Religion & Beliefs

Six Insane Online Games With Political Agendas

"Religious hate has never been so much fun,” promises the tagline of the online video game Faith Fighter. A prominent release by Molleindustria—an Italian game development studio that specializes in bizarre, arthouse Flash web games—Faith Fighter is one of a … Read More

By / March 27, 2008

"Religious hate has never been so much fun,” promises the tagline of the online video game Faith Fighter. A prominent release by Molleindustria—an Italian game development studio that specializes in bizarre, arthouse Flash web games—Faith Fighter is one of a handful of religiously motivated games on the Internet. Are these games effective? What are they even trying to do? We asked Craig, Jewcy's Technology Officer and resident gamer, to weigh in.

To answer this question, Craig experienced everything from Faith Fighter's non-denominational, one-on-one, beat 'em up appeal to Eternal Forces' Christian evangelism to the hysterically fanatical Jihadi simulator Night of Bush Capturing. Generally speaking, he was unimpressed.

"Is game development for holy rollers just too hard," he wondered, "or are they just not trying hard enough?"

Here are his reviews:

Name: Faith Fighter
Overview: A fighting game in the style of Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, where representatives from all the major religions battle it out for superiority.
Case for:
  • This game includes both God and Jesus, Buddha and Budai, Ganesha, and Muhammed
  • Comes with a censored version where Muhammed's likeness is blocked out
  • Last boss is Xenu
  • You can see Budai's nipples
Case against:
  • It might be a complete ripoff of the next game
  • You can see Jesus' nipples.

I was totally excited about this game when I first saw it. "Choose your belief and kick the shit out of your enemies," the game advertises. Finally, pacifist Buddhism gets a chance to go toe-to-toe with the heavy-hitters. And with two representatives, how can they lose?

I Like to Play as Buddha: Because he's blue and because I don't think it will offend anyone.Easy: in this game, no one wins. I don't mean that literally, of course—I don't doubt that any of the Jewcy staffers could sail through this on the "Normal" difficulty setting—but for a game that purports to help players consider how religious representations can be used to fuel conflict, there is little opportunity for actual reflection. No parallels are ever drawn between what's happening in the game's battles and the real world, and, in the end, even the characters' special powers have precious little to do with actual religious lore. Why does God immolate himself in a pillar of flame? Why can Mohammed turn invisible?

I like the quirky, hand-drawn graphics, but aside from that, there's not much going for this game aside from shock appeal.

Jewcy's Final Word is: SUCKS.
Name: Bible Fight
Overview: This is a higher-budget version of Faith Fighter, centered solely on characters from the Old and New Testaments, paid for by Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.
Case for:
  • Satan makes an appearance
  • The Virgin Mary carries around a little Baby Jesus even when fighting non-Baby Jesus
  • Eve is naked
  • Animation is fantastic
Case against:
  • We've seen this game before
  • The last levels get really hard

This game looks and plays almost exactly like Faith Fighter, except it's much more polished. While I respect that, unfortunately…

Jewcy's Final Word is: STILL SUCKS.
Name: Ethnic Cleansing
Overview: A racist, anti-semitic, Doom-style 3D first-person shooter where you play a Neo-Nazi as you "run through the ghetto blasting away various blacks and spics" until you "can blow away Jews as they scream 'Oy vey!'"
Case for:
  • Finally – a game that's actually about politics!
  • The strongest example yet of the ineptitude of white supremacists
Case against:
  • Ass ugly
  • Control feels sluggish, like you're wading hip-deep through the septic tank behind Ma and Pa's old house back in Arkansas

Rowan Williams: Islamist stooge?The Ammo Boxes Read "Ammo": This game sucks. Ethnic Cleansing may be the greatest thing working against the modern white nationalist movement. A small, personal project by two, let's say, independent game developers (the critically acclaimed "D. Bryan Ringer" and "Bob Hawthorne"). This game couldn't suck more if the developers were wearing bags over their heads (as opposed to sheets, I guess). In a thread on neo-Nazi organization Stormfront's website, users rank the game "1.5 out of 5", described it as "not the greatest quality in the world," and said, simply: "The game sucks." (The thread peters off a few posts in when one user admits that he'll never buy the game because he'd have to pay with credit cards and, personally, he "objects the use of credit cards and therefor [sic] don't own one."

There are only a few enemy models in this game, and they mostly consist of black guys with Afros wearing basketball jerseys with the word "NIGZ" or pictures of cannabis plants on the front. There are Mexicans dressed in ponchos and sombreros, and strange, AK-47 wielding Hasidim that live in the subway. Ho-hum.

The only thing remotely clever about this game is that it promises "Real Negro sounds," which wind up being the sounds of screeching monkeys. Very crafty, Bob Hawthorne.

Jewcy's Final Word is: SUCKS.
Name: The Zoo Race Game
Overview: "Animals" from "Noah's Ark" race, and every now and then, an electronically-lowered voice booms a famous passage from the bible. When it's all done, the animals return to the ark for an interactive disco. I'm not joking.
Case for:
  • The premise makes perfect sense
  • A pig wearing a top hat drives a train
Case against:
  • Playing for extended periods of time will produce an effect roughly similar to blending up one of those books of Psalms that the Gideons hand out near schools and drinking it, straight out of the Magic Bullet.

What do you get when you cross a working knowledge of a single bible story, a handful Rowan Williams: Islamist stooge?Avoid the Obstacles: Obstacles may include explosive barrels, piranhas, and Michelangelo's artwork. of stock 3D animal graphics and a sixth-grade education? I dunno, but who gives a shit? We're playing The Zoo Race Game! I really gotta hand it to developer Cougar Interactive. They're (He is?) legitimately the most batshit crazy game makers out there. And I just finished playing a game where you must fight wave after wave of black people on city streets in order to assassinate Ariel Sharon.

Like so many other purportedly "religious" games, Zoo Race simply slaps a coat of Jesus-paint on a secular-themed game (in this case, "racing") and hopes that that's enough to make the sales. It's not. Although the craftsmanship in The Zoo Race Game is noticeably higher than, say, Ethnic Cleansing, the animation remains abysmal, the execution and control are shoddy and lack finesse, and the premise is mind-bogglingly ridiculous.

In order to truly appreciate The Zoo Race Game, you need to watch its promotional movie. Trust me on this and watch, okay?

Jewcy's Final Word is: MINDBOGGLINGLY SUCKY.
Name: Night of Bush Capturing
Overview: You play an Islamic insurgent, running through a desert curiously plastered with images of Bush, Tony Blair, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, and Hassan Nasrallah, in hopes of stumbling upon Bush so you can shoot him.
Case for:
  • Reports call this a "terrorist training simulator." If this is what terrorists are being trained with, they don't stand a chance
  • Jihadist music in the background is pretty catchy and has a Brian Wilson-like harmony to it
  • "Night of Bush Capturing" is a hilarious name for a game
Case against:
  • Boring
  • Lacks a certain "realism"
  • Bush is too short

It's a relief to get back into the realm of hate-based games, but I really don't feel that much hate here.

Aside from the neat chanting that blares throughout this game, there's really very little reason to play. Every weapon at your disposal is exactly like every other weapon (except the grenade launcher, which is unique in that it doesn't do anything at all). Your avatar has a Super Mario-esque ability to jump three times his own height. The story claims you're a Mujahid traveling around a U.S. Special Forces' camp (that Bush is inexplicably hanging around in), but it seems more like you're at some bizarre Coalition-themed Disney World in Tikrit.

We've seen this all before and it sucks now just as much as it sucked then. What's really disturbing is the amount of outrage that has been directed at this game since its release. It's not a threat to anybody, and it's not even that fun to play.

Jewcy's Final Word is: ??? (SUCKS).
Name: Left Behind: Tribulation Forces
Overview: Based on the Left Behind series of novels and movies, you must lead a force of evangelical Christians to defeat the antichrist so Jesus can return. The premise is that after the rapture occurred, for some reason a bunch of good people were left behind with a bunch of lousy people. The lousy people formed a "Peacekeeping Coalition" under the guidance of a new world ruler. I forget his name, but let's call him, "Lucifer AnthonyChrist McDevilton." Shooting neutral members of the population is discouraged.
Case for:
  • Being that this game is based on a popular franchise, the developers could afford to hire people with the normal number of fingers and toes
  • The game world and mechanics is vast
  • The premise is unique and engaging
  • Literally every character in the game has a back story written for him or her
Case against:
  • The back stories, along with most everything else in this game, are creepy as hell
  • Women can't do anything
  • I kind of want to keep playing it

Rowan Williams: Islamist stooge?Taylor Malone Prays: As in real life, your Christian zealots gradually lose faith over time and must be forced to 'Pray,' lest they revert back to heathenism and have to be taken out back, Old Yeller style.I'm going to tell you straight up: this game doesn't totally suck. You don't know what a relief it is to finally say that.

Unfortunately, this game is one of the most disturbingly creepy, "Praise Jesus" experiences I've ever been forced to endure.

Your task is to lead the good holy people of New York in banding together, buying up all the Duane Reades and abandoned factories, and converting or murdering all the non-believers. Well, you're really only supposed to murder the guys who are hostile to you. But God understands, right?

I gotta give the developers credit, though. The game has a full (albeit derivative) 3D New York City, with tons of random people in the streets. It's neat that the game lets you click on any individual character and hear about his life's history (and, if applicable, how he or she found Jesus), but some of the stories started to disturb me. One "bad guy," the game claims, used to work as a TV News Producer during the time that the Moon Landing was staged. How enlightening!

In all seriousness, though, this game is really not that bad. It does what every other one of these games could've done: created an engaging storyline that is centered around religion (but not entirely beholden to it), with production values that don't distract from the gameplay.

Now if only it wasn't so creepy…

Jewcy's Final Word is: DOESN'T SUCK THAT MUCH.
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