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Games Entertainment

Christian Game Developers Conference Plans Gathering 237

Posted by simoniker
from the dogma dept.
Thanks to GamerFeed for its story noting the Christian Game Developers Conference has announced its third annual gathering, to be held in Portland, Oregon on July 30th-31st. The official CGDC site has more information on the expo, which "officially expands to include card, board and paper game developers alongside interactive electronic entertainment." There's also word from conference organizer Tim Emmerich of GraceWorks Interactive: "We... plan to examine the variety of games currently on the market and successes in other media such as 'The Passion of The Christ' and the 'Left Behind' series, which proved that Bible-based products can do well in the market if they are well made."
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Christian Game Developers Conference Plans Gathering

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  • ...a sequel to Super Noah's Ark 3D?

    That was absolutely the best ever game to license the Wolfenstein engine. Fire apples at sheep to make them so hungry they sleep. Peace on the ark, but I'm not sure what this taught me about Jesus.

  • by Toxygen (738180) on Friday April 23, 2004 @02:55PM (#8953441) Journal
    They should base them on the AD&D system. Or maybe Magic: The Gathering.
  • by JasonMaggini (190142) on Friday April 23, 2004 @02:59PM (#8953485)
    ..."The Simpsons."
    What was the game the Flanders' kids had? "Billy Graham's Bible Blasters" or something?
  • Well-made? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chasuk (62477) <chasuk@gmail.com> on Friday April 23, 2004 @03:01PM (#8953505)
    We... plan to examine the variety of games currently on the market and successes in other media such as 'The Passion of The Christ' and the 'Left Behind' series, which proved that Bible-based products can do well in the market if they are well made.

    Well-made? Do Christians use different standards of judging craft than non-Christians? Asked another way, have you ever tried to read any of the Tim Lahaye books? If you seriously consider any of the books in the 'Left Behind' series to be well-made, that I can't wait to see some of the games that come out of this conference.
    • Re:Well-made? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Planesdragon (210349) <slashdot&castlesteelstone,us> on Friday April 23, 2004 @03:04PM (#8953547) Homepage Journal
      Do Christians use different standards of judging craft than non-Christians?

      Nope. We use units sold or dollars grossed, just like everyone else.

      And by THOSE measures, "Left Behind" is Shakesphere.
      • Re:Well-made? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Wylfing (144940)
        I'm sky-high on karma and wearing my flameproof underwear today.

        "Left Behind" is Shakesphere

        Shakesphere? Sheesh. But poor spelling aside, how is this post Insightful or Informative? Are you out of your fucking mind? Left Behind doesn't measure up to a good issue of Spider-Man, let alone Shakespeare. And this comparison is utterly asinine in the first place. Star Wars Episode I made more money than all the Shakespeare productions worldwide for all time have ever made. By this poster's logic, George Lucas

        • By this poster's logic, George Lucas is the greatest author to ever live.

          Filmmaker, not author.

          And, really, when we get right down to it, sales ARE our only solid measure of quality. So, if _Lucas_ has sold more tickets than any other filmaker--then, yes, he is the greatest.

          That said, I wasn't discussing people, I was discussing works. And, by a lot of measurements (gross sales, cultural impact, extant fanbase, number of fans), Star Wars is "the best movie series EvAR!"
          • And, really, when we get right down to it, sales ARE our only solid measure of quality.

            Ah, yes, that's why I'd rather scarf a Big Mac than go to a fine French Restaurant.

            Sales are our only solid measure of popularity. Call me a dirty elitist bastard, but popularity and quality are two very, very different things.

            • You dirty elitist bastard. ;)

              You pay more for the fine French Restaurant, right? Then they make better _meals_.

              But if a McDonalds makes more total than that French Restaurant, then they're a better _Restaurant_.
              • No, then they're a better business, not a better restaurant.
              • You pay more for the fine French Restaurant, right? Then they make better _meals_.

                But if a McDonalds makes more total than that French Restaurant, then they're a better _Restaurant_.


                So if I opened up a restaurant serving up McDonald's excess food from yesterday that they threw in the garbage (ignoring legalities) for $50 a plate, would you say my restaurant made better meals because you paid more?
              • Re:Well-made? (Score:2, Insightful)

                by Anonymous Coward
                And just to drive the point home, the annual religious material publishing industry grosses $1.25 billion a year in sales. Cocaine sales gross $40 billion a year in sales in the US alone. According to you, cocaine is 32 times better than all published religious material combined.

                Hey, religion may be an opiate for the masses but I guess there's still some things the secular world will always do better. :)
      • Re:Well-made? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by nacturation (646836) <nacturation AT gmail DOT com> on Friday April 23, 2004 @03:57PM (#8954224) Journal
        Isn't that a bit like judging L. Ron Hubbard's material by units sold? Sure, Dianetics may be a best seller but how does it rank when you subtract sales (often multiple copies [google.com]) to Scientologists? If it's still a mega-bestseller, then the book has been fairly judged. But if the book sells very few copies outside of the choir it's preaching to, what does that say about the quality?
      • You're posting from windows aren't you? Since it is the best-made OS in the world. ;-)
      • Nope. We use units sold or dollars grossed, just like everyone else.

        Like everyone else? I am hoping that you are being sarcastic. No one else that I have ever met in my life would equate quality with "units sold or dollars grossed."

        If you aren't joking, then I humbly submit that Hinduism is "better" than Christianity based on the same logic, and that Roman Catholics are "better" than Baptists because there are more of them.

        Oh, and when the followers of Islam outnumber the follwers of Christianity (and
        • These folk [adherents.com] say Hinduism is third best, while worshiping Kim Jong Il [cnet-ta.ne.jp] is tenth best--better than Judaism, Sikhism, Jainism, and even the Grand Daddy of Monotheism--Zoroastrianism. Let us hope their Juche principle serves them well in their current misfortune.
          • Thank you for your correction. I seriously underestimated the popularity of Christianity. It would appear that Christianity is truly the Coca Cola of religions, and Islam is merely the Pepsi of the new generation.

            What does that make Hinduism? Mountain Dew or 7-Up?

            • It's not quite that cut and dry--the site I linked to seemed to be based on poll figures--or at least defines itself as trying to answer the question 'what religions do people claim to be following when asked in a poll?' Not that such a poll has been taken--for example, they just have to take North Korea's word that they adhere to Juche. It offers a lot interesting discussion of this problem--the results you'd get in a poll are very different from attendance or other registration figures one can collect f
        • Whether Islam is larger than Christianity depends on which Christian you ask. I know any number of evangelical Christian fundamentalists who will tell you that Catholics, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses are not Christians. Some Catholics feel the same way about Protestants (e.g., Mel Gibson et pére).
        • If you aren't joking, then I humbly submit that Hinduism is "better" than Christianity based on the same logic, and that [Roman Catholicism is] "better" than [the Baptist Denominations] because there are more of them.

          Note the corrections. A religion is not people.

          Catholics aren't any better than baptists, but if I have to choose between them as markets, then the one with more money is obviously the better choice.

          Oh, and when the followers of Islam outnumber the follwers of Christianity (and it will h
      • >>Do Christians use different standards of judging craft than non-Christians?
        >Nope. We use units sold or dollars grossed, just like everyone else.

        Personally, I use other standards to judge craft. High sales figures do not mean something is not crap. By my standards of literature, the Left Behind series is a steaming pile. Bad writing coupled to bad theology may sell to the uneducated, but that's not going to turn it into quality literature. As I recall, there is also a Biblical injunction a

      • Not quite. Shakespeare is in the public domain, which I'm sure the "Left Behind" series will never see.
        • Don't worry, once the rapture comes the copyright owners will ascend and the rest of the world can plunder not only their cloths, but the "Left Behind" books themselves!
    • If you seriously consider any of the books in the 'Left Behind' series to be well-made, that I can't wait to see some of the games that come out of this conference.

      Well, the two-dimensional charakters and the overall flatness of the story would lend itself to a 2D-sidescroller...

    • There is a huge difference between a best-selling book and a well-made one. Much like software.
    • Re:Well-made? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tolldog (1571) on Friday April 23, 2004 @04:09PM (#8954358) Homepage Journal
      Actually there is a large problem in the Christian market to produce crap, slap a Christian label on it and try to sell it because its Christian.

      Too many places try to blur the lines between business and religion and use the sentiments of the buyer to out way the quality of the product. It is something I get frustrated with in all forms of Christian media.

      What the real kicker is is when something starts getting popular and is being produced so that it can compete in the secular market, it is often looked at as selling out... and may get shunned until it gets picked up by the secular market as the next best thing, then, it gets pulled back in and its shown as a great example of Christians producing popular stuff.

      I have never seen a group so backwards and in a bubble as Christian entertainment.

      -Tim
      • I love how I got modded a troll on this.

        I have been active the last couple of years trying to help with the Christian dance music industry as well as having worked at the largest and most famous Christian childrens video series.

        Not to defend myself, just to give more clarity where I come from.

        -Tim
  • by ninewands (105734) on Friday April 23, 2004 @03:09PM (#8953629)
    I haven't seen "The Passion of the Christ" nor do I intend to ... but to see the "Left Behind" series mentioned in a sentence stating that Bible-based products do well in the market "if they are well-made" ... GIVE ME A BREAK!

    The "Left Behind" series of alleged Christian sci-fi books" is, not to put too fine a point on it, hackneyed crap. The fact that they do well in the market is more a result of tightly targeting them on the large evangelical Christian demographic group than the quality of the writing.
  • Although extreme Bible-thumping explicitly Christian games thus far have been rare and poorly-executed, there's no shortage of mainstream games with religious over/undertones, symbolism, or commentary. Deus Ex, Xenogears, and Alpha Centauri come to mind. Can someone name more?
    • Although extreme Bible-thumping explicitly Christian games thus far have been rare and poorly-executed, there's no shortage of mainstream games with religious over/undertones, symbolism, or commentary. Deus Ex, Xenogears, and Alpha Centauri come to mind. Can someone name more?

      Um... Doom?
    • Alpha Centauri focusses on only one culture of Christianity, and one that I as a Christian have never encountered. It is not a religious game, nor does it accurately portray Christianity. It is, however, a fantastic game and one of my all time favourites. It was always a war filled game when you had Miriam, Yang and Santiago in the same one.
    • Anything based on The Matrix.

      The thing I see about making videogames based on Christianity is that interactivity is a problem. How are you going to make - for example - an RPG based on the story of Moses? If there's only one way to complete the game, then anybody who's read Exodus will get it instantly... if there are multiple solutions, you're questioning Scripture. Suppose you took control of an army during a well-known battle like Gideon's... what happens if you lose? CAN you lose? SHOULD you be able t

  • by a whoabot (706122) on Friday April 23, 2004 @03:15PM (#8953712)
    Commodotising ideas into consumer products for the mass market does just that: initiates them into the mass. The mass purely consumes. This won't help the actual influence of any ideas they're trying to put forth, it will have a negative effect if any. It's as quicksand.

    Of course, they probably do know this, and it's just an attempt to get money for something or someone(s), somwhere. One must admit, that wouldn't be out of line with the actions of "religious" groups in the past.
  • Good times (Score:3, Funny)

    by Wylfing (144940) <brian@wyGAUSSlfing.net minus math_god> on Friday April 23, 2004 @03:15PM (#8953727) Homepage Journal
    Seriously, there are some great games out there. I recommend this [games-workshop.com] or this [games-workshop.com]. Burn, heretic, burn!

  • by Quill_28 (553921) on Friday April 23, 2004 @03:20PM (#8953782) Journal
    Why Christians games?

    Quite simply the more games mature the more "adult" they become.

    They same has happened with books, movies, and music.

    Christian music is not what it is today because it has Christian lyrics, it was started as a clean alternative to the music of the day.

    If mainstream music stayed "clean", Christian music would never have become so popular it may never have even been a seperate category.

    The same will happen will books, movies, and computer games over time.

    Computer games have slowly "matured" where it is not uncommon to have swearing, adult topics, etc, etc.

    Christians don't desire to have "Christians" games(or any other type of media) so much as games that don't go against their moral beliefs.

    Sorry for the disjointed post.

    • Quoth the poster:

      Christian music is not what it is today because it has Christian lyrics, it was started as a clean alternative to the music of the day.

      I beg to differ. "Christian popular music," more particularly, "Christian Rock," "Christian Metal" and "Christian Rap" were specifically invented to 1) allow Christian youth to think of themselves as "kewl," and 2) as an attempt to proselytize.

      If mainstream music stayed "clean", Christian music would never have become so popular it may never have e

      • I would disagree. I listened to both "Christian" music and pop music in the late 80's.

        My main reason for listening to Christian music was not to be kewl, it was because alot of the music of the day went against my beliefs, plain and simple. A lot of other people felt the same way. I would also attribute the rise of country is the 90s for the same reason.

        >Those who really like Rock, Metal and Rap consider the "Christian" variants to be laughable at best, pathetic at worst.

        Yes, all "Christian" artists s
        • The way I see it, the thing with Christian music is the voulme of the artists. Say there are 50,000(numbers pulled out of my butt) "secular" bands, 99% of them suck, and 500 "Christian" bands, 99% of whom suck. That leaves us with about 5 good "Christian" bands, and 500 good "secular" bands, which sound like about the right numbers to me. There is good Christain music out there, just not as much of it as good "secular" music.
      • There's plenty of *good* Christian music. John Coltrane is the pinacle of Christian jazz, in my
        view. Waterdeep did great alt-rock. I think they
        are still around. Sufjan Stevens rocks my world
        right now.
  • I actually clicked the link to see the CGDC official website and was treated to a Flash homepage that rendered about 1.5 inches tall and 3 inches wide on my Sun 21" Trinitron ... I hate to think what it would be like on my 17" monitor at home! The text on the page was, needless to say, completely illegible.
  • by Strange Ranger (454494) on Friday April 23, 2004 @03:24PM (#8953841)
    WRONG. It proves that good story based products , good music, and good film will do well regardless of whether they're Bible based or not. Good art / good media is NOT PREACHY.

    "Christian Rock"
    "Christian Books"
    "Christian Film"
    and now "Christian Games". These usually turn out awful because
    A:They're more concerned with evangelizing the audience than with telling a good story or being entertaining. And
    B:The people making them are Christians first and producers of art/media/content second. It usually comes out like it was produced in a church basement by people with left over bake-sale cookies and a very inflated sense of relevance.

    Sure they'll tell you that "OF COURSE we're Christians first above all else." But we all have rolls to play in life. You don't see any Christian Football Players. No, you see Football players who happen to be Christian.

    If you want to build "Christian Games" then first concentrate on the game, the message comes second (or forget it). If you build Christian morality into something like for instance the Sims (community, teamwork, tolerance, sharing, caring generosity, etc.) then you'll have a great Christian game that's for everyone and teaches Christian values to the masses. So much better than a preachy Christian game for Christians that re-cements their already well indoctrinated beliefs.

    Feel free to replace "games" with "music", "books", etc. above.
    • Well, yes and no. There are cases where a work is both "good art" and "religiously preachy," and some of these are quite successful in the market.

      For example, I could make a strong argument that U2* was both good art *and* religiously preachy.

      Similarly, C. S. Lewis' Narnia books were reasonably good art and quite religiously preachy.

      * U2 was a rock'n'roll band popular before some of you were born, and after some of you were in college.
    • The problem here is that Christians do NOT simply want to teach Christian values, the entire point for a Christian is to spread the Gospel. Spreading of "Christian" values is the same as the values of just about any religion, most have the same basic tenants. For a Christian it's about Jesus with belief in Jesus, all those values are for nothing. You may not agree with this, but you can't tell a Christian when they should be happy with their own work. A Christian that is anything BEFORE a Christian needs
  • FUN (Score:4, Funny)

    by Sevn (12012) on Friday April 23, 2004 @03:26PM (#8953864) Homepage Journal
    Suggestions for Titles:

    The Adventures of Young God

    Moses vs Hoover Dam

    The Great Whale Escape

    Sodom and Gommorah Sims

    Santa vs The Israelites

    Jesus Chainsaw Massacre (aka WWJD Smackdown)
  • Wisdom Tree [atarihq.com]'s NES games.

    Did you know Sunday Funday was just a graphics hack of Menace Beach?

    Also see: Bible Adventures. [seanbaby.com]

    "GOOD WORK! BUT YOU FORGOT BABY MOSES!".

    Yeah, I'm sure the passion of the christ will make for a great game, with the player controlling Jesus, and.. getting beat up and stuff?

    Now, if you could switch to Robot Jesus, Ninja Jesus, or Hyper Jesus, then we'd have something...
  • Wouldn't that qualify? Heck, any of the Sim* games let you play god to a certain degree...
  • by alyosha1 (581809)
    As a Christian and a gamer, why do I need specifically 'Christian' games? I don't play 'Christian' soccer or 'Christian' chess now, do I? I can see the point of some Christian literature if it's actually educating me on some point of my faith , (writers like Philip Yancey [christianitytoday.com] come to mind). I can see the point of Christian music like that of delirious [delirious.co.uk] and Tim Hughes [worshipmusic.com] that serves a purpose in connecting me with God, but beyond that I'll be the first to admit that a lot of what the Christian sub-culture chu
    • by xTown (94562)
      Perhaps you don't need specifically Christian games. I know I don't.

      But there are some fundamentalist denominations that believe that thought and deed are equal; this is the root of a lot of the objection to pen-and-paper RPGs, or so I've heard: that imagining you are doing something ungodly, like casting a spell, is tantamount to actually casting a spell. (From a more rational Christian standpoint, of course, this is absurd.) But it stands to reason that there will be some people who want to exercise thei
  • There's an old article I remember reading by a gentleman named John Fischer which talked about his efforts as a child to begin a Christian painting company. Things went very well until they knocked on the door of a lady who asked a very pertinent question: "Can you paint?"

    Quite frankly, the problem with most Christian software is that it's not fun or well made. The problem with most Christian novels is that they're poorly written, and (dare I say...) the problem with most Christian music is that it's ju
  • What would the point of this game be? To evade the romans, change history, and never allow the religion to come about? Which would probably go against their beliefs.

    Or to find the romans, taunt them, let them beat you, and then die? Which, on the other hand, is usually the opposite point of playing a game.

    I'm unsure what the point of this game would be.
  • Yay. (Score:3, Informative)

    by josh glaser (748297) on Friday April 23, 2004 @04:58PM (#8954816)
    I don't think most Christian stuff can hold a candle to the non-Christian stuff. It might be because all Christian games applarently must be a sermon in disguise. It could also be that they usually have exponentially lower budgets (I remember a Christian film bragging about its budget of "nearly one million dollars"). Other people have also discussed there reasoning, and I agree with it, to the most part.

    Ever noticed how everybody talks about how great, say, "Left Behind" is? It's really not that great of a book - compare it to other popular (not-Christian) books out there, and, well, it's pretty...meh. But it's supposedly the best Christian book ever (well, besides the Bible ^_^). I think that it's not because all Christians are awful writers, but there just in a smaller pond - rarely is Christian stuff compared to non-Christian stuff, and Christian stuff is usually lower quality. I guess what I'm getting at is, well, being the best author ever on your block isn't saying as much as the best in the country.

    And I think this "Christian games" thing is blown out of proportion - in all my life, I've seen around 10 Christian games, never at "big" stores, just at Christian bookstores and the like. But its supposed to be the next "Christian music" - which has hundreds of singers and stuff, and can be found at my local Wal-mart. It could very well be because lots of Christians (NOT ALL - don't take me the wrong way) usually take a bit longer to "warm up" to new stuff, in my opinion (and in a LOT of personal experience).

    I'm not expecting Christian games to be anything big anytime soon. I mean, I've still seen Wisdom Tree's NES games for sale. And if and when Christian games are anything more than ripoffs of other game and Disney-style "activity centers", I doubt they will be as good, simply because there's fewer people interested in making them and buying them.

    Just my two cents.
  • They are preaching to the choir or alienating people that could not care less about the religious overtones of their endeavours.
  • I think a big problem is that methodists and catholics and lutherans all have different variations on the belief, and the you get a bunch of christian programmers, but they all have differeng beliefs, and we end up with the dreck that the market puts forth under the Lord's name! we should pick one denomination to make the games.. the one that has the most faith, I'd say. so I propose that all the other christian denominations leave the christian video game scene to one specific denomination who will do it
  • by superultra (670002) on Friday April 23, 2004 @06:27PM (#8955558) Homepage
    Boy, I sure hope this year's is better. I had a big booth for my game, "Win the Wicked," (selling for $49.99) and last year some weird Jewish guy with a whip [gospelcom.net] came through the hall yelling and overturning tables everywhere. Something about his father's temple. WTF? Guy was on speed or something. Probably cost the developers at the conference a thousands of dollars each. The damage he caused to my equipment was why I had to push back the game a few months. Who did he think he was anyway, stopping me from selling my Christian games? This is America, a Christian country!

    I hear they got an injunction against him this year though. For all the trouble he caused me, he could be rotting in a grave for all I care.
  • by miyako (632510) <miyako.gmail@com> on Friday April 23, 2004 @06:37PM (#8955626) Homepage Journal
    This just reminds me of a NES game a friend of mine picked up at a garage sale for a nickle a couple of years ago called "Exodus: Journey to the promised land"
    Essentially, the player played as moses leading the jews out of egypt as in Exodus, but what was really funny is that you walked around as this moses character and shot and killed the egyptians with the "word of god" wich was just this W that you shot out.
    The game itself was actually quite terrible, but it was so bad that we all have a good laugh popping it in every once in a while.
    Of course i'm suprised that they are going to think about having anything to do with pen and paper games, which is so closely related to D&D, because as everyone knows "Dungeons and Dragons, Satans game..." (if you don't know what i'm talking about check out Dungeons and Dragons, an 8 bit re-enactment [cybermoonstudios.com])
  • by Nice2Cats (557310) on Friday April 23, 2004 @06:43PM (#8955668)
    The Christian game I am really looking forward to is Crusades:

    In the name of Jesus and with the blessing of the Pope, invade countries that are your technical, scientific, and cultural superiors, slaughter the inhabitants, and on the way there, get rid a few of the Church's main Christian rivals.

    The other one that looks good is Witch Hunt:

    In the name of Jesus and with the blessing of the Pope, go whole hog on S/M: Randomly pick women to torture, rape, and murder (not necessarily in that order). Women who have helped liberate France from foreign invaders get extra points!

    I've heard there is a newer version of that called Stone the Homosexual, but then I'm probably going to get modded down enough as it is.

    Seriously, people, where does this idea come from that Christian games will be any more tolerant, life-loving, or enlightening than the past 2,000 years of Christian history have been?

  • would be kinda cool.
  • by Pvt_Waldo (459439) on Saturday April 24, 2004 @10:54AM (#8959198)
    Kinda bothers me how many people are on here being total Trolls. Me? I'm no fan of the right, of fanatical believes, etc. But I am a fan of being open minded, and being open to let others enjoy their beliefs without ridicule, as long as those beliefs allow for others.

    I guaruntee you that for every pompous putdown and ridicule based rant here you'll find another in some "religeous right" forum that you'd gleefully quote as to say, "See what jerks these guys are?". So who's the "deluded fool" then I gotta wonder? Who's more closed minded?

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