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Sephris

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Should God Be In Video Games?

Let us start this out with a belief there is some entity far more amazing than myself. I know this is a difficult task, but since it is conceivably possible, though unlikely, let us assume this is the reality. And we shall call this being "God." When this God is silent he is doing great deeds. When he speaks to someone, (or at least when they claim he does), innocent people die. (Wow...I actually kind of like this God fellow.) And then, just to make the mix more fun, we will take the people that follow this God and splinter them into three general groups. Each group worships him, but we will toss in a couple of humans and mix that all up so each group has a reason to hate the other group. And now we have the reality of the world we are living in now. And as I begin to see it slowly start slipping this way, I must ask you all...
Should God be in video games?

As a worshiper of myself, I feel I am able to get a unique perspective on this issue and so I will offer a little food for thought on it. And perhaps together we can find an answer to this conundrum.

1) Will God in video games just cause more problems?

God is a pretty powerful guy. I mean, just to create me...ok and you people also, he had hundreds of gigantic stars fart out gasses that made smaller and heavier stars that eventually made the building blocks that are me. I can't even get my dog to fart on command, so this is a pretty awesome feat in and of itself. And on the human level, each group wants to claim that they are fully and completely connected to this power. But add to this things like God being a jealous God, one group claiming to be the chosen people of this God, others claiming human prophets came to Earth to give God's instructions and then it even splinters down to magical glowing tablets dug up by some hipster farmer. It is believed that in the end, only one of these groups will be right and the rest shall suffer for eternity. And you just have to hope you pick the right one. With this in mind, consider what would happen if each group decided to go balls out and jump into video games.

First off, games would be far different. They would have religious propaganda trying to draw you into their version of faith. And if one did good, the others would try to top it while doing everything in their power to make it look bad, eventually leading to one group screaming about false birth certificates. It might start out as fun little banter back and forth between the different faiths, but eventually intolerance would arise. Personally, I think this is an awesome idea. Three religious groups wanting to kill the crap out of one another via an internet connection. And all it would take would be the right person in marketing to make a mint off of it. To get what I am after, just consider this potential video game title:

Halo: Afterlife Evolved

This one little online game could potentially save millions of lives. Why go out and suicide bomb Dr. Goldberg over there when you can blast a hole in his son's character and teabag him for the next half an hour. The message given is still the same, and there is less mess to clean up. It's a win/win situation. Not sure who the West Bank should belong to? How about a little game of Dance Dance Resurrection? The winner not only gets the title to the land, but is raised to sainthood level with the title of "Saint of Sweet-Ass Moves" upon canonization. Recruitment would be a lot more interesting too. Imagine the trivia game "You Don't Know Jesus!" Or, for the more aggressive religions, how about "Mohammad Combat." Even the consoles could get in on the fun with things like the Crossbox 360 and the Nintendo Wiisdom. So far it seems that God really would clear up some issues if he were to cast his glorious light on our favorite hobby.

2) Would God games actually be fun?

Honestly, we already have games like Dante's Inferno that have a religious theme to them that are fun to play. But you could easily do a little bit of change to what is already out there and have some pretty awesome games with God as the centerpiece. Borderlands could become Baalzebublands and you wouldn't have to alter it much. But think of what you could make if you did do some big changes. Think of this...you are of the Catholic faith and you are captured by Iranians and sentenced to death by firing squad. Not only do you have to escape your fate, but you have to get back home from behind enemy lines. And the name of the game? Saint's Row. If this is a little too mature for your target audience and you want a good game for children with a religious taste to it, how about Pope-e-mon? Want to wipe out unholy zombies in God's name? How about Resident Apocalypse?
Yes, it seems like putting God into video games can be entertaining as well as a better way to solve pressing issues between the groups.

3) Do we really want God in our games?

This is the real issue when it comes down to it. Many will say yes and many will say no, each giving a good argument for why. But to truly answer this, we need to get a good understanding of why video games were made in the first place. Video games were made as a way to escape the real world for a little while and let the stress and frustration of the day have a safe place to drain into. Before video games you had booze and wife beatings.Today you can just have your character get drunk and beat his pixelated wife senseless and never have to spend a moment behind bars. Especially if you have invested enough points in your run skill.

And it is this very reason, and the only really honest reason, why God needs to leave the video games alone. The belief in God is a serious matter. And everyone sees their God just a little differently than the person sitting in the pulpit next to them. And even those that are not religious scholars can nit pick to one another over such tiny, minute details that the meaning of the text becomes secondary to the letters it is composed of. And if God were given free reign in our video games, no matter how fun they seemed at first, eventually it would end up a big, black ball of anger and confusion. Even if fundamentally everyone was on the same page, it could get pretty ugly. Just look at the people who believe in Jesus. Is everyone who worships Jesus called Jesusians? No. Those who worship Jesus are splintered into dozens of different aspects, and not all of them get along. And unfortunately, no matter how good your intentions are, the same would begin to happen in the games we run to for a little escapism. And then our beloved video games would have to be renamed video arguments because games are enjoyable and arguments are not.

When it comes down to it, I am going to give you a line that I've heard, in varying ways, throughout my life and leave you with this thought. If God wanted himself in video games, he would already be there. I just think God is happy you are enjoying yourself and not out being a dick to people. And for those of you who read this and strongly feel God should be present in our video games, chew on this: God said "Let there be light!" and there was light. Video Games are made from light. So honestly, god doesn't have to be popping up on your screen saying "Hi there! Remember to brush your teeth!" Because his essence is already there and because of that, in His eyes, all is good.

Still...I would love to play Pope-e-mon.

(A shout of thanks to www.somethingawful.com for the cover pic!)

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WeskerChildReborned1539d ago

I say we just keep religion out of video games since some people will probably get offended or it'll just start religion wars and we really don't need that since we already got console wars and similar game wars.

mynameisEvil1539d ago

I don't think it's up to us to decide whether religion should be in games or not. If people are offended about the inclusion of religion in their games, they need to suck it up. If I, a Christian, had a Muslim main character, I wouldn't bitch about it. However, if they made said character go around killing Jews and Christians or whatever, I could understand but successful games aren't the ones that pull that crap.

In the end, it's up to developers to decide whether to incorporate it in their game and how they're going to incorporate it. It's like telling a painter that he can't draw what he wants to draw or going to a film director and telling him not to include a certain scene in there because people might get offended. It's stupid to tell others what they can and can't do with their art as it is, need I remind you, freedom of speech that protects them from being told what they can and can't do with THEIR art.

That's my take on it, anyway.

thorstein1538d ago (Edited 1538d ago )

Actually that sounds like quite a bit of fun, albeit I would really only want to "kill" the fundamentalist ones: Picture this: A science classroom and the students are learning biology, then a fundie enters and tries to infect them with some bizarre explanation (that has no scientific merit) of life. You can off them to the cheers of the science teacher and the class. Maybe you play as Darwin and we can call it: Charles Darwin: Fundie Hunter.
And you can team up with other "Immortal" historical figures like Thomas Jefferson, Aristotle, and Stephen Hawking. It would play like Assassin's Creed. You could hunt down these enemies of reason and science.

That would be brilliant.

Bimkoblerutso1536d ago

^Let them make it. I doubt it would appeal to anyone but the most idiotic "internet atheists" out there that seem to have adopted their beliefs simply as a reaction to being annoyed by fundamentalist christians.

Daishi1539d ago

Call of God vs Medal of Allah, love to hear those online fights!

TopDudeMan1538d ago

I like in some games, how there are alternate religions that they have made up just for the game, to show that there are gods in fantasy worlds, such as the 9 in elder scrolls, Umbasa in demon's souls and Andraste from dragon age, just to name 3.

I think it really makes the game world seem more alive if there are gods and religious people in it.
Since the majority of people in the world are theists, it is kind of the norm for games to have some sort of god in it. But yeah, I accept that it is normal to include god in all forms of media, despite me being non-religious, myself. I don't think it takes away from my experience of a game if it has religious undertones.

Spydiggity1538d ago

who gives a shit if people get offended? being offended isn't physically harmful. you don't wake up the day after being offended with a broken leg or a failing lung. and there are tons of gods in video games. there are like a dozen just in god of war 3.

gods are also a big focus in the elder scroll series.

“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

WeskerChildReborned1538d ago

I mean just keep religions out of games. I don't really care if games create their own religions or gods because those are based on games. I also rather not see religion wars in gaming.

pixelsword1537d ago

"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God."

Psalms 14:1

Spydiggity1536d ago (Edited 1536d ago )

quoting scripture as if that means something? gimme a break.

i could just as easily call you a fool. but, it goes without saying.

and your quote doesn't make a point other than "believe the lies you've been told."

it's like if i wrote a fantasy book about alien souls coming to earth and living inside the bodies of humans then called it religion, then in the same book told you that not believing these lies makes you a fool. (this happened, btw)

my quote, on the other hand, points out the fundamental flaw of a religious person's perspective. you think YOUR religion is right and all others are wrong. and billions of other people who have believed different stuff than you have ignorantly expressed the same...well...ignorance.

boyzilla1536d ago

"The fool hath no thought in his head, there is no brain."

pixeldick 66:6

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lex-10201539d ago

I think it depends on the context in which God is used. In Mass Effect the Asari had a goddess, and no one complained about that. In the new Tomb Raider it appears that the survivors are making sacrifices, Black and White you played as a god, The elder scrolls has 9 gods, and several demigods. God or the believe of a higher power is a central part of humanity. If you look at cultures, even the most remote cultures had beliefs in gods.

I think where the line gets drawn is if it's preaching. If the game attempts to solidify, justify, prove, or disprove the existence of god I would say that it's crossed that line.

All in all I think this was a good post and I believe you hit the reasons why God is left out of games

SeekDev1539d ago

I agree, however, even preaching in games has its place so as to prove a point. I'm not sure what point because that's up to the dev. Within the first few episodes of Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, there was an episode about all out preaching (aboot God). It worked wonderfully to give the viewer a very deep perspective on the main characters. Strong events give strong feedback. I know that FMA:B is an anime, and that it's not a game or anything, but I still find it to be a great example (should you have seen the episode I'm speaking of, it's an even greater example).

mynameisEvil1539d ago

Agreed. In Bioshock, Andrew Ryan bashed religion whenever he could, but that helped to solidify his character and beliefs. I didn't feel that it "crossed the line" as it complemented him and his Ayn Rand viewpoints.

Also, great job on remembering FMA: B. Too many people don't seem to know about that, from my experience.

SeekDev1539d ago

It's a very mature anime, I like it a lot. Currently trying to finish it.

Bioshock's entire civilization, Rapture, is built up around either bashing/ misinterpreting /blatantly disregarding religious concepts. (No spoilers, fear not) Think about the cosmetic surgeries that were performed to beautify, when according to the Bible, God made you the way you are and you should love that. Then there are the tonics that gave you powers. At that point the game was literally challenging God's power. That's how I interpret the game. I should do a replay just to focus on analyzing its deeper meanings, that'd be cool.

lex-10201539d ago

You're misinterpreting what I meant as preaching. Take for instance the Bibleman game. It wasn't one in game character preaching to another character. It was the in game character preaching straight to you the player.

In FMA:B Ed is preaching to Rose. The pastor is Preaching about Lito to his followers, and Rose is preaching about Lito to Ed. But none of them are preaching directly to you.

Take for example A=You, B=Your character, and C=AI (other characters). Preaching as I was stating was C-A not C-B. In FMA:B we have C-C and in Bioshock we have C-C and C-B but in Bibleman we have C-A.

Let's take Dora the Explorer for example. When Dora turns to the audience and asks where something is she is directly addressing them C-A, but when she talks to her backpack (even if we are meant to understand what she says) she is doing C-B.

See what I'm saying? Are they preaching AT you or at something else so you hear?

SeekDev1539d ago

Oooooh, my bad :P That would be breaking the fourth wall, and that rarely works, ever. Most of the time that's an absolute negative. Apparently Lone Survivor did that and it worked well. But that's a rarity. Otherwise, I simply don't like it, ruins the immersion.

TopDudeMan1538d ago (Edited 1538d ago )

I agree, you can't use a video game to try and push your beliefs onto other people. That's a big no no.

As for breaking the fourth wall, no game did that like MGS. I still get chills when I think about when psycho mantis told me to put down the controller.

Sephris1539d ago

I'm glad you found the blog to your liking. I was actually surprised I didn't get more flak for how I portray myself when I write. I honestly don't have the ego I offer up in my blogs...he is a RP character personality that is fun to bring out. but putting yourself above god like I did...I was sure I was going to catch hell for it. lol! I love the replies I you have given me though. I touched a subject most people wouldn't want anything to do with and got people involved in a positive way. A blog is only as good as the people it interests, and to have you guys add your own thoughts to it brings an even greater depth to the issue I have presented. I thank you for that. My blog may be good, but it is your involvement that makes writing it worth the time I invested in it. thanks again for being part of this blog, and I look forward to your comments, positive or critical, in what I do in the future. :)

Tuxedo_Mask1539d ago

It was okay, but I wish you wouldn't start your sentences with "and".

On topic, God has already been in many video games, so I don't see any reason as to why he should be excluded now.

Sephris1538d ago

Bleh...I've been working on that. Not that starting it with "and" is necessarily wrong, but it isn't proper grammar and I strive for literary perfection in what I write. Obviously I don't achieve it. lol!
But thanks for pointing that out. I will do my best to use it sparingly from now on. :)

INehalemEXI1539d ago (Edited 1539d ago )

The bible would be an epic ip, who would get the rights? potentially , various denominations could have DLC too since they have different prophets who wrote books too.

mynameisEvil1539d ago

It'd be strange if the next Call of Duty game was Call of Duty: Biblical Warfare, which has $30 DLC that contains a huge battle where David kills Goliath and the obligatory controversial scene where you play as one of the Romans crucifying Christ.

Strangely enough, it'd actually kind of fit, now that I really think about it. A few less guns than usual, but even Super Noah's Ark 3D had you using a slingshot. XD

Daishi1539d ago

I swear I was the only one who played Super Noah's Ark. Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone.

JellyJelly1539d ago (Edited 1539d ago )

Depending on what flavor of God you prefer, one could say that God is already in games. Not in the Christian form (bearded man in the sky) that many westerners dig, but who said that's the absolute one?

Are the gods in say Skyrim lesser gods because they don't have as many worshippers? What make them less real than the biblical God, from a fantasy perspective?

-GametimeUK-1538d ago

There is nothing to say the christian god isn't in games. Take a random game like Uncharted, Rainbow 6 or Tomb Raider. They are games set in our universe. Now gods presence is exactly the same in these types of games as in real life. You don't see him, you don't hear from him and people sometimes mention him with phrases like "oh my god" or "thank god". So if god did exist it would be as if he is present in the games too since he behaves in the same way.

For the record I'm atheist.

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