Jerry Jenkins: Left Behind Game “Not More Violent than the Old Testament”

Christian Retailing (1) reports from July’s International Christian Retail Show in Denver, where the new Left Behind video game was demonstrated. The game has been the subject of a great deal of controversy due to its violent content, and some conservative evangelicals have repudiated it. However, the game’s developers have come out, er, fighting (brackets in original):

“Left Behind” series co-author Jerry Jenkins said he welcomed the controversy surrounding complaints about the game’s content that made headlines.

“(The controversy) makes you examine your motives, success (and) what you’re doing,” he said. “I looked at the violence for the game to be in the (Christian retail) market. It’s not more violent than the Old Testament,” Jenkins added.

Some might say that sets the bar pretty low (and what about the New Testament, given that the Book of Revelation is one of Jenkins’ inspirations?

…The premise of the post-rapture game–classified as “real time strategy” because players direct multiple characters’ actions from a bird’s-eye view of the New York City streets–is that “you are on the Antichrist’s shoot-to-kill list, and you must defend your own life and the lives of those around you–with violence if necessary,” said Dereck Wong, vice president of sales.

The anti-Christ’s agents, whom the Christian “Tribulation Forces” have to kill, are “Global Community Peacekeepers” – an obvious reference to the United Nations. However, according to marketing manager Greg Bauman,

…more is achieved “with prayer (and) influence, not violence,”

Characters can boost their “spirit rating” by finding scripture scrolls. There are also marketing tie-ins; the game includes

…Christian music from artists such as Fighting Instinct, Toby Mac and Jeremy Camp. A “buy it” button directs players to iTunes to purchase each artist’s album.

“Evangelism is the key of this video game,” said Wong, who noted that each game will include a wristband made by Campus Crusade and that players are linked throughout the fame to, and evangelical Web site operated by the ministry.

Wong said the three goals of the game are “to entertain, to make people think about God, and to make people talk about God.”


Left Behind Games will offer a Christian-market exclusive by bundling the game with Tyndale House Publishers’ New Living Translation Metal Bible.

The report makes no mention of the other controversy surrounding the game: that it installs spyware which cannot be deleted.

Talk to Action has a series of articles on the game, by Jonathan Hutson; the first one, with links to those that follow, can be seen here. I charted the rather weird corporate origins of Left Behind Games with a mining company here.


(1) 7 August 2006, pages 1 and 18