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The Left’s Behind- and Mine

June 1, 2006

Dang. I fell for it. I violated my usual protocols and hit "publish" on a 2-bit rant after reading only 1 hysterical screed over on Pandagon. Learned me a lesson boy!

Layman informs me that my post was based on "uncritical e-hysteria" as "the game does not advocate killing people who do not convert and even
portrays killing in self-defense and war as costing you a portion of
your soul." After reading this review he links to, I have to suspect his assertion is true:

(T)he major resource in the game is
actually the "neutrals" — people who haven’t yet chosen their side in
the great war. Every unit in the game has a name and their own life and
faith history (written in text in the unit information), along with a
"Spirit Level" rated from 0-100. Spirit levels between 40 and 60 are
considered neutral. As a unit’s spirit rises, their faith increases
until it reaches 60, at which point it becomes a "friend." Friends are
basic units who can then be trained in a particular profession at a
converted building. A unit whose Spirit falls below 40, however,
becomes a member of the enemy camp and can be likewise trained.

It’s this wrestling back and forth for the souls of the people that
makes the gameplay dynamic so interesting. Players aren’t competing to
kill the enemy army — rather, they’re trying to save them, and each
person killed represents a failure rather than a success.
"We found
that adhering closely to Biblical philosophies made the game more
interesting rather than less," Lyndon said. "One of the key elements of
that is to make sure that the player sees that every life is important
and precious."

Why did I fall for it? I had questions about the characterization of the game in the post, but the chance to bash "tasteless" Christians was too tempting a target for me to pass up. I peeked at a liberal site, who had a topic I thought I could agree with while putting forward the thought that this game was a product of bad theology and tacky cultural tendencies. See: I’m not so conservative! See: I feel you Liberal outrage! That’s the game I’ve been playing for many, many years. And Lucy picked up the football again and now I’m laying on my back saying "Rats".


The game still sounds corny- I don’t really game much, so what does it matter – and I won’t be picking up a copy of "The Purpose Driven Life" or the "Left Behind" books any time soon. Nor will I be too quick to fire off that kind of post again (hopefully) which is not my style or purpose here anyway. A few opinions of mine have been reinforced however:

  • The blogoshpere is pretty dang self-correcting. It took 1 day for me to be pointed to the right info. Thanks to the magic of Technorati, it’s easy to find out what people are blogging about- including yourself- and issue rebuttals.
  • The Right side seems to be more self-correcting than the Left. Pandagon is unrepentant in it’s views on this matter. I will say the comments in this section are pretty cordial. That always impresses me.
  • The Left really does fear the Religious Right more than any jihadist threat. Even if this game was as bad as advertised, it would never produce any real-world results. Meanwhile, we have real nut-jobs with all manner of weapons who would use them against us, a problem that really exists and must be dealt with regardless of who is in the White House.
  • The game sounds like more product developed for "Christians only" that will be culturally irrelevant, technically inferior, and having the effect of confusing and turning off those outside the Church. Possibly like my own blog!


5 Comments leave one →
  1. C G permalink
    June 2, 2006 7:08 am

    a lot of evangelicals are also worried by the series – check out my new book on the subject here:

  2. June 14, 2006 2:29 pm

    Christian Cadre’s Layman has been exposed, and his critiques of Talk to Action’s five-part series on the video game Left Behind: Eternal Forces, have been rebutted here:

    Layman, enjoy eating your Whopper!

  3. June 14, 2006 4:23 pm

    Talk2Action’s follow-up failed to justify the inaccuracies in its first piece. Despite heroic contortions and manipulations on its part. I responded to it in detail, here:

  4. Emma permalink
    June 19, 2006 9:13 am

    I was interested in this and I read the article Layman was complaining about.

    What was Layman on?

    The article does in fact mention that the point of the game is to convert people and win spirit points and it mentions several other things too. Not only that, but it mentions them quite early on. If you fell for anything, it was Layman.

    All that is beside the point though. It makes no difference that kids aren’t supposed to kill other people. The fact is that they can kill people in the name of Christianity, and being kids, they will. They are called ‘children’ because they haven’t yet learned self control and this game isn’t going to help them.

    Maybe we should be giving ex-convicts guns and telling them “now, go out into society and don’t kill people. If you don’t kill anyone, you’ve passed the test”.

    You weren’t wrong about this evil game. You were right the first time.

  5. January 25, 2007 9:46 am

    This statement is posted from an employee of Left Behind Games on behalf of Troy Lyndon, our Chief Executive Officer.

    There has been in incredible amount of MISINFORMATION published in the media and in online blogs here and elsewhere.

    Pacifist Christians and other groups are taking the game material out of context to support their own causes. There is NO “killing in the name of God” and NO “convert or die”. There are NO “negative portrayals of Muslims” and there are NO “points for killing”.

    Please play the game demo for yourself (to at least level 5 of 40) to get an accurate perspective, or listen to what CREDIBLE unbiased experts are saying after reviewing the game at

    Then, we’d love to hear your feedback as an informed player.

    The reality is that we’re receiving reports everyday of how this game is positively affecting lives by all who play it.

    Thank you for taking the time to be a responsible blogger.

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