Skip to comments.Rated E for Everyone: New Company Unveils Family-Friendly Computer Games
Posted on 07/03/2004 4:19:03 AM PDT by xzins
|Rated E for Everyone: New Company Unveils Family-Friendly Computer Games
Feature by Jenni Parker
July 2, 2004
(AgapePress) - A new Silicon Valley company has formed to produce electronic games that are both high-quality and family-friendly, without the violence and other negative content found in many popular videogames. And now the Christian computer game developer called Digital Praise has partnered with Focus on the Family to bring out a new line of interactive games based on the popular Adventures in Odyssey radio series.
Today's video and computer game market is flooded with fantasy games featuring shootouts, car crashes, kicks and punches, all sorts of heavy artillery and explosions, and realistic graphics -- often grossly gory or designed to be sexually titillating. And these features are usually steeped in loud, stereophonic sound that often includes hard rock and rap music amid rough, sometimes even profane, language. And of course, from Mortal Kombat's merciless "Finish him!" to Diablo II's gleeful, "I'll make weapons from your bones!" -- the typical content of these games is rarely if ever calculated to teach virtue or family values. However, gentler and more wholesome alternatives for gamers have been few and far between.
But now, a new company is looking to change that. The newly formed Digital Praise, Inc. is joining entertainment companies like Big Idea, N'Lightning, and others in pioneering the emerging interactive Christian games market. The Fremont, California-based company, privately held by its founders, is actively involved in the development of original, virtue-reinforcing, positive-value game titles for release under its own brand and for third parties.
President and CEO Tom Bean says Digital Praise "is founded on the principle that fun, exciting computer games don't need to be flooded with violence, sex, hate, or images of horror." With this family-friendly philosophy, the young Silicon Valley company is out to prove that electronic entertainment need not be foul, frightful, or fight-full to be fun.
According to Bill Bean, vice president of sales and marketing, Digital Praise is tapping into a major market opportunity. The recent success of movies like The Passion and The Lord of the Rings and the perennial popularity of Christian-themed books, music, and television shows make it obvious that an enormous appetite exists for all kinds of Christian entertainment.
"We see a tremendous opportunity in the Christian games market," Bill Bean says, "an industry estimated between $100 and $200 million in annual sales. As long as new game titles are top quality -- offering exciting game play and high production value -- we believe that interactive games will skyrocket in popularity much like Christian music did 15 years ago."
With those standards in mind, Digital Praise has put together a crack team of computer gaming industry veterans. Between them they have released more than 20 well-known titles, including favorites like the Reader Rabbit, Carmen San Diego, and Oregon Trail games. Peter Fokos, who heads the company's technical operations, is himself a 22-year veteran of the entertainment software business and has worked with industry giants such as The Learning Company and Disney Interactive.
Fokos says of his engineering team, "We've pulled together a group of developers, producers, artists, and audio engineers as fine as any I've ever worked with. This is the kind of group that will keep producing award-winning titles and best-sellers."
A New Way to Enjoy 'Adventures in Odyssey'Ò
Digital Praise has already begun with the recently completed the "Hamtaro: Wake up Snoozer!" game, its first third-party development project for Riverdeep - The Learning Company. And currently under way is another exciting project -- a series of interactive games based on Focus on the Family's world-renowned Adventures in Odyssey radio program.
Adventures in Odyssey fans and electronic gaming fans alike got a sneak peek at the two new titles at the recent Christian Booksellers Association International 2004 show in Atlanta, Georgia, where previews of the games were shown for the very first time. Rated "E" for Everyone by the Entertainment Software Rating Board, the games feature familiar characters Whit, Eugene, Connie and others as they travel through the town of Odyssey and beyond, overcoming challenges and learning important life lessons.
Focus on the Family joined with Digital Praise for the unveiling of the new games: "Adventures in Odyssey and the Treasure of the IncasÔ" and "Adventures in Odyssey and the Sword of the SpiritÔ." Designed for players 8 years old and up, each game delivers Hollywood-quality animation and audio, and each emphasizes challenging fun and excitement in a context that reinforces family values such as cooperation, forgiveness, tolerance and kindness.
Paul McCusker, vice president for Focus on the Family, says the ministry is exited about making these beloved characters and virtue-building stories available in a cutting-edge medium like interactive computer games. "Whit and the rest of the Odyssey townsfolk are here to entertain and enlighten us in a whole new way," he says.
The new Adventures in Odyssey computer games are for Mac or PC platforms and will be available this fall through Christian booksellers, major online software resellers, Focus on the Family, and Digital Praise.
I would say this is the same subject as what you're discussing regarding Christian music.
New technology adapted to the faith.
Good or Bad?
Definitely good. I'll need to look into some of this.
The reality is that parents may want to keep their kids pure from computer games technology and the like. But you'd have to go off and live like the Amish to do so.
So in turn, why not make their exposure to technology pure and wholesome?
It strikes me as good.
Also, I agree with you about controlling how many hours in any given day that kids should be playing computer games instead of being outside bouncing and sliding into third.
***New technology adapted to the faith.
Good or Bad?***
Wait and see.
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