Why God and Games Don't Mix

Veteran games journalist Stuart Clarke from gameplayer tackles the subject of religion in gaming, running through the history of its implementation, and the philosophical reasons as to why it has not been a match made in heaven.

"Left Behind was not only panned by game critics but even by notorious game hater Jack Thompson, a Christian attorney who has a long history of criticizing violence in games. Thompson claimed that "the game is about killing people for their lack of faith in Jesus," which made it incompatible with basic Christian doctrine. At least he's consistent. American Muslim and atheist groups tried to get the game banned from sale."

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dktxx23539d ago

I don't think God really mixes with anything.

rucky3539d ago (Edited 3539d ago )

This article will probably attract unfriendly, tactless and faceless religion haters so i'm just gonna leave this thread alone and play GTA.

rucky3539d ago (Edited 3539d ago )

*double post* see disagrees already lol

SlappingOysters3539d ago

It just always tends to be a volotile mix

Esena3539d ago

I think God really mixes with everything...

dragunrising3538d ago

God is do games not mix?

andron3538d ago

Only human zealots do...

PirateThom3538d ago

God mixes well with my tequila.

I still prefer Ginger Ale though.

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SlappingOysters3539d ago

and an excellent read.

Is Dante's Inferno religeous

Xander-RKoS3539d ago

The epic is was written as a political statement. I'm Catholic (so was Dante) and he didn't base anything off doctrine, and the piece is widely regarded as by church officials and literary scholars as fictional (Lord help anyone who believes that the Divine Comedy is based off doctrine).

ThatCanadianGuy3539d ago

Isn't that jesus from the movie Dogma? LOL! funny movie..

And R.I.P George Carlin.

PataponKnight3539d ago

Good ol' Buddy Christ just got pwned by Kratos. lol

PataponKnight3539d ago

Lol I got a disagree. Probably just some jealous fanboy who knows Kratos will never grace his console.

cmrbe3539d ago

video games is about video games. Its not about racism is not about religion. Why are we over complicating things?.

This is stupid.

SlappingOysters3539d ago

So you must be one of those Roger Ebert supporters that reckon games are just low brow entertainment?

Our entertainment peers, music, film and book, tackle religion regularly and with success.

coolfool3538d ago (Edited 3538d ago )

Yes they do, and why is it that games can't do religion as well?

I think the reason is quite complicated actually. Briefly: The gaming entertainment industry (as a serious movie-rivalling medium, not casual games) is still quite small. This means for games to make any serious money they have to be good which is expensive. So to if a game has a religious context then it is immediately eliminating potential buyers from the already (relatively) small hardcore market. Devs and publishers can't afford to do that......yet.

The (hardcore/serious) gaming industry will continue to grow giving developers a broader market. This big market, as with movies, will obviously have people with varying tastes allowing developers to take risks with a game like choosing religion as a theme. Not everyone likes a religion based movie, be that because they are atheist or of another religion or whatever, but "some" do and when the game market is big enough that "some" will be enough to justify the risk of making a religious themed game. And if the game attracts people outside the target demographic then that's a bonus.

Mahr3539d ago (Edited 3539d ago )

I like how Gameplayer doesn't see any distinction between 'being religious' and 'literally interpreting religious scriptures'.

Anyway, The fact that Christian video games have been successful and kept companies like Wisdom Tree in business for the last two decades despite none of the games actually being any good largely contradicts a lot of Gameplayer's points.

Here's a prospect: Maybe someday a company can make a game based on Christianity or another religion that's not actually a horribly designed piece of garbage, unlike, say, the Left Behind game, and then we can see how well the game's received by gaming and religious communities.

NaiNaiNai3539d ago

personally i don't think religion should be a strong point in a game, maybe part of the story, but not involving budda, jesus, or anything else directly. it would just be odd to say play a jew durring a WWII game. or playing a game as gandi.

Esena3539d ago

I actually agree with you, at least I think I do. I don't think its possible to not involve God, at least indirectly, but videogames shouldn't be ways for education about religious matters. Spirituality is about your personal relationship with Christ (at least Christianity is...) If you want to learn about God, read the bible, join a bible study, or get involved in a fellowship meeting.

But to say that videogames don't involve God is completely untrue. For you cannot make sense of morality without presupposing the existence of God.

Mahr3539d ago (Edited 3539d ago )

"personally i don't think religion should be a strong point in a game"

Why not? Most of Western (and to a large extent, Eastern) culture owes some form of its foundation to religion, especially in the arts. Painting, sculpture, poetry, literature, music, movies... Why should videogames be different from other artistic media?

NaiNaiNai3539d ago

sorry >.> i guess i need to re-word that. i mean to say, i don't think it should be strong as in you playing jesus christ in game, god, or some other religic person, story from the bible or so on, >.> now if its a story from the bible or other religion thats been moderfied and done well with its own writing that would be fine, but theres a limit to it.

SlappingOysters3538d ago

Can video game as a medium be used to push across commentary on religion? Like a film or book would?

I guess the problem is that in most instances a game is made my hundreds of different minds, where as a film is often directed by one person on another individual's script. And that books have one author.

Perhaps gaming cannot make a commentary on religion because it involves too many minds to create.

Mahr3538d ago (Edited 3538d ago )

"Can video game as a medium be used to push across commentary on religion? Like a film or book would?"

Well, I've seen video games that have successfully provided social, artistic, political, moral and even economic commentary. I don't see anything about religion in particular that would preclude it from similar treatment.

"I guess the problem is that in most instances a game is made my hundreds of different minds, where as a film is often directed by one person on another individual's script."

While you have a valid point about collaborative art being inferior to a singular vision, your point applies just as much to most films. More often than not, there are producers who can supersede the whims of the directors, multiple writers, assistant directers that shoot filler, camera-men, teams of special effects creators, people who handle the lighting, the make-up, the costumes... that's why the average credit sequence usually lasts something like ten minutes.

It's not that different from videogame making, especially if you're talking about animated movies or movies with heavy CGI.

"Perhaps gaming cannot make a commentary on religion because it involves too many minds to create."

Just as in the realm of movies, there are always independent games. World of Goo, which I personally thought was the best game of 2008, was developed by a sum total of two people.

I don't think there's anything inherent in the medium that's preventing a thoughtful game involving religion in a tasteful way from being made.

Sure, there haven't been any so far, but a point that Gameplayer largely elides is that essentially every single one of the 'Christian video games' from the likes of Wisdom Tree et al are all quick cash-ins, which have made them *tons* of money over the years. Of course those kind of games are not going to be well-received by anyone.

SlappingOysters3538d ago

I guess I see films as ultimately been the director's vision (good films anyway). I had passion of the christ in my head at the time of writing.

I suppose games have a director like figure as well.

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