A "Catholic" video game review source - Is there interest? Is there a need?

After lurking on CAF (and the popular media forum in particular) for the past 3+years, I’ve seen firsthand how Catholic faithful utilize media to enrich their lives and faithfully live their vocations.

Movies, books, music…evaluating both the artistic nuances and moral themes of these media is never a problem for CAFfers, and a plethora of external sources also offer valid, insightful criticism exist beyond CAF for these purposes, as well.

Yet video games seem to have been shafted, relegated only to the youth-oriented (and, granted, quite excellent) Lifeteen.com. Unfrotunately, due to the nature of the website, they can only a small amount of titles per year, and are easily overshadowed by the more visible, up-to-date review sites such as 1up.com, gamespy, ign.com, etc.

The lack of truly “Catholic” video game reviews is something I find to be somewhat befuddling, and I’d love to remedy the situation if I could.

So, what does everyone think of the idea? Is it worth pursuing? Anyone interested?

What would a “Catholic” video game entail?

I’m not sure of others’ opinions, but here’s where my wild imagination leads:

Father Peter baptizes as many heathen heretics in Lake Michigan as he possibly can before Christ comes to the campus of your local university to pass judgement.

Seminarian Tim rushes through the streets of the big, mean city in hot pursuit of rescuing lost souls who try to evade him. In the process, he risks martyrdom by local gang war crossfire, as they protect the sinners and shoot at the saint. He also has to determine whether the many storefront chapels marked with signs of Our Lady of Guadalupe are safe havens for him to rest and gain strength in Eucharistic adoration or if they are the territory of sheep stealing pastors who wear him down in turning Tim’s fellow parishioners against the faith.

Brad plays his pipe organ in search of the perfect pitch. If he finds an ideal note which resonates in reaching the heavens, a thousand souls are released from purgatory. But beware of broken pipes which sound sharp as this will cause the stained glass to break. When it does, the lady tour guide may angrily come up to the choir loft with her friends and throw you out the rose window.

A group of chancery office administrators meet in making drastic decisions for the future of the diocese. Can you infiltrate, earn their respect, and convince them to change their minds before its too late? Will your discrete appeals to the bishop be heard? In a game of skill, wit, and insider ecclesiastical politics your mission is to save these institutions and ministries against all odds.

Paul the janitor sets out to fix things at his local Catholic school. But he’s interrupted by a visitor who needs assistance. They strike up a conversation which continues at length. Can you help Paul finish the job on time? Or will he get steeped in endless chatter with this newfound friend? Use your ingenuity (and the allotted radio communication device) to get the janitor moving along and the visitor out of the building.

Ray is raising mission money. Help him shake down everyone in sight and run games of chance! Each quarter added to his collection jar brings great gain. But mere nickels put in reduce your points. Maximize percentage profit and become a good steward who understands sacrificial giving - and taking.

Jason the German has a temper. Always snapping at others to get the job done right and stop messing around. Can you help him regain his peace by charitable cooperation? Or will your own pushing limits cause him to blow again?

Attic Chase: There’s a ghost in the attic! He haunts the upper regions of an old church building getting gutted. The workers try to chase him out. But he isn’t leaving and messes with their tools. Historic items oddly disappear, finding refuge in the ghost’s abode. Is this ghost holy or ill willed? Who should you help? The workers or the ghost? The job must get done on time or funds endowed for new, important facility use will run out. But the ghost doesn’t like what’s going on.

Brother Ken has just one dollar. And ten minutes to get to class. Between his L stop and the office stand a half dozen beggers. What to do? But, wait, there’s another variable at your service: Grace filled brownies he bought from Ray, yesterday! Yet, will the homeless street people enjoy this delicacy? Is it what they truly want? Will they be starving for some sort of nourishment enough to take and eat? Or will they throw them back at Ken? Ken must get to work on time, while exercising necessary charity, with at least one brownie (or 25 cents, the cost of another) in order to examine its chemical compound for his class.

People will probably disagree with me on this…

I’ve always wanted to see a Survival Horror game but has an outlook favorable to Catholicism. It’ll have Horror elements that are not inferior in quality to the best (Silent Hill, Fatal Frame, Resident Evil) horror games, plenty of horrific disturbing images (will probably get a T or M, maybe an AO rating) but at the heart of it, somehow imparts the message that God is stronger than anything else portrayed in the game.

:smiley: :stuck_out_tongue: :smiley: Wow, what a way to start off Sunday morning!

My apologies for the numerous errors in my original post. Late-night posting does wonders for clarity. :rolleyes:

Chicago, in terms of actual video game design, I can see the potential of a sort of “mini-game collection” revolving around these type of “get to the goal” type of games you mention in your post. Some of them could also potentially become deep, lengthy gaming experiences, as well (I also like the survival-horror idea from Reynardus).

However, while I would fully support the production of video games that help to communicate Catholic values, my particular concern is the lack of a proper source for video game criticism. Stephen Greydanus does an excellent job with movie reviews (one of the best in either Catholic or secular media IMO), and even the USCCB, despite the occasional problematic review, at least puts forth the effort to inform the lay Catholic of problematic elements in the current crop of movies available.

TiberRiver.com is a good source for book reviews, and there are various other media outlets that carry music and book reviews, as well. But video games? Only Lifeteen, and, as I mentioned, they only review a very small amount of titles, anyway :frowning:

There are parents here on CAF that are obviously interested in something like this, and after the Gertsmann/Gamespot scandal earlier this year (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Gerstmann)), video game criticism itself could use a “shot in the arm.”

So, once again…does anyone else think this is a good idea? Would anyone possibly be interested in being a part of it?

We talked about some video games in this thread. :smiley:

I think it is a great concept to have more in the way of reviews from a Catholic informed perspective. Perhaps starting some sort of blog or website specifically for such a purpose would be in order? Indeed, if just a few gamers got together and collaborated on such a project, it could possibly take off quite quickly.

…which is why I created this thread. But are there any Catholic gamers on CAF that would be willing to help out with something like this?

I think there may be some “generic” Christian Review sites but nothing specifically Catholic that I know of. It seems like a good idea, but it’s dependent on people contributing and the quality of those reviews. Too bad the USCCB doesn’t have someone covering this.

Here was one Christian review site:
plaingames.com/

Thanks for the link, Carthusianish :slight_smile:

While I have some caveats of the specificity of the review system of that site (it seems a tad superfluous IMO), the overall layout, despite being fairly derivative of some other major gaming websites, is more or less what I envisioned in my first post - with a more Catholic focus, of course.

ANOTHER IDEA!

so there Pope Leonidas was… so many decisions… it was night…an ere night… fog around the vatican. quickly yet quietly HE RUSHES to his gaurd to find skeletons… so many gone. What has happened…ZOMBIES!!!. he rushes outside of the vatican into his hummer with his shotgun and checks on the Local church. ITS SURRONDED BY ZOMBIES!. AND CHILDREN ARE INSIDE PRAYING… seeing a vision suddenly the Pope is on a hill…flowers all around…an Arab woman is holding one but it whithers away and falls. then before it hits the ground a man with the eyes of fire catch it and it glows with shimmering hope. the Pope knows what this means.

Quickly coming to his senses he grabs the shotgun and the pope has himself a slug fest! Zombie limbs ( and not to mention corpses) are every were! he finds the children inside quietly reading the bible and singing…but what of the other churches?

as pope in this game you will have many weapons availble such as the shotgun and the hummer. you will also have to interpret visions.

Unfortunatly, the above post detailing the oh-so-fun suggestions is the reality of “christian” gaming.

And to the poster just above me, interpreting visons? That sounds like a totaly awsome device/gimmik. I mean, what better way to move the story along, yet not have the story be a narrative. There’s a right way to go, yet its up to the player to determin it correctly.

(By the way, what did the vision mean?)

Don’t forget, we could always have a Van Helsing vs the Undead fight going, what with crucafixes and holy water, tons of religious imagery there, though it’s been so assimilated into vampire lore, I doubt it still has the potency it once did. Then again, many of the new chapters in the undead history dont regard religion and faith as much defence against the undead, so it’s hard to say.

Remember that vampires aint posh romanians with hyper-photo-sensativity; they’re corpses with evil spirits in em.

Oh and, it might cost me some compassion points, but satanists are, despite liberal banter, on the whole considered evil by just about everyone. So we can kill them with little, ah, guilt. Yeah…That didn’t come out very Christian.

Then again, we could go pre-Catholic, having the Jews fighting the Philistines, having a first person melee game like Dark Messiah (I’ve never had such fun killing orcs) Should be set in Judges, just cause I’ve never seen a more blood soaked time. Or during the political intrigue of the Kings days. Make it an MMORPG.

But the trouble with all these things is you can’t ever really do God justice. If implimented into game form, He ends up becoming some sort of power/skill, or something you can conjure up/summon. How can you cram the infinite into a little disc?

the vision was the children were the flowers or something. The woman was Mary and Jesus was the man that had fiery eyes. Man… i dont know. thats the game. interpret visions and have a slug fest.

as for infinite in a disc. you just have to use situations. say that you have to do something a certain way. but not to specific in what you HAVE to do. not sure though.

If there is a Catholic review site, I propose they should make dual assessments regarding a game. One part would be based on technical craftsmanship and the other, moral content. In some Christian review sites, these two go hand-in-hand melded into one review with the moral assessment usually overwhelming the technical side. Thus we get reviews that dismiss a terrific game just because it has some nasty occult images.

The dualistic review scheme would provide for more intelligent reviews. Catholics strong in their faith can base their choice purely on technical assessments. (As well as being informed of any morally objectionable elements.)

While Catholic parents concerned with acceptable games for their kids can check the moral assessment instead as their main guideline.

That’s just my take. Something similar to this:
cbcpworld.com/cinema/

Sort of like DOOM?

I prefer the decentfilms.com system, which evaluates the positive and negative “moral/spiritual” nuance of films separately.

But yes, a Catholic site for video game criticism SHOULD encompass both the actual game design, technical achievement, and moral and spiritual value of the game.

Again, it’s the utter lack of such a review source right now that really bugs me. All of the misinformation, hyperbolic news stories (like the whole Mass Effect media circus), and the ever-increasing presence of the video game medium today makes the lack of such a source quite baffling to me, and, as someone who spends plenty of time playing these games (while still remaining a faithful, practicing Catohlic loyal to the Magisterium), I thought that maybe I could at least do something to rectify the problem…

What about a strategy game, like age of empires?

You play a crusader general and you have to defeat the Saracens and Turks and liberate the Holy Land. You can build castles, barracks, etc. and train spearmen, archers, foot knights, mounted knights, pikemen, etc.

the game is called stronghold crusader actually

Yeah, but you can be a Muslim in that. I’m talking 100% crusader here.

hmmm Ave brother.

Ok, back on topic for a sec, guys… :stuck_out_tongue:

Assuming there is interest and a substantial number of staffers…does anyone know of any potential sponsor/funding that this site could be eligible for? Maintaining a website costs both time and money, no?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.