Vice President Joe Biden thinks that it would be perfectly okay to tax violent video games. During a recent meeting to talk about strategy for enacting the president’s proposed gun legislation, Biden said that an idea floated by Reverend Franklin Graham in late April to tax violent media might be a good idea. Participants in the session told Politico that Mr. Biden said there’s "no restriction on the ability to do that; there’s no legal reason why they couldn’t."
Last week we asked you if you "have you ever stopped playing a video game on moral grounds?" The question was inspired by this story about a man who got a refund from Valve because he objected to a certain scene in the Steam version of BioShock Infinite involving a religious rite.
In Episode 48 of the Super Podcast Action Committee, Andrew and E. Zachary Knight discuss two polls this week - one about always online consoles and another about having moral objections to gameplay that is so offensive to you that it makes you stop playing. There's also a lot of discussion about the Wii U, the latest Monster Hunter game and a classic game EZK is playing because he found it for cheap used. Download Episode 48 now: SuperPAC Episode 48 (1 hour, 10 minutes) 66.2 MB.
Valve has refunded the money of a man who says that a certain choice in Bioshock Infinite goes against his religious beliefs. We won't mention the specifics of the choice beyond saying that it relates to a Christian religious rite, so as to avoid giving any spoilers. Breen Malmberg, who says he is a Christian, found the choice to be unacceptable.
A minor oversight on the part of Namco Bandai Games related to Tekken Tag Tournament 2's Saudi Arabia stage, accidently used floor textures that have the word "Allah" in them. A tweet by a fan to producer Katsuhiro Harada pointed out the word:
"@Harada_TEKKEN Mr. Harada on the Saudi Stage there is Allah's name on the floor! can you please explain why?"
Earlier this month some Muslims in the Call of Duty community complained that the Favela multiplayer map in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was offensive because a painting placed above a toilet had holy teachings written around its frame "Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty."
The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Modern Warfare 3 map, Favela has been yanked from multiplayer playlists, according to this The Escapist report and the reason for it being is removed is supposedly because of "Muslim gamers" objecting to it.
Rajan Zed, President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, has issued another statement against Hi-Rez Studios' upcoming massively online battle arena (MOBA) game, SMITE. This time the group is asking the organizers of QuakeCon (which starts this Thursday in the great state of Texas) to remove the game from its competition line-up. From the statement, as reported by Kotaku:
Some comments on Friday from Todd Harris, Hi-Rez Studios' chief operating officer, concerning the exclusion of some deities and the inclusions of others may tick off some religious groups even more than they already were about SMITE, the company's upcoming DOTA-like online RPG action strategy title.
The Associated Press reports that residents in the Northern city of Gao in Mali are not happy after Islamists smashed television sets used to play video games and watch television shows that were considered "un-Islamic." The effort was intended to show residents that they are under Shariah law there. The Islamist fighters took up a strong position in the northern part of the Northeastern African country after they were they pushed back by Malian government troops in March.
Fox News has an interesting story on one developer who is not afraid to go head-to-head with Blizzard's Diablo III - in fact their game features the ultimate demon fighter (sans the actual fighting with demons). While Blizzard was launching one of the biggest games of the year, Christian software developer Lightside Games was launching a new Facebook game featuring Jesus called Journey of Jesus: The Calling.
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins has taken Star Wars: The Old Republic to task for allowing gay relationships in the game. Anyone who isn't in a special interest group like Family Research Council and has paid attention to the way BioWare does things, knows that this is nothing new, of course. In one of his recent daily radio broadcast Perkins attacked the option for same-sex relationships, saying "in a new Star Wars game, the biggest threat to the empire may be homosexual activists!"
Update: This story is apparently ancient history from March 2010. While it's fun to refresh your memory, it's not news. We apologize for presenting it as such.
The Australian Christian Lobby is doing its best to slow down the momentum of an R18+ ratings classification in Australia by using a new tactic: comparing mature video games to cigarettes. The group used the public consultation period for the R18+ classification to assail the games industry.
The Binding of Isaac, Edmund McMillen's dark and (in some circles) controversial game about child abuse and religion is getting an expansion soon. McMillen's new expansion is called Wrath of the Lamb and will reportedly add more of "everything." The expansion, which will cost right around $3, will be "done when it's done," according to McMillen. PC Gamers puts the development time for the expansion - based on what McMillen has said in the past - to a month or so.
The Westboro Baptist Church pretends that it supports morality, but it's hard to take anything away from what the group does other than to draw the conclusion that they are in it for publicity and controversy. If you need an example of this, then I refer you a recent tweet by top church member Margie J Phelps. This morning she tweeted via her iPhone that the church planned to protest Apple founder Steve Jobs' funeral:
SGR Games has been quietly testing a game called Vatican Wars (formerly codenamed Priestville) that challenges players to serve as Catholic Priests and performing duties that Priests perform. The social game for Facebook tests the intersection of religion, politics, and social issues by challenging players to take strong positions on issues important to the church such as capital punishment and abortion. The game launched last week as Vatican Wars but prior to its official launch developer SGR gave it a nine-month test under the moniker of Priestville.
While we have no idea where most Australian politicians stand on yesterday's draft proposal for an R18+ video game classification, the new adult rating is getting some unexpected support from the Catholic Church. According to a GameSpot report, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said that they welcomed yesterday's proposed guidelines for adult rating for video games. Unfortunately not all religious groups agree: the Australian Christian Lobby describe the changes as "frightening."
In a press statement, the Conference, which carries the influence of the Catholic Church in Australia, said that it would support the rating because it could not achieve its preference of having adult material banned. A tepid approval for sure, but the church admits that it is better to have such content under a proper ratings system that parents can use.
Earlier this week we mentioned an iOS device app that purported to cure its users of homosexuality. After the national media picked up on the story and gay rights activists railed against it, Apple decided to pull the app from its App Store. The app created by ministry group Exodus International was designed, according to its creators, to "teach gay people that they have a choice when it comes to their sexuality," and that they have a choice to choose "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus."
Despite a 43 percent decline in its share price in the last week, a survey of Left Behind Games' shareholders shows overwhelming support for the direction of the company. At least that is what the Christian game publisher said in a press release issued this morning. According to its latest shareholder survey 79 percent of shareholders "fully support the direction of management."
In the same survey, 94 percent of respondents sold no shares and 25 percent have bought additional shares during the recent share price decline. Another 33 percent of investors want to be "actively involved in promotions." The survey polled 650 shareholders, the company said.
Did Visceral Games take a quiet shot at Scientology, or is the Dead Space series religion Unitology just a fake religion that only-coincidently sounds like the religion created by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard? There has been a lot of speculation about Unitology in the community, but Visceral Game's Creative Director, Wright Bagwell, says the parallels between the two are simply a coincidence.
Speaking to MTV Multiplayer, Bagwell described Unitology as a religion that was intended to represent what happens when a religion and its followers become fanatical in their beliefs.
In a letter to congress claiming not to be political (and then laying out an agenda that is highly political) Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), threw his support behind "net neutrality." But really the Archbishop threw his support behind equal access to the Internet, and not necessarily the principles of net neutrality. Here is an excerpt from the letter:
"As the Internet continues to grow in its influence and prominence in Americans’ lives, we support legislation and federal regulations that ensure equal access to the Internet for all, including religious and non-profit agencies, as well as those in more sparsely populated or economically distressed areas. True net neutrality is necessary for people to flourish in a democratic society."
For point of reference, here is the part where he says that the church isn't political:
Jack Thompson is changing careers. No longer allowed to practice law in Florida, Thompson has enrolled in the Reformed Theological Seminary, and is working on a book with University of Miami School of Education professor Eugene Provenzo called "Activism 101."
According to the web site for the seminary school, "Reformed Theological Seminary serves the church by preparing its leaders through a program of graduate theological education based upon the authority of the inerrant Word of God and committed to the historic Reformed Faith. We invite you to browse through our seminary web site to learn more about the programs available at our various Seminary campuses in Jackson MS, Orlando FL, Charlotte NC, Washington DC, Atlanta GA and our Virtual Campus."
Christian game publisher Left Behind Games announced that it has snatched up 16.711 million radio listening impressions in order to kick off a radio ad campaign for the holidays that begins today and runs through December 26.
The ads promote Left Behind’s Charlie Church Mouse and Left Behind 3: Rise of the Antichrist games and will appear in 30-second (MP3), 60-second (MP3) and 90-second incarnations (MP3). The ads feature two woman discussing “cool Christian games,” that are “less violent than the Star Wars games.” The women are so excited they “can’t wait” to post about the games on Facebook.
Christian game developer Left Behind Games announced that it has acquired the the assets of fellow Christian game maker Cloud 9 Games.
While terms of the deal were not disclosed, Left Behind stated that Cloud 9 President Curtis Ratica had signed a contrct and would remain involved for at least the next three years. The two companies worked together previously on the development of the Praise Champion and King Solomon's Trivia Challenge games.
Texas-based Cloud 9 has developed games like the Rock Band-inspired Christian music game JAMband and the karaoke-themed Heavenly Harmony Gold. Its products are distributed by EMI.
Cloud 9 was labeled as the “second most successful Christian video games publisher,” behind only (presumably) Left Behind Games.
Left Behind Games is on a roll apparently. The Christian entertainment company has acquired the assets of Cloud 9 Games and signed its President, Curtis Ratica, to a three year deal. LBG describes Cloud 9 Games as the "second most successful Christian video games publisher." We assume it believes that it is numero uno. The company said that it hopes to tap into Mr. Curtis's console games development experience:
"We are hopeful to leverage Curtis’ Xbox and other console development experiences soon," a company spokesman said. "Meanwhile, we are pleased to own and publish his newest PC titles, Praise Champion and King Solomon’s Trivia Challenge, which we will present to Walmart later this week during our national line review."
An interesting opinion piece on The Atlantic Wire looks at race politics in video games, focusing on first-person shooters. Author Max Fisher talks about Resident Evil 5, Medal of Honor and Modern Warfare 2, inspired by an essay from Jim Gourley for ForeignPolicy.com.
The thrust of the opinion piece is about the painful transition from conflicts against zombies and fictionalized Nazis to real world conflicts involving real groups of people and how developers portray them. Here's a taste:
Okay, we readily admit to being virtually hypnotized by Christian game publisher Left Behind Games, even more so in light of the odd press releases the company has issued in the past couple of weeks, but their latest may take the cake.
Today, Left Behind detailed an upcoming email campaign that it says will eventually hit 7.77 million inboxes. The company added a “top-tier” email delivery service that will push output to 45,000 emails per hour. The campaign will leverage an “under-utilized” list of over 500,000 “Christian consumers accumulated since the release of the Left Behind Trivia Game, 7 years ago.”
Christian PC game publisher Left Behind Games has stated that its Left Behind 3: Rise of the Antichrist PC game, in advance of Christmas, will benefit from the “largest marketing push through churches since the Passion of the Christ.”
In a story last week, the company claimed that Christian store chains had pre-ordered 37,174 Left Behind Games titles in advance of the holiday season. The company has now disclosed the names of the chains that will carry its games, which includes Family Christian Stores, LifeWay Christian Stores, Mardel Christian & Education and Berean Christian Stores.