Defense Department Kills Plan to Send Left Behind to Troops in Iraq

August 16, 2007 -
Whether you're a fan of the best-selling Left Behind series or not, a plan to ship the PC game version to American troops fighting in a Muslim country was never a good idea.

That's mainly because a key element of the game play in Left Behind: Eternal Forces features Christian troops converting - or killing - non-believers.

The Department of Defense has now put a stop to the shipments, following an inquiry by ABC News. According to the ABC report, Operation Start Up (OSU) Tour, an evangelical Christian entertainment troupe, planned to include copies of Left Behind in care packages destined for U.S. forces.

Rev. Timothy Simpson of the Christians Alliance for Progress told ABC News:
It's a horrible game. You either kill or covert the other side. This is exactly what the Osama bin Ladens of the world have portrayed us [as].

Left Behind Games CEO Troy Lyndon said:
There is no forcible conversion to Christianity, and killing is never an objective in any of the 40 missions in the game.

Researchers at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation learned of the plan to ship Left Behind to Iraq last week. Their discovery was reported by The Nation.

Comments

@Austin Lewis

Cause 500+ dead in a bombing is a sign of improvement. After all, there's only so many of them to kill.*

*The thesis behind the surge

oh wow. 500 in one attack, the first of its kind in 3 weeks.

But lets have the people with no military knowledge whatsoever talk shit about a place they've only heard about.

"The people who made it should be sent oversees and not allowed to come back. The game is hurtful and it is absurd."

Funny, Jack, I feel the exact same way about you.

@ Jack Thompson.
"Jack Thompson, Attorney Says:

August 16th, 2007 at 12:10 pm
Tyndale House published my book re video game violence and at the same tim gave the Left Behind rights to the Troy Lyndon group.

I severed my relationship with Tyndale House over this game, warning that a) it would not make money, and b) it was clearly contrary to the Gospel. The game lost $4.3 million, and three people were fired over it. I was right, again.

I applaud the decision not to allow this game to be sent oversees. The people who made it should be sent oversees and not allowed to come back. The game is hurtful and it is absurd. Jack Thompson"
---------
Your post here illustrates the one thing I take exception to. You've always maintained your stance that your goal is to keep violent video games out of the hands of children. When pressed on this, or caught in a contrary position you reiterated that you were not out to ban all video games or even all violent video games. Just their sale to minors.

My point is this..Who cares how violent this game is? Really? It's being sent to people in the ARMY. Last time I checked you had to be a legal adult to join the military. So, in conclusion..Why should we care what you think about this particular situation when it in no way applies to your legal crusade in video games? The answer is simple. (And if you give a different one then you really are a liar) Your legal crusade against video games has no basis with children. You have an agenda against certain companies and attempt to cover it up by dabbling in other areas. Your antics fool no one; you're less and less of an issue in any arena; political, public, legal or otherwise with each damning post, email and rant you spew.

@Austin Lewis

Cause the military generals have proven themselves so effective at their jobs. Y'know when they aren't busy resigning, accounting for massive scandals or lying about the death of a certain football player.

The military has a squelch order toward in regards to the media right now. If you come home alive... shut the fuck up; if you come home dead, well, you aren't really a problem anymore then.

It would almost seem that certain elements of the military prefer the latter, extending tours and whatnot.

Pat Tillman was a tragedy indeed, and I will make no excuse for the Generals in the DoD that let the poor Ranger's death be attributed to a mistake of his own; he was a goliath of a man and lionhearted as any.

All military personnel coming home from a war have a squelch order, and as for the media, there is no such thing so long as they don't discuss troop movements.

As for extending tours, yes, that does suck immensely, but it happens, and when you sign up you know it could.

Interesting that the books, which commits exactly the same sins that Thompson quit over, existed a decade before he was so bothered about the heresy and blasphemy to sever his relationship. This is more of a Captain Renault style of shock than any real outrage.

Would anyone object to sending over Halo or some other violent game? I doubt it. Not much in the way of escapism, to be certain, but sending over a game such as this really isn't such a big deal. They shouldn't send it over because it wasn't a good game. But not sending it over because of the message? I'm not a fan of that by any stretch of the imagination. You don't get rid of bad messages by pretending that they don't exist.

@Mauler

Don't forget the Gears of War controversy the army (was it army?) was involved in not too long ago. Someone would shit a brick regardless of what gets sent over. Buying the shittiest piece of uncompiled code on the market and trying to send it was just sleazy though.

I just dont think they should be put though that sort of torture.

It would be like trying to force a bunch of people to play that ET game in the days of atari.

@ Picho
God that game is terrible.

@ Terrible Tom

When Jack Bruce says:

“The people who made it should be sent overseas and not allowed to come back”


I think he is joking, at least I hope he is.

Also anyone who wants to know what entertainment the army has its pretty much the same as everyone else, everyone has laptops they can get DVD's, games etc delivered pretty easily also they have internet access. Most of them work shifts and are free to do whatever they like when there shifts are over. Although at least in the UK armed forced they have home work to do for qualifications related to there jobs.

The only people who have it different are the ones who go out on operations to seek out enemy combatant's they keep to themselves and don't really do entertainment, apparently it makes them lose there edge.

@ Andrew Eisen

Your totally right I would be surprised to doubt Thompson and his figure. I personally would be surprised if it didn't make a profit there is a large audience for this type of game. Wikipedia has it down as turning a two million in sales but not making the developers a profit although the link they use to prove the fact is broken so I don't really trust that.

Also there making a sequel so somebody is confident in the franchises gaming future.

And the Airforces sorce of entertainment is to make rap videos such as "I'm hot cause im Deployed"

http://uk.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/leftbehindeternalforces/news.html?sid...

Ok, I just found this on gamespot saying that they have posted a $4.1 million lose after earning $2.2 million up to december 2006.

wow i never thought in a million years i would say this but: i too agree with thompson on this one.

@Jack Thompson, loser lawyer

Okay, so we don't like Left behind Eternal Forces either. But still....

"The people who made it should be sent oversees and not allowed to come back."

Not only was that comment a bit too much in my opinion... it also shows your spelling ability is waning. You typed "oversees" when it should've been "overseas."

If you insist on posting here in GP, at least learn not to misspell. Thank you.

Oops. I forgot to capitalize the word "Behind" AND forgot to put a colon right after it. Please, Dennis, we need the ability to edit our posts!

@Gabriel Celesta

It's WordPress we have to beg, their crappy software doesn't have previews for comments.

I don't like the idea that this game shouldn't be sent to the troops because of the message. The troops are adults and should be allowed to choose if they want to play the thing or not. From what I understand Left Behind was a terrible game. There are better things that you could send the troops but if a bunch of people want to waste their efforts sending the troops a terrible game let them. After all the game was being sent by a private group of individuals. It wasn't being provided by the military or government, so there is no issue there. Not letting them send it is in a way its' own free speech problem. If they refuse to let people send the troops a game because they don't like the message, and games agree that is ok, how is that any different from people wanting to keep GTA out of the hands of people because they don't like the violence? It smacks of hypocrisy.

@ Miang
You have to understand the image of US troops being sent a game were the chief activity is coverting people to Christianity while they are ina Islamic country is horribel to say the least. It doesn't matter if the games were sent by an organizarion that isn't part of the governt ment or milatary establishment it would still end with US troops being sent those games.
Game content aside I'm appaled that anyone think to send sucha crappy low quality game to our troops.

Would you object to them sending the Bible? The Bible does go on a good bit about converting people. One might even argue that it is the chief activity of the book. If sending them a book is OK then why not a game loosely based on that book? The notion that games are a special form of entertainment, that people need to be more protected from them than they would from any other form of entertainment, seems rather suspect.

Actually, it's more due to the fact there ARE Bibles in IRAQ. They had ENOUGH problems with Bibles, the last thing they want is a video game that further promotes that sort of thing. Because at least in the bible, you can choose what to read. In the game, converting others is pretty much the main objective and you have no other options other than killing them.

[...] via Game Politics [...]

@ Falcon

I do understand that. But if we want to argue that games should not be censored because of content we can't just turn around and say this game shouldn't be sent to this group of people because of its content. I can understand that some people are sensitive to the politics of the situation. But I have to go with the freedom of speech issue on this. If troops can take bibles, or be sent bibles, or take korans or torrahs, or be sent any of these things there is no difference in sending this game. And even if they couldn't, if people can send the troops GTA or any other game then you can't restrict this one based on content.

Frankly most of the troops wouldn't be likely to play this game if it is as bad as I have heard but if people want to send the game to them they should have the right to choose to play it or not. Are we going to go through what literature is sent to the troops and see if it has appropriate content for the political situation of the country they find themselves in? Do you suppose if they can play computer games they can watch movies on PCs as well? Are we going to go through what movies can be sent to the troops? While I personally might think there are much better things to send that is not really the issue. The issue is should these people be allowed to send this game to the troops if that is their choice. I can't see a reason why not. After all they aren't protesting this group sending bibles, and I would be willing to bet that if they had included the book Left Behind instead of the game Left Behind this would never be an issue. Can anyone explain to me why a book on the same topic should be treated so differently from a game?

Now I can't see that sending this game should be such a big deal. I heard it suggested on another forum that if the troops play this game they will want to go out and kill more Iraqis because they are Muslim. I am very relieved that I haven't seen this argument here since in principal it isn't that different from saying that GTA encourages people to kill cops. I don't really believe that playing a game is going to be a primary motivation for anyone to do anything, especially our soldiers.

What makes me sad is that so much time and effort is being sent talking about what games should be sent to our troops instead of talking about what supplies, like decent body armor, they need.

*shakes head* Its fiction get over it.

Halo will be next you are fighting religious exstreamests in it......

@Falcon4196

In your post:

You have to understand the image of US troops being sent a game were the chief activity is coverting people to Christianity while they are ina Islamic country is horribel to say the least.

Just thought I would add my $0.02 here to this comment. Unfortunately what you are saying by this statement completely supports Jack Thompson in all of his arguments about video game violence and content being inappropriate for audiences. Jack Thompson believes that video games are "murder simulators; colombine stimulators, mental masturbation of violence.....(the list goes on)" and as such should be removed from the hands of "our children (we all really know he means everyone as he despises the games)". He believes that the content of these games sends a bad message and promotes actual real world violence in "our children". While his intention is good it is everyone's belief that he is out to lunch - we know that people can distinguish between fiction and reality and consequently we argue that any game can be made/released and discussed with those playing the game.

While you may not agree with the content of this game - and while it may seem to be very heavy in religious messages - it is still just a game. It is a work of fiction - and those playing the video game need to realize it is a video game and nothing more. It is not a message to convert to the faith or die - it is a video game based on a series of novels - while it does depict convert or die - it is in no means a reflection of the attitude of the person playing the game.

If you support the idea of this game not being allowed to go overseas to American soldiers - then please close your mouth any time that Mr. Thompson or anyone else opens theirs about video games....

You can choose what you read but you can't choose what you play? Again, this is treating game media differently than other forms of media. There is choice in video games as there is in movies and books when it comes to the consumptions of that media. If you don't want to convert or kill someone then you don't play the game. It is not any different than not reading the book. Banning the game for the message is absurd on any level. It just becomes harder to take that stance when you don't agree with the message. A ban on this message isn't any different than a ban on any message.

If you agree with banning a message then picking which message to ban just comes down to which messages you like and how does that make you any different from any number of state legistators or other public figures?

Thoughts on the game:

This game is a great example of true Christian values at work. Left Behind depicts what really lies at the historical or living heart of Christianity: subjecting the freedom of other human beings to a bonze-age form of "morality," inspired by a genocidal and insane "God." I'm glad the developers made this game, it shines such a true and wonderful light on the myth that is Christianity.

Thoughts on restriction:

If a soldier wishes to purchase and play the game on their own time and money then that is both a privledge and right that should be afforded to them.
 
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