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The Tribulation flops

Category: Entertainment
Posted on: November 30, 2006 10:51 AM, by PZ Myers

If you've been wondering how it would turn out, the first review of the Left Behind video game is online. It doesn't get any thumbs up.

Don't mock Left Behind: Eternal Forces because it's a Christian game. Mock it because it's a very bad game. The real-time strategy/adventure game from Left Behind Games based on the best-selling series of novels from Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins will even let down born-again types who expect the Rapture to beam them up to heaven any day now. Nobody has enough faith to endure a game with such a hokey story, terrible mission design, serious problems with the interface and graphics, and loads of crippling bugs.

Now you see, this is what happens when you hire exorcists instead of programmers to do your debugging.

(via The Atheist Experience)

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Posted by: BigHeathenMike | November 30, 2006 10:59 AM

See, now I would have thought that a game about Jesus would be sanctioned by said diety. I really thought that people trying to get more kids to be "bitchin' Christians" a la Stephen "I'd-jump-on-a-couch-if-Jesus-told-me-to" Baldwin would have a little more endorsement from the Almighty than this indicates.

hahahaha...Jesus has "bugs".


Posted by: rrt | November 30, 2006 11:23 AM

Good for GS. They had just the right tone of amused incredulity. Interesting, though...if you look at the second screenshot of the review, captioned "I like your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter," it would seem the game is loaded with a lot of flat-out sales-pitches.


Posted by: Kristine | November 30, 2006 11:24 AM

Similarly, the game has a 1950s-style attitude about men and women. Only males can become priestlike disciples and handyman builders, whereas only women can become nurses.

What, no belly dancing writer/librarians?

At least this game doesn't have the Christians blowing away the infidels with guns, like some others that have raised the hair on my neck. But it sounds like this game based on the idea of converting people by "blowing them away" with the spirit isn't blowing many people away, period.

But, hey, if they're all on the couch playing this game...that means less of them on the street, right?


Posted by: JD | November 30, 2006 12:23 PM

"a hokey story, terrible mission design, serious problems with the interface and graphics, and loads of crippling bugs."

Wait, is he talking about the game, or the bible?


Posted by: Odd Jack | November 30, 2006 12:25 PM

Now, comeon. The real downfall fo this game is the fact their is only one end ro the game. JC wins. Now if you could choose a third option/side of your own, or dismantle the world as an anarchist, anti-Christ warriors and hunt down the LB'ers. Who here wouldn't be curious to try it out...and be allowed to win. Come on, you know you would love to do that?


Posted by: Grumpy Physicist | November 30, 2006 12:38 PM

I'm rather surprised that no-one (to my knowledge; I'm not that up on computer game stuff) has come out with an urban warfare game set in Baghdad.

Call it "Insurgent". Set up IEDs, car-bombings, morter attacks, snipers, etc.

Horrible and reprehensible, yes. Sort of like Grand Theft Auto.

But that LB game sure sounds lame.


Posted by: Steve_C | November 30, 2006 12:39 PM

I think Spore is a much more interesting game. You get to BE a god and an intelligent designer. Also, you compete with other gods and their creations.

I'd rather have these loons playing a video game rather than training for an event that will never come. Who knows would set them off? Imagine an evangelical Waco.


Posted by: MrsCogan | November 30, 2006 1:05 PM

this isn't all that reassuring. All they have to do is hire better programmers. They can afford to do it. On the other hand, if they are going to be evil, it's good that they are incompetant at it.


Posted by: garth | November 30, 2006 1:31 PM

unsurprising, really.

to counteract the flu-like symptoms that thinking about this game gave me, i did a goodle for "Squidmas", since that seems easier to say than "Cephalopodmas", though less accurate. This site is a bit funny and enjoyable.

It lead me to do this.

Of course, there's no doubt been a discussion about this already. I just get a wild hair sometimes.


Posted by: Jason | November 30, 2006 1:34 PM

..and here is what happens when you have a programmer-turned-theologist attempting to sort out evolution vs. ID. It's too bad the Olympics don't have a category for mental gymnastics, because this guy's a shoe-in gold medalist.


Posted by: garth | November 30, 2006 1:35 PM

i always encourage thumpers to pray whenever they want to change something. pray all day, as long and hard as they can, feverishly pray, pray so much you don't even have time to get out of the house or do anything in public, pray like everything depends on it. at home. away from me.


Posted by: Martin Wagner | November 30, 2006 1:55 PM

Wow. Thanks for the link, PZ! It's barely lunchtime and the AE blog has already more than doubled its average daily uniques. I hope my fellow Pharyngula fans enjoy us enough to bookmark us, or at least take some hearty swings at us in the comments. We're just happy to be pitching in our 2ยข to the godless blogosphere.


Posted by: Dr. Strangelove | November 30, 2006 2:03 PM

Ironically, the game is under heavy fire from Christian groups:

[quote]Religious organizations take exception to faith-based real-time strategy game, saying it promotes violence and intolerance.[/quote]

How funny is that? :D


Posted by: Scott Hatfield | November 30, 2006 2:24 PM

What a disappointment. I was looking forward to the inevitable mods wherein godless types round up the Christians and execute by stoning them with books by Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, etc.



Posted by: Steve_C | November 30, 2006 2:45 PM

Naw, we round em up and attempt to deprogram them.
IF they don't snap out of it we turn them into primates.


Posted by: Tyler DiPietro | November 30, 2006 3:14 PM

Pretty easily predictable, given that almost every video game based on a book, movie or comic book franchise ends up sucking major beef mast. But I knew that LB:EF would be especially egregious in that regard, since focusing so much on an explicitly religious message distracts from such details as making a game that doesn't suck.

We can rest easy with regard to Christianized games like LB, since we won't see a while lot of them. The video game industry belongs to the EAC (John Carmack is one of our most decorated agents).


Posted by: Blake Stacey | November 30, 2006 4:15 PM

I'm shocked, shocked:

To add insult to injury, in between every level of you preaching and praying at sinners, the game turns around and preaches at you with its "Get Found" clues. These pages play Christian rock (with a convenient "Buy" button of course), while trying to convert you with dubious "facts" about evolution, Christianity, and the Bible.

Posted by: JP | November 30, 2006 5:02 PM

This review is a great read. e.g.

Units can be set on an auto-proselytizing mode where they can be ordered to recruit on demand, but the artificial intelligence isn't as committed to Christ as you might expect.

A friend of mine works at Gamespot, and points out most of the great reviews like this one are written by freelancers playing very very terrible games.


Posted by: plucky punk | November 30, 2006 5:13 PM

MrsCogan, I wouldn't be too worried about them just hiring better programmers.

I suspect, like Christian rock, Christian gaming will always be kind of lame. You just can't be counter-culture for Christianity. Jesus, like most patriarchal white guys, will never be "cool."


Posted by: Nix | November 30, 2006 5:40 PM

Jason, of *course* Simon's very good at twisty thinking. You can't be a Perl programmer of his level of expertise *or* a theologian without being able to prove that black is white five or six times before breakfast.

(Me, I think black and white are both `pain' before breakfast and a cup of coffee or six.)


Posted by: Nomen Nescio | November 30, 2006 8:04 PM

being a professional programmer who mainly (for my sins, i'm sure) deal in Perl, i must second Nix' point.

the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis may not be exactly true in human languages, but in computer programming, it is indisputably correct... and Perl is a language fit to tie anybody's brain into pretzels. i keep own head screwed on straight by interleaving other infotech and business tasks, else i'd be quite potty by now.


Posted by: Azkyroth | November 30, 2006 8:26 PM

Heh. I think I shall refer to this game as "Horse's Behind: Eternal Farces."


Posted by: RedMolly | November 30, 2006 11:31 PM

When the Kirk Cameron-starring movie version of this sad book came out, my fundie aunt & uncle sent the DVD to my dad for Christmas.

He promptly dubbed it "My Left Behind," and my family has ever since referred to it as such.

(I like your name for it too, Azkyroth.)


Posted by: Snark7 | December 1, 2006 3:40 AM

Well, the game certainly should appeal to christians.
Given their sick delight in and glorification of suffering in all forms, they really should love this game.


Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp | December 1, 2006 7:47 AM

I have this morbid desire to play this game... not PAY for it but play it. I really want to see how bad it is. The review was so stark in its condemnation of all aspects of the game I feel some need to see for myself. Just to see the auto-proselytizing mode fail miserably would give me hope that that might happen in real life.


Posted by: Kristine | December 1, 2006 12:05 PM

On a serious note, I now better understand all the "Darwinists hate us" talk at UD. People who believe that it's acceptable (and entertaining) to kill non-Christians are certainly going to believe that non-Christians will want to kill them.

It's simply not true. My life would be a lot simpler if I hated Christians, and for pity's sake, never dated or lived with any. (Yes, I lived in sin with one! He asked me to. How confused was he? Pretty damn confused as it turned out.) A tragic flaw [wink!] in my character is that I fell in love with cutie fundies (more than once) to the bewilderment of my friends. It ended badly. D'oh, Kristine, you romantic fool.

I guess for me, if I were to invoke the word "spirituality" which is overused these days, what is spiritual to me is falling in love with someone else that you're "not supposed to." I could have more sympathy for Ted Haggard if he at least loved the guy he was boffing, and admitted it. Whenever they start the "They hate Christians" talk in the comments at UD I am reminded of the fundie that Dawins interviews in Root of All Evil? who would put adulterers to death. That means me too, since I live with my boyfriend, but I don't want to put even murderers to death, let alone Christians.

Moreover the only video games I will play, and that's rare, are ones in which there is no killing, and I don't understand how virtual killing is enjoyable for anybody. Apparently the folks at UD think that atheists don't view each person as unique individuals?

I'm becoming more and more confused as to what fundamentalist Christians really believe. I see at least some common ground between them and myself; they don't see any.


Posted by: Lepht | August 11, 2007 4:52 PM

they're not bugs, see PZ? they're DEMONS. infesting the programming which before was good and holy. little, nasty, C# demons.

out! out you bugs of Satan!


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