We were surprised by how many of you were interested in the Left Behind video game scheduled to release in a few months. With this widespread interest, why isn’t the video game industry creating more religious video games?
Chris Morris of CNN recently investigated this. After interviewing video game makers, he discovered a simple answer: they just don’t know how to do it.
Two problems come up when trying to create a religious game: angry religious people and characters that can’t truly be heroes.
Many game makers commented that accurately portraying Biblical people and places becomes an issue when creating a religious video game. People become upset when the game they are playing doesn’t accurately portray their religious concepts. Even differences between Protestants and Catholics could upset one side or the other. Most video games play off fantasy, but since people take religion seriously, a game cannot carry the same fantastical themes. Instead, it must be based in the truths religious people already have in their heads. Also, people don’t want to see the Bible characters they idolize to be faced with moral choices that could have potentially bad consequences. People like Moses, David, and Abraham cannot be created as characters with choices because if they make choices that would stray from the Biblical story, people get angered.
The second issue deals with God. Isn’t half the fun of playing the video game acting the hero? Games live out our fantasies of single-handedly saving the world from death, destruction, alien invaders, forty-foot monsters, and demons-sometimes all at the same time. But Bible characters are people following God’s will and really, God is supposed to be the hero. How many people want to play a video game where God rushes in and rescues them from a huge boss or, at the end, God gets the praise. Let’s face it: when we play a video game we want to win and we want all the glory (and the girl) when we do.
Before the video game industry would be able to embrace religion, religion would have to embrace the video game industry. Churches have already begun to implement video, music, and other forms of media, but video games still do not play a role in the religious community. Once they do, religious video games may find a home.