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Christian video game prays for mass appeal
Yahoo! News ^ | August 31, 2006 | Glenn Chapman

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."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: christianvideogame; eternalforces; leftbehind; rightbehind; videogame; videogames
There are so many things that can be said about this. For starters, I won't be buying one!

Something about "you don't have to be a Christian to play this game; we tried to make it a great game first and foremost" shows the wrong kind of thinking. Granted, a lot of things in the Christian market are poor quality, but accepted just because it has Jesus, God, Christian or Christ written on it.

I also have a bit of a beef with trying to 'corrupt' things of the world back towards Christianity. One of the things that author C.S. Lewis pointed out is that the devil cannot create, he can only corrupt. Why borrow the devil's tactics?
1 posted on 09/02/2006 1:46:23 PM PDT by DaveLoneRanger
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To: DaveLoneRanger
No screenshots?!

Bart: I got him!
Rod: No, you just winged him and made him a Unitarian

2 posted on 09/02/2006 1:49:34 PM PDT by Hexenhammer
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To: DaveLoneRanger
Pass. I'll stick with Call of Duty 2 and Battlefield 1942.

Sometimes the Armies of Darkness have to be taken out with worldly weapons.

3 posted on 09/02/2006 1:51:02 PM PDT by DTogo (I haven't left the GOP, the GOP left me.)
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To: DTogo

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.


4 posted on 09/02/2006 1:55:20 PM PDT by IslandJeff (Yeah, humor me and tell me lies)
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To: Hexenhammer

"Oh, no! The Gentle Bah'ai!"


5 posted on 09/02/2006 1:55:30 PM PDT by jude24 ("I will oppose the sword if it's not wielded well, because my enemies are men like me.")
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To: DTogo

I'm still trying to master Q-Bert.


6 posted on 09/02/2006 1:56:29 PM PDT by Larry Lucido ("There's no problem so big that government intervention can't make it worse.")
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To: DaveLoneRanger
"What we are finding is violence doesn't make it a better game. Gamers are interested in the storyline and the challenge."

No, gamers want interesting gameplay. Storyline doesn't matter and never has.

7 posted on 09/02/2006 1:59:08 PM PDT by Zeroisanumber (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

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.


8 posted on 09/02/2006 2:00:09 PM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (Yeah, I've got an axe to grind...what else would you use on Leftists?)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

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???


9 posted on 09/02/2006 2:00:10 PM PDT by Evie Munchkin (Unions suck)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

I'd buy one, but only if it's rated M.


10 posted on 09/02/2006 2:05:05 PM PDT by gcruse (http://gcruse.typepad.com)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

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. :)


11 posted on 09/02/2006 2:08:36 PM PDT by Tim Long (I spit in the face of people who don't want to be cool.)
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To: Larry Lucido

Coily,Greenball,ugg,slick


12 posted on 09/02/2006 2:52:13 PM PDT by Revel
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To: WorkingClassFilth

http://www.planetdan.net/blog/2005/02/jesus-is-ball-hog.htm


13 posted on 09/02/2006 3:44:39 PM PDT by badpacifist (Stop the suffrage of uninformed voters)
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To: badpacifist

To paraphrase Hank Hill, "You're not making God better; you're making video games worse!!".


14 posted on 09/02/2006 4:11:27 PM PDT by CalvaryJohn (What is keeping that damned asteroid?)
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To: badpacifist

In my most demented imagination, I have never imagined such things. What kind of defective mind conjures up this stuff?


15 posted on 09/02/2006 5:19:22 PM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (Yeah, I've got an axe to grind...what else would you use on Leftists?)
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To: DaveLoneRanger
I also have a bit of a beef with trying to 'corrupt' things of the world back towards Christianity. One of the things that author C.S. Lewis pointed out is that the devil cannot create, he can only corrupt. Why borrow the devil's tactics?

Your position is that all games are from the Devil?

16 posted on 09/02/2006 5:59:03 PM PDT by Jorge
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To: Tim Long
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.

Thank you. Obviously they haven't read the Old Testament, or Revelations.

17 posted on 09/02/2006 6:01:11 PM PDT by Jorge
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To: WorkingClassFilth
In my most demented imagination, I have never imagined such things. What kind of defective mind conjures up this stuff?

Defective?

You're actually upset that anyone could portray Jesus playing basketball?

You consider basketball evil?

18 posted on 09/02/2006 6:03:12 PM PDT by Jorge
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To: Hexenhammer
Hmmm... Peacekeeper... wicked deeds....
19 posted on 09/02/2006 6:14:18 PM PDT by Oztrich Boy (What ever crushes individuality is despotism, no matter what name it is called. J S Mill)
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To: Jorge

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.


20 posted on 09/02/2006 6:15:26 PM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (Yeah, I've got an axe to grind...what else would you use on Leftists?)
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To: WorkingClassFilth
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.

Short order cook?

When Jesus rose from the dead, He didn't reappear to His disciples as some wonderous vision hovering above them in the Heavens proclaiming His resurrection.....Rather He appeared to them on the shore simply cooking fish around a fire for them to eat.

Guess this part of the Bible upsets you?

21 posted on 09/02/2006 6:35:26 PM PDT by Jorge
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To: Jorge

You mean like this: http://www.worth1000.com/entries/18500/18879_w.jpg


22 posted on 09/02/2006 6:38:06 PM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (Yeah, I've got an axe to grind...what else would you use on Leftists?)
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To: WorkingClassFilth
Sorry, your link doesn't work.

You said you can't picture Christ as short order cook.

Are you upset that after His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples on the shore cooking fish on fire for them to eat?

Is there something wrong with being a cook?

23 posted on 09/02/2006 6:42:21 PM PDT by Jorge
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To: Jorge

Works for me.


24 posted on 09/02/2006 6:43:24 PM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (Yeah, I've got an axe to grind...what else would you use on Leftists?)
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To: DaveLoneRanger
I downloaded the demo from Gamespot. It's not bad. You might like how it has info on intelligent design on the loading screens. This might also be up your alley when it comes out.
25 posted on 09/03/2006 2:23:50 PM PDT by Tim Long (I spit in the face of people who don't want to be cool.)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

Well I can immediately see how they can improve this game. Fact is if you are up against endless demonic hoards of darkness you want say a good solid 3 barrel repeating rocket launcher and lots of rocket ammo scattered around. Not prayers and a couple of "hidden scrolls". A large shotgun wouldn't go amiss either.


26 posted on 09/03/2006 2:35:01 PM PDT by bobdsmith
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