Editor's Note

Parting the Digital Sea


Religion and videogames haven’t always made the best partners. Fighting game Kakuto Chojin was pulled from shelves after players realized that verses from the Koran were part of the background music; a similar controversy delayed the North American release of LittleBigPlanet. It’s understandable the merging of faith and gaming can ruffle some feathers, but one particular religious concept seems tailor-made for gaming: Hell.

It makes sense, really. Hell’s minions are perfect videogame enemies. They’re hideous, powerful monsters that will never stop or show mercy. Their very existence is intimidating; a guy may have a gun the size of a Buick, but he’s still just a mortal. Demons, on the other hand, are unsettling and unnatural. Designers don’t need to create a back story for them explaining why they want to rip your face off – that’s just what demons do. And there’s no need to question the morality of slaughtering entire cities of them – who feels bad for hellspawn?

Not that the underworld’s residents are always portrayed as evil, of course. Overlord’s bumbling minions are simply adorable, and Evil the Cat from Earthworm Jim’s “What the Heck?” level was charmingly irritable. Still, it’s the nasty version of Hellions that we seem to prefer, if the success of Doom and Painkiller are any indication.

So if you’re looking to do engage in a bit of guilt-free, religion-themed killing, just follow the advice of upcoming game Dante’s Inferno and go to hell.

Share and enjoy,
Susan Arendt

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