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 DontBeLeftBehind.com, 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.”

Plus:

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.

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(1) 7 August 2006, pages 1 and 18

10 Responses

  1. That “metal bible” intrigues me – would it be a bible with a metal cover ? If so, what sort of metal ? Stainless steel ? Pewter ? Lead ? Tin ?

    Or would the bible simply boast a “heavy metal” theme – with gory pictures of Isrealites hacking allegedly sinful Canaanites ( men, women, and children all ) to bits ? Or would the metal theme be more akin to a Frank Frazetta drawing ? Skimpily clad well muscled men and women brandishing swords ? Would there be skulls ?

    I’m eagerly awaiting an answer.

  2. I should add : in the early to mid 1980’s, a friend of mine responded to an offer – from Jerry Falwell’s then rising “Moral Majority” – for a free “Bicentennial Edition” bible. In retrospect I wish I done the same, but that epic bible can currently be purchased for $25 plus shipping and handling on ebay ( http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=4634438025&category=378 )

    The “Bicentennial Edition” bible is notable, beyond the “Liberty Bell” graphic on the white, gold embelished cover, for its appendices : one was stuffed with iconic American documents – the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, probably the Bill of Right s – and also ( if memory serves ) one or two bits of historical revisionism on the alleged intent of the founders that the US should be a “Christian nation”. But, I might be simply imagining that aspect. I looked at this particular bible many years ago, and memory is a tricky thing.

  3. Please do NOT take talk2action’s every word on this game – they have lied about it’s content, and are pretty much leftist alarmists with an anti-christian axe to grind, looking for any reason to spread panic about the religious right.

    See my meager posts on it here.

  4. […] (1) Beginning of the End: Amazing Fulfillment of Prophecies Tell Earth’s Future, p.129 (2) Anger Is a Choice, p.1 (3) In the National Post (4) In Christian Retailing […]

  5. There has been alot of misleading information spun throughout the public and media regarding Left Behind Eternal Forces game. I encourage you to visit http://www.menofgod.us & download a trial version. I believe the first hand experience will allow you the opportunity to judge for yourself and put these rumors to a rest. Here is a statement from the CEO, Troy Lyndon, to clarify some of the misconceptions and propaganda: LEFT BEHIND: Eternal Forces A PC Game
    FOCUS ON THE FAMILY endorses our game. Read below to find out why! Our game DOES NOT encourage killing. Our game is NOT anti-Semitic. Our game is NOT anti-Muslim or anti-Islamic.

    It is anti-EVIL! The ultimate bad-guy is the Antichrist who wants to eliminate all faiths and all religions, except his and he is deceiving the entire world.

    Our game does NOT teach the pre-tribulation theology of the book series, except that this worldview is utilized as a FICTIONAL backdrop of the game.

    In the past several days, numerous people have been and continue to spread misinformation about the game.

    Our game is the first game ever to encourage the use of PRAYER and WORSHIP as the most effective means to resolve conflict.

    Physical warfare is discouraged as the LEAST EFFECTIVE means for resolving conflict…and a gamer loses points for using a gun.

    This is the world’s first high-quality inspirational game which intends to model positive behavior by discouraging physical warfare.

    Please play the game for yourself and help us to get out the TRUTH.

    In an industry which creates so much gratuitous violence and gore, LEFT BEHIND: Eternal Forces presents a healthy alternative. We need your help to get the word out!

    PLAY THE GAME and find out for yourself that this game is about the battle of good versus evil.

    Here are a few things said by others: – The Anti-Defamation League, although they speak out against the book theology, says “Conversion to Christianity in the game is not depicted as forcible in nature, and violence is not rewarded in the game.” – AOL says it is a “Positive Moral Message” – Focus on the Family says “Finally! A game Mom and Dad can play with Junior” – Concerned Women for America says “A game we can wholeheartedly recommend!” – Wired Magazine “Few are as ambitious and polished as this PC title.” – ArsTechnica.com “This is a game that Christian parents can buy their kids, and one that Christian kids can play themselves without any guilt about “questionable content.”” – Women of Faith says “In an industry that is full of destruction with no hope, the LEFT BEHIND game – Clint Thomas from Chaos Theory says “For years we’ve been telling kids what to run from and not what to run to, until now!”

    Should you have any concerns about this game, please go to the contact us page on our website at http://www.leftbehindgames.com and we’ll do our best to connect with you.

    Sincerely, Troy Lyndon CEO, Left Behind Games Inc.

  6. Our game does NOT teach the pre-tribulation theology of the book series, except that this worldview is utilized as a FICTIONAL backdrop of the game.

    How can one take usch a statement seriously?

  7. Hey, with so many people having an opinion about this game, how many have actually played it? And what credibility do they have? Focus on the Family has publications which can set the record straight for everyone…at http://www.pluggedinonline.com/thisweekonly/a0002989.cfm

  8. […] spamming blogs that discuss the game. Since I’ve mentioned it a few times on this blog (see here and here), I’ve received several of these. “GamerZ@leftbehindgames.com” asks me: […]

  9. […] that the game is “non-violent” goes beyond even the claims of its supporters: Jerry Jenkins and Jeff Frichner argue that the game’s violence should be put in a Biblical context, while […]

  10. […] the game to Asia praised it as “non-violent”, which is odd; as I noted at the time, Jerry Jenkins and Frichner argue that the game’s violence should be put in a Biblical context, while LaHaye […]

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