I was googling around earlier trying to remember the name of “Left Behind”, the game where people left on Earth following the Rapture have to band together to defeat the anti-Christ. Van Hemlock noted an unusual search string in his blog stats (“huge archway which only let people of good nature, game”), and I was guessing the searcher might be looking for “Left Behind”, or something like that.
A site named Gamepraise appeared in my search results. When I clicked on the site, I was amused to find this quote;
“Gamepraise is a video games portal that has reviews, news, screenshots, videos and tips of new, upcoming and classic Christian video games.”
located directly under a banner ad I didn’t expect on a Christian video game website.
Is it just me? Play your Bible, with Niko Bellic posed directly below? The Wikipedia page I linked to does indicate that Niko regrets his violent past, but I’m not sure Rockstar is ready to go all Kirk Cameron on us.
I don’t have a problem with a Christian video game site advertising GTA IV. The site never claims that non-Christian games are bad. They do want to review and support Christian-themed games, but I don’t think that means that gamers who appreciate a Christian message in their video games wouldn’t enjoy GTA IV. The juxtaposition was jarring, certainly, but when I thought about it, it’d be a little Jack Thompson of me to think that a self-identified Christian couldn’t separate gaming from reality, and enjoy some Liberty City madness.
If I expect other people to understand that violent video games don’t make me violent, I can’t claim that GTA IV makes a Christian less Christian. There are so many shades of grey in the world. I guess my initial reaction was amused by the juxtaposition, but it’s somehow reassuring to know that someone going to a Christian gaming website isn’t locked out of enjoying GTA IV too.