29 Nov '06 16:09>2 edits
The forces of God take on the Antichrist's one-world government in a new video game based on the blockbuster book series "Left Behind."
Due in stores in October, "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" has Satan represented by "Global Community Peacekeepers" based at the United Nations, the Washington Times reports.
"They give arms to the Antichrist," said Troy A. Lyndon, founder and chief executive officer of New York-based Left Behind Games Inc.
Lyndon said the goal is make teens and others think about the importance of spiritual matters and recognize their behavior will have consequences.
He defends the game's violence, arguing "Jesus did not say you have to let yourself be a punching bag or murder victim," the Times reported.
The soldiers pray before battle and players lose "spirit points" if they kill someone unnecessarily.
Lyndon emphasized the game is "not preachy" but encourages people to "re-evaluate and improve their lives" without using religious doctrine.
"Religion has not given God a good name," he said. "It has prejudiced and hurt a lot of people."
Lyndon said the game is focus more on the "teachings of Jesus, and his prayers for hope, love and peace, than on proselytizing."
The best-selling "Left Behind" books by co-authors Timothy LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins present a fictional account of the New Testament Book of Revelation.
The video game follows the book's "Tribulation Force," a group of survivors whose family members have been taken suddenly from Earth in an event called the Rapture.
The Times said leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention and James Dobson's Focus on the Family declined to comment on the game because they were not familiar with it.
Lyndon plans to market the $49.95 game to "megachurches," which have thousands of members. He hopes to sell about 500,000.
The game already is getting attention from social and political commentators, including the left-wing Internet site AlterNet where contributor Evan Derkacz called it a "Christian supremacist video game which rewards children for how effectively they role play the killing of those who resist becoming a born again Christian."
Derkacz cites WarCry Network's Greg Bauman, who played the game and commented:
One thing many gamers will likely find disturbing about Left Behind … is the black-and-white polarization of good and evil portrayed. The faithful are good, and the undecided are (decidedly) bad or evil. The only way to accomplish anything positive in the game is to 'convert' nonbelievers into faithful believers, and the only alternative to this is outright killing them.
Derkacz said a Christian conservative attorney, Jack Thompson, faxed a letter to Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, urging him to sever all ties with the publisher of the "Left Behind" books, Tyndale House, which also has published books by Dobson's.
Thompson said: "This is the worst example I have ever seen of how pop culture has conformed the Church to its image, rather than the Body of Christ serving as light and salt in the world."
According to advertising industry website adotas.com, Left Behind Games, partnering with advertising provider Double Fusion, shot thousands of photos in the streets of New York City that will incorporate advertising that actually exists in Times Square and other areas of the city.
"We love the idea of the video screens in Times Square displaying current advertising, actually contributing to the realism that gamers expect to see in a pseudo-futuristic New York City," said Lyndon.