Let’s talk about the tempest in a teapot that is the Dante’s Inferno video game protest. Now being in the entertainment industry, a lapsed Catholic, and a gamer myself I find the whole thing rather comical. A couple of weeks ago, there was a protest rally outside of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles. About twenty angry Christian held signs proclaiming “Hell is not a Game” and “Trade in Your PlayStation for a PrayStation.”
Apparently, they were miffed about gaming giant Electronic Arts planned release of Dante’s Inferno. As they said on their website, wearesavedgroup.org, “We are on a crusade to stop the blasphemous glorification of hell and its minions as presented by Dante’s Inferno. The ever decaying youth and slovenly adults who engage with such venomous entertainment are a victim of our society’s pointless need to flirt with Satan and his lustful campaign to corrupt human souls.” Needless to say they got press attention.
Later, Electronic Arts admitted that it was hoax. They had set the whole thing up as a publicity stunt. Now why did it work? Because we know that some Christians will complain about anything remotely irrelevant. Poverty, Wall Street excess, farm subsidies that make hunger worse– not a peep. But if we want to talk about what goes on in people’s bedrooms, Harry Potter, or a video game. They will show up and whine about how they don’t like it and how the rest of us are damned. So the stunt was oh so plausible.
Margaret Cabaniss over at Insidecatholic.com wrote:
It’s been clear for a while now that the entertainment industry views Christians on the whole as priggish, thin-skinned fun-killers. (That swipe about our Web design skills might be most hurtful of all.) Clearly they don’t read enough InsideCatholic, or they’d see what a market they’re missing right here. Their loss.
That aside, though, the institutional acknowledgement that these kinds of protests are the best possible publicity for their target is something Christians might want to bear in mind when the next Dan Brown film rolls around.
She gets it– we’re tired of the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” mentality of Christians. We liked it better when you called out people for committing the Seven Deadly Sins– rather than picking and choosing what standard of morality we non-church going folk should follow. Reminds me of that Mahatma Gandhi quote, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
Anyhow, Andy Kirchoff over at Catholic Video Gamers, took offense and challenged EA saying, “instead of engaging in a shamelessly anti-Christian stunt to promote your poor excuse of a product, maybe you ought to work on making this game, you know, something better than a blatant God of War rip-off and make it, ya know, something worthwhile?”
I think Andy needs to talk to Margaret. The stunt was not “anti-Christian”, it makes you mad because everyone believed it was real. The Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press believed and reported that Christians had nothing better to do than picket against a video game. But I do agree with Andy that the game does look like a God of War rip-off.