by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
A long-time video gamer and devout Catholic is sounding the alarm about a new breed of satanically-themed video games that target God and the Catholic Church, invite players to make pacts with the devil, and elevate Satan to hero status.
“This has been going on for the last 10 years, but especially in the most recent games,” said Lance Christian, 32, of Alton, Illinois. “It wasn’t until last month when I said, ‘enough is enough!’ I’m a gamer, but I’m deep into my faith and I think God is showing me this so I can make other people aware of it.”
He has seen games gradually become more occult-based, promoting Satan and even the persecution of Christians. For instance, in one game, players kill the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael before going on to destroy God. Another game requires players to sell their soul to the devil and rewards them for “killing unbaptized infants.”
All these games seem to have one central theme – God is the enemy and the devil is the hero. One game guide blatantly states: “The Judeo-Christian God is portrayed as the prominent villain in the series . . .”
“This is just the tip of the iceberg in what I have discovered,” Mr. Christian said. “I feel that the devil has a new tool to work with in this age of technology, and the majority of adults in a position of responsibility are left in the dark.”
He provided us with the following list of the most egregious games:
1) Tecmo’s Deception: Invitation To Darkness (Playstation) – Players “make an unholy pact and sell their soul to Satan in exchange for power” with the object of the game being to ensure the resurrection of Satan and obtain his power. (This game is rated “T” for teen.)
2) Nocturne (Playstation 2) – A game in which the hero (a demon) destroys the three archangels St. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, then goes on to destroy God.
3) Devil Summoner (Playstation 2) – Involves communicating with and recruiting demons. One demon tells the player “That Catholic Church is such an eyesore” and in the end of the game, blows up the Church.
4) Shadow Hearts (Playstation 2) – The hero uses his power to intercept and destroy God and “save the world.” Some games in this series are rated “T”.
5) Dragon’s Age Origins (Playstation 3/Xbox 360) – Game revolves around the story of God going mad and cursing the world. A witch attacks believers and players can “have sex” with her in a pagan act called “blood magic” so she can “give birth to a god.” Another scenario allows player to have sex with a demon in exchange for a boy’s soul.
6) Dante’s Inferno (Playstation 3/Xbox 360) – Loosely based on the Divine Comedy, player travels through nine circles of Hell, fighting demons, “unbaptized babies” and other tormented souls. (This game is being considered for a movie by Universal Pictures.)
7) Guitar Hero (Playstation) – Players use guitars decorated with pentagrams. God is repeatedly mocked by the devil and in the end, the devil is the hero of the game. Women dressed as Catholic school girls are degraded. (Rated “T” for teen.)
Other games with Satanic themes are Darksiders, Koudelka, Trapt, and Bayonetta.
According to Christian, game publishers are cashing in on the satanic and anti-Catholic content themes and using them as a draw for buyers. For instance, Electronic Arts launched a catchy ad campaign to sell its satanic-themed game Dante’s Inferno. Buyers interested in the game are greeted at the site by an alleged new game called, “Mass: We Pray.” When they click on the link, they’re declared a heretic and re-routed to Dante’s Inferno. After ordering, they’re offered a “Number of the Beast” discount of $6.66.
Game publishers such as Electronic Arts and Midway Games have not responded to our requests for comment.
Even though most of these videos are rated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) as “M” for mature audiences, many are rated “T” for teens. But irregardless of the ratings, they can easily fall into the hands of children from older siblings or parents, Mr. Christian says, and points to a recent YouTube video of an eight year-old playing a Satanic themed game.
Paul Bury, editor of Family Friendly Gaming said the envelope is definitely being pushed with these games. “Role playing games have progressively gotten worse over the years,” he said. “It is difficult to find a role playing game that is not ‘T’. . . . There have been some ‘M’ rated ones where all kinds of decadence is allowed.”
Another problem is that the ESRB has been “shifting” its standards much like movie rating bureaus have been doing. “Compared to movies in the past, they are now allowing more for a PG rating,” Mr. Bury said. “I have noticed the same thing from the ESRB. Games that in the opinion of Family Friendly Gaming that should receive a ‘M’ rating, are getting a ‘T’ rating. They are letting more through.”
Eliot Mizrachi, spokesman for the ESRB, says their rating system focuses on violence, language and sexuality and is based on what the average consumer’s expectations would be about content.
“The ratings are only intended to be a guide,” he said, “but if someone has sensitivities about particular content, the first step would be to check the rating summaries on our website which provide a very detailed description of the content that factored into the rating.”
We checked these summaries and although they were helpful, few mentioned the overt satanic content of the games.
Mr. Mizrachi says concerned parents need to do their homework before choosing what games their children can play. In addition to checking the summaries available on their website, they should also consult game reviews on parent-focused websites.
Parents can consult reviews on the Focus on the Family’s “Plugged In” website at http://www.pluggedin.com/
To voice your concern about the content of video games, check video summaries and access mobile ratings, visit www.esrb.org.
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