity has been deployed too many times disingenuously to exploit others. We're still living in a culture largely informed by those imperial values. I should say at this point that I'm not a christian, nor do I subscribe to any religion in particular, though eastern religions are fascinating and culturally rich. I think spirituality and belief in a higher power or plane is a very personal thing ultimately, and I think atheist dogma is by and large highly disrspectful and arrogant.
"Also, let's face it, videogame writing would - in the most part - have to improve a heck of a lot to reach even Michael Bay level of sophistication" O_o Bad day at work ?
It shouldn't be since the subject matter is accepted in other forms of entertainment
Because if anything Islam related is shown Muslims will have a huge fit.
The author doesn't attempt to answer his own question. The Doom franchise lets the player go to hell and includes upside down crosses, pentagrams and more. The Doom movie removed all this and centered around a virus, because they wanted to remove the religious aspects to reduce offence. "...and how the subject of religion seems almost off-limits in gaming, but not in other forms of entertainment." - this isn't really accurate is it? But the article tackles the problem with the depth of a kiddy-pool.
Everyone gets butthurt at the slightest thing. Guess all they want is zombies and COD. I've been taking up different hobbies since I know this whole thing is going to implode.
As someone who is a catholic it should be noted that most of us are forced into baptism as babies. Therefore it is only idiots who should be offended by such a short part of what is otherwise a good game. You don't see many black people giving out about the slavery end of things as there are also white victims in the game. What age was the lord Jesus Christ when he was baptised? Early 20s. Religion of any denomination is a subject of study, many years study. Therefore its good that it should be viewed from many angles, championed, ridiculed, dismissed and embraced. As an individual if someone elses opinion offends you, remember that your opinion might offend them. Its up to both of you to get fucking over it and move on.
The thing that I find interesting is that it's never the discussion of God's existence being in a game that upsets these people, it's always the portrayal of hypocritical false converts that causes the offence, when you'd think they would be glad of artists exposing the many ways people can delude themselves or dishonestly convince others they believe. Surely it would make you feel more secure in your own belief and help bring more people to a real belief, having the liars and fakers exposed. Surely somebody who truly believed would look at it this way.
The problem is the people who truly believe. They are the ones who take religion as gospel (pardon the pun) and take most offence when its questioned/portrayed in a different light. I believe these people are known as closed minded. I have a couple of Jehovas Witnesses call round every couple of weeks. My fault as I talk to them and enjoy it. However I have had to bite my lip a few times due to their rather narrow view on a couple of things. Gay/Homosexual people and acknowledging even the existence of other peoples gods, being two of them. We are all at some point in time liars and fakers. Doesn't make us bad people. What you say is very true but I think this issue is just (like most stories) being blown out of all proportion. Finding it harder each day to find decent reading material on this site and indeed others.
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