Catholic Christian Video Game Ideas

The Pope has charged us the lay faithful with being the new evangelization to the world, and to be present in media. I have seen some great appearances on video, occasionally on TV, and often in the radio, but I have never seen such an appearance in the area of video games.

I have some thoughts on this I would like to kick around, and would appreciate feedback:
Good direction:), bad direction:(, please use a different direction… :confused:

Also, I have no real expertise or experience in this area, some computer programming but not enough to even claim that title. So anyone who pray-fully feels called to put forth their talents on this please feel free to let me know.

lets foucus on this

I would propose such a measurement using the theological and cardinal virtues:
• Faith, Hope, and Charity on a 3 dimensional scale 0-inf representing our spiritual Life
• Wisdom, Courage, Justice, and Temperance representing our spiritual abilities
• Life, Liberty, and Dignity on a 3 dimensional scale 0 -100% representing our physical life
• Mind, Heart, Strength and Will representing our physical abilities
• Power, Fame, and Achievement on a 3 dimensional scale 0-inf representing worldly life
• Knowledge, Charm, Money, and Independence representing worldly abilities

Kotor, Kotor 2, Mass Effect, and Mass Effect 2 cover many of these.

• Faith, Hope, and Charity on a 3 dimensional scale 0-inf representing our spiritual Life
Lightside, Darkside, Renegade, Paragon

• Wisdom, Courage, Justice, and Temperance representing our spiritual abilities
All are required to be a good character in the game.

Life, Liberty, and Dignity on a 3 dimensional scale 0 -100% representing our physical life
Darkside, lightside, Paragon, Renegade

• Mind, Heart, Strength and Will representing our physical abilities
Different classes to choose from

• Power, Fame, and Achievement on a 3 dimensional scale 0-inf representing worldly life
• Knowledge, Charm, Money, and Independence representing worldly abilities
Once again, its in the games.

I do not suggest ever making a Bible based game. We saw that those failed HORRIBLY in games such as Baby Moses, and Noah’s Ark games for the NES. People will not buy them.

Intereting idea…

I think Bible based video games CAN work, they just have to be exciting.

How about a game depicting the battle between the angels of light vs Satan and his demons? You are the hero, the Archangel Michael, and you have to hack-and-slash your way through many levels filled with hordes of demons and vile creatures, with a host of angel warriors as backup. The game starts in heaven, and as the levels progress you must exile the fallen ones into ever deeper and levels of hell, so they cannot return.

With the right marketting and with a good budget, you could make it really cool. There are already games like this (diablo, etc.). The Bible has SO many great storylines to portray. I think the only reason it hasn’t really worked yet is because the games are either under-funded, or not "bad-" enough. Believe me, there is plenty of bad- material in the Bible to make a great game and teach a good lesson at the same time.

I think you have some good ideas. Before you get started, I think you need to ask yourself a couple of questions.

Mainly, you have to look at what you’re going for. Are you looking to reach hardcore gamers, or are you looking to reach those that are specifically looking for Catholic video games?

There are some Catholic games out there that work for their purpose. For example, Third Day Games developed the Gospel Champions PC video game series for Silver Burdett Ginn (before RCL Benziger absorbed SBG’s religion division) that came out monthly (from Sept. 2007 through Aug. 2008) and drew from the Sunday Mass readings. It is catechetical and serves it’s purpose, but it’s not exactly something that is winning any Player’s Choice awards. Generally, it’s not something kids buy themselves but something the parish DRE or Catholic School purchases to hand on to them in the hopes that it will motivate them to learn their faith.

If you’re going for the Catholic niche to produce a quality catechetical game, you should be able to do that easily enough (not that it will be a cake walk, but it is manageable). A Catholic foundation may even be willing to finance the project if you can put your ducks in a row and craft a convincing proposal. You might also want to contact various Catholic publishers and ask them about such a thing. If they think there’s a need, they might run with it. In doing so, you may lose some of the creative control, though.

If you’re aiming for Final Fantasy: Catholic Edition, then you would approach the project in a much different manner. It would also be more difficult to pull off successfully. These premier video game franchises have a large elite team of professionals working on all aspects of development. To get an overtly Catholic game off the ground would take quite a bit of gumption and even more luck.

I would encourage you to stick with it, though. You’re right, there’s not nearly as much attention paid to video games as compared with other media in terms of promoting Catholic values. Keep fighting the good fight! :slight_smile:

I got some inspiration you can use:

I wouldn’t call this a “Catholic” game, but it represented morales in a positive light:

Red Dead Redemption

It’s about a former outlaw in the dying WIld West (1911-14) who, after being abandoned by his former gang, repents from his ways and raises a family. Years later, he finds himself trying to find those that abandoned him for a reason that does not involve revenge.

This game has an honor system that gives or takes based on actionstaken in the game.

It also shows the Catholic Church, well later on at least on the southern part of the border, in a good light. As for the priest you see in the opening credits, I’d guess he’s the product of his times.

There’s also a “special appearance” by what I suspect is someone from the bible, but that’s all I can say without spoiling it. (Hint: Stranger Quest)

For more inspiration, I’d look to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. These two games have simple yet powerful stories that should be in the Bible if it really happened.

That’s my take :thumbsup:

I believe that if we were to create a video game that reflects moral reality and teaching how to best deal with the real drama we face each day, it would become more appealing in many respects than even the highest acclaimed games out there.
For instance)
If I were to live this simulated life out in a secular fashion, I would have X result in my life, the people around me, and society at large.
However, if I could then try to live this life out in a more truly Christian fashion, and I could see measurably the end result.
The idea is to take that critical thinking people already apply to figuring out how to win a video game, and trick them into applying it to real life scenarios.

I guess the point is here, that games should go beyond Catechisis (What we believe) to include also Evangelism (Developing our relationship with Jesus), Apologetics (Why we believe), and then practice (Applying this learning to simulated real life experiences).

I guess the beauty of this concept is that it could stretch between real life and fantastical ideas, so long as those real life situations exist. Present video games that I have seen seem to avoid real life situations “like the plague”, presenting the user with morally black and white scenarios (that don’t reflect reality). This tends to falsely reaffirm the player that they are living a good life, and already know how to live a good life without too much thinking about it.

Granted, but this is not impossible. The beauty of the Church and the economy within, is we aren’t looking for profit or credit, but millions with a common beatific vision. I understand that the elite team of professionals are indeed needed to break ground in graphics and technology, and to provide the best music, storyline, and presentation.
However, the most basic design portions of gaming are becoming more accessible to the less computer savy. (Though really what has prevented us from evangelizing the computer savy and other experts?)

It might be most appropriate to test the various concepts of the game in a Role-playing board game format, probably using the paragraph system, so everyone can take turns playing through the roles, and creatively introducing new stories. (This in fact may be superior to the video game experience in many respects, however less diffusive).

Um… this rather makes the point about the morally ambiguous systems put forth that do not reflect reality. I guess it is good that morality is entering designers thoughts…but let us say there is definitely work to be done.

Here is more discussion from the horse’s mouth.
RDR Honors System Forum

By the comments on this forum, would you say that this system is teaching moral behavior? even just using the natural law?

I am not certain what LCO is, google returns “Loco Roco” whose storyline remains unclear.

“Shadow of The Colossus” seems to pit Man vs the Supernatural, and, put into the context of reality, would suggest that the devil/demons would be willing or able to restore human life. The sacrificial qualities are laudable though… I would suggest some studies on the Passion, Stations of the Cross, or even the movie: “The Passion of the Christ” (assuming the violence of that event can be psychologically handled, definitely Rated R)
Sacrifice has an even greater purpose than that put forth in SoTC.

As to the freedom of control and stunning graphics put forth in RDR and especially SoTC, yes these would be powerful elements to take what is congent and make it convincing.

Errr, it’s Ico not Lco ( Basically about a horned boy who was supposed to be sacraficed by his fellow villagers via locked inside a coffin within a castle by the edge of a cliff. Thanks to a well timed earth quake he escapes, while trying to find a way out he runs into a girl trapped inside a sort of bird cage…

About Shadow of the Colossus, research the ending of the game. Players see why you shouldn’t mess with the supernatural even if it is for someone you love, you see it with the appearance of your character as you progress exterminating giant after giant (regardless if they attack you at first, there’s one that doesn’t attack you at all), and you definetly see it at the climax of the game.

All in all, I get where you’re trying to go with this. How would one make a good video game out of Christ Sacrafice and Ressurection though without it becoming too movie like?

About RDR… just thought I give an example :shrug:.

I don’t know if there’s a rule against double posting, if there is I aplogize in advance.

Anyways, what I like to add is the reasons why I play video games. One of them is to play a hero, to be a sort of Arrogorn of “The Lord of the Rings” who, after an absence of preparing, takes up his rightful place as King of Gondor and helps Frodo ultimately destroy the ring by destracting Sauron.

Hence why I like Red Dead Redemption so much, the main character is trying to save his family by giving in to the damands of capturing his ex-gang members, that and trying to leave the past the past.

Another reason is to play a good story; to me, video games are like movies except you control where the main character goes or does to some extent. That in mind, I play only games with a convincing and thought out, regardless of it being simple or extremely complex, plot to it… to give me a reason to fight through the challenges the game requires me to do.

Among gamers like myself, these aren’t the main reasons people play (often its for challenges, to kick a** on AI or real players, etc) but its up there.

What I suggest is to look up this up coming EWTN show:

Maybe you can develope a game based on this concept, not a hero against the world kind of thing but a soldier among brothers trying to survive. Maybe like the novels “The Things we Carry” or “Fallen Angels”.

Just another 2 cents.

You know, I think that you’re on to something, here…

Sam, the Neon Orange Knight

I’m a studying computer programmer as well and am always thinking of how to bring Catholic values to a video game. KotOR and Mass Effect have a good system of making moral choices and having consequences tied to those choices. Being Catholics, and having a better grasp of morality than the mainstream video game industry, we can create a game that has intelligent moral choices and consequences (where they are both relevant to real life and not black and white). This Mass Effect-type of game I think would sell well, if it had a good story and gameplay mechanics to back up the moral choices.

Personally I like Super Nintendo era RPGs like Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy. I’ve been thinking of ways to make games like that Catholic, besides putting a wholesome story on the forefront (which is important for any game). In games like Final Fantasy, you are often trying to collect 3, 4, or 5 of something, fighting your way through a dungeon to get it. Each thing you collect could symbolize one of the seven virtues, and the boss guarding it could resemble the vice opposed to that virtue (temperance versus intemperance, etc.). Taking a Tolkien approach to the fantasy characters is also good too; they should be realistic characters put in fantastic situations (Frodo wasn’t a Superman, yet he still put the ring in Mt. Doom)

Sorry to imply your intentions were otherwise. There are some truly good intentions out there, Finding ways to incline people’s hearts towards this is more challenging. Good suggestions. I’ll take a look, as time allows, and I have a reminder set for Military Orders.

If you enjoyed those you may also enjoy the novel “Once an Eagle” by Anton Myers. Similar fraternal brotherhood but more from the officer’s vantage.
Also, that is a similar philosophy shared by the Knights of Columbus, perhaps something else to look into.

I’m not necessarily pointing to The Passion as a video game, I was more pointing to that as the redemptive theme one could pull from SoTC.

I always though a game based on the exploits of King David would be a great game. At least I think it would have a lot of mass appeal.

Don’t think it would work out so well, we don’t want to turn our favorite king of Israel into another God of War (haven’t played it, probably never will).

Then again, if all the emphasis is put into story rather than combat it might work. Or you can scale down the combat to the point where players have to think on their feet rather than hack and slash to defeat an enemy.

I think PS3’s first Prince of Persia did this, I have the game but haven’t given it a go yet.

I think many game designers take inspiration for their worlds from the Church’s position in history, by putting in some sort of faith-type institution. Oblivion has the Chapel with the Nine Divines (polytheism isn’t my cup of tea, but it’s a fun game) that’s lifted straight from medieval Catholicism. And DragonAge: Origins, which I’m playing now has the Chantry (they refer to the “Maker”).

I’m not sure how to make a video game explicitly Catholic. My favorite games are the fantasy-type ones where the world is completely made-up (like Tolkien and Lewis’ were). You can demonstrate Catholic principles within that kind of framework without making it specifically Catholic, if you know what I mean. Just make a good game!

Interesting ideas. Several genres have been mentioned, and I think you would need to pick a genre. Blending genres doesn’t often work out well and would be too ambitious for a starting game, but if it could be done very well after the earlier games are proven, it could be a major breakthrough game.

The genres that I think have the most mass appeal possibilities would be:
Simulations like The Sims–I was never fond of these games, but it seems mimicking this approach would give the best day-to-day life choice options for a Catholic game

RPGs–these tend to be combat focused, which inherently presents a challenge to a Catholic game, trying to avoid being greatly focused on violence. Mixed with puzzles and mysteries and other problem-solving, it could provide some real opportunities. Some thoughts here:
These might work well first as RPG tabletop games to test a system. Surprisingly enough, White Wolf (makers of :shudder: Vampire the Masquerade) seemed to pioneer morality-based systems to a minor degree.
A Dante’s Inferno (and other works) approach could be very engaging, as could mimicking the fantasy/sci-fi works of other writers (C.S. Lewis) or delving into Angelology, perhaps progressing through the ages of man.
Historical RPGs set in OT times, or pre-Constantine Rome, late Rome, Crusades, or Renaissance could create compelling scenarios for Knights, Monks/Nuns, Priests, Lords, etc. I almost hate to mention them again (as amoral as most of their products are), but White Wolf actually produced a decent RPG (Inquisitor) focused on the PCs playing roles as monster hunters rooting out and destroying the evil supernatural creatures (demons, vampires, werewolves, etc).

MMORPGs–This would be even more challenging, but could create more of a community flavor.

Party Games–IMO, we need more good Wii-style party games for families and friends to gather around and socialize with. Not sure how to make these particularly Catholic, but this would be the most fulfilling kind of game if it could be achieved, because of the superior social aspect.

Strategy/RTS–This genre is ripe for historical scenarios and showing how choices can affect the course of history. As my brother is fond of saying, the solution for one age becomes the problem for the next. Or, in a similar vein, schisms, heresies, corruptions, and societal apostasies are the unpaid debts of the failures and sins of the Church’s members. That is, to the extent that we are unwise and unloving as a Church, the world suffers. The converse would also be true (where would the world be without the Church and its Saints? I shudder to think!)
Again, the historical eras mentioned for RPGs would work here, except choices would be made at a more strategic level (national or at least community).
“Civilization” style approaches focus far less on war than most RTS’s.
A strictly war-based game would be inappropriate, I believe, but I think a good battlefield/war component could be a compelling inclusion that could attract a lot of attention to the games and make them more playable.
These could be a great opportunity to delve into the political/societal implications of choices, and the role of citizenship
They could also be a great avenue for teaching accurate histories. The Crusades come to mind…Maybe that “Military Orders” concept could be fleshed out into an RTS. Of course, things could go much better in the game if abuses are avoided and Just War principles more carefully applied.

Puzzle/Mystery/Problem Solving–Not too familiar with these, either, but could be an antidote to the Da Vinci Code by playing off the similar mystery appeal.

I’ve always had the fantasy of a Church hierarchy game. Start out as a lowly altar boy, and end as a Pope! :smiley: I guess that wouldn’t exemplify Catholic humility very well, aiming to be the Pope and all… hm.:shrug:

I just think it might be cool. :thumbsup:

I think it is difficult to get real Catholicism to translate well into a video game that is capable of being considered a “AAA” title.

I think the best avenue would probably be in either action games or in a game like Heavy Rain because there the developer is more in control of the story and characters. I still think it would be a struggle though, because the writing and character development would have to be really special and the gameplay mechanics would have to be really creative. Here are some obstacles that story telling and creativity would have to overcome:

  • Overly preachy dialogue
  • Over reliance on over the top violence
  • Dull gameplay, or gameplay connected to the Catholic aspect of the game

To clarify points 2 and 3:

  • Let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be that hard to crank out a God of War style game where an Angel assaults Hell. In fact, Dante’s Inferno is basically that game already. The problem is, that game isn’t any better for having a vaguely Christian theme when it’s relying on the cheap thrill of blood and guts. In addition, those games tend to be really shallow, and wouldn’t have any catechetical impact. You simply can’t express what Catholicism is about with characters constantly knee deep in gore.

  • What I mean by this is that the gameplay has to be fun. Tacking on morality meters wasn’t what made Mass Effect 2 a good game. What made ME2 good was solid shooter gameplay with light, but fun character customization (in other words good game mechanics and systems). A “AAA” Catholic game would need similarly strong gameplay too.

In addition, ME2 wasn’t a game with morality in it just because it had a system of measurement for it. It was a game in part about morality because it was in the story. They could have completely stripped out the visual feedback for the morality system and it still would have been a compelling game (though it may have been more confusing). In this theoretical “AAA” Catholic game you can’t just stamp a morality meter on it and call it a day.


Despite all that nay-saying, I’m still hopeful that a “AAA” Catholic game could be made. If I had to do it I would:

  • Have it be either a story driven action game like Assassin’s Creed, Uncharted, etc. or a more cinematic game like Heavy Rain. The reason for this is that you have to really get the player to believe in your characters if they aren’t going to be keeping your attention by knee-capping everything that moves.

A pleasant way to bring a more authentic Catholic vision into a game is to have it be about an angel that’s on Earth disguised as a human. The angel wouldn’t be permitted to use his angelic powers overtly, but would be tasked with protecting a human from harm (could be physical or spiritual). You could have some good battles where the angel fights in the spiritual realm to assist the human and also have some good role playing and character development moments where the angel helps people in the physical world. With good writing etc. you could have a pretty balanced game. It’s similar to the AC series in that the combat takes place in another reality, but has real world relevance outside of the action scenes.

You could also tap some historical moments and use them to illustrate Catholicism. A good example of that would be St. Francis of Assisi’s conversion from soldier to saint. You could have some traditional video game entertainment fair, while at the same time introducing people to the life of a saint.

There is a board game like that where one advances through the hierarchy from altar boy to pope. It’s pretty problematic, though, on several levels. It’s basically geared towards those who fell away from the faith not too long after Vatican II so they can reminisce on what it was like when they “used to be Catholic” and have a good laugh at all those silly Catholic customs. :rolleyes:

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