Skip to comments.Christian video game prays for mass appeal
Posted on 09/02/2006 1:46:22 PM PDT by DaveLoneRanger
SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - God's army will begin battling the Antichrist and his minions in a video game version of post-apocalyptic New York City to be released on Friday.
A beta version of Christian-based computer strategy game "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" will be released aiming at the kind of mass-market success garnered by films such as "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "The Passion of The Christ."
The game is based on the 15 "Left Behind" books by evangelical Christian authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, which have logged sales in the tens of millions.
"Eternal Forces" is set at the Biblical end of time known as the Rapture, according to Dereck Wong of Left Behind Games in California.
It pits "good" Tribulation Forces against "evil" Global Community Peacekeepers led by the anti-Christ.
The key to the game is recruiting and sustaining people and winning inevitable, albeit bloodless, battles, between good and evil, according to Wong. The characters and storyline are from the first four "Left Behind" books.
"Rumors can be set to rest regarding the content," said Left Behind Games chief executive Troy Lyndon. "'Eternal Forces' has no blood, no gore, no call to jihad and no gratuitous sex or violence of any kind."
For the Tribulation Force, prayer is a key strategy to build points. Another way is finding hidden scrolls bearing scripture verses left behind by loved ones already whisked into the afterlife.
In contrast, the Antichrist forces get strength by swearing and wicked deeds, according to the game makers.
Players conduct "physical and spiritual warfare" and can trigger "spectacular angelic or demonic activity" with their choices.
"We really are the alternative to a 'Grand Theft Auto'," Wong said, referring to the hit video game in which points are scored by carjacking, killings, and other malevolence.
"What we are finding is violence doesn't make it a better game. Gamers are interested in the storyline and the challenge."
Winning play gets rewarded with "Christian theme songs" or tips about what will happen to a person during the Rapture, which evangelical Christians believe is the time that Jesus ushers all believers to heaven.
But non-believers can skip the rewards and play the game too, Wong said.
"We wanted it to be a great game first ... We are not here to preach to you. It is not a game to be Bible-thumping."
Even so, players will be encouraged to seek out up to seven other friends to play together on line, according to Wong.
It remains to be seen whether a Christian-themed game can take off.
"It is untested waters, but clearly there is potential," said analyst David Cole of DFC Intelligence, which tracks the computer game industry. "Look at the number of Christians out there."
"If you asked people several years ago whether they would ever do a major movie with a Christian theme, you'd get a lot of skeptics. Then Mel Gibson came along and did a movie that was quite successful," he said, referring to the 2004 hit film "The Passion of the Christ".
"Gamers have this stereotype of being real violent, but that hasn't been the truth historically," Cole said.
Cole referred to the blockbuster successes of Pokeman, Mario Brothers, Tetris, and "cutesy fantasy land games."
Studies indicate the average age for gamers is about 32, and that they spend more time playing strategy games than gory games.
Demo versions of "Eternal Forces" were tested on people attending Christian rock music concerts and got enthusiastic reviews, Wong said.
Megachurches, those with memberships topping 3,000 parishioners, have reportedly committed to distribute the beta version of the game, which will also be available at the Left Behind Games website.
Mainstream retailers were interested in the game and a European distributor was in place, according to the company.
The final version of Eternal Forces is slated for distribution in time for the Christmas shopping season, and will include a copy of the first Left Behind book, at a planned price of 49.95 dollars.
"It's exciting," Wong said. "We are competing with the Electronic Arts and the Activisions of the world."
Bart: I got him!
Rod: No, you just winged him and made him a Unitarian
Sometimes the Armies of Darkness have to be taken out with worldly weapons.
Thy sword and shield, they comfort me.
I'd buy it if I could blow some heads off of and disembowel "Globalist Peacekeepers" - the hidden scripture stuff, sure, sounds fun (and adds a nice cognitive element to what could be a great FPS), but the final Apocalypse is not going to be Hardy Boys stuff.
"Oh, no! The Gentle Bah'ai!"
I'm still trying to master Q-Bert.
No, gamers want interesting gameplay. Storyline doesn't matter and never has.
You'll really have a stroke looking over this site: http://www.godscare.net/Zone/Jesusstore.htm
Seems to me that popular Christian culture selling a 'Jukebox Jesus' kind of theology (i.e., Jesus serves enrich your lifestyle choices) ends up begetting a lot of very weird stuff.
What?! Lahaye and Jenkins haven't made enough money off of their gazillions of "Left Behind" series that they have to come up with a game too? What else can they market that they haven't already???
I'd buy one, but only if it's rated M.
Sounded pretty fun to me. I just hate how the MSM portrays Christianity as a pacifist religion to the point that you can't have violence in a Christian video game. The way the developers give in doesn't help, though. Example: the game will have violence, but no blood. Because we all know that according to Christianity, people don't bleed. :)
To paraphrase Hank Hill, "You're not making God better; you're making video games worse!!".
In my most demented imagination, I have never imagined such things. What kind of defective mind conjures up this stuff?
Your position is that all games are from the Devil?
Thank you. Obviously they haven't read the Old Testament, or Revelations.
You're actually upset that anyone could portray Jesus playing basketball?
You consider basketball evil?
No. I consider Christ to be Christ. I don't vision conjure Christ as a short order fry cook, software designer, pot-hole filler or metrosexual left-handed dwarf.