UPDATED: New Study Claims Video Games Depict Religion in Problematic Light

February 27, 2012 -

Update: The study’s author Greg Perreault responded to a number of questions we had about the methodology he used to come to his conclusions. When asked how much time he put into each game chosen for the study, he said:

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Temple Run - High Holiday Edition

August 23, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

"Temple Run - High Holiday Edition," the latest episode of the video series Jewbellish: The Show, is an amusing take on the popular endless runner game Temple Run and what might happen if you (assuming you are Jewish) felt like running out of Temple on Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur.

Temple Run - High Holiday Edition was directed by comedian Mendy Pellin for the Jewish sketch comedy web series and stars Jason Lott and Kai Cofer, amongst others.

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Petition Urges Riot to Uncensor the Word 'Satan' in League of Legends

August 13, 2013 -

A group of Satanists have petitioned Riot Games to uncensor the name of their favorite deity in the popular MOBA game League of Legends. They may have a valid point in calling it censorship of their religious views. In their petition they point out that other religious gods and deities are not censored such as Jesus, Allah, Zeus, Venus and God.

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Vice President Sees No Legal Hurdles in Enacting Sin Tax on Violent Media

May 13, 2013 -

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."

Poll Results: Quitting Games on Moral Grounds

April 23, 2013 -

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.

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Super Podcast Action Committee - Episode 48

April 22, 2013 -

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.

Man Gets Refund for Bioshock Infinite over Religious Objections

April 17, 2013 -

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.

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Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Producer Promises Fix for Saudi Arabia Stage Texture

October 29, 2012 -

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?"

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Edited Favela Map Returns to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Multiplayer Rotation

October 23, 2012 -

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."

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Modern Warfare 2 Map Gets Pulled Over Muslim Complaints

October 8, 2012 -

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.

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Universal Society of Hinduism Urges QuakeCon Organizers to Remove SMITE from Competitions

August 1, 2012 -

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:

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SMITE Avoids World's Most Popular Religions

July 2, 2012 -

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.

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Universal Society of Hinduism Demands Removal of Hindu Deities in SMITE

June 27, 2012 -

Rajan Zed, the president of the U.S.-based Universal Society of Hinduism, has demanded that Hi-Rez Studios immediately remove Hindu gods from its upcoming online action-strategy-RPG game SMITE. In SMITE, players can take control of such Hindu gods as Kali, Vamana and Agni.

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Islamists in Northern Mali Burn TV Sets Used to Play and Watch 'Un-Islamic' Entertainment

May 16, 2012 -

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.

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Journey of Jesus: The Calling Ain't Afraid of No Stinking Demons

May 15, 2012 -

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.

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Family Research Council Attacks Star Wars: The Old Republic for Same-Sex Relationships

January 27, 2012 -

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!"

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Australian Christian Lobby Compares Games Industry to Tobacco Companies

January 12, 2012 -

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.

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Binding of Isaac: Wrath of the Lamb Expansion Revealed

January 6, 2012 -

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.

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Westboro Baptist Church Promises Protest of Steve Jobs' Funeral

October 6, 2011 -

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:

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Introducing Vatican Wars, A Facebook Game For Catholics

June 22, 2011 -

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.

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Catholic Bishops Conference Supports R18+ Rating

May 26, 2011 -

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.

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Apple Removes 'Gay Cure' App from App Store

March 23, 2011 -

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."

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Survey: Left Behind Games Wins Hearts of Shareholders

February 28, 2011 -

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.

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Unitology in Dead Space Series Not a Jab at Scientology, Says Visceral

February 3, 2011 -

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.

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U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Support Net Neutrality

January 21, 2011 -

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:

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Coming Soon: Jack Thompson the Author, Theologian

January 18, 2011 -

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."

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Left Behind Prepares Radio Blitz

November 22, 2010 -

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.

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Left Behind Covets, Acquires Fellow Christian Game Developer

October 26, 2010 -

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.

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Left Behind Games Buys Cloud 9 Games

October 25, 2010 -

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."

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Race Politics and First-Person Shooters

October 19, 2010 -

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:

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ZenEZK they could easily just put Captain Falcon in (they are using his car anyways) and he would be the most recognizable character from the series for the anime, games, and Smash Bros.08/27/2014 - 9:42am
ZenMasked there are also the two from Animal Crossing that are going to be in it. I am wondering what they will do for the Excitebike level they gave a peek at.08/27/2014 - 9:41am
E. Zachary KnightDoes F-Zero really have a character that is recognizable that could be used? I would think the cars and tracks would be more recognizable.08/27/2014 - 8:55am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/08/27/rockstar-lohans-gta-5-lawsuit-just-jonas-ing-for-publicity/ Rockstar releases the biggest "no duh" statement in the universe.08/27/2014 - 8:07am
MaskedPixelanteI'm just saying, they're giving us an F-Zero kart and an F-Zero track, but their crossover representative is Link?08/27/2014 - 8:00am
ZenMasked, not really sure what your are talking about lol. They will be giving a total of 6 characters, 8 vehicles, and 16 tracks...plus the Yoshi and Shy Guy sets if you get both packs. Not bad for about the price of a single CoD map pack lol.08/27/2014 - 7:02am
MaskedPixelanteSee the flaw here. Blue Falcon car, F-Zero themed track, and Link as a playable character.08/27/2014 - 6:46am
IanCNext Level Games would like to say hi.08/27/2014 - 6:32am
Uncharted NEShttp://kotaku.com/zelda-f-zero-coming-to-mario-kart-8-162715073008/26/2014 - 11:17pm
Uncharted NESAlso $8 for each or $12 for both.08/26/2014 - 11:16pm
Uncharted NESZelda, Animal Crossing Coming To Mario Kart 8.08/26/2014 - 11:15pm
Andrew EisenNintendo has worked with plenty of western or non-Japan devs. It partners more often with devs in its own country but I wouldn't say it doesn't like western devs.08/26/2014 - 7:36pm
Matthew WilsonOr... give it to the studio that just formed from the old Darksiders guys. yeah I know outside of Retro they do not like working with western devs.08/26/2014 - 6:46pm
MechaTama31They should have just handed the Zelda reins to the team responsible for Okami, because they out-Zelda-ed Zelda.08/26/2014 - 6:08pm
Uncharted NESI miss Nintendo-Capcom Zelda games. ALTTP on the GBA was my first real time really playing through that game. And you know what, it was fun. :P08/26/2014 - 5:42pm
IanC3 and a half amazing games, since Capcom did the A Link to the Past port, and the Four Swords game that was on the cart. So thats 4 games then, id guess.08/26/2014 - 5:03pm
MaskedPixelanteDepends on who's teaming up with what. Zelda plus Capcom gave us three amazing games. Zelda plus Phillips gave us Youtube Poop.08/26/2014 - 3:25pm
E. Zachary KnightNintendo has had a fairly decent track record with teaming up with external development houses to make games based on their IP, at least recently. I hope they keep it up.08/26/2014 - 3:14pm
IanCThe idea of the Tekken team making a Pokémon fighting game is A: funny and B: clever.08/26/2014 - 2:39pm
IanCBlizzard took the Act 4 ending cut scene out of Diablo 3 Ultimate Evil Edition. So if you want to see the final cut scene from the base game better go look on youtube or something.08/26/2014 - 2:38pm
 

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