Hello, my darling Lusi-sprites.
We seem to live in a world where if you sneeze the wrong way someone will be offended, if you are short someone will be offended, or if you are ginger, well, everyone will be offended, and your mother does not love you. We are, to put it simply, an offendable lot. Or at least, some people are, and those same people have big goddamn mouths, and ruin everything for everyone else. Game developers and other media types need to be so careful in regards to how violent, how sexual, and how offensive their content is, or else they get backhanded by the ratings board and angry housewives start letter writing campaigns asking stores to please not sell the big mean scary game. Personally, I am as difficult to offend as it gets. Sex? Drugs? Violence? Racism? Sexism? Bring it!
As our Autumn of X playthrough of Xenogears draws near, I find myself wondering at how forgiving we are when it comes to religious content in games. Of course there are always shrill harpies who will screetch in protest, but by and large, religious content tends to be given a free pass in games. The killjoys tend to be more concerned with sex and violence. Oh sure, if they add Jesus to the roster for the next King of Fighters game, people will get their panties in a big old twist, but beyond that, most people do not care. Or perhaps it would be more apt to say that most people do not pay enough attention to the nuances of a game to actually clue into the fact that Fei is going to punk God out, or that Ark in Terranigma is, you know, named in the Biblical sense.
Many games villify organized religion or the concept of a God. “God” is more often than not some sinister being, toying with mankind like so many …. uh, toys. Sometimes “God” is going to destroy the world. Sometimes “God” is just a big fat lie and the real villan is “The Church” which may or may not have an actual name. These guys, oh man. What a bunch of rude guses. They lie, murder, exploit the masses and carefully cover it all up (until you as the hero rip them apart and restore a new order). Hmm, I suddenly have a hankering to play Final Fantasy Tactics.
Sure, sometimes videogame religions are harmless. There will always be helpful Orders of the White Mage to heal our boo-boos, and random churches and shrines where one can be healed (for a modest fee) and save their progress. I do not mean these people any disrespect, of course, and I thank them for their kind Curaga spells, and Raises and even the occasional removing of a curse.
I do not precisely know what my “point” is. I just find it amusing that as long as we do not use the names of existing religions or religious figures, we can get away with damn near anything religion-wise in a game. Maybe nobody actually cares if a game makes religions and Gods in general look bad, or maybe they just do not pay that much attention. Whatever the reason, I am just glad that people’s hyper-sensitivity to religious views has not impacted my gaming experience too severely.