What is so bad about religion in games? –


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It’s been four and three years since Yours truly and Suzanne Berget shared our thoughts on making the games more inclusive and having more diverse characters, so it’s unfortunate that things don’t have much. changed since then. Of course, we’ve seen more games with minorities and a larger part of the audience becoming a little more open to people who identify differently, but the problem will never be completely resolved. 2021 was a great example of this, as many games have come under fire for having or touching on passionate topics. The one that caught my attention the most was religion. People are obviously allowed to have different opinions on faith and the like, but going crazy when a game barely touches on religious themes is just ridiculous. Let me explain.

First of all, it’s important to note that I am what you might call a gentle Christian. I believe in God, but I have never read the whole Bible or attended church more than once a year. This means that I don’t become offended by someone with a different belief or when religion is portrayed in an unconventional way, which many do. Just look at what happened when players noticed pages from the Quran lying on the ground in Call of Duty: Vanguard’s Zombies mode. While I can understand why some found this appalling and Activision Blizzard decided to remove them, I also think the developers deserve praise for including them in the first place, as book burning and desecration was part of it. World War II (even a fictional version in this case). Very few games even dare to touch on these kinds of acts even though they were a big part of the real world inspirations. Why? Developers should be allowed to portray blasphemous and controversial things in their games if it leads to a better or more realistic experience. We are not talking about real people or objects here. These pages were virtual objects created by a group of talented people using ones and zeros on their PCs. It would have been something else if they’d done sacrilegious acts with the real deal in the developer logs or something just to get attention. Then they would have gone too far. It cannot be said to have pages of religious books and scriptures floating around or lying around in places ruined by supernatural powers and the Nazis. Are you seriously going to complain about games that lack impact because they don’t delve deeper into the darker sides of humanity or certain topics while turning bananas when they do something that is going to shake things up? someone ? The same goes for gods and religious figures.

A few months ago, I received a press release from Rajan Zed, a well-known Hindu activist and spokesperson for the Hindu community, urging Sega and Atlus to stop representing Hindu deities like Ganesha, Hanuman, Kali, Lakshmi , Sarasvati, Shiva and Vishnu as demons in the Shin Megami Tensei games. He said it was sacrilege and would confuse or mislead people, so an apology seemed justified. I’m glad Mr. Zed hasn’t played Final Fantasy or a lot of other games in the past thirty years, as Shiva and other deities have been and are quite often represented in this amazing medium and rarely seen. ‘in a way that I think is taken directly. of sacred texts. Perhaps a few players might be confused by these interpretations, but there is a limit to a player’s sensitivity. Developers should be allowed to take creative liberties with the overflow of great inspiration that stories and characters from the Bible, Quran, Vedas and more offer without fear of threats and being accused of misleading people. . Yes, I know that some holy texts and figures in the east are more sacred than the Bible and Jesus is in the west these days, but I think all religions would benefit from relaxing a bit.

Especially since the inclusion of some special interpretations of them could and will lead to more interest in the source material, something that can be said about me. Without games like Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Final Fantasy X, Assassin’s Creed and Herc’s Adventures / Disney’s Hercules, I would never have been so fascinated or knowledgeable about the Cold War, Hinduism, a handful of ‘other religions and places in the east, and Greek mythology respectively. I might just be an outlier here, but it clearly shows that games can inspire us to learn more as well.

That’s why it’s such a shame that the games aren’t even allowed to launch until discussions about their portrayal of religion begin. Because Shin Megami Tensei V wasn’t the first time Raja Zed sent me a gaming statement. Zed also begged Naughty Dog to show Hinduism the respect it deserves a few months before Uncharted: The Lost Legacy launched in 2017, and likewise when Ubisoft showed more of Beyond Good & Evil 2 a year ago. later. Clever, because Ubisoft has never been careful to include politics and religion in its games … Oh, wait! For Pete’s sake. It’s been fourteen years since the French company included the following message at the start of Assassin’s Creed:

What is so bad about religion in games?

You can often see similar ratings before movies and series, which many lawyers have advised companies to do in the hopes of minimizing the risk of legal issues, but it shouldn’t be necessary. As long as we don’t talk about The Passion of Christ, the upcoming I Am Jesus Christ or similar projects trying to be more faithful to their source material, being beaten by the fact that what is happening is a work of fiction makes me feel stupid. For the last time, I’m mostly complaining about reactions to situations where it makes sense to include religious elements, because those who use them just to cover the headlines or provoke can go and fuck themselves.

Because, just like I wrote four years ago, we shouldn’t stop these creative and talented game makers from making whatever they want by forbidding representing something in a new and different way. Putting obstacles in their way would lead us down a very monotonous and boring path. One of the examples that The Last of Us: Part II and The Forgotten City are two of the best games of the past two years is that they have dared to highlight and question themes and storylines that few even dare to approach. When do the games cross the line? Should we be complaining about the attractiveness and freshness of the characters of Hades? How about taking advantage of what Germany was doing by censoring or editing certain symbols? Can’t an openly Christian or Jew be the hero or be killed in a game without protest? For God’s sake: let developers have religion and minorities in their games without complaining. Failure to do so will lead to a lack of innovation and less diversity, so don’t make such a big fuss.

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