Religious Warfare Game CEO Statement Implied Product Will Desensitize Teens To Killing
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 01:45:03 PM EST
"What's more damaging are games that show killing and then let the bodies disappear, desensitizing gamers to what's going on," explains Lyndon. "Although seeing hundreds of dead bodies in Left Behind: Eternal Forces at the end of a horrific battle wasn't our original intent, we can't help but stay away from desensitizing gamers. It's our hope that we don't end up with a Mature-rated game...but we might. Ultimately, our argument is that it's more humane to show the reality of death than to desensitize in the name of a lighter rating." - Left Behind Games Company CEO Troy Lyndon

As published on the 1Up Network and reprinted from a story in Computer Gaming World, February 2006, issue #259, entitled "God Mode: Fragging For King, Country, and Creator". The 1Up Network is part of the Ziff-Davis Media Game Group

The CEO of Left Behind Games, who has recently characterized the nature of "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" as potentially wholly nonviolent such that "You can actually play the entire game without firing a shot." ( from a Boston Globe review of the game ) said in February 2006 that play resulted in "hundreds of dead bodies" piling up on the lovingly detailed streets of the virtual New York City in his game and that he thought the game might gain a "mature" audience rating for its depiction of mass killing. But Lyndon expressed a concern that making those piles of corpses magically vanish would desensitize gamers to violence.

Then, Troy Lyndon's game was redesigned prior to commercial release so that those dead bodies Lyndon referred to just disappeared... and it was marketed to a 13 to 34 age range that included teenagers.

Descriptions of game play from May 2006, of the beta version of the game, also described bodies piling up on the streets of New York. Then, on May 29, 2006, Talk To Action contributor Jonathan Hutson published the first installment of his eight part expose on the game, The Purpose Driven Life Takers (Part 1), that has been viewed by approximately 1/2 million site visitors so far. In the interval between the initial controversy Hutson's series ignited and the game's release in November 2006, those piles of bodies disappeared from the commercial version of the game so that corpses now slowly fade away, from the virtual streets where they lie after being bloodessly shot down, until they vanish from sight.

Where do those bodies go ? Only Troy Lyndon and Left Behind Games Company Jeffrey Frichner know for sure.

The new "magically vanishing corpses" feature may well have helped "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" to eventually earn a "T" - suitable for teens thirteen years of age and over - game rating. But, Troy Lyndon's February 2006 concerns expressed to a Computer Gaming World journalist have come back to haunt him now, as a withering moral indictment of his very own game. Next... "The Prayer Button" Troy Lyndon's statement suggests that he is now selling a game that was sanitized, so corpses that once built up now magically disappear, for commercial and monetary reasons, so it could be sold marketed to a younger age group : to teenage game players that also are far more impressionable than adult gamers. Lyndon's February 2006 statements, printed in Computer Gaming World, imply that "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" will desensitize teenage game players to the act of wholesale killing in religious warfare.

On 12/14/06 "Jay Sekulow live" radio talk show, Sekulow discussed LB game and interviewed Lyndon for a few minutes (Sekulow did most of the talking). Lyndon did seem proud of the T-13 rating of the game and of its "wholesomeness". No explicit mention was made of the shoot-em-up aspect of the game, of blood vs. no-blood, of accumulating bodies vs. vanishing bodies. Mention was made of the prayer button, however.
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by NancyP on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 02:20:56 PM EST
Lyndon, it would seem, has said many things to many people about the game.

by Bruce Wilson on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 02:24:23 PM EST

I don't think that the dead bodies fading from the screen has anything to do with desensitizing people or not.  It is nothing new in first person shooters, strategy games and other types where there may be a high body count.  It comes down to memory usage and if the computer has to keep up with the positions of everybody that gets killed it tends to bogg down the whole system thus decreasing the quality of the game play.  

I'm more interested in the hypocricy of not allowing the player to win if they decide to play on the devil's side.  Where's the fun if you can't win as the "bad guy" once in a while?  I have played a lot of Star Wars:  Knights of the Old Repulblic and it's a lot of fun to play as a bad guy.  If there is one thing that gamers don't like it is having the game makers impose their own morality by purposefully disallowing players from exploring all the possible gameplay angles.  The people at Left Behind Games shouldn't be too surprised if somebody came out with a patch fairly soon to fix this little problem.

Now that I think about it, this wouldn't be a bad way of getting back at the makers of this game.  Take the game, put in a patch or two and now you get to play as a typical American who's job is to run around taking out the fundies who are trying to overthrow the city.  Any intrepid programmers out there willing to take up the challenge?

by Ross Raymond on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 05:01:32 PM EST

Uses FPS games to train people to kill. Presumeably Troy Lyndon knows this and although the game is not a "first person shooter" game the point is that Lyndon appeared to be concerned, last February, with the potential of the game to desensitize players to the act of virtual killing but modified the game in a way that in his stated opinion would make that desensitization more likely.

Then, the game was marketed to teenagers.

by Bruce Wilson on Sat Dec 16, 2006 at 12:18:06 AM EST

WHOLESOME?I feel to endorse this for kids especially teenagers is not right. Yes kids are impressionable.. But think of a teenager who might take this game a little too seriously and decide to act out the fantasy in real life. Go to school perhaps and start blowing kids away? The producers of this game are blatantly in denial , they say it doesn't endorse OR TEACH violence, because there is no blood and gore. Curious  to say the least , how so-called Christians can say this to endorse pseudo violence then to sell games...? We know there are plenty of games out on the market that are violent of course, but to put a stamp of approval on this game and promote it as Christian entertainment.. says alot about hypocrisy on their part  when  they are going along with what they criticise  and condemn in so-called secular society. They are the first to shout about how Godless our society has become because of the violence."God has been taken out of schools", they proclaim as kids become more engulfed in violence and lack of discipline because of secular society as they say. And in promoting  this game as wholesome Christian entertainment they are doing the same by promoting the same.The  CEO and Dobson shouldn't even be taken seriously about  this endorsement because it clearly distorts Christian values in the name of profit and making money. At whose expense then? Our kids.

by akaladystar on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 08:53:35 PM EST
It clearly states what their values are then doesn't it.

by akaladystar on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 08:55:39 PM EST

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