I remember hearing about Christian Nintendo games when I was a kid, and I think I saw a cartridge of one once, but I never knew much about them. The trend came and went without much notice, but I recently came across a review of one of these games, called Spiritual Warfare, from SydLexia’s website and I was absolutely stunned.
I could say that these games are cheesy or derivative, but that’s not a big deal. Anyone my age who grew up with video games knows that a LOT of video games were sub-par, so that sort of thing isn’t of much interest to me.
What does interest me is the insulting attitude the game had toward social groups. As the character in the game explores different parts of society he comes into contact with racial stereotypes and must throw pears at them in order to convert them. (Yep.) I’ll quote SydLexia’s review:
…aside from maniacal public workers that plant ludricrous amounts of explosives, you’ll encounter men in business suits, wearing color-coordinated skullcaps. Now, I’m not saying that these skullcaps are yarmulkes, and I’m not saying that these businessmen had obscene amounts of bagels and offered to lend me money, but by the time I had made it to the second boss lair, every fruit toss resulted in an involuntary shout of “Wir müssen die Juden ausrotten!”, accompanied by a robust Sieg Heil toward my monitor.
The only enemies you’ll encounter are airport security, some generic people running around on the tarmac, and Buddhists. If you thought having Jews in the business district and having Jehovah’s Witnesses in the residential sector were bad stereotypes, this is even worse. Not only are the Buddhists hanging out at the airport, but they’re holding pamphlets, wearing togas, and they’re bald. If you manage to avoid their heretical teachings of inner peace and harmony with nature, the warehouse district awaits you.
Other villains you must face include Jehovah’s Witnesses, homeless winos, and Hispanic warehouse workers.
The obvious problem here is this villainizing of normal people. Treating Jews and Buddhists like enemies is not a good thing to teach, and this game is shameful for doing so. Some people criticize main stream video games for desensitizing children to murder and mayhem. In an attempt to make a more “Godly” game, Wisdom Tree showed young people how to marginalize other cultural groups – kids would have been better off playing Doom.
I haven’t got a problem with Christian video games, but using them to teach children social agendas and to look down on other groups in the neighborhood isn’t so cool. (However, going down to Hell at the end of the game and killing Satan is pretty cool.) You can read all of SydLexia.com’s review here and you can play the game online here!
(More articles at www.ThinkingThroughChristianity.com)