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07/26/2003

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Draigon

"Finally there are professional-looking games that modern Christian gamers can enjoy!"

That just confuses me. Maybe I'm unenlightened, but I tend to think games that would be attractive to christian gamers are nothing more than games that don't offend the christian belief system. Are christian game developers saying something to the contrary?

My brother, a heart-strong christian, enjoys games like Starcraft, Star Trek: Elite Force, and now it seems to be the new Star Wars MMOG (obviously a sci-fi fan). Then again I have heard christians argue that science fiction is the devils tool to get demonic witchcraft into your childrens heads so I guess it depends what you mean by christian.

Ghoest

There is no such thing as a "christian game" only tools to raise future conservative facist voters to further the goals of the moral dictators. I really don't think a conferance who focus on an organization that feels it's main obstical right now is gay marriages and how to avoid supporting them while continuing their social crusade to debase the new breed of moral issue that debunk the previous generation's social taboos. Uck! Just thinking about these scum-suckers gives me a bad taste in my mouth... An ancient organization based on beliefs of supernatural Sh*t (demons, witchcraft, satan.. gimme a break)... What really gets me is when they go after games like Dungeons and Dragons they have stained a genre of gaming with their flying fecal matter... The fact that once again they are conforming to the mainstream public opinion and trends makes me sick in 1995 they were so much against gaming and gamers it was ridiculous... This is what they do to survive evolve their conservative opinions to the mainstream to lure people into their organization... Parasites of Society...

Ghoest

sorry got a little carried away some of that doesn't make sense... (mental note: proofread)...

justin

Here at the conference, and out in the world at large, there are people of all faiths and persuasions. There has been a lot of evil done in the name of Christ, yes. Absolutely. Intolerance is wicked badness, agreed. Ghoest, I encourage you to regard Christians as a diverse group.

PsychoKick

The evangelical imperative (ie: the constant pressure to "spread the divine word") is perhaps one of the largest barriers to good game design. It pressures the game designers into the most conservative ideas and methods, so as to avoid potential "blasphemy". It reduces the game to little more than a sermon on a screen.

But most importantly, the player is no longer free to truly play, because everything must support the message of the evangelical imperative. Every action of the player becomes a superficial toying of graphics, sound and score, because he is secondary to the purpose of conveying the message. A game built on the evangelical imperative is ultimately disrespectful to the player.

Good games do not disrespect the player. Good games do not treat gamers like poor lost sheep in need of a master. Good games value the player's experience over the game's message, not the other way around. The evangelical imperative is diametrically opposed to the creation of a good game.

The evangelical imperative belongs in the pulpit and the pews. It has no place in games.

[/rantings of a former born-again Christian, now athiest with a few leanings into Buddhism, Taoism, and quantum physics.]

Draigon

"The evangelical imperative belongs in the pulpit and the pews. It has no place in games."

Games are an art form and a good art form welcomes any painter willing to touch the canvas. You were almost certainly raised on games influenced by the designers own spiritual or philosophical beliefs whether you were aware of it or not. I know I have.

I would be a fool for saying a christian, pagan, jew, catholic, or others could not make art I would enjoy simply because I don't agree with their beliefs. That applies to anything (video games, websites, books, movies, music).

PsychoKick

I would be a fool for saying a christian, pagan, jew, catholic, or others could not make art I would enjoy simply because I don't agree with their beliefs. That applies to anything (video games, websites, books, movies, music).

You would also be a fool to ignore that different art requires different methods and approaches. The interactive, unpredictable nature of gaming makes it highly incompatible with the straightforward evangelical imperative, no matter what your faith. If you want to make a religious game, then it is best to work from inspiration. Not from a desire to preach.

Ken

The inimitable Seanbaby recently wrote an article for The Wave cataloging many of Christiandom's forays into the world of electronic entertainment, in his typically hilarious style:
http://www.thewavemag.com/pagegen.php?pagename=article&articleid=23854

Stephen

For those of you that seem to think that Christianity is simply an ancient way of thought and has no connection to our current day and age, you have to understand what Christianity is all about. It isn't a religious system that's made up of Popes and Priests- the basic message of Christianity is Christ's sacrifice for us. Christianity applies to all people of every age, gamers or not. We've all made mistakes in our lives, and Christ sacrificed himself to pay the price for our mistakes. Isn't that a message that should be told to everyone, no matter the medium?

Neil

I'm the author of the "No Shelf" about which Justin started this discussion thread. He should have investigated us more closely before posting.

We distribute other people's Christian games, as well as produce some of our own newer more 'educationally oriented' bible programs. We've been at those two things longer than anyone else in the Christian game industry. I've seen many developers come and go, mostly because they build first and then check the market second.

Our customers and the developers we work with come from across the Christian spectrum ... Southern Baptist to East Coast Episcopalian. We'll carry anything we think is good as long as it doesn't promote violence and isn't too far off the main Christian path.

The problem with many of the titles on our "No Shelf" is plain and simple: low quality. The extremely few "higher quality games" we have on the No Shelf either have blatant violence in them , or themes about killing evil. Neither of those "themes" sells well in most ANY church -conservative or liberal. The low sales and short lifespans of such developers are a testament to that fact.

A few developers and independent souls have disagreed with our opinions over the years. Most went down fighting, and blaming the industry rather than their own short-sightedness.

Since 1991 I have been in conversation with almost all of the Christian game developers who have come along, offering ideas and market information for free, and offering to be a non-exclusive distributor. We've even put money into some projects we liked.

One of the problems which the Christian game developers have had is they think they are developing/competing for older male teens and guys in their 20's who are playing Half Life and Tomb Raider. That's not where the Christian market is. Those who thought so, learned the hard way and are gone now.

Others believe they must make their games "look like" what's on the shelf at Best Buy. But in fact, a few of our most popular games and learning programs were made 6 or more years ago.
Concept is king.

Christian developers or potential developers are welcome to pick my brain via neil@sundaysoftware.com

Neil
Sunday Software Inc.

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