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Digital Praise Takes Up Christian Gaming Cause 180

Posted by simoniker
from the rod-and-todd dept.
Thanks to GameSpot for its article discussing the formation of a new Christian videogame developer, Digital Praise, formed to create a "planned line of non-offensive games." CEO Tom Bean notes: "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", and the company's official press release discusses "development on two games based on the Adventures in Odyssey radio theater series", arguing: "As long as new game titles are top quality - offering exciting game play and high production value - we believe that interactive Christian games will skyrocket in popularity much like Christian music did 15 years ago."
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Digital Praise Takes Up Christian Gaming Cause

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  • by Eros (6631) on Sunday June 27, 2004 @02:33AM (#9541145)
    "As long as new game titles are top quality - offering exciting game play and high production value - we believe that interactive Christian games will skyrocket in popularity much like Christian music did 15 years ago."

    Well, if that is their baseline for success -- we can only hope.

    -- The Great Satan, Dark Lord Of The Underworld
    • by Landaras (159892) <neil@weh[ ]an.com ['nem' in gap]> on Sunday June 27, 2004 @03:07AM (#9541218) Homepage
      I know you are (sucessfully) making a joke, but I'll go ahead and respond.

      I do agree that the quoted individual did mispeak a bit. I believe Christian music has significantly gained credibility in recent years, but I wouldn't describe it as "skyrocketing" and I disagree with his history.

      Christian music was HORRENDOUS for a very long period of time. The musicians had a heart for God, but not an aptitude for writing lyrics or music.

      Originally the genre was nothing more than the equivalent of hymns or thinly-veiled theology set to not always competently played music. Obviously this brought a lot of deserved ridicule.

      I put 1995 as the year that Christian music started to not suck.

      That year the self-titled Jars of Clay disc debuted (along with it the song Flood), as well as dcTalk's Jesusfreak. Both displayed expert musical skill along with lyrics that actually MEANT SOMETHING to listeners.

      Fast forward to today, and it's not unusual to hear about overtly Christian artists having secular success. Switchfoot (and their Meant to Live) is the current poster child for this.

      But I think the biggest impact is in the bands that you aren't aware are Christian, which I (and others) call "Christian-influenced."

      2001's most played radio song (as determined by Broadcast Data Services) was Lifehouse's Hanging by a Moment [lifehousemusic.com].

      Lifehouse is comprised of Christians, write on Christian ideas and themes (many of their songs can be properly interpreted as worship), but also intentionally allow their music to be correctly interpreted secularly.

      They don't compromise their Christian roots and beliefs, while not beating non-Christians over the heads with the Jesus Stick.

      Bringing this back to gaming (since this is the games section of Slashdot), I believe Digital Praise will be successful if and only if they are able to produce games that are as technically credible and enjoyable to the player as that which is currently on the market.

      It's great to focus on God and attempt to glorify Him. But in order to have impact in the world at large, you have to have relevance as well.

      Christian music (eventually) learned this lesson. We'll see if Christian gaming does.

      - Neil Wehneman
      • Christian music was HORRENDOUS for a very long period of time. The musicians had a heart for God, but not an aptitude for writing lyrics or music.

        Yeah, it just needs to be good at what it does. I'm not a Christian, but one of my favorite bands is a "Christian band" -- Sixpence None the Richer. The key to their success, as I see it:

        1.They don't preach. It's just passionate music from a perspective other than my own.
        2.It's just plain good pop music. Good melodies, good production, good lyrics.

        As I'm s
        • I'm a big Sixpence fan as well. Unfortunately, they disbanded recently.

          What I found interesting about Sixpence is that they were one of the few "crossover" bands to also put out worship music (specifically on the City on a Hill series.)

          However, on their studio releases, as you said, Sixpence didn't preach or get pushy. I think that earned them a lot of fans, both within and without Christianity.

          - Neil Wehneman
    • Re:Bad Analogy Time? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dasunt (249686) on Sunday June 27, 2004 @03:16AM (#9541232)

      Article: "As long as new game titles are top quality - offering exciting game play and high production value - we believe that interactive Christian games will skyrocket in popularity much like Christian music did 15 years ago."

      Well, if that is their baseline for success -- we can only hope.

      You may not be familiar with it, but the amount of Christian music being sold isn't small -- 47 million albums/year [tennessean.com] according to one source.

      Or how about "$800 million in [Christian music] sales [that] topped sales of classical music and jazz combined..." [nwsource.com] (from a story talking about, oddly enough, the piracy of Xian music).

      Christian music is big business, with its own famous bands, concerts, and record lables. And don't think that its all old time gospel music either -- it runs the gauntlet from folk music to pop to Christian metal.

  • by jazman_777 (44742) on Sunday June 27, 2004 @02:38AM (#9541156) Homepage
    "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!"
  • by Elledan (582730) on Sunday June 27, 2004 @02:52AM (#9541190) Homepage
    From the press release:
    "Digital Praise is committed to releasing fun, exciting game titles that promote virtues and family values like forgiveness, tolerance and kindness, rather than the violent and sexual behavior that is the mainstay of most popular computer games today."

    This single sentence implies two things:

    - most games today actively promote violent and/or sexual behaviour;
    - any kind of violent and sexual behaviour is a bad thing.

    Starting with the second point, I think that we can all agree that this is utter nonsense. Violence and sexual behaviour are facts of life, and are two of the things which most actively define ourselves and our surroundings. Apparently it refers to the 'turning the other cheek', and the 'no sex before marriage/sex is solely for reproductive purposes' parts of fundamentalistic Christian beliefs.

    Moving on, I'm guessing that even a game like the Sims is considered to be offensive by certain people. FPSs are violent by nature, but it would be ridiculous to state that the violence in this type of games promotes more violence (looking at the crime statistics for the US, the number of crimes committed since the introduction of Doom in the early '90s has sharply decreased, and never can a criminal act be directly attributed to a game).

    Besides, there are already plenty of games which are totally PC and 'lots of fun'. They're called children's games :p

    Anyway, those smug, fundamentalistic Christian types never seem to change, so this press release isn't exactly news, or even mildly shocking. With a couple of minor adaptations you could turn it into a press release regarding Christian music.
    • by zhiwenchong (155773) on Sunday June 27, 2004 @03:14AM (#9541230)
      Violence and sexual behavior are facts of life, true, but that doesn't mean everyone has to condone it. And no, I do not agree that they define us as people. People should be able to choose what kinds of values they want to have without being subject to derision. And that doesn't necessarily have to mean that they're necessarily divorced from reality. They just have different values.

      I think we're all sick of holier-than-thou attitudes, but let's not stoop to that level ourselves.

      Your post confirms something: smugness isn't limited to fundamentalist Christian groups.
      • Violence and sexual behavior are facts of life, true, but that doesn't mean everyone has to condone it.

        I agree. Any kind of behaviour which is aimed at causing harm to anyone is not a good thing.

        And no, I do not agree that they define us as people.

        I never said they do.

        I only said that those types of behaviour have made us what we are today. Unless you disagree that those last two world wars and the sexual revolution during the '60s were just hype.

        People should be able to choose what kinds of va
        • Regarding this:

          >> And no, I do not agree they define us as people.
          > I never said they do.

          Explain this, please?
          >>> Violence and sexual behaviour are facts of life, and are two of the things which most actively define ourselves and our surroundings.

          I think it's logical to conclude that "ourselves" means "us [as people]."

          • "define us as people" might be interpreted as meaning "is an essential part of being human".

            I merely meant to say that all actions taken in the past, including those of a violent and/or sexual nature, shape the present, of which we are a part.
    • FP!S (Score:3, Insightful)

      by leonbrooks (8043)

      any kind of violent and sexual behaviour is a bad thing

      Strawman detected.

      In an average TV crime show, the hero of the plot kills one person per episode. An average New York police officer draws their gun about twice in their working lifetime. An average FPS player kills several opponents per minute.

      What they're looking for is a game which is closer to Real Life, both less traumatising/anaesthetising for the player (however small the doses of trauma are) and better training for Real Life.

      Children's gam

      • There are paintball mods for games such as ghost recon. One game I used to really enjoy is Nerf Arena. I believe it used the Unreal Tournament engine and was released shortly before Unreal Tournament. So, the graphics might be slightly dated but it is still a very fun game to play. A wide assortment of nerf guns combined with bright and very original levels adds up to a great first person shooter. Its great for kids and adults. Believe me on this one, I enjoyed Soldier of Fortune 1 and 2, and I still loved
      • Re:FP!S (Score:3, Funny)

        by HalfFlat (121672)

        Does a paintball FPS exist [...] ?

        Yes [ign.com], but ...

        If not, maybe it should.

        if only you knew [mobygames.com] the horror [ign.com].

        There are worse things than violent FPSs.

        Much, much worse.

      • I don't understand why you would want to play a simulation of a simulation of (as much as the modern paintball industry denies it) armed combat ?

        If I want to do something physical like that, I'll play airsoft in politically incorrect camouflage with politically incorrect realistic looking fully-automatic plastic bb shooting guns. If I want to do something like that on a computer I'll play a computer simulation of combat.

        The others sound...no offense, but very boring. The only other fun FPS sub-genre I'v
    • This single sentence implies two things:

      - most games today actively promote violent and/or sexual behaviour;
      - any kind of violent and sexual behaviour is a bad thing.

      Starting with the second point, I think that we can all agree that this is utter nonsense.

      The only sexual behavior that is not bad behavior is that which occurs privately within the exclusive bounds of a faithful, marital relationship between one man and one woman. Even if a game were to depict this good sexual behavior, that very depict

      • by Elledan (582730) on Sunday June 27, 2004 @06:45AM (#9541601) Homepage
        Such a way of thinking about sex was typical before the sexual revolution. It was accompanied by strict rules for how a woman should behave herself, before and after marriage.

        A woman should never take the initiative, leave all important decisions to men, including who to marry (which was decided upon by the potential groom and both families). Once married, a woman should only concern herself with keeping the house tidy, taking care of the children, and ensure the continuing comfort of her husband, regardless of her own condition.

        It took a world war (when women had to work in the factories, because most men were away, fighting) to shake up these widely held convictions and a revolution (from the '60s and onwards) to get things to change.

        Sexual behaviour (e.g. flirting) has been accepted for a while now, and sex itself is becoming less of a taboo as well. The reason why sex was treated like something 'special' for such a long time was because it was a taboo, thanks to good old-fashioned Christian values (re virgin birth), not because not talking about it made it somehow 'better'.

        The man can say, "She wants to have sex with me and no one else!" The woman can say, "He wants to have sex with me and no one else!" Man: "My body is ALL for YOU!" Woman: "My body is ALL for YOU!" You can imagine what that does to the hormones! And the mutual love. A third person, whether a participant or spectator, contaminates the marital purity and spoils the "one flesh" sexual intimacy.

        ...which is why all men absolutely can't stand the thought of a trisome.

        Thank you, please come again :)
        • by Derkec (463377)
          Nice little logical twist you put in there. Because traditional Judeo-Christian views on sex were more common prior to the sexual revolution and because women had a lower standing prior to the world war II, you associate the idea that sex should be between man and wife with oppression of women. That's bull and I'm calling you on it.

          Yes, attitudes on both subjects changed at roughly the same period of history. So did attitudes and laws regarding race in this country. Your argument has only slightly more mer
          • by Elledan (582730)
            Nice little logical twist you put in there. Because traditional Judeo-Christian views on sex were more common prior to the sexual revolution and because women had a lower standing prior to the world war II, you associate the idea that sex should be between man and wife with oppression of women.

            Did I? I'm sorry if that's how it appeared to you. I merely tried to describe some of the, now outdated, views held by many before the sexual revolution and feminism.

            Now, I think sex is 'special' and not because
            • by jareds (100340)

              The parent made it sound like to a man, having sex with a single woman is what any man instinctively craves, whereas it's a commonly known fact that monogamy is definitely not natural behaviour for humans, and might possibly contribute to the sharp rise in genetic defects we're witnessing.

              How might monogamy contribute to the rise in genetic defects? I can see that in excessively small and isolated populations, it would be best for women to have children by different partners to maximize genetic diversi

              • Having children with close relatives is called homogamy, which is another term for inbreeding.

                Because monogamy restricts the sexual relations of a man to a single woman, in a healthy population, this means that more of those with genetic defects (active or latent) can procreate, whereas otherwise only a small subset of such individuals would be able to produce offspring.

                Furthermore, because monogamy by its very nature restricts the genetic diversity of a population, creating more of a linear spread (thr
      • There are people out there that could say that their belief structure says that promiscuity is "right" and that monogamy is "wrong". So what, exactly, makes the Christian standpoint the right one? You can't define what's right and wrong for everyone based on your personal beliefs, since so many different belief structures exist in this world.

        Obviously, since there are so many people playing these games, many people don't view them as "wrong". Why should your opinion matter to them?
        • So what, exactly, makes the Christian standpoint the right one?

          Uncannily accurate history and prophecy. Miracles. But both of those can be forged to some degree; God's the only deity to claim authorship of the universe de novo, ex nihilo and offer evidence (e.g. astronomical details [christiant...unding.com] not available to the ancients) to back the claim up.

          "The Christian standpoint" could be made to cover a lot of ground. I specifically exclude interpretations incompatible with Scripture, since they will be considerably less t

        • There are people out there that could say that their belief structure says that promiscuity is "right" and that monogamy is "wrong". So what, exactly, makes the Christian standpoint the right one?

          The question was about why Christian video games should avoid simulated sexual behavior. I gave you the Christian viewpoint.

      • Wow, nice piece of dogma there, even with a link to some christian bible stuff.

        The only sexual behavior that is not bad behavior is that which occurs privately within the exclusive bounds of a faithful, marital relationship between one man and one woman.

        This is your belief, you should state as such. As it is you are attempting to make a claim as being true just because you believe it to be.

        In fact i really dont have to quote anymore then to say this is an opinion piece touted as fact or 'rules' or what
        • As it is you are attempting to make a claim as being true just because you believe it to be.

          I am attempting to defend Digital Praise's policy of making video games that are not "flooded" with sexual content. It is a Christian company making video games for Christian gamers. I gave you the Christian viewpoint. This is what we believe. Digital Praise is not making games for the atheist/pagan market, so it is not in their interest to pander to those philosophies.

          • Actually I didn't get that our of your post at all. It sounded very much you were talking a lot about your opinion on how sex is viewed by christians. Or more correctly how you believe sex is or should be viewed by christians. As you have stated that sex should be kept secret, we can reasonably conclude that 'flooded' means any.

            I fear you have been lead down a primrose path of disinformation by someone about what is in games, and who they are targeted for.

            There is also this interesting 'atheist/pagan' com
      • It's a good thing the Bible doesn't talk about sex. At all. Song of Solomon, anyone? Heck, how many instances of "... A knew B ..." can you find in the Bible? How many instances of violence? Women and children being murdered because God said so (yes, that -does- happen)? Or even better -- God deciding, after drowning everyone (minus a few,) that maybe that wouldn't be such a good thing to do in the future? Nor is it uncommon in the Bible to find references to men having multiple wives (particularly kings),
        • wouldn't unashamed public nakedness (and acceptance thereof) be a return to the "better, good ol' days" of pre-sin innocence?

          BION, this is actually quite a historically common occurence. Forex, not long after the turn of this century a bunch of people calling themselves the "Holy Flesh" movement decided that since they were forgiven all sin (they had a kind of Catholic view of it: it was technically possible in their eyes to kind of pre-forgive a crime), they were immune to its effects and that as an act

      • by spir0 (319821)
        What makes good sex good is its exclusive and secret nature.

        This is something which I personally find distasteful. Not from the perspective of wanting to see others doing it, but because secrecy allows those in a position of power to take advantage of it. This can lead to rape, even in a marital situation, but even if it's just discomfort, secrecy does not allow the uncomfortable party the freedom to discuss it with friends and family because they will feel they are breaking the sanctity and secrecy of se
        • I have mod points, but I want to comment in this thread after I've read some. I was about to throw that away and mod you insightful.

          The one man, one woman thing, is really what turns the guy one. Some people like feet, some people like to crap all over their partners, and some like the fact that their wife is pure and untouched. This guy just has the mistaken belief that everyone wants to think like he does.

          My fionce hasn't been with another person before me, and when we are together, the though of her no
      • or are people really this uptight and insane about stuff like sex? whoa.

        you spout your beliefs as tho they were facts. try to remember that a lot of people arent as obsessed with sex and what others are or arent doing. we just enjoy it in whatever form we happen to experience and move on.
    • by TheLink (130905)
      Compare a previous rather similar Slashdot story:
      Recruit More Women Developers, Attract Women Gamers? [slashdot.org]

      Quotes: "Half of the population isn't having input into what's being created... And the one thing that I learned is that people make games they like to play. Having a diverse opinion helps games"

      Contrast with: "Digital Praise Takes Up Christian Gaming Cause" (that's this story)
      Quotes: "those smug, fundamentalistic Christian types never seem to change"

      Read the various comments on both articles.

      Sure they
    • I have an idea for a christian video game. It's called Crusade.

      In the first portion of the game, you learn that moozlim ayrabs have seized the Holyland. God's chosen people, the Christians must take it back. Onward Christian soldiers!

      Along the way to Jerusalem, stop at every village you find to rob, rape and pillage. When you get there, don't just kill the men. Women, children and livestock are fair game too.

      In the second portion of the game, you are back in Europe. You must save Christendom from withche

      • Go from village to village, town to town armed with the Maleum Maleficarum, and hunt for them.

        You'll also need a large set of scales, and a duck.

        On a more serious note, "witches" was a term which in practice meant anyone who believed differently to you, or that you didn't like. Protestants (even before the Protest of the Princes, they had Waldenses and Albigenses and such to torture) were as much fair game as helpful, peaceful herbalists and genuinely nasty might-makes-right invokers of dark powers.

        To g

  • by Anonymous Coward
    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

    I totally agree. Hangman, anyone?

    • Obviously, you don't get the point [liquidgeneration.com]. (-:

      Note to moderators: please don't mod stuff down because you disagree with it. Moderate it up or down based on the quality or otherwise of the points made. The parent AC deserves the occasional positive mod for polite, constructive sarcasm.
    • actually this poses a question, what kind of games are they going to make?

      Racing games? Well if someone crashes the car that's implied violence. And you cant hit another car as that is violent. If you race by yourself you might hit a wall and that again implies a car crash.. ok thats out.

      ok well i suppose you can do puzzle games.. *shrug* ok. However i cant think of any successful pure puzzle games other than tetris. Even the venerable Myst series had a rather complex plot that with element that some may
  • Niche Market (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SiO2 (124860) on Sunday June 27, 2004 @03:30AM (#9541264) Homepage
    The words "niche market" come to mind. They are obviously targeting a very specific audience: people who want to play games, but who want to feel safe and moral while doing so.

    I would posit that the vast majority of us who play games with violent or sexual content do so for the following reasons:

    1. They're fun.

    2. Normal, being a relative term, people can't do the things in meat space that they can do in computer games. They like that. They feel free. They get to step outside the boundaries for a bit.

    3. Fragging helps to release tension. Sure, you would really like to go after Phil at the office with a rail gun, because he fucked up again and really made you angry. Go splatter some bots instead. You won't end up in either the electric chair or strapped to a gurney with a needle in your arm that is about to deliver to your bloodstream some chemicals of a very dubious and harmful nature.

    4. A lot of geeks, nerds, dweebs, dorks, and whatever term you choose were kicked around a lot when they were younger. Violent games are a way for them to kick back in a manner that, while cathartic, is not harmful to others.

    I suppose most of these points are intertwined.

    There are already a great deal of fun games available that are non-violent, non-sexual, and non-Christian. I submit, for example, games like Enigmo, Text Twist, the wiley veteran Tetris, UpLink, etc. These are but a few examples.

    I think that this company is merely using the tired argument that violent games lead to violent behavior. If anything, I would argue the opposite. I, for one, have become so jaded by violence in the news that I really don't care anymore. Some more soldiers exploded in Iraq again today. Some more Jews killed some more Palestinians. Some more Palestinians killed some more Jews. I've heard and read it so many times that I don't even care anymore.

    This company just wants to offer alternatives that disseminate Christian values, which, I think, is not necessarily wrong. More power to them. However, I do believe that their market share will be rather slim and limited to Christian fundamentalists.

    SiO2
    • The words "niche market" come to mind. They are obviously targeting a very specific audience: people who want to play games, but who want to feel safe and moral while doing so.

      I disagree. All kinds of people play all kinds of nonviolent games. As you pointed out, Online games sites such as Yahoo Games is quite popular and if I had to guess, NOT a niche market by any means.

      The point is that this audience probably does not play these [nonviolent, etc.] games because it wants to feel safe and moral, b

      • We've seen that (at least mostly) nonviolent games reach even the "hardcore" market and become very popular. Here's a list of a few of my favorites:

        # the Simcity series
        # Super Mario Brothers
        # Any racing games


        Actually, those can all be pretty violent. In super mario brothers, this army of goobas came in and conquored whatever world it was. The imprisoned the princess and held her captive. Mario smashes bricks with his head, then stomps and kills cute little mushroom guys and turtles. He throws fireba
        • It's really not that hard to think up ways of injecting violence into any games. You forgot to figure one out for DDR.

          Whenever I play DDR, I think about stomping on my boss's body repeatedly to the tunes of hardcore dance tracks.

          When the beats really pick up, I think about using the little colored arrows to do unspeakable things* to him, too.

          How's that for violence?


          * I don't know what "unspeakable things" means to you, but I meant "put on a happy light show."

  • Umm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by King_of_Prussia (741355) on Sunday June 27, 2004 @03:57AM (#9541308)
    Whereabouts in the bible does it say "and ye faithful shall not gaze upon or take part in scenes of horror"?

    Calling horror and violence something foreign to the church seems a little off kilter- anyone remember the crusades?

    • Whereabouts in the bible does it say "and ye faithful shall not gaze upon or take part in scenes of horror"?

      This [gospelcom.net] is fairly straightforward.

      anyone remember the crusades?

      In which one political entity (the Roman Catholic Church) taught another (Islam) how to be brutal on a large scale, yes? And what does that have to do with religion?

      How about the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre, in which subjects of the same political entity suddenly rose up and murdered over 70,000 of their competitors in one day, no

    • I remember that the Crusades were carried out by authoritarian theocracies that forced religion upon their people. The leaders lined people up, had them walk through the water of large baptistries, and - abracadabra - they were "Christians." Utter foolishness! These were the people that also thought they could make their enemies convert to Christianity by the threat of the sword. That's not agreeing to converting; that's saving your skin.

      No, becoming a Christian must be a personal decision. One must confe

      • ...new religion.

        The leaders lined people up, had them walk through the water of large baptistries, and - abracadabra - they were "Christians."

        It's a time-honoured practice, if time can be said to honour anything. Constantine did this with his troops around 300AD, which was a very long time before the Crusades, also a very long time before the Crusaders' enemy faction even existed.

        Abracadabra, Aramaic for "I create as I speak" is heavily paralleled in the Bible. The term you're probably looking for is "ho

  • by Zachary Kessin (1372) <zkessin@gmail.com> on Sunday June 27, 2004 @04:01AM (#9541315) Homepage Journal
    Here are a bunch of people who are saying we don't like the current crop of games for a number of reasons. So instead of protesting and trying to make it so that others can't play they are going to make their own games. In a free country this is exactly what people should do. One of the points of free software is that people can take it and make it better, for whatever value of better they happen to want. Even if its something that is totally un insteresting to you and me.

    If these folks want to make their games power to them. Remember in the USA fundemtalist christains are a very large number of people.
    • Jeez, just because some group of religious fundamentalists isn't trying to oppress us, we should be happy? The fact that these people are leaving our freedoms alone is definitely not enough to make me want to be beaten over the head with the jesus stick while I'm trying to play a video game.

      I agree with your basic point, that if people don't like the way video games are they should make their own, but the prospect of having to watch out for evangelist games doesn't exactly appeal to me either.
      • Trust me I don't want to be hit over the head with the jesus stick any more than you do. As I think I said I'm not a christian, and don't want to be one. I am very much a religous person, (I moved 6000 miles to a country where I don't speek the language for relgious reasons). I will say that I don't really care what a bunch of christians in the US do or don't do with computer games. But I support the idea of reacting to things you don't like by building something you do.

        The question in my mind is are these
  • by jotaeleemeese (303437) on Sunday June 27, 2004 @04:12AM (#9541337) Homepage Journal
    It is a shame that it takes a group as descredited as any religious organization (don't start me on this one, just my opinion OK?) to tackle excesive violence and demeaning or exploitatve sex stereotypes.

    I, being a non religious person, am sick and tired of games whose only aim is to brutalize as many characters as possible in the worst possible way.

    I think game designers have a moral responsibility towards society, specially having in mind that many of their "customers" are impressionable young persons, I am not saying that there should not be ultraviolent, sexually explicit or politically incorrect games, the point I am trying to make is that game developpers seem to think that without at least one of the above they can't sell.

    It is a testament to how wrong they are how Tetris, Pac Man, Myst, SimCity and other games like thes are perhaps the most successful in all time,
    • You know what? It's because non-religious people are typically free to do what they want to do. (Likewise for dogmatic people, but i don't think i've ever seen a game claiming to bring a certain economical ideology for example)

      You want to blame them for not being organized and self-censor themselves. Well, all it requires is a little wait until the industry becomes much smaller (in terms of number of publishing houses) than it is today. It is the concentration of power that can enable self-censorship.

      A gi
    • I too am not remotely religious.

      I have a number of games that would be classified as very violent. GTAIII springs to mind, more recently I have been playing Mafia. What I enjoy about them is the escapism, and I really like the virtual world to interact with, more of that please! Not so bothered about the violent aspects although they can be fun if handled well as they were in GTA.

      However, the game I have been spending most time playing lately, one might say that I am addicted to it, is Super Monkey Bal
    • Well, I don't disagree that there are a lot of violence in games, but perhaps you could tell me what the difference between a "christian" videogame and a "secular" game is?

      I remember a while back, a "Christian game company" came out with an "Christian first-person shooter" based on the Quake engine which featured the player slaying demons and such with holy relics and swords. Someone pointed out that this was similar in concept to Doom, you go around killing demons. But Doom is considered a "bad" or "evil"
      • by Jerf (17166) on Sunday June 27, 2004 @11:28AM (#9543506) Journal
        Someone pointed out that this was similar in concept to Doom, you go around killing demons. But Doom is considered a "bad" or "evil" game by many fundamentalist types, whereas the christian game was okay for some reason. Is there really a difference between killing demons with a sword in an "christian" game and killing them with shotguns in secular one?

        Speaking as a Christian who frequently finds myself critical of same, I tend to agree.

        A more contemporary example: Explain to me why Harry Potter is evil, but the Chronicles of Narnia are not.

        Actually, I can draw a meaningful line between the two (this not being a theology site its probably not worth posting it as laying the necessary groundwork would take too long); my point isn't that it is impossible, but that the way that most Christians have condemned it also condemns significant amounts of other classic literature.

        (Also, for the record, I believe there is a huge difference between this is a story and claiming this is true. Until such time as JK Rowling starts claiming it is true, I'm not inclined to worry about it in older children. I do believe younger children (4 or 5) should not see the movies, but more from a developmental psychology approach them a religious one; it is important to develop a sense of reality vs. fantasy, and that is getting increasingly hard in our world as multi-sensory entertainment gets more and more realistic. Expect to see this as an issue sometime in the next decade or two in the developmental psychology discipline.)
        • A more contemporary example: Explain to me why Harry Potter is evil, but the Chronicles of Narnia are not.

          I was wondering the same thing, and read most of the books (up through half of the fifth).
          The main distinction between the two was the framework and the underlying worldview which permeated both works.
          Both Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia are set in modern-day England, both involve every-day children that the reader can easily identify themselves with, and they both embark on journies which

    • by dafoomie (521507) <.moc.liamtoh. .ta. .eimoofad.> on Sunday June 27, 2004 @08:12AM (#9541808) Homepage
      Yeah, because all religous people so abhore violence, they'd never make something as excessively gruesome as Passion of the Christ.

      Yes, shame on all of us non-religous types.
  • A Couple of Issues (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hungus (585181) on Sunday June 27, 2004 @04:16AM (#9541345) Journal
    Label me what you will, Mac Freak, BSD Zealot, Rolemaster 2nd Apologist, Grey Hat, Young Earth Creationist, Bad Typist Speller, and Poor Grammarian. (I just figured I would get it out of the way). On top of all that (or rather underlying it) I am an Evangelical Christian of the Reformed Tradition with Jewish roots. Oh, and I love radio dramas, and as a subset Adventures in Odyssey [oneplace.com].

    All of that being said, I don't really like they way this company seems to be headed. Christian music has become to popular, to the point it is often difficult to tell the difference between sacred and secular. It is my entrenched belief that once you cannot see the line anymore, it isn't there. Christian games should strive be the best out there, not the most popular. Christians these days often lose sight of it not being about money. You do what you are called to do, not because it is easy or popular but because you were called. You needs will be met, and by that I don't mean your need to drive a Lexus and live in a 3000+ sq. ft home. (unless of course it is a generational home or something similar).

    Christian games can be fun, exciting challenging etc. All to often, however, they are cheesy, shoddily made, or quite droll. The Christian life isn't some go stick your head in the sand way of living (though again some have made it that). People forget that it is a Christian world view that shaped Tolkien's works and yet I would argue that there are a fair number of /.'rs who enjoy the works yet do not have a similar belief. In my mind it should be the same with Christian games. In the end, games for me are about story telling and use such to challenge the mind and soul.

    In any case I will leave you with the following quote ascribed to CS Lewis regarding one of the many conversations he and JRR Tolkien had on issues of myth, storytelling and its effects"
    "Now the story of Christ is simply a true myth: a myth working on us the same way as the others, but with this tremendous difference that it Really happened: and one must be content to accept it in the same way, remembering that it is God's myth where the others are men's myths; i.e. the Pagan stories are God expressing Himself through the minds of the poets, using such images as He found there, while Christianity is God expressing Himself through what we call 'real things' ... namely, the actual incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection."
    • Tolkien explicitly stated in the introduction to LOTR that his story was NOT allegory in any sense of the word; in fact he claims to despise allegory in all of its manifestations.

      CS Lewis, on the other hand, made no secret that his Narnia books were a Christian allegory. To the uninformed reader, because you attributed that quote to "CS Lewis regarding one of the many conversations he and JRR Tolkien," it might seem that Tolkien shared this viewpoint, which he absolutely did not.
  • Stories? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LittleBigLui (304739) on Sunday June 27, 2004 @04:24AM (#9541359) Homepage Journal

    "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"


    So the games won't be based on bible stories then?
  • It seems to me that labeling a game as "christian" is setting it up for failure. While "Christian" themed things may be getting more popular, I highly doubt there is a large intersection between gamers and people who enjoy christian themed things.
    Of course the problem is, if you are not going to label it Christian, then what? One could argue that religion should be left out of it, and that there should merely be some effort put into creating games which teach morailty. Of course morality even among chri
  • It would be really interesting if someone made a game accurately based on the bible (Which version? Ed.) where we could have the crusades for example, or perhaps a Populous type game where you have to invade an alternative culture and "persuade" the natives to convert to your religion. It could have the inquisition and various methods of torturing people who didnt agree with the church, and various violent killings and so forth. It would make a great multiplayer where you could choose to be the Romans,
    • It would be really interesting if someone made a game accurately based on the bible (Which version? Ed.) where we could have the crusades for example, or perhaps a Populous type game where you have to invade an alternative culture and "persuade" the natives to convert to your religion

      Uh, yeah, 'cause the crusades are mentioned in the Bible after all.
    • Setting aside the already-pointed-out fact that all those events you mention are post-biblical (since the Bible cuts out at sometime before 100 AD), I have a question: Does this mean that for the final 150 years or so of the game that you would turn into a non-aggressor who merely has unpopular opinions? Or are you going to argue that your game avatar would spend that time bombing abortion clinics and the like?

      (sarcasm)'Cause we all know how the Church supports that.(/sarcasm)
  • by pudge (3605) *
    I am waiting for Jesux [geocities.com]: The Game!
  • I know movie licensed games usually suck, but maybe they could score a Thief in the Night [imdb.com] deal?
  • Based on this quote from the article --
    "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," said Bean."
    We won't have the following titles show up any time soon.

    The Adventures of Jephthah [bibleexplained.com]

    Punish the Midianites [bibleexplained.com]

    The trial and execution of Jesus [bibleexplained.com]

    Inquisition - Heretics [rice.edu]

    Inquisition II - Torquemada's Rack [ronaldbrucemeyer.com]
  • All that really matters to me is if they make a good game. While it may be true that developers like Wisdom Tree have paved a grand history of mediocrity, that doesn't necessarily mean that all future religious titles are destined to be bombs. I could easily see an RPG system akin to Ultima IV being put to good use. Possibly a comical adventure game about some guy trying to join a church, but is delayed by Wacky Hijinx.

    It'd be nice to see people try and keep an open mind about games like these instead of just immediately writing them off with "Oh, a God game. It'll suck."

  • Taken from here [x-entertainment.com].

    Bart: When I'm feeling low, you know what cheers me up?
    Rod: Kindness?
    Bart: Oooh, tough room. Video games! Whaddyagot?
    (He reaches to the bookshelf and picks up a copy of "Billy Graham's Bible Blasters," and they begin to play.)
    Rod: Keep firing! Convert the heathens!
    (A series of "heathens" crosses the video screen as a "Bible gun" fires Bibles at them. When a "heathen" is hit, he turns into a conservatively dressed man with a halo.)
    Bart: Got him!
    Rod: No, you just winged him and made him a Uni
  • by MarthaStewart32 (792071) on Sunday June 27, 2004 @03:36PM (#9545461)
    In the realm of video games, christian video games have been lacking. There have been a couple doom off shoots and other miscellaneous games that have fallen short of being anything quality. One possible reason is because these company are not doing it out of a want to spread "the gospel". But they are also capitalist trying to make a quick dollar. If they can sell a game that does require almost any time for programming the game and market merely as a "christian" game. Some mom is going to see it on the shelf and say "Its christian, it will be a good alternative to my little boy that like to play games that blow up things." This is as far as the game producers would care. Once the product is bought the lack of quality is no longer a problem. A game should not merely be looked down because it holds the title "christian" but because it is coming froma capitalistic society that it marketing on its christian label. If this company can produce quality games that have a christian influence it might change the tide of previous crappy programming. And in defence of christian about the previously mentioned crusades. These are obvious black marks on christian history. But the inquistion and the crusades had little to do with what the bible actually said. No where in the bible does it say anything about harming anyone or forcing anyone to believe in anything. The crusades where not based on christian morals. Simply Christianity is not at fault for the actions of people claiming to be Christians. Churches have been filled and will be filled with people who claim to be christians but really aren't.
  • I find games offensive if they DON'T have violence and sex. Offense is such a subjective thing.
  • (In the style of Zork)
    You are in a brightly lit room.
    You are likely to be blessed by a Grue

    (In the style of Zero Wing)
    How art thou?
    All thine church are belong to us.
    You have no chance to resurrect, make thine prayers.

    (In the style of Mortal Kombat)
    After performing a fatality, your opponent comes back to life 3 rounds later.

    (In the style of Dance Dance Revolution)
    (to a chant with a techno beat)
    KNEEL, PRAY, GENUFLECT, HAIL MARY, NOVENA, NOVENA, GENUFLECT, KNEEL...
  • Might be Interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Reapy (688651) on Monday June 28, 2004 @09:16AM (#9550505)
    I am not religous at all, but I would love to see some different themed games. For one, I think the adventure game genera would fit in with their goals nicely. With some good animators drawing some really nice 2d artwork, it could make for a fun game. They could theme it a bible setting, or the garden of eden, or even do a modern story with someone finding faith through some adventures. I don't mind what the message is behind the game as long as it's well written and nicely animated.

    Maybe they could invent some sort of sim game where you run a church and have to deal with the same types of things that most church administors have to deal with. That could be interesting, letting you build and expand the church, while trying to run programs that increase the amount of worshipers coming in. You could try to generate aditional income by using different donation collection methods all the way to installing a cell phone tower in your steeple for 12,000 a month. Throw in some events, such as weddings and funerals, and you've got an interesting game.

    This could be interesting, but I know it will result in some people making crappy games trying to make a few bucks by using the term "christian" in the title and marketing it as the safest video games EVER for concerd parents.

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