"Fascinating Coffee Table Discussions" on Mass Killing ?
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 11:31:38 AM EST

[ editorial ]: "....this tremendous game that has it all; great graphics, strategy, depth and meaningful messages worthwhile of fascinating coffee table discussions." - Troy Lyndon, CEO of "Left Behind Games", describing the new "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" video game. The makers of "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" were so eager to make their new video game realistic that they photographed an entire sector of New York City - apparently inch by inch. Why not help them out ?

If you live in New York City, send the "Left Behind Games" company your photograph so they can amend their game to include a digital NYC resident who looks just like you ! That way, the teenagers the video game is targeted at will be able to see quite precisely who they are killing. Oh - and if you do this, why not ask the "Left Behind Games" company to add some blood ? After all, shooting people - even blowing them to bits - is a messy business.

Fascinating Coffee Table Discussions !

"From day one, Left Behind Games has been dedicated to AAA quality," said Troy Lyndon, chief executive officer, Left Behind Games. "After more than 3 years of development by more than 50 developers in 4 countries, our first game has tremendous appeal to both hardcore gamers and fans of the popular novel series. In the coming days, we will release our first-looks of this tremendous game that has it all; great graphics, strategy, depth and meaningful messages worthwhile of fascinating coffee table discussions."

Yes, after a wonderful meal of lightly roasted vegetables and blackened tilapia, as you and your New York friends sample delectable desserts and sip cognac or enjoy fine coffee, what could possibly be more stimulating than a fascinating coffee table discussion on the moral and theological implications of an exciting new video game depicting a murderous and possibly genocidal war of forced religious conquest set in your own backyard !

Impress Your Friends

: If you write to the makers of "Left Behind: Eternal Forces", and are polite and earnest, perhaps they might even be willing to add your personal likeness to one of the generic digital New York residents of the game so that your after-dinner guests could watch as your 'digital self' is converted to Christianity or gunned down in a street melee ! Imagine the titillation and delight of your friends and business associates as you demonstrate the exciting new "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" 'Christian' video game and they view your digital corpse among the piles of dead New Yorkers building up on the very streets they traverse every day on their way to work, play, or buy groceries ! Your friends can watch as your digital self is killed by a bomb throwing "elite force" Christian commando or devoured by a cloven hoofed demon ! What could be better ?

A Teaching Ministry:

"Imagine: in one hand, you hold cold pizza or your favorite caffeine-loaded cola, while with the other, you command a Christian militia battling the forces of the AntiChrist. Times Square is ablaze with video billboards and piled high with the bodies of New Yorkers. A goat-footed, horned demon, (controlled by your 13-year-old Christian gamer buddy Mikey) emerges from a United Nations Humvee to feast on one of your snipers. But then one of your tanks gacks the demon in a big fireball -- along with three nurses from the U.N. Now in a gnarlier game, there might be demon and nurse giblets hanging from the lamp posts, but in Left Behind: Eternal Forces, there's no blood and guts, just dead bodies. (As Mikey might say, it's kinda wack but whatev.) Apparently this cleanness makes the slaughter of New Yorkers who refuse to convert, somehow more Christ-like, just as when the Christian commandos shout "Praise the Lord!" after a fresh New Yorker kill. ( From Who's Watching The Boys, by Talk To Action author Jonathan Hutson

Enhanced Realism !

" 'We love the idea of the video screens in Times Square displaying current advertising, actually contributing to the realism that gamers expect to see in a pseudo-futuristic New York City,' said Troy Lyndon, CEO and co-founder of Left Behind Games".

Wholesome, "family friendly" Christian Values

' "Each side is trying to eliminate the other, possibly while winning converts among the residents of New York, company representatives said." '

Let's Play : "Virtual Ethnic Cleansing" !

If you are Jewish and orthodox, you might want to write to the "Left Behind Games" company to admonish the game makers for their omission of figures resembling the Hasidim from the "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" game's depiction of the population of New York. After all, somebody tried to "disappear" Jews once before in the 20th Century, and it might be considered by some to be in bad taste to do so again even if only in digital representation. Is it anti-semitism ?  Perhaps, or perhaps not given that ( judging from promotional images of the game ) the makers of "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" seem to be under the impression that the population of New York  has about the same demographic profile as Idaho.

A Truly Engaging After Dinner Activity

Inadvertant or not, this mischaracterization of the New York City ethnic mix is lamentable so, why not do something about it ? After your delicious meal, as you and your friends, family, loved ones, and business associates kick back to sample dessert, sip cordials, and digest, what could be more envigorating than this ? : Contact all the New Yorkers you know who do not appear to be white anglo saxon types, and urge them to write to the "Left Behind Games" company to demand that the "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" game be amended to feature a representative mix of Jews, Asians, Blacks, Latinos, and so on among the civilians and combatants depicted in the game, and among the piles of corpses shown building up in the streets. After all, the authors of "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" have repeated emphasized that the target audience for the game are American teenagers, and that the game is a type of "ministry" - so that it has an educational function of a sort, and so why on Earth would they want to teach American teenagers that the population of New York is anything other than gloriously diverse ?

"What the game is, Frichner says, is a "real-time strategy game," where a player, by managing physical and spiritual resources, learns about the importance of such things as prayer, Scriptures, churches, and God's protective angels."
Really now ! - New Yorkers don't resemble gaggles of Garrison Keillor's Minnesotan Lutherans holding church bake sales : New York is an apotheosis of American diversity and has been from even before Walt Whitman penned "Leaves of Grass" ! So, you have the power - call, IM your friends and encourage them to contact the makers of "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" to demand that they rectify the game's "virtual ethnic cleansing" of New York City. It almost certainly was an honest mistake, and the "Left Behind Games" company would surely comply with such an innocuous request. After all, given that the game's makers spent quite a while photographing every inch of a multi-block section of New York, and also have embedded real advertising in the game that shows up on the billboards of the digitized city ( and spies on the game players, but that's another matter ) why shouldn't "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" go all the way ? What is the "Left Behind Games" company scared of ? After all, Tim LaHaye's and Jerry Jenkins' "Left Behind" series is no mamby-pamby fairy tale, it's the end of the world - gut eviscerating, eye popping gore and all. Why not encourage the Makers of "Left Behind Games" to make their game truly realistic ? Gather your friends, and get them to send "Left Behind Games" their pictures so American teenagers who play "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" can see the faces of the "virtual" New York City residents they slaughter wholesale. Accuracy, and details, are important.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention: some actual blood would be appropriate to add to the game too, even if just a ittle. But, perhaps that's a bit much to ask.

NOTE: In that spirit, I have "enhanced" the "Left Behind Games" company image, shown below, released to promote the "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" games - I have cropped the picture to emphasize the "firing squad" quality to the line of soldiers depicted shooting at unarmed civilians ( whose side are those soldiers on - the side of "good" or of "evil" ? It is hard to tell. ) and I have also added some "blood" : human bodies tend to bleed when shot, and so I consider this touch to be an enhancement of the "realism" that "Left Behind Games" has gone to considerable pains to achieve in its bold new video game product.

Read About The Game:

In Their Own Words:

"The mission of Left Behind Games is to become the world's leading independent developer and publisher of quality interactive entertainment products that perpetuate family values and appeal to mainstream, Christian and gamer audiences, while remaining committed to increasing
shareholder value and pursuing the highest standards of integrity and professionalism in all business affairs.

"There's lots of killing in the Bible," President Jeffrey Frichner said. "The differentiator between our game and some of the games that focus on killing in the (mainstream gaming) market is that our game doesn't focus on gratuitous killing."   

""The reason that I think this game has a chance is that it's not particularly preachy," said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities. "I will say some of the dialogue is pretty lame — people saying, 'Praise the Lord' after they blow away the bad guys. I think they're overdoing it a bit. But the message is OK."....

"We hope teenagers like the game," [ Tim ] LaHaye said...."

The Purpose Driven Life Takers (Part 1)

Violent Video Marketed Through Mega-Churches (Part 2)

Revelation and Resignation (Part 3)

Christian Cadre's Layman: 'A Whopper of Being Wrong' (Part 4)

Apocalypse, Now a Lawsuit (Part 5)

Who's Watching the Boys? (Part 6)

Unlike Grand Theft Auto etc, you can't put your face in the game.  Also, there is no blood.  The doctored image you have there is misleading at best.  At E3, the company explicitly said there would be no blood in the game.

In addition, demons don't eat units in the game.  The article written in the LA times was describing the action using a metaphor.  The Dodgers didn't sweep up the Pirates literally, right?  

by BlogmasterP on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 04:48:06 AM EST

As far as your comparison of the game to baseball, well.... you'll really have me convinced if you can manage to persuade the major baseball leagues of the world to somehow incorporate themes of converting or killing all the inhabitants of New York City into the structure and rules of baseball. That might be a bit of a challenge.

On the question of "metaphor" :  I'm afraid your concept of metaphor escapes me. Images of soldiers shooting civilians may be "metaphorical", but what would this "metaphor" be ?  Massacre ? Genocide ? Slaughter ?

On the image : I've said repeatedly in my posts of this online - although I didn't add it here - that I have added "blood" to that promotional image to increase the realism that the "Left Behind Games" company seems to be striving for.

After all, teenagers do have active imaginations. There are two horns of a dilemna here : you could deny that shooting human beings at close range is a bloody business, or you could contest the possiblity that teenagers are able to imagine the bloodshed implied in the game.

by Bruce Wilson on Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 08:20:55 PM EST

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