Religion in Video Games

Actually, publishers have the say because they carry the purse and they can block the release altogether if they feel so inclined. There have been instances of publisher meddling.

Well Dantes inferno has enochian which is from an occultists who used a crystal ball and who supposedly got it from angels from a medium i think. and its used in magic… so I would think if it is ok or not.

just wanted to add idk if its ok or not I am debating. But I will not de rail convo sorry. :slight_smile:

Age of Empires has priests that have cool convert feature. It converts people from the enemy’s side to your side. I wish this was real.

This thread immediately made me think of the Legend of Zelda series.

In the first game, Link has a cross symbol on his shield. The graves have crosses on them. Clearly, this is a Christian culture.

In the second game (The Adventure of Link), the towns have churches (and they are called churches by the townspeople), and Link uses a magical cross to see ghosts. The graves are cross-shaped.

In the third game (A Link to the Past), Link hides Zelda in a church, with pews, a minister, and a choir (as heard in the background music); he opens the Desert Palace by praying with his hands folded and making the Sign of the Cross. The people in Hyrule must be Catholic!

The fourth game (Link’s Awakening) doesn’t have anything; since the whole island is the Wind Fish’s dream, it follows that the Wind Fish is not Christian.

The fifth game (The Ocariana of Time) has an explicity non-Christian mythology, but the Temple of Time looks just like a medieval cathedral. Everyone I’ve talked to refers to it as “the church,” and I live in a very secular area!

I haven’t seen anything like this in other games.

Generally, I think with video games it’s an entirely mixed bag.

In this reply of mine from the Archbishop Benedictus thread, I addressed some of the ways religion is portrayed neutrally or even positively in the WarCraft series.

It’s not very well-known, but recently I’ve been replaying the Little Big Adventure series, the two games released in the U.S. as Relentless: Twinsen’s Adventure and Twinsen’s Odyssey. The first one portrays religion quite positively (although it’s a fictional religion of a fictional world), with the primary villain being an atheistic dictator.

:thumbsup: I love the LBA series! I just bought the GOG re-releases.

Yeah! I’m so excited that GOG released them.

Fortunately I didn’t need the re-release in order to play them: I still have my old CDs from over a decade ago, and with some patching they run alright. But I’m really happy for the fans who couldn’t access them anymore!

Nothing is more selfish than those who own the rights to such games refusing either to make them legally available or to release them as abandonware.

I still had my LBA disk and it works with patches, LBA 2 I couldn’t get to work but at least GOG’s releases are designed to work with modern systems.

Now, I’m working on Deus Ex: Human Revolution. I just got past a scene where I had to persuade one character not to kill himself. Interestingly, he says that, among other things, he doesn’t want to live with the consequences of his actions, that they were against his Catholic beliefs. Another character mentions that he is Mormon.

Here are a few I can think of that positively portray religion:

[LIST]
*]Settlers 7 has (basically Catholic) monks being the scientist units, so that seems rather positive compared to how many moderns think of faith and science.

*]In Call of Juarez (the original one) the main character is a priest (unclear if he is Catholic or what) and he is largely a good guy, but its a tad bit unsettling having him quote Bible versus as he goes around killing people in the wild west (even if they are baddies).

*]One could say games based on 40k, like Dawn of War and Space Marine don’t exactly portray organized religion too badly, and in some ways portray it quite positively. The religion of mankind and the ‘good guys’ (basically knights in space) in that game is heavily aesthetically based on Catholicism, and it shares some elements of it (sacrificial act and supreme authority of their ‘god,’ rebellion of the ‘angels’, fall of man, that many tempting thoughts of hate, lust, greed, hedonism, and anti-authoritarianism are from ‘hell,’ etc). For the most part their religion protects them from ‘daemons’ and annihilation, but it is sometimes portrayed as overly brutal, though many of their enemies (especially chaos/hell) are far far darker. I treat it’s story as an analogy for our daily spiritual warfare myself. Admittedly the faith and self-sacrificial nature of the Space Marines from Dawn of War made me think more about the importance and beauty of faith in God back when I decided to start picking up a religion for myself. However, I must note that its a little too gloomy and too focused on violence to have a story as inspiring and lasting as anything related to Lord of the Rings. But hey, you have to find what good you can in these barrens of modern art/media ;).
Note: I must add that with Space Marine, they made the hero a bit too Protestant for my taste :smiley:

*]The old *Warcraft *RTS series (Warcraft I and II) portrayed religion very well, and even made direct references to Christianity. From Warcraft I to II, one of the archbishops in the game makes a holy order of paladins who can exorcise daemons, heal people, and generally protect civilians. I never remember them being portrayed as anything less than holy knights in shinning armor in those two games. Of course their newer games have moved from that great tradition and have become horribly dull.
[/LIST]

Beyond that I can’t think of much.

I really need to play Deus Ex: Human Revolution soon! I’ve heard great things about it. I’m a big fan of the original Deus Ex, too.

Since you mentioned the original Deus Ex, I had to go back and play my old copy. :slight_smile: I was actually surprised by the Catholic references in the original game, that were lost on me as a kid when I originally played it, like Bob Page’s dialogue in the beginning, about his desire to realize a version of the City on the Hill via the Aquinas router.

I personally thought Final Fantasy VII was a wonderful display of religion in a positive light. You have to remember that you are dealing with an Eastern Religion here because the game is made in Japan. Can you imagine how great of a religious story that would be if it was made with a Christain religion rather than an Eastern Religion?

Basically, FFVII involves a story of relationships, self-sacrifice, forgiveness, overcoming evil, everything that makes a story wonderful. And I was also really happy they made the sequel a movie rather than a video game because I don’t play RPG games anymore.

Oh, and I absolutely love the soundtrack to the game. I used it as study music while I was in school and it’s also good music to drive to on a road trip (not in traffic)

I did not want to ruin my post stating the great things about Final Fantasy VII, but I do want to point out that generally, when Christianity or Catholicisim is talked about, it is either displayed in a negative or in some cases atheistic way.

The game Final Fantasy Tactics comes to mind. I also thought this was a great game and one of the hardest, if not hardest, I have ever played. It likewise has a wonderful story with the same positive characteristics of FFVII for character development. However, I was really upset at the way the Church was attacked. It takes place in the medievil ages. In fact, a cardinal is one of the top bosses that you must kill. However, back in those days, there certainly were some evil cardinals so that is not a huge problem. Nonetheless, the point remains that Christianity and in particular Catholocism is rarely portrayed in a good way.

Ultimately, I cannot remember whether the point of the story was that Catholicism was a joke and a way for cardinals and kings to have power or whether there was religion but that the Catholic Church leaders were evil. The Zodiac and magic played a large part of that game and I don’t know too much about what kind of religion that is.

However, I still overall really liked that game as well and also have the soundtrack for that one. Again, great music to study to or just enjoy.

Yeah, Final Fantasy Tactics is another good game. There are so many other similar games where ancient legends are proven to be complete lies that it’s become cliche. Grandia II was similar, and the final boss was the Pope. We need to understand several things regarding this. One is that to the Japanese, true comprehension of Christianity is exotic. Catholicism has both a unique aesthetic and rich history, and they draw from both of these things when creating fantasy games like the aforementioned, but they don’t appreciate the sense of the sacred as we do. I can forgive them this, it’s just a matter of ignorance. Another thing is following Japan’s defeat in WW2 there was a spiritual vacuum. This article explains it better: eni.ch/featured/article.php?id=4933

I have the soundtrack to Final Fantasy Tactics too. Just the other day I ripped both CDs to my computer so I can listen to them without having to swap CDs all the time. And now that you mention FF7, I gotta dig out all 4 CDs of the soundtrack and rip them too :smiley:

So thats why I didnt like him very much haha. The point that frustrated me is that they are suppose to be Ultramarines who are suppose to be super strict about following the Codex Astartes…and the captain is just like eh its just a suggestion…this being from the same chapter that exiled another captain for not following it close enough even though he won the battle. (Ref. Uriel Ventris)

I think the people who write the screenplays and produce many of these shows are well educated people. In many animes and games there are rich references to books, philosophy, religion and so on, which are quite complex. But I would say that the Emperor in Japan is still seen as a very special man and not long ago he was considered a living god. So the Japanese are capable of honouring some ideas, especially their own. 2ch (2 Chan) the largest forum in the world and mostly a right wing/nationalistic Japanese forum attests to this as far as I’ve been told. It’s very popular with anime fans and manga/anime creators. But on the whole though I can forgive the Japanese when they mess up and portray Catholicism/Christianity in a negative way much more than when a Westerner does it, and I think Westerners do it more and to a far worse level.

lol there are some things out there in japanese anime and media that is even offensive to buddhists0_0 then again mainstream media and pop culture everywhere seem to be offensive to religion but yes i have also noticed the same phenomenon in video games. it frustrates me really

It originates with the classic 8-bit game “The Legend Of Zelda”, which memorably contained the image of the Cross on Link’s shield. Obviously it was an artistic choice made in reference to the middle ages and notions of Chivalry. However Nintendo received many complaints from this that the game was either using the symbol in vain OR somehow it was secretly promoting Christianity.

Nintendo’s reaction was infamous and the result still affects the industry today. Nintendo signed contracts with third party publishers that effectively locked out any publisher that published games that did not conform to Nintendo’s code of conduct.
The policies were originally designed to stop publishers from publishing games that were considered “shovelware”(something Atari had failed to do in 1983), force publishers to favor Nintendo exclusive titles, and Foster a “family attitude”.

After the criticism of Zelda, the Company officially stipulated that no titles should use any symbols of any real religion. The only games after that which were given leeway were games in the Castlevania series. If religious imagery was too obviously in the game, it would either be unlicensed or censored.

Given that Nintendo had a practical monopoly at the time, and somewhat authoritive rule over software titles for their system, this decision had a major impact on the entire industry. Portrayals of real religion and it’s symbols became a no-go for at least 3 generations of video consoles.

I believe the game Kingdom Hearts has some Catholic themes. Such as the “light,” being the salvation to the “darkness.”

The Keyblades:
images.wikia.com/kingdomhearts/images/3/30/Kingdom_Key_KH.png
images.wikia.com/kingdomhearts/images/d/d4/Kingdom_Key_D_KH.png

These, awkwardly, look like:
overheardinthesacristy.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/claves2.png

And the concept of being taken over by the darkness (Sin) and being saved by the light (Jesus) is a recurring theme.

Also the main character (Sora) is always trying to save people from the darkness (This is pretty much the Catholic mission, to save souls from the darkness, a.k.a. sin, and bring them to the light, God). An example of when he did this is with his bestfriend, Riku. Even after he was attacked by his best friend, who was taken over by the darkness (Sin), Sora forgave Riku and the two stepped into the light.

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