December 13, 2006
A match made in heaven
Targeted largely at conservative Christians, it’s a violent video game with a difference: Combatants on one side pause for prayer, and their favored interjection is “Praise the Lord.”
Critics say “Left Behind: Eternal Forces” glorifies religious vio-
lence against non-Christians. Some liberal groups have been urging a boycott, and on Tuesday they urged Wal-Mart to withdraw the game from its shelves.
However, Troy Lyndon, CEO of Left Behind Games Inc., defended the game as “inspirational entertainment” and said its critics were exaggerating.
… Lyndon’s company, based in Murrieta, Calif., has a license to develop games based on the popular “Left Behind” novels, a Bible-based end-of-the-world-saga that has sold more than 63 million copies.
Lyndon, in a telephone interview, said “Eternal Forces” has been distributed to more than 10,000 retail locations over the past four weeks. He said sales were going well, but declined to give specifics.
… “Our game includes violence, but excludes blood, decapitation, killing of police officers,” the company says on its Web site, noting that a player can lose points for “unnecessary killing” and regain them through prayer.
The game’s story line game begins after the rapture, when most Christians are transported to heaven. Earth’s remaining population is faced with a choice of joining or combatting the Antichrist, as embodied by a force called the Global Community Peacekeepers that seeks to impose one-world government.
… “Part of the object is to kill or convert the opposing forces,” said the Rev. Tim Simpson of Jacksonville, Fla., who heads the Christian Alliance for Progress.
That must be what won it a T (teen) rating, and a protected place on those hallowed Wal-Mart shelves:
Wal-Mart indicated it would continue selling the game online and in selected stores where it felt there was demand.
“The product has been selling in those stores,” said spokeswoman Tara Raddohl. “The decision on what merchandise we offer in our stores is based on what we think our customers want the opportunity to buy.”
This from the company that refused to carry a Sheryl Crow album containing lyrics about children killing each other with guns bought at Wal-Mart; banned a Prodigy album because it deemed the lyrics offensive; and forced Willie Nelson to remove an image of marijuana leaves from one of his albums. Oh, and which has banned everything from Maxim to the Pensacola News Journal.
Guess they didn’t have the Focus on the Family seal of approval:
… Focus on the Family, a Colorado-based Christian ministry often critical of violent video games, [published] a positive review of “Eternal Forces” on one of its Web sites.
“Eternal Forces is the kind of game that Mom and Dad can actually play with Junior and use to raise some interesting questions along the way,” wrote the reviewer, Bob Hoose.
Like which of their unsaved neighbors should be slaughtered.
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