Monday, October 22, 2012

Party of Sin: Guilty fun or sacrilege?

I don't mind when people make jokes at the expense of religion. I wouldn't love South Park as much as I do if I got upset over people mocking faith. I even take part in some podcasts where religion gets mocked in sometimes crude ways. But you take it in stride, and know that nine out of ten times, the people mocking it don't actually mean cruel malice towards me or other members of my faith.

I remember a title called Afterlife by LucasArts, a silly Sim-like title in which you take control of Heaven or Hell and try to keep souls in your world occupied and productive. It was real tongue-in-cheek fun because the versions of Heaven and Hell that you controlled were funny caricatures that didn't really resemble our thoughts and beliefs regarding how we spend eternity. Sure, people committed sins to get there, but every religion has it's own set of rights and wrongs.

16 years later, an independent game company called Crankshaft Games has created a PC puzzle platformer called Party of Sin, in which the goal of the game is to take the seven deadly sins, who are actual characters, break out of hell and destroy angels on a quest to take over heaven.

The gameplay reads like an updated version of The Lost Vikings (translation: FUN!), in which each character has it's own strengths and weaknesses, and being able to switch party members at any time. The game definitely has a sense of humor, not unlike Afterlife, and going purely by the trailer, it's not as if you're burning crucifixes or murdering nuns.

Not being able to play the game (just reading the interview) leaves me crippled when it comes to judging if the game crosses any lines. I have to say, I do cringe a bit at the idea of waging war against God's angels in a video game, especially when the leader of the angels in the game is actually named Michael, but then again, I chuckle at Afterlife because it's such a silly stretch, maybe I should have the same attitude with Party of Sin. It looks like an amazing game to play.

Maybe the reason I give Afterlife a pass is because, even though it contains Heaven and Hell, it feels detached from Christianity a bit, while Party of Sin feels more like a game set in the world of my own faith. I think I'd probably feel much better about the game if it gave you the option of playing as the Heaven side of things, as you could probably make an even more interesting platformer with that mechanic in place.

Gun to my head, I'd have to say that it just misses that line of "OMG THIS IS EVIL SACRILEGE!!!!" I'll have to wait for the demo to come out and judge it more fully. Regardless of my opinions, I'm sure Bill Donahue of the Catholic League will go nuts if this game gets any kind of popular rub.

I'd love to get your thoughts in the comment section.


s-baumgartner said...

Honestly, since the game seems so lighthearted, there really isn't an argument to be made.

Anonymous said...

Disrespect to God is never lighthearted. It is, in and of itself, intrinsically, a grave evil. How do you half-heartedly shake your fist at God?

This is one of the great sicknesses of our time: there is precious little that people WILL take seriously. Even when it is an offense to God Himself, so long as someone says, "awww... it's not THAT serious" everyone just nods and smiles.

Either a thing is good, or else it is evil. Other than things like the color of your socks, there is precious little in life that is truly neutral. Waging war on God personally (or heaven, His angels, etc.), is not one of them.

Sadly, people lost a long time ago any sense of the true grandeur of God, the tremendous respect owed to Him, and the gravity of even the very slightest offense against Him, simply because of Who He is. In the Bible, some folks literally died instantly for such things. Now people laugh and go, "eh... lighten up, you know? It's not such a big deal..."

The infinite dignity of God IS a big deal. People's gross lack of an appropriate reaction when that dignity is offended (and that, on the part of those claiming to love Him, and who would probably be very offended if it was anyone they really did love being mocked or insulted), simply reveals the epidemic decline in faith and in true love of God. True love does not tolerate the beloved to be insulted without due indignation.

But today it is not true love, but self love that rules: what fun can I have next, quite regardless of how much it offends God or corrupts souls.

Anonymous said...

When they crowned Our Lord's head with thorns and scourged Him, lots of people were laughing and thought it was funny to treat Him like a fool and laugh about it. Did the fact that they weren't "being serious" make the sin of mocking and killing Him any less grave?

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I think is sacrilege!

GenghisKhan44 said...

It's probably not far from sacrilegious. But I still think, for the well-catechised Catholic, playing it might be a good idea.

If we feel ourselves slipping, playing these sorts of games will be somewhat of a shock to us, and we'll be able to clearly see what is wrong with a game like this. Keeps you sharp in identifying theological errors.

Most especially the idea that God does not love you, or that evil is somehow just another opposing force in the world.

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