Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Salvation found in a Video Game?

Video games have come a LONG way from when I played them as a kid. I grew up with an original Nintendo and it's still stashed away back home at my parent's house. Growing up in a SDA home we had limitations on the activities my sister and I could do on the Sabbath. This was to encourage us to put away our daily activities and focus on God at least for one day. We had one NES video game we were allowed to play on the Sabbath called Exodus: Journey to the Promised Land. You played as Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt while avoiding magicians and guards. Moses had the ability to "shoot glowing "W"s, which signify the word of God, to defeat enemies and remove obstacles." I don't remember ever getting past level 3 because of those multiple choice Bible questions I could never answer. Maybe I should have spent more time reading the Word instead of shooting it out of a staff.

As I said earlier, video games have come a long way. EA Games is coming out with a video game for the PS3 and Xbox 360 based on Dante Alighieri's, Inferno. I never read through the entire Divine Comedy myself. Finally, an action game where you can fight evil throughout the nine circles of Hell
with amazing and breathtaking graphics! There might be some opposition by some Christian groups but I can't see why this wouldn't be a perfect game to get the Word out to teenage gamers that spend their lives in front of a tv screen 4-6 hours a day. I mean, once they get a taste of how horrible Hell can be they might be inclined to dust off the family Bible and give it a quick glance. If you visit the official website you have to enter in your birth date to verify that you're over 18 and after watching the trailer I understand why.

You play as Dante, not as the poet-philosopher but as a beefed-up veteran of the Crusades. You return to find your love, Beatrice, murdered and her soul kidnapped by Lucifer himself. Armed with Death's Scythe, you fight your way past guards, damned souls, and even "hordes of unbaptized demonic attack-babies (with blades for arms)..." to rescue your damsel's soul. (I wonder if Robin Williams will provide the voice.) My biggest question is who are they going to choose for the boss characters at the end of each level of Hell?

Here's my list on who I think should make the cut.
  1. 1st Circle, Limbo: Socrates- How can anyone resist the chance to go one on one with this philosopher.
  2. 2nd Circle, Lust: Cleopatra- Battling a seductress like Cleopatra (who allegedly slept with over 10,000 men) would be a challenging battle wrought with temptation to give up on Beatrice and stay with Cleopatra.
  3. 3rd Circle, Gluttony: Either Cerberus who guards the gluttons, or a really really fat guy.
  4. 4th Circle, Greed: Bernard Lawrence Madoff, hands down.
  5. 5th Circe, Wrath: Refer to number 7
  6. 6th Circle, Heretics: To avoid calling any religious leader a heretic they might just have a demonic creature as this level's boss.
  7. 7th Circle, The Violent: Probably a beefed up version of Hitler, Gangis Khan, or some other military leader.
  8. 8th Circle, Treacherous: Even though Muhammad might be the most obvious and a well known character in the eighth level Of Dante's Inferno I can't think of any video game developer who would mention him even as a background character. Careful EA Games don't make the same mistakes as others have in the past (see link below).
  9. 9th circle, Hell's Gitmo: Cain, Judas Iscariot, and Satan himself.
Not a very impressive list, but of course EA should be careful with all this religious content flying around they might end up editing their game like Sony's Little Big Planet controversy. Dante's Inferno is set to release December 31, 2009 and to some it might be a great way to ring in the new year by hacking away at unbaptized demonic attack-babies. Before the religious groups get all uppity about another video game with religious content(and very possibly Bible characters other than Satan) they have to understand that this is a horror/action video game. It's made to be as gory, graphic, and as Hellish as possible so that they can sell copies. If anything the religious groups might be offended that this game paints them (or at least the Catholic church) in a negative light in regards to their views of Hell. This type of vivid imagery has been around since the foundation of the Catholic church and is similar to Hieronymus Bosch depiction of Hell in his triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights (which is a wild piece of artwork I mentioned in my last post).

Although, I'm not sure if the sequels Dante's Purgatorio and Dante's Paradiso would sell as well as Inferno.

"Quick hit the 'B' button to play your harp! Now hit 'A' to praise God!"


Sarah Peel said...

I am shocked that they would even produce such a game! I mean, so many people do not believe in the devil. Wow, thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

I was shocked myself, but violence does sell. The kicker for me was the part about hacking away at unbaptized demonic attack-babies. I never got into violent video games when I was younger (I'm more of a Mario man) but this seemed a bit too extreme. Not only does this give off a message that unbaptized babies will end up in hell but their poor arms will be replaced with blades. Just the thought gives me the chills. But the game is still in production (I think) so hopefully they might keep the babies out of it.

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