A lawsuit that revolves around the words, "suspicious male in possession of flight simulator game" has been given the greenlight by a federal judge in San Francisco. The lawsuit has to do with the National Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative (NSI), which encourages local law enforcement agencies to provide informational reports to the federal government on individuals who are engaged "in suspicious behavior" - flags that an individual may be someone to watch - as part of some terrorism plot or related organizing activity. The case, Gill et al. v.
If you are going to PAX East in Boston next month then you may want to check out this panel on gaming and atheism. The panel discussion looks into how games use gods and what game designers can do to create atheist characters in games.
Here's more from the PAX East Facebook page:
Tea Party-endorsed candidate Zach Dasher is trying his best to unseat Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.), but an old podcast about the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting has come back to haunt him. Dasher, who is the nephew of Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson, hosted a podcast called "Why Did This Happen" three days after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. (which occurred on December 14, 2012), claiming that the shooter Adam Lanza was influenced by atheism, postmodernism, and video games.
With 39 more days to go, The Bible Videogame Series has managed to raise $20,171 of its $35,000 goal from just 423 backers through its Kickstarter crowd funding campaign.
The Tornado Twins, the alter egos for Ruben and Efraim Meulenberg, are working on an episodic game series about the Bible called "The Game Bible Series," and have launched a Kickstarter to pay for the first three episodes.
"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.
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.
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: