Dark Christianity
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dogemperor [userpic]
A Gamer's Look at Left Behind: Eternal Forces


So yes. I downloaded the demo of Left Behind: Eternal Forces. I happened to be feeling masochistic, I guess. I've played through parts of the game...basically until I couldn't stomach anymore.

I was born with a controller in my hand, and I haven't put it down since. I also like to consider myself a professional video game journalist, so I tried to be objective. But, because of my disdain for evanglical Christianity of this nature, I found it impossible to maintain my impartial view. I kept wanting to find things that were bad about this game, but to be honest with you? It's a decent game. However, the word "decent" in the video game world means a lot more than what it does everywhere else.

First things first, I must admit...there are some aspects of this game that I like. Two of the key mechanics, namely base construction and unit recruitment, are very unique in the crowded real-time strategy (RTS) genre.

The game takes place in New York, right on the streets. No mountans, no forests; just block after city block. Gone are the construction yards and SCVs of other games. Instead, preexisting buildings form your base. You gain control of these through the use of one of the game's resources: money. Then, using your "builder" units, you convert these buildings into something that will suit your purpose. A cafe produces food for your forces. A bank provides money.

In every other RTS, in order to recruit a unit, you first have to construct a specific building, then you must have that building build or train the unit you want. In Left Behind, your units are already on the map! They're the civilians wandering the busy streets of New York. You just need to convert them, by using your "disciple" unit. Once they're converted into a "friend", you can then send them into one of several buildings to be trained in an occupation to help your cause.

But, frankly, that's all I found appealing about this game, and even these two elements were poorly implemented. Graphically, the game is as bland as you can get. Textures aren't detailed at all. Character models are too similar. There's nothing to the game aurally either. There's ONE song in the whole demo that repeats. Units have only two acknowledgements (what they say when you click on them, or give them an order), and more often than not...they don't fit the situation. (Order one into a building and he says, "HELLO!" o_O)

The pictures explain more.

Though, there are two things that concern me, even before I started taking screenshots. When you run the demo for the first time, a window pops up asking for your first name, last name, and email address. I'm a little antsy about giving even my junk email to a website or group without a Privacy Statement, so I tried to put in an obviously fake email address ("imgay@ilikedick.com"), but the program wouldn't take that one. I only got in after putting in my junk address.

Then, later, when you're loading the SINGLE PLAYER portions of the game, it seems to make some contact with the server, and does something called "Setting Up Client". Why does it do all of this for a single player game? Is this game sending information back home?

Large screenshots with captions. Will kill a 56k. )

There's no rules written in stone about it, but a playable demo is supposed to be a cohesive package that portrays the best that a game has to offer. It's intended to offer the gamer a small taste of what's to come...to make them anticipate it, and thus increase sales.

Instead, this demo's single player barely works. Notice how most of those screenshots were taken from the training tutorials? I couldn't even finish either of the missions I attempted. Each character, aside from their health, has something called "spirit points", which represent their "faith". When your spirit points are between 1-35, you're "evil", with the lower number being the more dark. 36-59 represents a "neutral character". 60 and above represents a "good" character. If your "good" character is near a (literally) evil musician with an electric guitar, their spirit points will drop until you lose them. Twice in the FIRST mission, I had my character avoid the muscians in the street as best as I could (but couldn't as all the side streets were blocked off). Apparently, the second I came ANYWHERE near those "screeching guitars", I lost all my faith and joined the "neutrals". Game over.

The mission goals seem rather poorly constructed as well. In the fourth mission, you have to go around and convert five gang members. I converted the first just fine...but the second I got anywhere near the next, he shot me dead without warning. Game over.

I must be honest and tell you that I went into this game with a biased mind. But even with that, I found so many basic problems with the game that are simply the result of bad programming, poor design implementation, or just lazy artists. You could chalk this up to the fact that it's a demo, but the game's website states it's due out in a month. That's not a lot of time to fix all these issues, as well as send the game to "gold" and produce and ship it.

Ladies and gentlemen of this community, I'd like to remind you of the stated goals of Left Behind Games. "The mission of Left Behind Games is to become the world’s leading independent developer and publisher of quality interactive entertainment products that perpetuate positive values and appeal to mainstream..." That mission statement is why I bring this all up, because...what we have here is a failed attempt at prosetlyizing. This game WILL NOT appeal to the mainstream. It's not because of its content. It's not because of its controversy.

The reason this game will not succeed in the stated goals is because, quite frankly, the game is BORING. It is clunky. It is slow. It is ugly. And it is very BORING. Were it not for the fact that it is a Christian game, it'll be published quickly and forgotten just as quickly, like every other "decent" game in the video game world.

Oh. And PS: From their website: "LEFT BEHIND will be a catalyst for a new genre of video game entertainment; known, as stated by the Wall Street Journal, as "God Games"."

"God games" already exist. Check out Black and White, jackass.

dogemperor [userpic]
Gideon Bible distribution in Missouri grade school halted

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]wyldraven)

Judge orders southeast Missouri school to stop Bible distribution
By Jeff Douglas

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A southeast Missouri school district must end a Bible giveaway program for fifth-graders for now, a federal judge in St. Louis has ruled in an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit.

The preliminary injunction adds another school to a long list of small-town schools that, since the 1950s, have either been forced or voluntarily stopped distributing the pocket-sized Gideons International Bible. The cases were often prompted by ACLU action.

South Iron Elementary School in Annapolis wrongly allowed the Bible handouts solely to promote Christianity to students and must end the program until a final order is given, U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Perry in St. Louis ruled late Wednesday.
Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
Talking with Folk Who Hate You

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]catvincent)

X-posted from my LJ...

John Rogers - aka Kung Fu Monkey, gives us this link to an excellent resource:

" I'll direct you to a fine series of essays written by Sara Robinson over at David Neiwert's joint. Sara, a former fundamentalist Christian, examines the social and psychological underpinnings of fundamentalist society at large, extends into authoritarianism, and then ties it all up in integrating ways to effectively communicate with people who are predisposed to not just disagree with you, but consider debate weakness. Ways of communicating honestly and openly, but keeping in mind the different ways different social structures view language and culture.

I think this series of essays is not just a wonderful tool in public discourse, but might also be helpful for some readers having intra-family issues. And setting aside domestic politics -- this is also the sort of discussion we should be having about our cultural warfare component in the struggle against Islamic Fundamentalism.

Robinson's analysis is spot-on - especially in detailing areas where actual physiology and neurochemistry play a factor in the imprinting and deprogramming process (stress and trauma altering brain chemistry to make an individual more malleable - something also explored in detail in the non-fiction of Robert Anton Wilson). She gives us a vital and effective toolkit.

Current Mood: tired
Current Music: Drone Zone: [SomaFM]
dogemperor [userpic]

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]pope_guilty)

Some of you may have heard of "Path to 9/11", the slanderous miniseries produced by Disney which depicts Bill Clinton ignoring a chance to catch Usama bin Ladin and depicts the Bush Administration as concerned about al Qaeda prior to 9/11.

Did you know that it's got ties to dominionists?

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