It’s the new ‘Left Behind’ video game, where you maim and murder and hate, all in God’s name. Praise!
Are you a true believer? Do you just know deep down in your black Wal-Mart socks that every word of the Bible is the absolute literal truth and nothing dare be doubted and anyone who thinks that God is merely an ambisexual omniblissful bloom of moist divine nondenominational honeydew melon should be strung up by their small intestine and beaten with sticks sharpened by Mel Gibson’s teeth?
Do you feel, furthermore, that human cretins like, say, gays and Jews and Wiccans and all those hippie weirdos with their iPods and low-cut jeans and easy laughter are a plague upon this fine and holy land?
Do you think that contemptible books like “The Da Vinci Code” are not only blasphemy, but that you should probably go out into the street right now and behead a few lambs and perhaps mow down some Taoists with a Gatling gun just to deflect its horrible notions of the sacredness of the feminine divine? You do?
Praise Jesus! Your video game has arrived.
Behold, blessed children, the new and upcoming “Left Behind: Eternal Forces” video game, based on the freakishly best-selling series of apocalyptic trash-lit books. It’s an ultraviolent, hilariously inept, wondrously accurate portrayal of what every true right-wing Christian fundamentalist really fantasizes about after they’ve had one too many pink wine spritzers and have logged a few hours in the gay chat rooms and have sufficiently indoctrinated their happily numb kids with tales of vile homos and scary “progressive” liberals who want to buy them candy and tattoo their sacrums and feed them organic hot dogs.
What’s the game actually about? How do you play? I believe the pro-choice, pro-religion Talk to Action blog describes it best:
Imagine: you are a foot soldier in a paramilitary group whose purpose is to remake America as a Christian theocracy, and establish its worldly vision of the dominion of Christ over all aspects of life. You are issued high-tech military weaponry, and instructed to engage the infidel on the streets of New York City. You are on a mission — both a religious mission and a military mission — to convert or kill Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, gays, and anyone who advocates the separation of church and state — especially moderate, mainstream Christians. Your mission is “to conduct physical and spiritual warfare”; all who resist must be taken out with extreme prejudice.
Ah yes, the neo-Christian ideal. The ultimate dominionist police state, a smoking, reeking, post-apocalyptic vision of New York, a world teeming with nonbelievers just waiting to be either converted or massacred by nothing less than a Christianized American Taliban, a world of righteousness and judgment and death, all in the name of one very nasty and bloodthirsty God. It’s “Grand Theft Auto” for the Rick Santorum set. It’s “Resident Evil 4” for American Family Association types who eat too much BGH meat and never have sex.
Is it worth delineating all the appalling whorings of Christ’s true message in this thing? Do you need to imagine the explosive reaction if, say, a powerful Muslim organization came out with a major video game where Islamic fundies killed hapless Christians with machine guns in order to restore the world to Allah? Or if the KKK or Aryan Nations created a game where you get to “cleanse” ‘Merka of all the Jews and blacks so happy white people can stop being so scared of hip-hop? Verily, you do not.
But it is worth mentioning that, while the vast majority of sane Christians will recoil from this silly video game as violently as any sighing Wiccan, the bad news is the 10 “Left Behind” books — a certified phenomenon, they — have sold nearly as many copies as “The Da Vinci Code” (upward of 40 million worldwide) and their rabid fans are legion and dominionist demagogue megapastors like Rick Warren (whose megaministry is tacitly connected to the game) and famed hatemongering homophobes like James Dobson of the AMA are indoctrinating countless new and militant Christbots into their happy shiny armies of God every single day.
We can never forget: These are the people who still whisper into Dubya’s ear when he’s playing with his little green army men in the White House bathtub. They have stained the Supreme Court, attacked science and open discourse, made the human female nipple a symbol of shame and humiliation. Their power may be waning slightly as BushCo crumbles, but their agenda remains deeply sickening.
But hey, everyone needs a fantasy, right? Everyone needs an outlet for their violent daydreams, even fundamentalist right-wing bonk-jobs and their hapless 13-year-old male children, for whom (presumably) this game is designed. It’s venomous bigotry made fun! More good news: The game should be ready just in time for Christmas.
Oh but wait. There’s a lovely kicker: When you get bored with the sanctimonious drabness of fighting on the side of a hateful Christ (which, invariably, you most certainly will), the game apparently allows you to switch modes and fight for the army of the Antichrist, unleashing cloven-hoofed demons who feast on the flesh of the righteous as you blow away Bible-thumping soldiers who, just before they die, secretly confess their intense gay love for their platoon commanders. Isn’t that thoughtful?
It’s also a bit of genius marketing. After all, aren’t the villains always far cooler and sexier than the self-righteous and the holy? The devil always has better vodka than God. Who wants to run around shooting Buddhists and praying, when you can don the armor of hell itself and drink and have dirtyfun sex and get tattoos and listen to Metallica and wear low-slung jeans and laugh easily? No one, that’s who.
Which is why the game could become the sleeper hit of the year. Sure, brainwashed fundamentalist kids will love playing on the side of God. For a while. But then the dark side will beckon. The irresistible scent of rebellion will hit their noses like hot porn pizza. They will fall into the clutches of a crazy self-defined happiness, they will squirm and giggle and feel anarchic and seditious and free, running clean in a place where the beer is cold and the dancing is hot and no one is telling them they have to kill someone because that person dared to believe that God isn’t, well, a misanthropic, murderous jackass.
Now that’s heaven.
June 7, 2006 Column
Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist