Praise the Lord and Pass the Joystick


ever forgoing the opportunity to wage war
on the evil empire of secular humanists and spread the “good
word,” Christian fundamentalists recently took their pitch
to new heights. Not so ironically it was in a secular setting. The
folks responsible for the

Left Behind

series of books debuted
their latest attempt to “win” lost souls with a new video

Left Behind: Eternal Forces

at the Electronic Entertainment
Expo in Los Angeles. 

The object of the

Left Behind

video game is to “wage
a war of apocalyptic proportions. Join the ultimate fight of Good
against Evil, commanding Tribulation Forces or the Global Community
Peacekeepers, and uncover the truth about worldwide disappearances,”
the company’s website proclaims. 

All of those wonderfully heroic holy characters—Rayford, Chole,
Buck, and Bruce—from the novels are ready to battle nonbelievers.
They lead the Tribulation Force against Nicolae Carpathia, the anti-Christ
who heads up the secular Global Community Peacekeepers (think UN).
The many levels and stratagems a gamer is able to experience include: 

  • Conducting physical and spiritual warfare using
    the power of prayer to strengthen your troops in combat and wield
    military weaponry 

  • Recovering ancient scriptures and witnessing angelic and demonic
    activity as a direct consequence of your choice 

  • Commanding forces through intense battle across a breathtaking,
    authentic depiction of New York City 

  • Controlling more than 30 unit types including Prayer Warrior,
    Hellraiser to Spies, Special Forces, and Battle Tanks 

  • Enjoying robust single player experiences across dozens of NYC
    maps that include Chinatown, Soho, Uptown, and more 

  • Playing multiplayer games with up to eight players via the Internet 

The game’s trailer breaks humans into three categories: (1)
believers: those who seek a personal relationship with God; (2)
un-believers and believers: those who don’t seek after God;
(3) faithless: those who chose to ignore God. 

first group was depicted in the promotional video as a husband and
wife praying before going to bed. The second—unbelievers and
believers who don’t seek after God—were numerous, anonymous,
unidentifiable figures bustling down a city street. The faithless
had the appearance of a local militia group. Other than the revelation
that no one knows the exact time or place of the apocalypse, little
else was to be gleaned from the promotional video with the exception
that those “left behind” are the ones who will battle
the forces of darkness. 

The game’s characters are confusing. The most evil characters
are the faithless. They look exactly like the folk that flock to
fundamentalist religions by the drove. This will befuddle most secular
humanists whom the fundies have aimed the game toward as a means
of conversion. The fact that the secular characters are depicted
as an anonymous monolithic bunch speaks volumes as well. 

Another vexing point of the game’s characters is the fine distinction
made between “believers who don’t seek after God”
and “those who chose to ignore God.” It may just be semantics,
but both groups sound like they have better things to do than sit
around waiting for the Rapture just so they can leave their wardrobe
behind. Using the term “Global Community Peacekeepers”
is also odd when these are the evil folk the Tribulation Force is
bent on defeating. Even on the surface it is apparent that the folks
behind the game have little interest in compassion, charity, love,
or peace—all basic tenants of the Christianity that the man
from Galilee preached. 

The hypocrisy of the self-appointed righteous continues to escalate.
The fundies consistently assail the entertainment industry as hedonistic
and godless, yet it is that arena where they are currently waging
the battle to convert all those “other” folks to their
side. When it comes to all things holy and sacred nothing says it
better than Nintendo. 

Even without all the pseudo proselytizing,

Left Behind

thankfully an abject failure as it eschews many of the things that
attract gamers in the first place.

Grand Theft Auto

is a
major seller not because of its storyline, but because it has plenty
of graphic violence, celebrates the criminal, and also tosses in
animated sex for good measure. 

While the first image in the game’s promo is a direct rip off
of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, obviously the game’s
designers lacked the courage of their convictions to really allow
the secular humanists a good look at what is in store for them come
the apocalypse. 

The fundies are probably the only group on the entire planet who
actually look forward to a worldwide apocalypse. Unfortunately,
as with any war, there are all those millions affected who didn’t
sign on for the Rapture. By using a simple video game to set the
stage for the real Armageddon, the fundies are once again lying.
In a real war prayer does not miraculously restore powers to a wounded
soldier whose leg has been blown off and allow him to reenter the
battlefield. This is brainwashing on the most simplistic level.
If operating a joy stick was all it took, there would be far fewer
soldiers left behind on the battlefield and returning home unscathed. 

All that a game like

Left Behind

does is further point out
the hypocrisies of a group that breeds hate and intolerance and
wraps itself in the flag. In this case it is best to take the fundies
at their word and leave this game behind on the store shelf. 


Zavesky is a freelance writer living in California.